After 2 more weeks in Phoenix, we drove down to Tuscon and then made a quick trip to drop us girls off at our grandma’s in New Mexico and so we could see our dad, step-mom, and new baby brother. I got to spend my birthday with them… (HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!)
When we came back, we stayed in Tuscon for a bit and went to the Biodome 2 as well as the San Xavier Mission.
Rolling Joy needed some work done so we dropped her off and stayed with Sandra in Phoenix. We played Nertz every single night!
After the RV was fixed we headed to the Lazy Days KOA (Tucson) where Jeff’s brother and sister came to visit for a few days from Seattle. We had a great time at the pool with some Eegee’s (local slushies that are the best). We took them hiking at Saguaro National Park. We also went to Kartchner Caverns State Park!
We met another wonderful family on RVillage.com with three girls the same age as us. The adults had fun hot tubbing during Happy Hour while us kids Minecrafted together (You can find their blog here).
Also while in Tucson, Nix and I got our braces checked and I have decided I want to be an orthodontist! I got to shadow a dentist while some people in the family (they will go anonymous for now) got fillings in their cavities. I also saw the equipment they use, a cleaning, a night guard being fit, x-rays, and two crowns- one being fit and the other being cemented. It was great to observe!
2015 was welcomed in with family! Grandma and GrandBob flew in to Arizona to visit for a week with Kristen and her two kids, JJ and Becca. We went to the Zoo Lights, shopping, swimming and mini golf, hiking, and heard pirate jokes.
-Why are pirates so cool?
=They just arrrrgh
-Why couldn’t the little pirate go to the movie?
=Because it was rated arrrrgh
-What is a pirate’s favorite letter?
=The C (sea)
Desert’s Edge had a fun New Year’s Eve party that we attended. And we all made it to midnight haha! We are so glad we got to welcome the New Year in with such great friends and family.
After San Diego, we drove up to Oxnard. Beautiful beaches and places to take our holiday card photos. Enjoyed a Thanksgiving turkey on the Navy Base after four hours of Pre-Pig Out Workout (”Sun’s out! Guns out! Work them buns out!”) so we wouldn’t feel guilty 😉
Parked the RV in San Luis Obispo while we drove up to visit old friends in Monterey. We reminisced in the old times when we lived there back in 2008. Had lots of wonderful Thai food, went ice skating, and went to a mini festival.
We arrived in Oxnard again, staying in the same RV park. Using the tickets I won during the Navy Turkey Trot, we went to Universal Studios. They were all decorated for the holidays with a Grinchmas theme. We transformed into minions from Despicable Me, escaped the Mummy, were chased by dinosaurs, saved by Transformers and King Kong, and toured the studio. It was a fantastic experience!
The holiday season finally caught up to us on the road when we parked Rolling Joy at Desert’s Edge RV Park in Phoenix, Arizona. With all their fun, festive get-togethers and decorated RVs, it was hard not to feel the Christmas spirit. We even tried to join in and put up some lights, a tiny tree, and paper snowflakes.
Thanks to RVillage.com we met a family RVing full time for a year. They were super fun to hang out with (whether it be swimming, playing cards and games, or Minecraft-ing) and we hope to possibly meet up with them again (find their blog here). We also became good friends with two families from Canada (one of whom we met up with again TWICE later in our travels).
When Saint Nick came to town, he left some scooters wrapped under the tree that were a big hit. Nixie and I used them to get everywhere in the park after that #travelinginstyle
We had a “redo Thanksgiving dinner” at our friend Sandra’s house with some of the best cookies in the world! We had a wonderful Christmas in Arizona!
We hope you had a Happy Holiday Season!
We went to Cabrillo National Monument and found immersed ourselves in the rich history of the Spanish conquistadors and of the US Navy. Nix and I earned our Jr. Ranger Badges after two days of hard work. That park’s activities were like a scavenger hunt and we had to find all sorts of things, from the lighthouse to the tide pools.
We also swam with wild sea lions at La Jolla Cove! They came right up on the beach too, sunbathing next to people. Those guys were loud too!
I did complete my goal of 50,000 words in 30 days thanks to nanowrimo.org and can officially say I AM A 2014 WINNER!
But besides being National Novel Writing Month it seemed like November was Amusement Park Month- we made it to Sea World and Knott’s Berry Farm; making sure to go on all of the craziest rides! Nix and I even managed not to scream on the Supreme Scream #daredevils 😉 The trick is to go during the week when everyone else is at work/school- we could run off the end of the ride and be back in the roller coaster before the next ride had even left! We are having the best time in California!
The city is giving us a break from the National Parks… or is it? We had to get the Junior Ranger badges from Death Valley! So we drove from Vegas to the Valley and earned those badges. We walked through some of the sand dunes and explored (and tasted) the salt flats. We had a picnic lunch and then took the Jr. Ranger pledge!
Guess who’s in town? Grandma and GrandBob came to visit us from Hawaii! Grandma was on the lookout for some Halloween costumes and she did not disappoint – perfect outfits for both of us. We were still missing a few things for Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and the Ice Queen (NOT Elsa from Frozen) so we went to garage sales and thrift shops in search of some accessories. Our costumes are complete now but we are keeping the final look a surprise until Halloween (stay tuned!)
