Category: Road Trip


Roadtrip to New Mexico | Summer 2015

Posted 13 August, 2015 by Trish in Life, Road Trip, Travel / 34 Comments

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On the Road

 

So, I had big plans of sharing our Road Trip pictures with you starting last week, but as I started to work on my pictures my computer crashed. As in I had to get a new one–you may have seen my mention on Sunday that I’m now working with a Mac (yay), but it’s absolutely foreign to me and the process has been a bit frustrating. What the heck is the difference between the folders I imported from my PC and Photo App? And why aren’t my folders in Photo App? And if I’m using individual folders for my pictures (which I like doing), does that mean that all of my pictures are duplicating in Photo?

But, as you can see, I managed to get at least the first leg of our three leg journey completed. I have about 700 pictures from our two week trip, and this was by far the shortest of the trip at two nights, but it’s always a mental battle of how many pictures to share. I did try to compress them using JPEGmini, but I don’t think it worked. Again, learning curve! Hopefully I’ll have it all figured out by the time I get to the second leg of the trip. Bahahahaha. :)

Anyway, not that you probably need to, but you can enlarge any of the pics by clicking on them.

Road Trip to New Mexico (Taos)

Watch for Rattlesnacks

 

As you can tell from the first picture, there’s no camper involved in this trip. The night before we planned to leave, we discovered electrical problems with the camper and Scott was afraid of lights going out while we were on the road. I don’t know who threw a bigger fit–me internally or Elle externally. It was definitely a BAD start to the trip but we decided to make the most of it. Because of this and that, we didn’t leave until about 10 in the morning the next day (about 5 hours later than I would have liked), but the good news is that these few weeks later I’ve forgotten about the difficulties of traveling with two little ones in the car.

Actually, they were pretty good. Lots of sweet smiles. And jumping and running at the rest stops when we could.
Roadtrip Smiles

 

We made it to Amarillo, our halfway point in the trip, around dinnertime so we stopped at Cracker Barrel for some dinner. Stopping here has become a bit of a tradition for us (this is our third summer taking a similar roadtrip). We all love the country store and some of us enjoy the food (some of us…me…do not but we don’t complain).

If you’re curious, the drive through Texas is never ending. Because we basically drive along the Texas/Oklahoma border until Amarillo and then drive all the way up the panhandle, we are in Texas for hours. HOURS.

Also, someone please tell Evie to stop growing up. She doesn’t listen to me…

Evie Checkers

 

Truthfully the girls did do well in the car. It was a rough start for Evie, but she finally realized that she would just have to sit for a bit longer than we all wanted. Sometimes they slept–rarely at the same time–but sometimes we did have magical moments. I’ve been thinking about writing a separate post about car traveling with littles, but we had lots of activities and do not shy away from screen time. Not when we’re in the car for 14 hours a day. Scott does all the driving. I navigate with my gigantic map and am in charge of snacks and keeping the kids happy. Sometimes we all just sit there while someone screams in the back. Because what are you going to do?

 

Road Trip

 

Fresh Mountain Air

The Wildflowers

 

Scott’s family has a little house up in the Taos/Angel Fire area. It’s old and run down and not my favorite place in the world, but the air up there in the mountains…it’s so incredibly fresh. I can’t get enough of it! And Elle LOVED collecting all of the wild flowers that she could.

As you can tell from Evie’s little furrowed brow, she wasn’t too sure about walking through wildflowers that were as tall as she is.

Little Worried Monkey

 

We went off-roading up in the mountains (Scott’s brother and twin nephews were also with us on dirt bikes), but because of the rain I didn’t snap any shots. They’d basically be repeats of the pictures we took two years ago…except for one extra toddler in the picture (and a slightly smaller pregnant self).

 

Fishing Gals

 

We also fished one afternoon. It was lightly raining, so we didn’t get any bites, but the girls still had fun. Until Evie fell into the pond. This child. She is crazy. And all over the place.

 

Gone Fishing

 

I mean, I can’t even stand it.

 

New Mexico Baby

 

And these girls. They’re actually playing games on my phone, but Evie looks like she’s telling Elle a secret.

