Spring Break Road Trip
It’s been awhile since we got out and explored the areas around us, and our kids decided it sounded like fun to take a spring break road trip. So, 2,200 miles later, we’re back home and are glad we took the time to make some new memories with our kids!
I’m a big fan of taking regular vacations, and making sure to get away with our kids as many times each year as we can. We realized just before our middle child was born that we hadn’t taken a family vacation (without grandparents) since our honeymoon, and we made it a family goal to make that happen at least once a year every year after that.
Two years ago, my husband became a consultant and shifted his work schedule and routine completely – going from traveling pretty much 90 percent of the time, to basically being home 70+ percent of the time with smaller work trips here and there. I also shifted my work focus, and joined a PR firm in our closest large city (we are two hours outside of Denver, Colorado). While I still work from home most of the time, my husband now has an office a few blocks away from our house in a building our family has owned for years, and we have the best of all worlds. With more time available to us, we now try to get away more than we did before – Life is Short, and we know that we won’t get this time back.
Friends, work/life balance is more than just figuring out the best work and life choices for you and your family. It’s also about taking time away when you can to give your kids (or your spouse) some undivided attention without the distractions of day to day life. Shifting locations – whether it’s a staycation close to home, an epic spring break road trip further away…or flying to an exotic location around the world – can make a huge difference and give you (and your kids) memories that they will treasure for years to come.
So, our spring break road trip. We ventured across our great state and started in Durango, Colorado, catching up with an old friend and exploring the Pueblo ruins at Mesa Verde. If you haven’t been there, you should go! Even with snow on the ground, there was plenty to explore and see. You can’t go into the ruins themselves in the winter – they are only open from May to September – but there are still beautiful places to see, a culture and entire civilization to learn about, and amazing cliff dwellings to view.
Next, we moved on to the 4 Corners – the Navajo Nation charges a small fee for stopping and getting the requisite picture, standing/sitting or laying across the corners of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Definitely worth the stop if you haven’t been – and you can get fry bread or fry bread tacos (even better) from one of the food trucks at the site!
Our third stop on the spring break road trip was the Grand Canyon. Again, if you haven’t been, you should make plans to go! Mother nature gives us the best vistas to see and experience, and there are so many places out there to explore. The canyon carved by the Colorado River over hundreds of thousands of years is truly worth its listing as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The Canyon is seriously amazing. It is not easy to get to, it is not near anything else. I’d advise getting their earlier in the day ahead of the crowds, but even during spring break we found a parking space and managed to walk about a mile of the south rim, taking in the various perspectives along the way. One friend told us to do all the things while you’re there, because you likely won’t go back…I’d modify that to say that you probably won’t make multiple trips all the time, so do as much as you can while you’re there!
Do you love baseball? We do! We made it on to Phoenix, had some pool time and caught our home town Colorado Rockies at Spring Training. If you haven’t made it down to see any Cactus League games, it is worth taking a weekend and heading down for some very relaxed fun and soaking up the sun at the ballpark. I love sports, and there’s nothing better than absorbing some Vitamin D while taking in a game. Even better? We got to catch up with our cousin, who now pitches for the Rockies. He took the time to meet up with us before the game, sign a few baseballs for the kids, and just visit.
One other fun stop while we were in Phoenix was Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa, Arizona. So cool! We ran across some YouTube videos while looking for pipe organ examples to show our kids (our church is about to add just under 100 more pipes to our organ), and found out about this pizza restaurant that also has one of the largest theater organs in the world. The organist played such a wide variety of music – from big band to Star Wars, Mary Poppins, and the Avengers theme to Titanic and other ballads, and everything in between – and our kids loved every minute.
We also managed to spend a day with our oldest and her best friend, who joined us for baseball and hanging out. It’s hard to watch our kids grow up and move on – and for us to let go of having them home at every break. Last fall (the teenager’s first semester of college), she came home four times and had a bit of a rough adjustment to going so far away for school. This semester, she’s come into her own and branching out. She has just agreed to a summer internship across the country, and I couldn’t be more proud of her for taking the opportunities that have come her way.
Life is meant to be lived to the fullest. Our spring break road trip moved on, with an overnight in Santa Fe and my husband and I exploring some art and food while the kids slept in a bit, checking out the oldest church in North America, and moving on to a lunch stop at one of our favorite little places in Trinidad, Colorado. Along the way, we found a lava field in New Mexico (did you know there were volcanoes there just 800 years ago?) and other beautiful vistas, including a detour to check out the Petrified Forest National Park.
It’s definitely not for everyone, and we are lucky that our kids are old enough now to (mostly) enjoy spending 6 days in the car with us, getting out and exploring the world around us. We asked them if they’d want to do it again, and they both said “yes…but maybe not right away.” I’d say that’s a pretty good endorsement of the spring break road trip – happy travels, everyone!