The little things that make me happy here on Bliss Road~~Emily Keaton

Friday, August 31, 2012

MOAV 2: The Adventure Continues . . .

My family had so much fun on our "Mother Of All Vacations" last year, that we had to take another! In fact, we started planning this year's 30-day camping journey on the final leg of last year's trip. Our focus this time? The Four Corners region of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Where the corners of CO, UT, AZ, and NM meet at Four Corners Monument, Navajo Nation Tribal Park
Yes, we hit the American Southwest in August--in monsoon season--and survived it all: 7800 miles, 19 states, 100-plus-degree temperatures, wind-driven rains, 50-plus-mph winds, high elevations, mountain driving, desert driving, and some pretty rugged--but utterly beautiful--terrain.
The Mitten Buttes in Monument Valley Navajo Nation Tribal Park, AZ (taken by 13YO daughter)
We ended up visiting 26 National Park Service/Bureau of Land Management sites in eight states, hiking in many of them.
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (St. Louis Arch), MO
Fort Scott National Historic Site, KS
Fort Larned National Historic Site, KS
Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site, CO
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, CO
Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO
Aztec Ruins National Monument, NM
Mesa Verde National Park, CO
Arches National Park, UT
Natural Bridges National Monument, UT
Valley of the Gods (BLM), UT
Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, AZ
Wupatki National Monument, AZ
Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
Petrified Forest National Park, AZ
Petroglyph National Monument, NM
White Sands National Monument, NM
Three Rivers Petroglyph Site (BLM), NM
Valley of Fires Recreation Area (BLM), NM
Pecos National Historical Park, NM
Fort Union National Monument, NM
Capulin Volcano National Monument, NM
Fort Smith National Historic Site, AR
Hot Springs National Park, AR
Mammoth Cave National Park, KY
The kids earned their Junior Ranger badges at 18 NPS units. We also visited national forests, tribal parks, state parks, city parks, and drove part of Historic Route 66. It was epic, breathtaking, educational, and unforgettable.

Wanna see some photos? Just keep scrolling for the "This Land is Your Land" tour. Many thanks to Woody Guthrie (feel free to pull out your tambourine. Go ahead--I don't mind.) And remember, just click on any photo to enlarge it.

As I went walking
Hiking the Long Logs Trail in Petrified Forest National Park, AZ (taken by 9YO son)

that ribbon of highway
US-163 leading through Monument Valley, AZ

I saw above me
Owachomo  Bridge at Natural Bridges National Monument, UT

that endless skyway
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, MO

I saw below me
Step House cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park, CO

that golden valley
Moki Dugway, Utah State Route 261 (taken by 13YO daughter)

This land
Pike's Peak viewed through the Siamese Twins formation in Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO

was made
Blue Whale, Historic Route 66 attraction, Catoosa, OK

for you and me.
Ancient macaw rock carving at Petroglyph National Monument, NM

I roamed and I rambled
Wagon on the Santa Fe Trail outside Bent's Old Fort Historic Site, CO

and I followed my footsteps
Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO (taken by 13YO daughter)

To the sparkling sands of 
Gypsum sand dunes below the San Andres Mtns, White Sands National Monument, NM

her diamond deserts
The Painted Desert, as protected within Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

While all around me 
Ruins at Fort Union National Historic Site, NM

a voice was sounding
Oil-drum kachina doll outside the National Route 66 Museum, Elk City, OK (taken by 13YO daughter)

This land
Closeup of a petrified tree stump in Petrified Forest National Park, AZ

was made
Rock cairns at Three Sisters formation overlook on Valley Drive in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, AZ

for you and me.
At the aerial tramway depot atop Sandia Peak in Albuquerque, NM (taken by 9YO son)

When the sun came shining, 
Sunrise over tug-propelled barges on the Mississippi River in East Memphis, AR (taken by 9YO son)

and I was strolling
A leisurely hike in Petrified Forest National Park, AZ (taken by 13YO daughter)

And the wheat fields waving
A view of Sierra Grande from Capulin Volcano National Monument, NM

and the dust clouds rolling
The dusty Valley Drive passing by Elephant Butte in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, AZ

A voice was chanting, 
Ancestral Puebloan dwellings in Aztec Ruins National Monument, NM

As the fog was lifting,
Sunrise along US-191 enroute to Arches National Park, UT

This land 
Indian paintbrush at Sandia Peak summit in Albuquerque, NM

was made
The Watchtower at Desert View in Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

for you and me. 

