vay cay wrap up

The 6th night of our vacation was spent in Kernville, CA.

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Night number 7, was spent in Vegas

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We like to mix it up.

So, again

Night Number 6

Night Number 7

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In Between, we went here:  

Our last National Park for this trip, which means we’re all ready for the updated National Park Sign Picture Slideshow!

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Yay!

Anyway, We did like Death Valley.  Actually Hub wasn’t crazy about it, but I can’t remember why.  Oh wait

 Yes, it is pretty toasty and this was May 31st.  July is probably the worst time to go, when it averages 115 degrees with highs in the 120’s.  According to the National Park Service, Death Valley is the hottest place in North America.

In this below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Yet, each extreme has a striking contrast. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.

Beauty isn’t everything!

My family didn’t even want to get out of the car for the sign picture, but finally my Hub and Daughter did walk around a little,

although it made me nervous for them to go too far.  I don’t think this park is meant to be travelled lightly.

I just want to blow up an image from the background of that photo:

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If you have binoculars and some patience the people watching here doesn’t disappoint, but I’d stay with the group.

Back to where we stayed.

I was leary at first because it was right across the street from this:

Where I thought we were headed:(  Outdoor Cowboy Mannequins, Noooooo!!  In my opinion, there’s sort of a Fantasy Island level of creepiness that comes with that.

I should have known better.  Hubs travel agenting abilities never fail.  The Sequoia Lodge was totally sweet (no creepy mannequins anywhere on the property, just tons of those cute and pleasant chainsaw bear sculptures… everywhere). This place is probably even better if you actually fish.

but if you don’t fish, it’s still a great place to relax steps away from the rushing Kern River.

Our room had this on the wall:

OPEN ROAD BRANDS EMB TIN SIGN JEFF FOXWORTHY REDNECK HUNTER

I’m not embarrassed to admit that it made me Laugh Out Loud …twice.

A few of the other amenities… a fish cleaning shed, patios, gas & charcoal grills, other stuff and plenty of those delightful wooden bears.

Amenities where we stayed in Vegas…

1,450 sq foot suite with floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views of the Las Vegas valley.  Two bedrooms, one with two Queen Beds and another with a King.  Four TVs, lots of pools… and toptional pools.  Walking through a giant casino, of course and an opportunity to answer lots of interesting questions.

What does toptional mean?

Can I have your credit card, we want to do the video games??

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Why are all the churches so small?

Everything is so shiny!  There’s like no downside, right?

Our kids were curious to see Las Vegas, since we have some friends moving out there and it was a good place for us to fly out of.  We were ready to relax and wrap up our trip, and this was definitely something different:)

day 8
(6/1/17) flying back to sweet home kc, always a good thing!

here’s the trip map again, in case you forgot where we started…

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Sequoia and Kings Canyon

Facetious Mommy says by Six Days in nobody in this rented Sonata  really wants to be friends anymore.

We spent the morning in beautiful King’s Canyon National Park, before continuing on to Sequoia.

World’s Most Beautiful Church Camp, wedged between the parks

IMG_1028Tree So Tall, that you’re Still Scrolling.

Okay, little bit more, little bit more aaand got  it!People admire views from within the narrow railing at the top of Moro Rock. Photo courtesy of Paul Johnson.Image result for sequoia national park

Since 1890 people have flocked to this California treasure Image result for sequoia national park vintage photogragh

for the same reason that it is still draws travellers today… because giant trees make everybody look skinny.

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Next, we split the distance between Sequoia and Death Valley at this place:

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Vacation 2017

May 25th this family hit the road for yet another vacation adventure!  What is the ideal American Vacation for the family with an 11 and 12 year old?

SoCal Roadtrip

which looks a little like this:

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It was a fun one!

First Day we got going early.  We flew to San Diego and our first stop was the Midway.  We did a San Diego Vay Cay when the kids were babies, but they were on a vay cay to Grandma’s House, so everything was new to them.

 I don’t think they’re ready for the navy, but it’s a pretty cool stop if you’re headed that way.  After that we took the Hornblower Harbor Cruise and then drove around Coronado.

By then we were definitely ready for the hotel We called this the Shortbread mural, for the obvious reason…Image result for girl scout shortbread

We were right on the beach, so we had a lot of fun with that.  

The next day was Day 2 in San DiegoIMG_2263

We took the kids back to some more of our favorites

The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Old Point Loma Lighthouse, This close-up view of the light room at the top of the Old Point Loma tower reveals the sturdy construction that helped it withstand winter storms. See more lighthouse pictures.which is also

BEAUTIFUL

and has awesome tidepoolsThe Tide Pools,

Cabrillo statue and more sweet hiking

Our last stop in San Diego was a highlight for our whole family.  We got to visit my BFF Missy’s house.  I met her in kindergarten and we graduated from high school together (along with a few other fun kids), but I love catching up with her and her awesome family.  

So, I do have a beef with California, which is that nobody will ever let you use their bathroom.  It made me crazy!  Notice the water bottle that I’m carrying in every photo.  I love to hydrate which eventually leads to bathrooms, I like to go to them!  Every CVS, deli, burger joint, etc…

Image result for no public restroom signif you’re lucky, there’s like a security code  for the doorknob that they might consider giving you.

It’s craziness!  Seriously, I’m not looking to move in!

The noted exception being Missy’s house.  Her daughter took me by the hand to show me where their bathroom was.  She walked me right in, actually opened the toilet lid and showed it off proudly, like a tiny Vanna White.  Image result for vanna white turning letters wheel of fortune It was a crack up.  I think that they’re learning to clean it themselves and feeling pretty pumped about it!

Well that’s the 1st third of the SoCal Roadtrip!  I’ll see if I can’t get the rest up soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With One Step

The Van Meter Family Vacation this year was an incredible journey.  We settled on a trip that centered around backpacking in an amazing place,

For months now, Hub has been dehydrating foods and piecing together menus and recipes for us to test drive, with varied results.  He’s been busy assessing our gear, checking our permits, weighing EVERYTHING… to the gram, going over maps and updating spreadsheets.

We even backpacked to an ice cream shop 3 or 4 miles from the house so that the kids could experience hiking with a pack and going a little bit farther than a typical family walk.

It was a huge success!

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I Heart Mely’s:)

School has wrapped up and vacation is finally here!

Saturday, the 30th day of May dawned with great excitement.  The van was all gassed up and ready to go.  We set out across The Flint Hills continuing along wide open and unending highway stretches beneath Colorado’s vast painted skies, making our way to Utah’s five National Parks and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

Quick tangent; since we love us some National Parks, I’m going to break here to share our Sign Photos.  Just scroll on down if you want to skip, but I kind of love these…

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We spent the first night at a Rodeway Inn in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

While enjoying the tightest little continental breakfast in the Rockies, one of our children just threw up suddenly, for no reason.  This all too common occurrence is just one of the many endearing attributes that make our family special:)

After leaving our mark on one more state, we were geared up for a relatively short, three hour drive to Moab.