Our Family Travels Update

Hi all! Much has happened since my last post, so I thought I would take some time to share with everyone what has been going on with our family and our travels.

We were unable to go on our Spring Break road trip as planned due to the global pandemic. The places we wanted to visit closed due to the virus, and honestly, we were not comfortable possibly exposing our children to it even if they were open. Luckily, I did not have any tickets purchased that I needed reimbursed for and the hotels were very understanding when I cancelled our reservations. So, besides our own disappointment of not being able to explore some new places in March, we have been staying safe and healthy. I am keeping our Spring Break road trip plans so we can take that trip at another time.

Also going on with us, is that Ryan was offered a new opportunity within his company, and we relocated to Arizona from Illinois! I do have to say, selling a house, buying a house, and moving our family across the country safely during a global pandemic and amid protests and rioting, was an interesting challenge and an adventure in itself! It was sad for all of us to leave our family and friends, but we were excited for the new opportunities ahead of us!

While our road trip across the country was not what it could have been if things were open and safe, we did make it a point to see things along the way. The first night we stayed outside of St. Louis, because we weren’t sure where the protests and rioting were happening, and we wanted to stay safe.

The second day we drove through Missouri on I-44. We enjoyed the scenery with rolling hills and trees as far as you could see. The kids spotted the billboards for Uranus Fudge Factory, and thought they were hilarious….so did we 🙂 We definitely plan to visit there on our way back through!

Uranus Fudge Factory link: https://www.uranusgeneralstore.com/

Ryan wanted to stop at the Bass Pro store in Springfield, MO, so we stopped off to stretch our legs and check it out. His family took vacations down to southern Missouri when he was younger, and he remembers his dad stopping at this store for fishing tackle on their way. It is a huge store, and we enjoyed walking around the free museums within the store, and finding a few new hats and t-shirts for the kids. The Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium was not open when we were there, but we plan on stopping again to check it out.

Bass Pro Store, Springfield, MO link: https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/bass-pro-shops-story

Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium link: https://wondersofwildlife.org/

I wanted to drive through part of Kansas, because we had never been to Kansas before, so we got off of I-44 and took old Route 66 through Kansas. I need to confess, I had the idea to drive Route 66 all of the way across the country, but we didn’t have the time. We soon discovered the kids did not have the patience for it either. There wasn’t much that the kids found exciting to see on that leg of the trip. Roadside attractions are not their thing 🙂 We did see the metal Kansas Route 66 sign in a round about. (I had to take the picture while the vehicle was moving….the kids begged not to stop.)

Kansas

Maybe the Route 66 drive will be something Ryan and I do by ourselves sometime 🙂 We still wanted to do “something” in Kansas, so we decided to stop at a Sonic for an ice cream treat. We had never been to a drive-in diner, so the kids found it fun. That night we stayed outside of Tulsa, OK.

The third day we stopped off at another Route 66 roadside attraction. (I thought the kids might like this one, because who wouldn’t like a big blue whale!?!) The Blue Whale in Catoosa is a little park with a giant blue whale sitting in a pond. There were some kids fishing off the dock, and it looks like you can swim in the pond too. Our kiddos again, were not very impressed, so we kept heading west.

The Blue Whale of Catoosa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Whale_of_Catoosa

We did a lot of driving that day. We stopped off for lunch in Oklahoma, because restaurants were open there. It was our first sit down restaurant meal in months. We enjoyed the country side through Oklahoma and part of Texas that day on I-40. We bought our kids their first Twinkies that afternoon. We didn’t realize that we had never let them try Twinkies before! They enjoyed them, and promptly asked for more. Maybe introducing them to Twinkies was a bad idea??

We stayed in Amarillo, TX that night, and our hotel was next to The Big Texan Steak Ranch. It was open, so we decided to treat ourselves to a steak. It was delicious, and the atmosphere was exactly what I think of when I think of Texas…..cowboys, boots, beef, bandanas, cowboy hats, wood floors, and country music! They also have a steak eating challenge that our daughter wanted to try, but we weren’t sure she could eat a 72oz steak in one hour. Maybe in a few years sweetie 🙂 Their fudge and sweets looked delicious too, but we were so full after dinner we had to pass. Next time I’ll be taking some to go!

The Big Texan Steak Ranch link: https://www.bigtexan.com/

The fourth day we drove through Texas and noticed it was very open, not many trees, but lots of wind turbines and cattle ranches. Passing into New Mexico we saw much of the same. We took I-25 south to Las Cruces, and found that landscape more mountainous. We also noticed there were few other travelers on this route, which made me a little nervous, but we arrived at our destination safely. We also stopped off at a few roadside attraction signs that we saw along the way. The one below was right outside of Carrizozo, NM. It was cool to learn that Billy the Kid, Sherriff Pat Garrett, Governor Lew Wallace and Albert Bacon Fall were once in the place we were.

We stayed in Las Cruces, NM that night and enjoyed some local pizza in the comfort of our air conditioned hotel. We were starting to notice the temperature rising the further south we traveled!

The last day we got up and checked out a few roadside attractions in and around Las Cruces. We found the World’s Largest Chile Pepper, drove over the Rio Grande, and stopped off to see the Roadrunner Sculpture made entirely of recycled materials. I found them cool and unusual! My kids at this point had caved, and started giving into my roadside attraction obsession on this trip 🙂

On our way out of Las Cruces we found that White Sands National Park was closed, so we weren’t able to stop. We plan to go back for a visit once it opens back up.

White Sands National Park link: https://www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm

We finally made it to our new home in Arizona safe and healthy! Again, although the trip wasn’t what we would have wanted it to be, we made the best of it. We spent some quality time together, saw some different and unusual things, and made some memories that we will cherish forever! I can’t wait to see where this new adventure takes us!

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