My mom adventures in Fort Collins

Ahhh… Vacation
March 20, 2012, 4:33 am
Filed under: Family, Just making conversation | Tags: , , , , ,

**While reading this post, I strongly urge you to hum  the Lindsay Buckingham tune “Holiday Road,” which appeared in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation.**

From Bear Mountain (Truth be told, I totally didn't do this hike. Photo by Cory)

We recently spent a week in Sedona. Spring Break, actually. It’s funny, even though Scout is only in pre-school three days a week, I still find myself not wanting to pull her out of school. So, it’s dawning on me that I will likely not be taking a vacation other than during school break times for the next fifteen years or so. Eh. As long as I get a vacation.

In true Griswald fashion, we drove all the way from Fort Collins. It’s about 14 hours drive time, accounting for stops to fill up. We took interstate until Flagstaff, Arizona (which is gorgeous in its own right), then from Flagstaff to Sedona is a breath-taking (Is it okay to say “breath-taking”? It really is stunning, I swear.) drive down Oak Creek Canyon that is probably only twenty-some miles, but takes a while because it’s basically all switchbacks. Our drive was pretty uneventful. Just the way I like it. As long as I can handle the dvd player , then Cory can handle the driving. I read nearly the entire first book of The Hunger Games on the ride. Overall, I’m a huge fan of traveling with kids the fastest way possible (that’d be teleporter, but darn it if ours wasn’t broken), but at this awkward toddler stage, it is nice to have the freedom to stop when we need to. Plus, my husband claims he loves to drive and I know it’s easier on his anxiety level.

Is there anything that says "vacation" more than a margarita? (Photo by Scout)

If Virginia is for lovers, then Sedona is for families. This was our third time staying in Sedona. Over the course of the past four years, we’ve gone once at the end of May, once in early August, and now mid-March. For weather, it really depends on what you’re after. I loved the weather when we went in August—still plenty hot, but not nearly as hot as Phoenix. But that kind of weather is awful for hiking, unless you’re my husband who relishes getting up at 4:30 am to hike for the sunrise photos. For us, this springtime weather of low-70s during the day (cooling off significantly at night) suited us just fine. If you’ve never been, you might think that it’s all red rocks and new age communes. Not so, I say. Sedona is such a fun spot, very low-key, very family-friendly. If you love to hike, this is a fabulous destination. Trails are a lot of fun for families, although you could find a challenge if you wanted to. Our kids did well. We chose hikes that were not a big deal in terms of elevation gain, but had some fun features—rock formations to look at, a creek to run through, a canyon arch to see. It’s all there. And certainly, if my four-year-old had wanted to find a source of spiritual enlightenment, I’m sure we could have done that, too. Ah, the vortex will still be there next time.

Just a suggestion: Don't dress your kid in a Red Sox shirt on a hike unless you want every person that passes you to ask, "Oh, are you from Boston?"

It’s funny. Before the trip, I went to the eye doctor and we were making small talk and I mentioned going to Sedona. She was like, “Oh, I don’t like the desert.” The good doctor went on to say she’d never actually been to the desert, and she’s sure she’ll go someday, but she just doesn’t see the appeal. As she tells it, she’s from the midwest. She likes trees. Well, sister, I’m from the midwest. I, too, like trees. (And actually the desert, at least the desert you drive through in Arizona and New Mexico, has trees.) But I find it odd that a person would just sort of lump all categories of “desert” into this big steaming heap of crap. How odd. Anyway, I digress.

Just some more of that boring ol' desert (And I should say, this is one of Cory's photos from last summer since I don't have any good ones taken with my 10 year old Canon. Shocker.)

When we travel with the kids, we prefer to go out for breakfast or lunch, as opposed to dinner. Number one, when on vacation we like to have a beer (or two, or three…) and it’s nice to not have to drive anywhere in the evenings. Number two, we’ve always stayed at a place that has a kitchen, but even better, the resort has all these grilling stations strategically placed throughout the property with great views. (Cook a chicken breast, catch a breathtaking sunset. It’s a nice combo.) And number three, our kids just generally do better with the whole restaurant etiquette earlier in the day when they’re not as whiney, tired and hungry. As an added bonus, lunch and breakfast tend to be less expensive than dinner, so there’s that.

I love that when I checked out the photos that Scout had taken with the camera, I found this one she took of her shadow. Stinkin' cute.

The family vacay is such a fun time for us. I know we’re lucky because my husband works from home and I stay-at-home, so my kids don’t really understand that many families juggle their family-time so differently than we do. But there’s just something different about being away from it all, enjoying new experiences together. My husband is the kind of person that can’t sit still when he’s at home because he’s always thinking about things he needs to do. When we’re away, he’s so relaxed. And therefore, I’m so relaxed. (See how that works?) And while I could never say that my kids are “a dream” to travel with, I think for being 2 and 4 they do all right. There’s no way to eliminate all variables when you travel, so you do the best you can.

This photo is really just to prove that Cory and Ruby were there with us too

I’d love to hear people’s suggestions for family vacations. Where are some fun spots that we shouldn’t miss? Where are you planning your next vacation? Any travel tips for the pre-school set?


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Sounds like a great vacation. I’d love to go out west. It’s actually a dream of my husband and I. We will take that trip one day!

Comment by the domestic fringe

Oh, do it! There’s still so much more for us to explore, I’d love to check out Utah and all the National Parks out there, too. Thanks for your thoughts.

Comment by jaymers

That sounds like so much fun! It looks like a trip to the West is the dream of many of us!

Comment by brainvomit40

I can’t say that I’ve ever had a “bad” vacation, but this was a lot of fun. Thanks for your comments.

Comment by jaymers

I am still singing Holiday Road in my head! Looks like an amazing trip! 🙂

Comment by jeandayfriday

It’s such a great song, right? It was a fun trip, and I think we’ll probably go back again someday. Definitely a different landscape than what we’re used to around here.

Comment by jaymers

Your thoughts are always welcome

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