 

Sisters

 

After two sleepless nights, we packed up and headed to Durango. Sleepless nights? The first night we got to the house around midnight (1am our time) and couldn’t find the key to the house. The boys got a ladder and tried every single window until they got to the last one which happened to be open. Then the electricity wouldn’t turn on. Then the water. We got both working, but by the time we settled it was too late for a good night sleep…especially as Evie refused the pack n play and then cried and cried until her daddy came and got her (Scott and I didn’t sleep in the same room as the beds are so small and I was already sharing with Evie). The second night Evie did go down with me, but not until late and it was a terrible sleep for both of us (as was the rest of the trip). I won’t mention the part where she fell off the bed lest you start questioning my parenting skills.

But look at the smiles!! And ALL of us looking in the same direction! It’s like a Christmas miracle. Actually, maybe I’ll just use this for our Christmas card this year. Stress over.

 

New Mexico Smiles

 

Until next time, New Mexico!

 

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A Summer Wanderlust Wishlist

Posted 25 June, 2015 by Trish in Road Trip, Travel / 20 Comments

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Summer Wanderlust

Summer!!! Vacation! Trips! Roadtrips!

You guys–I have the worst case of wanderlust. We are heading on our big trip of the summer at the end of July and it feels like it might as well be in 2016 for how far away it feels. We will be camping in Durango, Colorado (this will be our third year as we love it so much!) and then heading to Bear Lake on the Utah/Idaho border for a family reunion. We’ve talked about maybe heading up to Pennsylvania again this summer, but I don’t know if it will happen. Last year we traveled quite a bit and I’m dying to add more to our agenda.

One of my favorite things about travel is just imagining the places that we could go. I love coming up with itineraries and seeking out the fun local things to do while we’re there. I’m guessing it’ll come to no surprise that many of the items on my list are national parks or outdoorsy type places. While I personally would love to lie on the beach, a beach isn’t a very relaxing vacation with kids and I was blessed with one of those husbands who doesn’t really know how to just sit and relax.

Where would we go? Oh, I’m so glad you asked. Here are 10 of my stateside dream trips.

Fall Creek Falls State Park

Fall Creek Falls, TNFlickr Creative Commons

I’m pushing heavily for a trip to Tennessee this fall–I’ve only quickly driven through the state and mostly at nighttime, but I’ve heard it’s absolutely gorgeous and I have a feeling that the girls would love Chattanooga. May as well add a State Park to the list. Have you explored Tennessee? I’ve got an open ear for recommendations!!

 

Lake of the Woods, Minnesota

Minnesota LakesFlickr Creative Commons

Minnesota is one of the few states that I have never visited at all. I’ve heard the flies and mosquitoes are vicious, but I would love to canoe or kayak on one of the many thousands of lakes way up north. And you know, if we just happen to venture into Canadian waters, that’s alright with me, eh.

 

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon - UtahFlickr Creative Commons

I’m still bummed that we didn’t get a chance to make it to Bryce Canyon last summer on our roadtrip extravaganza, but in a way I’m glad we didn’t go as our trip would have been too rushed. I think our family could spend weeks exploring all that Utah has to offer!

 

Hwy 101, Oregon

Hwy 101 - OregonFlickr Creative Commons

In a dream world, Highway 101 is a trip I would love to take without kiddos so that I can ride on the back of a motorcycle. Obviously this won’t happen this summer…or possibly the next 15, but one day I’ll cross this trip off the bucket list!

 

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion NP - UtahFlickr Creative Commons

Again with the Utah parks, but look! And this is just across the riverbend (by a few hundred miles) from Bryce, which is just down the proverbial road from Moab. Utah truly is amazing. And if you need further convincing that these parks need to be on your list, check out Jillian’s posts (from Random Bookish Ramblings) of her recent trips to Zion and Bryce Canyon.

 

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite NP - CaliforniaFlickr Creative Commons

Scott and I drove through Yosemite once. It was pitch dark outside. True story. We were driving from Tahoe down to Las Vegas and messed up our timing. One day I’d love to take the girls and explore this natural wonderland!

 

Smoky Mountains National Park

Smokey Mountains, TennesseeFlickr Creative Commons

Perhaps a bit gentler than the Western mountain ranges, but still beautiful. I also really want to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway through North Carolina and Virginia (preferably on the back of the bike, but I won’t be picky for this one). And while I’m at it, may as well hike a few miles or more on the Appalachian Trail…another bucket list item.

