Zion National Park

The landscape is so amazing at Zion. I’m not able to take pictures that can capture the views completely.

Zion is great for everyone. You could just drive through, stop a couple view points, or get out and get hiking. Any way you choose to visit Zion the experience will be worth it.

One of the things we really liked about Zion was the ability to just park and walk out on the rock. You can walk just a short distance and find great backdrops for you pictures or awe inspiring landscape shots

Did you know that there is a tunnel through a mountian.. a whole mountain. The Mount Carmel tunnel is a whopping 1.1 miles long and we have to admit the kids (and adults) really enjoyed driving through.

There is access to the Virgin River and despite visiting in the spring we made sure to dip our toes, some decided whole heads, into the water.

For more about Zion National Park go HERE

Winter break

We’ve had an adventurous winter break. We started off with a snow storm that ended up closing local highways. We’re lucky enough to only have to shovel ourselves out of our site. The roads are maintained really well and the highway is passable for us. We did see plenty of spin outs

The older boys got to take a trip to do night tubing at Ski Bowl. They went before the big storm. Ski Bowl, Meadows and Timberline all closed when the storm hit.

A laser light show and d.j. music played while they raced down groomed tubing chutes at Ski Bowl East. To find out more about tubing at Ski Bowl go HERE

Back at home we were able get bust out our sleds and use our very own hills for some fun sledding time.. I have a middle schooler who will wear shorts no matter what!

So, here we are getting buried in snow and breaks almost over. Wait, no it is over! It’s still a snowy mess and we decided to go to the beach..

The beginning of trip went smoothly with the only ‘difficult’ driving just the short trip to the highway. Even though the highway we live off of was still closed about 7 miles up the road you wouldn’t know it at our entrance. 

We made it to about 30-40 minutes out from Florence and we were looking forward to stopping at St. Vinnies (our favorite thift store). The road was flooded and closed. Traffic not moving at all. I began checking the tripcheck camera. The camera happened to be pointing right at the new pool on the road. We waited and waited and discussed driving back to I5 and around to Reedsport. We didn’t want to add hours of driving when we were so close and there wasn’t an alternative route

Finally the drain was cleared and the water flowed away. We made our stop in Florence and got back on the road to Reedsport. Only, we had to sit in traffic again. The only way south crossed a bridge where a wreck had just happened and closed all lanes. After that mess was cleaned up we made it to our destination. A long day traveling deserved pizza for dinner. We ordered from Bedrocks on the Bay in Winchester and it was amazing!

At the end of the day, the older boys were excited for the side by side rental coming up the next day and the youngest was worn out and went right to sleep.

Roswell New Mexico

They are among us. We landed in Roswell in the middle of the night. Coming in from the north on a completely dark highway added to the adventure of it. Just as we’re getting bored the dark horizon lit up with synchronized blinking lights.. the entire field of view was pulsating with red lights. Of course it was just green energy in the form of windmills, but not knowing that at first made it exciting for the bored children in the backseat.

The next morning we headed over to the visitor center where they had Roswell merch and tourist information. After leaving the visitor center we made our way down the street to the International UFO Museum Research Center. The exhibits were informative and entertaining.

The truth is out there and Roswell might be one of the places to find at least part of it. For more information about visiting Roswell check out the Visitor Center website.

I want to believe…

Winslow Arizona

This was a stop for us adults because the kids just didn’t get it. I guess it says a lot about how old we are. Winslow Arizona isn’t much, but it still made our road trip stop list.

At the corner you will find a cool gift shop and across the street there was a soda fountain. There is a flatbed Ford and other backdrops for taking it easy and getting your very own photos. I’m sure there is more, but like I said our kids thought this stop was not cool.

Planning a road trip? Looking for stops on Route 66? For more visit the foundation website

Art Car World: Douglas, Arizona

This is the ‘look mom is crouched in the street to take our picture, quick look away’ shot

Honestly, we hadn’t heard of Douglas Arizona or even Art Car World. We have seen Art cars here and there. If it wasn’t for a wedding we were attending on Erie street in Bisbee Arizona we would have missed out on this cool museum in the making.

Having some time to use up while staying in Douglas we stumbled across this great place using Google maps. When we walked up it looked like it wasn’t open. However, a sign on the door had a phone number to call to make an appointment for a tour.

We didn’t end up calling and we were making our way to leave when the man behind the museum came out to greet us and take us on a tour. How cool is that?

