for the second part of our summer adventures, we road tripped to Prescott, AZ for our good friend Davey's wedding, since Zach was a groomsman! we traveled through California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, and saw as many things as we could along the way -- Horseshoe Bend, the Grand Canyon, and Joshua Tree being a few of them!
road trip money-saving tip: bring a cooler and pack groceries for your meals on the road! this will save you a lot of money. we brought lettuce + turkey + cheese + veggies for turkey lettuce wraps, a few salads, trail mix, apples, carrots, smoothies, pretzels, almond butter, oatmeal, iced Via (Starbucks instant coffee), and a few other things. most of our hotels had free breakfasts and so we barely spent any money on food! we also went to Costco and stocked up on our favorite gas station snacks and drinks (Vitamin Water, Coke Zero, Sour Patch Kids, chocolate covered acai berries, etc), so we wouldn't be tempted to buy that stuff on the road! We ended up spending less than $20 on any food or drink items, which is definitely a record for us! (and $6 of that was a verrrrryyy expensive iced coffee at a Starbucks in the middle of the desert that didn't accept my free drink reward!)
road tripping tip: don't go on a huge long road trip with a teething seven-month-old! he was such a trooper for what he was dealing with (teething is supposedly one of the worst natural pains a human goes through in his life!) but it was still pretty rough. most days, we were driving a minimum of four hours, and he would sleep for one or two of those, be happy for maybe 20 minutes, and then get angry and antsy and tired of being in the car, understandably! we brought snacks for him, so one of us would have to sit in the back and play with him and feed him puffs. my advice would be to just not go on a huge long trip like this with a teething kid!
Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ was by far our favorite part of the trip! I had seen a few photos before we went but I was completely overwhelmed with the size and beauty of it! It is SO HUGE. its like a less-known, more beautiful version of the Grand Canyon, in my opinion. It is part of the Colorado River, so technically it could be part of the Grand Canyon maybe? but apparently the way the river changes direction like that is a natural phenomenon! If you ever go to Arizona, I highly recommend checking our Horseshoe Bend. It's a short hike and not so crowded and so so beautiful!
road tripping tip (or hiking-with-babies tip): get a backpacking carrier like the Osprey Poco! it is sturdy, breathable, and makes it a lot easier to hike with a baby. Forest gets to see everything and loves it!
this may have been one of the scariest (and most incredible???) things I have ever done. I really really wanted to sit on the edge, so I could take a photo of the bottom, mainly because I didn't know when we'd ever be able to come back to such a beautiful place!! and partially because it was terrifying and I just wanted to do it. so Zach encouraged me and helped me to the edge and it was INCREDIBLE. I mean, look at it!! gosh, I want to go back already.
we loved it so much, we went back the next day to see it in daytime light!
Joshua Tree National Park. I love cacti.
road tripping tip: if you know you will be going to more than one National Park, get an America the Beautiful National Park Pass at your first o! it costs $80, about as much as three national park entries (depending on the park), gets you in to any National Park, and is good for a full year! (Military people can get one fo free!)
another tip: always stop at the Grand Canyon!
road tripping tip: if you have a baby or small kid, take them to beautiful places like this! even if you think they won't remember. they will always have an appreciation for the beauty of this earth and that is so so important! it was SO much fun taking Forest to see all these beautiful places. I doubt he will remember any part of this trip (except maybe how we made him sit in his car seat for so long??) but he will grow up always having the opportunity to see and appreciate this earth.
and here are a few of us from the wedding!