Friday, June 30, 2006

A Walk in the Desert

Last night was HORRIBLE. Tinna's croup was full blown and I spent most of the night outside the hotel room on the sidewalk rocking her so Steven and the kids could get some sleep. I think she finally fell asleep around 1 am and then William was awake and playing in his crib. It was just never-ending. I fell asleep around 4 am. Steve and the kids were all up around 7 - 7:30. I felt like a slug all day, really.

After a nice breakfast at Denny's, Delaney wanted to show me the "desert" behind the hotel. Steve took her with him to walk Henry earlier in the morning and she had seen cacti back there so she was excited to show me those. As we were walking, she was yelling "Look, Mommy, a cactus!!!" She must have been overcome with it (excitement) because she walked right into the stupid thing. I bet she had 10 needles sticking out of her legs. I'm sure it was painful but it was all I could do to not laugh at her. We got them all picked out and sprayed the "magic spray" (Bactine) and she was fine after that.

We got on the road around 10:30 am and decided to make our day short by stopping in Holbrook, AZ after visiting the Petrified Forest State Park. Well, today was anything but short, let me tell you. It seemed as if we were stopping every 10 miles to fill up with gas, eat, or use restrooms. The mesas and deserts we saw were beautiful and I got some great photos. Along the way today, we saw amazing caves and cliffs, obviously washed out by millions of years of water action and a very large lava flow called El Malpais that reminded us of Iceland.

See these two links for info.

This one shows satellite imagery and you can see how large the lava flow is:

We stopped for lunch at Rio Grande State Park in Albuquerque, NM. It was hot but a nice stop. The visitors center was built right on the river so you can look out big windows and see ducks or whatever creatures happen to be there at the time. We saw a road runner in the garden area and the kids were excited about that.

By the time we made it to Petrified Forest there was a storm on the way. One of the park guides told me it takes 2-3 hours to go through the park and walk the trails, etc. Entrance fee is $10. We decided to skip it for this trip. I was a little disappointed but I think it was best for all of us. To our stomachs, it was dinnertime, and the kids were really over being in the car. I can't imagine schlepping them on a mile long trail, and the dog, too, in 90F. So, we made it to the hotel, had dinner, and baths and now the kids are all passed out (hopefully), for the night. I'm not far behind.

Our big dilemma now is whether we should stop as planned at Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam tomorrow or to just head straight to San Diego. If we go straight through, we could be there in about 10 hours (driving + stops), with the other option, we'd be staying another night in a hotel and have 2 more days of drive time. If you are sitting on the edge of your seat wondering which we choose, well, you'll just have to check in to see if I make a post tomorrow!

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