 

Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Havasu Falls - ArizonaFlickr Creative Commons

Every couple of years my uncle hikes to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and stays a few nights in Havasupai. I’ve heard this experience is amazing (yes, it’s on the bucket list), but the last time that they went I was due to have Evie the same weekend. One of these days!

 

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Outer Banks - North CarolinaFlickr Creative Commons

Oh I had to have something beachy on the list! Really you could substitute anything on the Atlantic coast for this one–where are the good beaches? LOL! I’ve heard the Outer Banks are fantastic and we all need some sand in our toes now and then, right?

 

Somewhere on the coast of Maine

Portland Maine Bug Light LighthouseFlickr Creative Commons

As youngsters living in Toronto, our parents used to take us to Maine to vacation in the summer. My dad tells me that the water was freezing cold but that didn’t stop us from getting in and swimming to our hearts’ content. I’ve only been to Maine once since those summer vacations–and it was in the chilly fall–but I look forward to going back again. Summer at a cottage seems like the epitome of Summer Vacation.

 

For Lisa’s sake, I’ll add in Strugis, South Dakota to the list because we love riding in the Black Hills, but as I’m pregnant I won’t be getting on a bike anytime this year. Plus she said the little town’s population will swell to over 1 million this year for the 70th anniversary. But if you’re looking for somewhere to put on your travel bucket list, Black Hills is a must! And since it’s “close” I’d throw in Yellowstone, too.

What is on your Summer Wanderlust Wishlist? I’d love to hear where you dream of going.

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For the Love of Camping

Posted 5 May, 2015 by Trish in Life, Road Trip, Travel / 39 Comments

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for the love of camping

The other day I mentioned allowing myself to live on whimsy for a little while. After I mentioned planning a camping trip, someone asked me if this would allow me that whimsy-living time. This gave me a bit of a pause because camping is a lot of work. It’s a lot of work get prepare for the trip–it’s not as though you can just run out to the market if you’ve forgotten something (depending on where you are camping). It’s a lot of work during the trip–oh goodness gracious is camping a lot of work. And it’s a lot of work coming home from camping–just trying to get rid of that campfire smell is work enough!

But despite my tendencies to stress-out easily over silly things, I absolutely love camping and the freedom I feel.

I didn’t grow up in a camping family. I attended a few church camps over the years and loved those trips, but my dad’s joke is that his idea of camping is staying at a Holiday Inn. We experienced a lot as kids, but camping as a family was not one of them. It wasn’t until Scott and I were just barely married that I camped for the first time in a tent, and I absolutely fell in love.

Since that first camping trip, we’ve taken a few others with my mom, sisters, and brother as well as other camping trips just as a couple. After we had kids, we knew we didn’t want to camp under the stars with little ones (big huge kuddos to those families who do it with little ones!), so we cut our camping until two years ago when we borrowed a camper. I’ve shared a bit of our huge camping trip we took last year, and I’m already looking forward to some of the camping we have planned for this year. While it isn’t always sunshine and roses camping with little ones, I’m hoping that we can pass on our love of outdoors and camping with them.

Things I Love About Camping

I could tell you all about the park that we visited (Lake Bob Sandlin, about two hours east of Dallas), but I thought I’d share what I love about camping instead.

Dining Alfresco Makes Everything Tastier
camping breakfast

Here’s where we are a little spoiled with the camper–though we cook everything outside, we don’t have to worry about refrigeration or storage. But even before we had “real” plates and silverware, camp meals have always been so delicious. Chili, hobo packs, fajitas, burgers, pancakes and bacon. There’s nothing like tucking into a good meal in the open.

 

Nature. Everywhere.
Blossoms

We won’t mention the smell of bug spray or how filthy we might be by the end of the day. Ok, or the allergies that plague us. Being surrounded by nature has such a calming and refreshing effect.

 

Being Unconnected
swing time

Sometimes it’s tough to escape the internet, even on phones, but I love the feeling of being absolutely focused in the right here and now while we are camping. When we retreat to the campground, it’s amazing how all of my other worries and concerns just disappear.

 

Messy Hands = Happy Hearts
sisters

Digging in dirt, bubbles spilled all over hands, sticky drippy ice cream, layers of bug spray and sunscreen. Sweat. No one cares!

 

S’Mores
cooking s'mores

I’ve been teaching Elle the art to perfectly roasting a marshmallow. I like mine caught just a little on fire…several times.

