It’s official. We’re back from our latest road trip. And, quite frankly, I need a vacation.
Last year we took our first road trip with the kids and enthusiastically agreed to make this our yearly family tradition. So far we have kept our end of the deal (though there is always enough “I’m NEVER doing this EVER again” mumble to keep us guessing).
This year’s trip was a bit shorter than the last. My husband tried new things and decided not to quit his job this time around, so we only had 2.5 weeks to explore. But it was a lot of fun nonetheless…
We visited 4 national parks and monuments and whatever caught our eye along the way, did some unexpected off-roading in a place where bears, wolverines, and Bigfoot kiss you good night, taught our kids what not to do in the middle of a storm by doing exactly what you’re NOT supposed to do because we ran out of the better options (real life examples, you know), traced the steps of Ancestral Puebloans and found (and left) some amazing ancient artifacts, camped at every single destination (we ARE a bit nuts), climbed up mountains and sand dunes and waded in a snowmelt spring, explored cool water-worn slot canyons, got bluff-charged by territorial hummingbirds, did some stargazing under the rustling wings of clouds of bats, met new people, and just allowed ourselves to get engulfed in the molecules of raw nature that we miss so much here in the city.
It was great.
And, honestly, a bit sucky at times. It comes with the territory.
But the worst part?
▣ The LAWN.
Imagine leaving your lawn with a pretty fresh haircut and coming back to wild grasslands on the verge of breaking village codes. (Surprisingly, no ticket.) But instead of a Condor Goloc, you only have a push reel lawn mower at your disposal. (Yes, that is what we own.) Two huge blisters later, the tallgrass prairie is gone and I’m still alive. Yay?!
▣ The LAUNDRY.
We left with a neat stack of clean clothes and returned with a filthy pile five times larger. So far I found in my girls’ pockets a plethora of small colorful rocks, granola bar crumbs and a few crackers (note to self: check pockets more often when camping in bear country), a bunch of cute feathers, a crushed robin’s eggshell, a few small sticks, something unidentifiable (don’t want to know), 1.5 dead forest ants (don’t ask), and 1 million used tissues and enough sand to create a private island in the middle of nowhere. I’m not finished yet though…
▣ The MESS.
Both kids – freshly reunited with all of their long forgotten toys – must play with everything at once. Because that is their job. Necklaces and trains, bracelets and cars, puzzle pieces, Lego, dress up stuff and dolls and, of course, all of those annoying little odd things I swore I’d get rid of. Just a half-day of fun later, the floor is no longer visible and I reluctantly resume my balancing act of trying not to kill myself when walking around the house.
▣ The FOOD.
Holy duck, I have to cook again! Every. Single. Day. Canned organic soup or gluten-free cereal with coconut milk for dinner, anyone? I hear NO. The good news is that the bulk of our raspberries and blueberries will start ripening soon, so I can lock my kids out in the yard by accident for the day. Not sure about my husband though. He has keys.
▣ The WEATHER.
I sure wasn’t missing you, dear Midwest summer. I think I saw fireflies fanning each other with a blade of grass yesterday.
▣ The PEOPLE.
What are we doing, living in the outskirts of a metropolis? No, really, what were we thinking?
▣ The HOUSE.
The water heater decided to go on strike yesterday because, apparently, the fridge is fixed and the furnace has been paid off a while ago and the water heater people need to eat, too.
▣ The DAILY GRIND.
I need a vacation from my life!