August 1, we set off on our longest trip yet with the kids: first, The Petersen/Christensen Family Reunion at the YMCA of the Rockies-Snow Mountain Ranch in Colorado, then over to UT for our annual visit with family there. We traveled through 5 states in 9 days!
The first leg of our trip was to meet up with the other Perrys in Grand Junction, CO, a good 9-hour drive from Phoenix (according to Google maps, anyway). I suppose I should mention that poor Elmer has inherited his father's carsickness. He does pretty well, except when we go fast over bumpy or curvy roads. Well, we were doing great until we were on 89A north out of Flagstaff, just turning onto 160 towards Tuba City. I've driven that road so many times, I forget how bumpy and curvy it is - and I was speeding along, thinking about stopping for lunch at Tuba City. I have learned my lesson. There was an incident. But after stopping to clean up, and being grateful for our rooftop car carrier, the rest of the trip was uneventful. The boys did really well on such a long drive, which took us 12 hours. They were happy to see family at the motel.
The next day, Grampa decided to ride with us as we finished our journey to the YMCA. We got there in the early afternoon. We rented a cabin, and it was just great - the boys were thrilled to have a bunk bed in their room, and we had plenty of space to relax and run around. Elmer still talks about the Running Bear cabin.
We had a great time meeting and visiting family at the reunion events and exploring all that the YMCA has to offer - which is a LOT! We visited the library, went on some hikes, played mini-golf, petted goats and sheep (and an extremely friendly cat), saw horses, and generally had a great time!
On Wednesday, we headed off for a 9-hour drive to my grandmother's house in Utah, via Wyoming. We drove through some very lovely parts of Colorado, and some very unlovely parts of Wyoming on an uneventful drive. Again, our little road warriors are just getting used to these long drives. As long as we take breaks now and then and let them run around, they do pretty well.
We stayed with my Grandma until Saturday, just visiting her and other family we could fit in. My uncle Eric came by to visit one afternoon, and we all went over to see my cousin Erica and her family. We had a really enjoyable evening with them, playing outside and having a jam session inside after dinner. Elmer experienced his first bee sting, but he handled it really well. I think it helped that cousin Max was stung as well, so the two of them got special attention from both moms. We also enjoyed playing in Grandma's backyard and visiting the neighbor goats.
Saturday morning, we set off on our marathon drive back home. Last year it only took us 13 hours from Layton to Phoenix (via I-15 through Las Vegas), but having older kids slowed us down - it took 15 hours! But we all endured it, and we still think it's worth it to sleep in our own beds and wake up the next morning at home. For the first time, both boys fell asleep in the van and we were able to transport them directly to their beds as soon as we got home, then unload and settle in on our own.
All in all, it was a great vacation. We drove through Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nevada. Saw lots of family. Discovered a quirky hot dog stand near Wikieup to remember for next year's trip. And best of all, Elmer decided he was potty trained and has been using the toilet like a big boy ever since!
Here's an album of all the pictures of the trip.