 

Together Time
shenanigans

As a family we normally spend quite a bit time together, but this is time together without distractions. There are chores that need to be done, but we all chip in and help. But mostly, we can simply enjoy each other’s company and have a silly good time.

 

No Schedules, No Time-lines
hiking_1

No set time to eat breakfast. No agenda for the day. Lots of room for improvisation. Dinner is served whenever it is cooked. Bedtime? What? While camping can be a lot of work (how many damn trips do I have to take back and forth to get all of the food ready for Scott to cook!), there is something so relaxing about letting go of the regular daily worries. I don’t experience this on any other kind of vacation. So does camping allow me to experience whimsy-time? Absolutely.

Now if I could just recover from all that laundry!!

Do you camp? What do you love about camping?

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Ireland – Part 2: The Scenery

Posted 30 October, 2014 by Trish in Life, Road Trip, Travel / 24 Comments

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Ireland

Oh Hi. So no, Scott and I didn’t randomly just take a trip to Ireland.

Ahem.

Two years ago we visited Ireland as a part of a package deal that I found via Travelzoo–I couldn’t pass up this particular deal as part of SceptreTours. We flew to Dublin on a Saturday from Dallas (via Orlando) and arrived Sunday morning. The package included hotels in four cities (Kilkenny, Cork/Blarney, Limmerick, and Dublin), a rental car, air, breakfast each morning, and four excursions–one of which we skipped. For us it was the perfect trip because we were able to see a lot and our agenda was pretty flexible other than the night reservations. We drove at least 1,200 km in seven days and were quite exhausted by the time we got home!

I’ve already shared a picture post on the towns that we spent time in, including the sites we saw, so this post will focus more on the Ireland scenery that we saw. We can pretend that we just visited, right? We had a cold front blow in to Dallas this morning and it’s making me feel all fall-ish. I figured it was finally time to sit down and revisit my pictures.

All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Ireland Map

 

Kilkenny County (Southeastern Ireland)

I really wish that I could have gotten some pictures of the Kilkenny town, but by the time we drove through we were already on our way to Cashel Rock. It was quite a bustling town! Not as these pictures below would suggest. What I loved about driving through Ireland was how many people were out and about–many of the mums walking babies–even though it was quite chilly. Apparently I’m a Texas wimp!

We spent much of our time around Kilkenny driving around. Just picking a lane and turning down it. We loved all of the old buildings–some abandoned, some not–and got quite a kick out of the hedge fences. Until we met another car and had to squeeze as far to the shoulder as we could. Unfortunately we had more scrapes on the car than we’d like to admit. Around Kilkenny we also visited Cashel Rock and Kilkenny Castle.

It indeed was very gray when we visited but we were fairly lucky with the rain. Even though many of the trees had already lost their leaves, many still hung on to autumn color.

Kilkenny County

 

Cork Ireland

Top: Kitties near Rock of Cashel; Bottom Right: Blarney

Kinsale (County Cork)

Our big sight in Cork was Blarney (to kiss the Blarney Stone!), but since Cork is so close to the coast we also drove down to Kinsale and walked around and around the town. We had a nice fish and chips lunch and walked some more. Cork is very large and we did drive through it (and got lost a few times), but we stayed closer to Blarney and ate at the same little pub both nights we were in town. Pub food for the win (I was so craving salad by the time we left Ireland…and I’m not a salad eater).

Kinsale Ireland

 

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula isn’t quite as famous as the Ring of Kerry (scroll back up to the map and the Ring of Kerry is the large part underneath the D drop pin). I knew that we wouldn’t have time to do the Ring of Kerry justice since we were due to spend the night in Limmerick, but Rick Steves (our tour guide) assured us that Dingle was just as must-see and much easier to accomplish on a tight time schedule. It took us several hours to drive around the peninsula on a road that was very very close to the cliff-like drop off down to the ocean.

The peninsula is incredibly quiet and feels so isolated. Through the trip we could sense the desolation of the area from the potato blight and the British oppression over the years. In some areas the old potato beds are still visible even though nothing grows on these lands now.  The weather was fitting for the trip as much of the drive was very somber. In a way I’m glad we didn’t have time to do the Ring of Kerry as we didn’t have to contend with large tour buses or many other tourists.

