Back in December, we decided to go to California for Spring Break because our children had never set foot in The Golden State and wished to do so. And because California is an amazingly beautiful place with the Pacific Ocean, many lakes, mammoth mountains, intimidating deserts, and majestically magical woods. It’s no wonder why Americans have made it the most populated state. Our original plan of flying to California was soon abandoned when I casually mentioned to Clay that we should try and squeeze in the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas (he had never been to either) while we were out there because who needs sleep? And because my husband is my spirit animal, we decided that we should do even more so we then concocted a 10-day itinerary that involved spending over 45 hours in the car, 5 states, 3 time-zones, and 3 days at The Happiest Place on Earth.
Our first day was the longest in the car during the entire trip – by design. We drove from San Antonio, Texas to Albuquerque, New Mexico (about 710 miles), stopping for lunch in Lubbock, Texas at the Cast Iron Grill and checking out Buddy Holly’s glasses at the Buddy Holly Center.
The drive out of Texas (almost 500 miles and we live in the middle of the state!) was exactly what we pictured it to be.
With 80 mph speed limits!
I know this may be surprising to some, but eastern New Mexico looks exactly like western Texas.
But as we approached Albuquerque, we saw mountains. MOUNTAINS! Having been stationed in Kansas last year and now San Antonio until next summer, we don’t really get to see mountains unless we travel (like our Colorado trip), so seeing anything 2,000 feet above sea level is quite exciting around these parts.
We checked into our hotel on Kirtland Air Base. ordered a pizza from Giovanni’s Pizzeria, and called it a night.
We woke up the following morning excited to see the Grand Canyon later that day. But first, we needed waffles at Tia B’s La Waffleria, which may now be one of my favorite breakfast spots in the entire country – second only to Tin Pan Galley in Sackets Harbor, New York. The kids had regular waffles, Clay got the Waffle Benitos, and I ordered the Avocado, Tomato, and Pine Nuts Waffle. Yelp very rarely lets us down while traveling and that morning was no different. The coffee! The waffles! The salads! Hands down the best meal we had the entire trip.
On our way to Arizona, the landscape became peppered with buttes, mesas, and all sorts of iconic desert imagery. Having spend a large portion of my childhood in Phoenix, I appreciated the stark landscape and the memories that accompanied it.
We made it to the Grand Canyon State! In case you were wondering, Violet is upset in this picture because there wasn’t any candy at this rest area.
When we discovered that we would be passing by Winslow, Arizona, we immediately decided that we had to stand on a corner with Jackson Browne in the town of 9,500.
When Glenn Fry passed away, the town commissioned a statue of him from his glory years…check out that hair!
We don’t share The Dude’s attitude of the Eagles and don’t mind their music at all (and yes, we listened to Take it Easy en route to Winslow). While I don’t consider them a favorite band by any means, my all-time favorite music documentary is History of the Eagles so it would have been a fallacy to not stop, right? And on a related note – when the hell will Behind the Music be available on Netflix or Amazon Prime?
As we made our way toward Flagstaff, we soaked up the gorgeous landscape of northern Arizona. Thanks to my 4th Grade Social Studies class, I remembered that Humphreys Peak (pictured) is Arizona’s highest natural point (12,633 feet). I also remembered that the Cactus Wren is the state bird and that Arizona only has 15 counties. Boom.
And before we knew it, we were driving into one of the most gorgeous National Parks in the country (Thank you, Teddy Roosevelt!). But since this post is already longer than the world’s longest apple peel (172 feet and 4 inches), I’ll continue the recap tomorrow. Next up – the Grand Canyon!