Our accommodations at Wigwam Village #2 in Cave City, KY

We are back to reality now, getting ready for next week's return to school, but this MOAV is sure to live on and on in family lore!

Thanks for checking out my vacation photos!


Pam said...

What an amazing trip Emily! No wonder I haven't seen you around blog land!! I would love to see these sites, what beautiful memories to cherish!!

Benzi said...

Oops...had to do over

What a beautiful land we live in, Emily. I know this is another trip to never be forgotten. Thanks for sharing these awesome photos. Your children are super photographers. Did you plan next year's trip on your way home? :-)

Anita said...

Wow, such gorgeous and breathtaking pictures Emily! Thank you so much for sharing these lovely photos of our great country.

Lin said...

We have a beautiful country! Thanks for sharing these wonderful pictures. Your children have memories of a lifetime; you've given them an amazing gift!

Mary-Anne V said...

Wow what an awesome experience...gorgeous pics.

Marisa said...

Fabulous pictures, Emily!! What a fabulous adventure and way to see so much of the beautiful country you call home :)

Lisa Elton said...

TFS the pics of your vacation Emily! Love the song you added in along with them! Someday we hope to journey in that direction of the US too!!

Colleen Dietrich said...

Fabulous photos, my friend! The crispness and color saturation is wonderful. :) Thanks for sharing them with us, and I am SO glad to see you back!

Pankti said...

I just rambled upon your blog and I am glad I did. Wow... What an amazing vacation!!! Just 2 days back we also came back from Zion and Bryce national park,UT and I can understand(a little) how you are feeling after passing through some absolutely beautiful landscapes!!!

Unknown said...

Well my friend that trip looks like a blast. I LOVE seeing your family Vacation photos. In about a year my hubby will be retiring and that is what we plan on doing, traveling this great country of ours..


Jessi Fogan said...

Simply incredible, Emily - I am going to be humming along for the rest of the night :) I love the incredible variety of pics (and matching it with the song? Too awesome). So great to see your smiling mug again!

Suzanne said...

What an amazing trip, Emily! I loved seeing all your pics because I've never done anything like this.

Welcome back!! :)

Mary Marsh said...

I am so glad I dropped by the blog today-because I got to see your great vacation photos. I have friends who just left today to make the same trip you just completed. From the photos it looks like it was a great family time

Glenda J said...

Fabulous photos! Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

Auntie Em said...

Your vacations photos and posts are always amazing. What a fantastic trip and what wonderful memories for your children! What a great summer break.

PS. I loved the wigwam for accommodations. I laughed out loud at the A/C unit sticking out the side! :D Too funny!

Glad you are back! :)

Debbie Carriere said...

AWESOME!!!! I was just wondering if you took another MOAV this year!! Good for you!!! Your kids are a couple lucky ducks! Hope you are well and adjusting to the school routine! Isabel starts preschool next week, 3days a week :(. Maybe we can have coffee sans children this time!

Shelly Schmidt said...

Love your awesome muffin/treat holder- and what an awesome suprise it would be to find it in a lunch box : ) Oh my- what an amazing trip you took! My son is working in Utah by Arches and other National Parks this summer- he LOVES it and sends the most amazing pictures. What fabulous vacation memories the kids will have!

Marlena M. said...

This is INCREDIBLE. Thank you for sharing your voyage with us. ;)