Go Big or Go Home

Originally written 08.05.20


Last week I was writing that we were home after being in Florida, now I am writing to tell you that we are leaving again.  This time, we are going big – really big.  Rob and I have decided to take advantage of the virtual start of the school year and his remote working arrangement and will drive out west to visit the National Parks.  We have been talking about it for a couple of weeks.  I laid out options last week, but seeing the huge undertaking planned out made us pause and really consider whether we were up for it or not.  Sometime on Monday, we decided to move forward.  And we are leaving … Saturday (gulp!!!!)
So forgive me for not writing much today because I am in full travel planning mode right now trying to get plans in place which also involves servicing our minivan and getting a hitch installed so we can bring our bikes along. 
We are not typically nature travelers.  Rob and I prefer culture, buildings, beaches.  That does not mean we don’t appreciate nature, but it is not what we would typically choose for our vacation.   We do not think we would ever see the beauty of the National Parks until we retire because we would always opt to fly to another country when vacation time is limited.  This is our opportunity to see something we would never see otherwise.  We know the boys are going to hate the long car rides, but they are very interested in science.  We have read a lot of National Geographic this summer, and Yellowstone has been mentioned often.
I will fill you all in next week with details, but I would love to hear any advice you have for me if you’ve been to these areas before.  We are not going to do any indoor activities such as museums – walking through an entrance to get to an outdoor exhibit is doable as long as masks are required. 
Here is the rough itinerary:
Leave Charlotte & stay in Nashville for one night
Kansas City for a few nights and visit with my dad’s family there (he will be on this part of the journey with us)
South Dakota – see Mt Rushmore en route to …
Montana – Yellowstone, Big Sky Country
Wyoming – Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole
Utah – Bryce Canyon & Zion National Park
Arizona – Grand Canyon – see Horseshoe Bend along the way.  Unfortunately, Antelope Canyon is closed.  We’ll stay in Sedona for a few days then head home.
I am going to be honest, it feels weird saying I am going on another trip and to another hotspot, but I do believe that we are being in public the appropriate way.  We are willing to change plans around if necessary.  We are not really socializing with anyone right now which is really hard.  I feel that crowds and being under the roof with an infected person are the biggest risk factors.  We will stick to places that require masks when we need to be indoors and will concentrate on being in the great outdoors of America’s National Parks.  At the end of the day, it feels like we would miss a once in a lifetime opportunity if we did not go, so we are ready to go big.
Speaking of going big  … how about these haircuts?  The boys have not had haircuts since February.  Connor has been complaining about his hair poking his eyeballs over the last few days, so we finally took the boys for haircuts at a salon with one chair and the stylist and boys wore their masks.  We figured this may be their last haircut until a vaccine is available, so might as well go as short as possible.  Big difference!

I do not think we have traveled to a geological destination since our tour of Turkey, which was part of our six week honeymoon back in 2011.  Turkey was truly fascinating and one of the most interesting places we have ever been.  The landscapes were so varied.  I am looking forward to visiting varied landscapes in the coming weeks!