Rolling Joy needed some repairs so while she was in the shop, we stayed on the Strip! The pool at Mandalay Bay was awesome and the games at Circus Circus led to lots of stuffed animals. We walked around through the Luxor, Excalibur, and New York New York. We met up with an old friend and went bowling at Brooklyn Bowl. Lots of fun things to do on the Strip!
WE HIKED THE HOODOOS! Got the pins to prove it too. And the pics. Bryce Canyon is our favorite National Park so far with its unreal hoodoos, spires, and canyons. We went all the way to the bottom and saw a rock formation that closely resembled a queen, crown and all. The way back up lead through a crazy canyon and a view of Thor’s Hammer (What? No Chris Hemsworth?!).
I was experimenting with sun glares! What do you think?
After the sun went down and the moon came out we became astronomers! The park rangers set up some telescopes so we got to see Mars, Mercury, and some other stars as well as a nebula and a dieing star (we think).
WE HIKED THE NARROWS! No pin this time… or pictures really. The hike was along Virgin River and went through the Narrows, a “narrow” canyon. We had to walk through the freezing water at some parts, the deepest part was roughly three feet deep. The best part? Either finding a tarantula or playing with clay.
Our RV spot in Zion had some Social Nights so we played (and won) Bingo, had root beer floats and ice cream, and danced to 60s music. We were parked right next to the river and found some strange tracks. Did anyone else get up for the red moon? We did but were disappointed by the cloudy skies blocking our view of the moon. Guess we will have to try again next time.
NEXT STOP: Las Vegas, NV
We had one spectacular week in Moab! We have never been to Utah before and were totally surprised at how beautiful this state is! The drive down from Grand Junction was very scenic.
Our first stop in Moab was at Canyonlands National Park. We took two hikes – Mesa Arch and Whale Rock. Mesa Arch was a short mile or so, and it led us to an unbelievable rock arch complete with a view of the area. We learned all about the flora in Canyonlands like the Juniper, Prickly Pear Cactus, Mormon Tea, and the Yucca which we saw on our most of our hikes.
Whale Rock was an even shorter hike, taking us up onto a large rock (as big as a whale) with another great view of Canyonlands. It was slightly overcast but it was just that right temperature for hiking.
Next, we made our way over to Arches National Park. We were 4 of the 1.2 million people to visit the park each year. While in the Visitors Center, we met a family of 6 traveling in a trailer. The fulltimers (for a year) were from Canada and were also earning their Junior Ranger badges. The park says that they have around two thousand arches – no wonder it is called Arches National Park.
We had a picnic lunch by Balanced Rock – a rock defying gravity. The next hike we did took us to three different arches. Found some deer or sheep tracks along the path which was very exciting. Around three quarters in, storm clouds started moving closer but we managed to take shelter before the rain got too heavy.
A day in between parks left us time to bake cookies and test out our RV convection oven. Oh, the gooey goodness of a fresh out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookie. We also made some oatmeal bars.
Another day at Arches and Canyonlands! Went exploring on a trail that led to a drop-dead (pun intended) gorgeous canyon. Driving in we spotted our first coyote running across the road. We also visited Newspaper Rock – a rock with Ute Native American petroglyphs, also known as rock carvings.
Utah, you are unbelievably beautiful. If you have never been, we strongly recommend it. The colors and rock formations are just breathtaking. Who would have ever guessed what a gem this state is?
What a gorgeous place! We went hiking on so many trails and found some great sights. The weather was lovely for the most part, although it did get down to freezing!
While in CO, we went to Florrisant Fossil Beds and we got our Junior Ranger Badges and Paleontologist badges. Manitou Springs Penny Arcade was loads of fun and we could have spent hours playing Speed of Light! Ever tried Oatmeal Cookie flavored ice cream? It is DELICIOUS!
Sky Zone is jumping with fun (wink wink). We did flips into the foam pit and dunked some basketballs. It is a serious work out though and we were exhausted afterwards. Another cool thing for anyone in Colorado Springs to do is Dart Warz. It is a Nerf gun battlefield with obstacles and everything. We split up into two teams and joined forces with other players to destroy the other team. One shot, you’re out! Jeff’s strategy was to run to the other team’s side and shoot as many people as he could before he got shot. The rest of us were more focused on hiding. Dart Warz was our favorite thing in Colorado Springs.
Hey, is it #TransformationTuesday ? While we were staying at the AF Academy FamCamp we recreated a picture of us with our old RV from 2008.
Iz- Age 8 Nix- Age 5 Dog- Shasta
Next Stop: Grand Junction, CO
Parked Rolling Joy in Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, Estes Park -near Rocky Mountain National Park. Managed to get there the last day the swimming pool was open.
First day we went up the Trail Ridge Drive up to the top of the Rockies and both Nixie and I got our Junior Ranger badges and became the FIRST Centennial Rangers – the Rockies were celebrating their 100th year!
We also went hiking! We saw Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake. Dream Lake was the most stunning in our opinion. There were lots of curious pikas and chipmunks, ready to steal our crumbs. They did give us a bit of a scare but not as creepy as the monkeys in Thailand that came up and tried to steal your purse!
Next stop: Colorado Springs…