There is a story behind every art car and a name for each car. Unfortunately, I wasn’t prepared to take notes. I did take pictures of some of the cars onsite. There are more cars at the museum.. and even more on the way.

About twenty years ago on a Mexican bus in the city of Juarez ,I first saw the wrought iron beetle. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and was sad that I didn’t have my camera out. Like it would have mattered with how fast our bus was going. I didn’t even have time to get my sister’s attention so she could see it. I was surprised and happy to get to see it again and be able to tell my kids stories about that long ago trip.

I took a lot of pictures, but didn’t manage to get a picture of every car. Even if I had I wouldn’t want to spoil the museum completely for everyone else. Where would the fun be if I did that?

Monster cars, camera van, cathedral car, land yacht, jewelry, mad max-esq, and so much more. We really recommend going. You can add this stop to your trip- Make a reservation for a tour and even make a donation to the museum using the link at the bottom of this post.

For more information visit the Art Car World website

Death Valley National Park

Must see road trip stops/drives Badwater Basin and Artists Drive. We also saw The Devil’s Golf Course. Badwater Basin is 282 feet below see level and the temperature while we were there was 95 degrees. The temperature outside the park was in the low 70’s, a benefit of visiting during the fall/winter. We found that our older boys did not fully get the big deal about the temperature. We plan to bring them back in the summer sometime in the future.

Badwater Basin.. look in the top left for the sea level marker 282 feet above the basin floor.

What you need to know about Artists Drive.. It’s amazing and there are vehicle size restrictions. The parks stated restriction is less than 25 ft in length. We were happy to be in our Subaru. The drive is 9 miles of winding, dipping and driving through low clearances. The low clearances are why we were happy to not be in our Dodge 2500 with kayak racks on top. It can be done, but it would have stressed us out. Our advice is to believe the signs.. the dips are huge.

The park has plenty to offer and we are hardly scratching the surface here. Use the link at the bottom of this post to visit the park website. During the summer, it is not recommended to get out of your car for any longer than a few minutes – meaning no hiking in the summer. Visiting during the cooler months opens up opportunities to explore the many trails. During our visit we explored the Badwater Basin, because we were not prepared for hiking. There are a few trails in the park, but most routes are cross country. We stuck to the roadside trails.

Badwater Basin.. realizing he would be that deep

What to bring.. It should go without saying, but I’m going to say it. Bring plenty of water, even if you have no plans for hiking. This is the hottest, driest, lowest place in North America. Check the parks website, listed below, before going to find out about closures and know the weather. Flash flooding is an additional hazard that may occur in the park.

Devils Golf Course.

At Devil’s Golf Course large fields of eroded rock salt can been seen. If you listen carefully, you can here the salt crystals exploding due to expanding and contracting with the changes in temperatures. Despite being sharp and pocked we did see some fellow park goers attempting to navigate walking across the salt as well as taking souvenirs. It’s a big no-no, illegal, to take the salt or remove anything from a protected National Park.

Visit the National Park Service Website for more information about Death Valley National Park

White Sands National Monument

The sand may look like a normal dune, but it’s not… it’s a gypsum dunefield and it almost has the feel of kinetic sand. It is the largest of it’s kind in the world. Located in the Chihuahuan Desert in southern New Mexico, it really stood out off in the distance. We hadn’t had it on our list of stops for our road trip until we saw it and wondered what all that white was. At first, husband said it was just a white looking city. Once I opened the map we discovered a must see stop for the family.

What you need to know about possible closures…The new norm has become checking the parks website for closure information. In this case, always check. White Sands Missile Range conducts testing that will close access to the park as well as the highway.

Must see Dune Drive..  The only road in to access the dunes winds its way past parking areas, trails, and picnic shelters. We visited in early November the weather was mild and we were lucky enough to avoid crowds

What to bring… pack picnic lunch and plenty of water. Bring a snow saucer and wax. While the visitor center sells disks they are expensive. . Like $20 for a new one and $15 or $16 for used. Bring your own disks. We have found disks for about $5-10. Check Cabelas, Target and BiMart. We are a family of 5 so buying them at the park would add up. Of course, you could always share?  If you don’t have wax you’ll not get as much speed. The visitor center sells wax at a more reasonable price.. about $2.

For more information about White Sands National Park visit the National Park Service website