On the way out of Dingle we took Conor Pass to Tralee. This is the second highest spot in Ireland and as you can see from the picture below (below below), there was zero visibility on a very winding and narrow road. I was terrified the entire time! Luckily we made it through and drove the rest of the way through lovely County Clare.

Dingle

Dingle Peninsula

Dingle Peninsula

TL: Sybil Point, BL: Gallarus Oratory (1,300 years old); BR: Crossing Conor Pass

Dingle Peninsula

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Insanity. Part of our package included tickets to Cliffs of Moher (really I think it was just the parking as to see the cliffs is free? Can’t remember). There was a visitor’s center but we basically snapped the shots and hightailed it out of there. Very cool to see, but it was another day of a lot of driving!

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

County Clare/The Burren

On our drive back to Limmerick from The Cliffs of Moher, we took a driving tour through The Burren which is a large plateau that is desolate. The entire ground is covered in limestone rocks and very little grows. The Bottom Left photo below is of a stone table. This is the only one that we saw but the area is rich in Iron Age forts and sights. While it doesn’t seem much to look at, I loved driving through all of the small seaside towns, including Doolin.

While we did come very close to Galway, unfortunately we didn’t have time to make it all the way up there. I would have loved to have visited but one of us is only willing to drive so much in one day (note: I did not drive).

County Clare

Adare

A side trip, really. Adare is just outside of Limmerick (which is a big city that we didn’t care to spend much time in other than for sleeping). Adare is absolutely charming and a total trap for tourists. There is an old manor that has since been converted into a hotel and the area is full of parks. So we walked and walked and then visited a pub. Yay pubs!

Adare Ireland

 

And then Dublin, which I shared in the first post. And Belfast to visit the Titanic museum (also on first post). I really wish I had snapped some pictures of Northern Ireland as it is the lush green hilly Ireland that I had imagined. Not that the south and central areas weren’t, but they seemed more suited to farming–we did see lots of sheep grazing in the green pastures. And of course lots and lots of shrub-lined lanes.

Dingle Peninsula

 

Going through these pictures has made me so nostalgic. It was the perfect getaway and I hope that one day we can visit again.

Have you been to Ireland? What were the highlights for you?

 

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Right Now I Am… [10.7.2014]

Right Now I Am… [10.7.2014]

  Well well well! We are back from our trip to San Francisco/Anderson Valley for my little sister’s wedding. It was a fun fun trip and so good to see so many family members and friends, but it’s also nice to be back home. I can’t believe we’re already a week into October and I so so wish we had five weekends in this month. I’m not ready for November to be here! There’s just […]

Posted 7 October, 2014 by Trish in Life, Road Trip / 27 Comments
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A Visit to Toronto

A Visit to Toronto

Toronto! Ontario! Several months ago my dad told my sisters and me that my grandparents would be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this summer at my uncle’s lake house in Ontario, Canada. I knew it would be quite the undertaking to take the girls up there for a week but I also realize that it might be the last chance we get to visit as we average a visit every 5-7 years. In case you […]

Posted 19 August, 2014 by Trish in Life, Road Trip, Travel / 26 Comments
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Lake Powell | Roadtrip Pictures

Lake Powell | Roadtrip Pictures

  Yup, still going through the couple hundred pictures I took on The Most Epic Roadtrip in June. Because we went to so many different places, I’ve been thinking I’d share the highlights of where we went and then do a single post on the actual camping (with kids) aspect. Best laid plans, right? Though hopefully you had a chance to check out our side trip to Arches National Park, which was the stop right […]

Posted 31 July, 2014 by Trish in Road Trip, Travel / 17 Comments
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Arches National Park | Roadtrip 2014

Arches National Park | Roadtrip 2014

I was crushed when our trip to Yellowstone fell through. I was so scared that it meant no camping trip but Scott suggested that we revise our plan and take another trip instead. “Don’t you want to go to Moab or Lake Powell or something?”  Me: “!!!!” I knew that we weren’t going to have enough time in Moab (Utah), and I debated and debated over what to see while we were there. Canyonlands National […]

Posted 24 June, 2014 by Trish in Life, Road Trip, Travel / 19 Comments
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Roadtrip Audiobooks – Sunday Salon 86

Roadtrip Audiobooks – Sunday Salon 86

Happy Sunday!! Today is a big day for us because if all goes as planned, we’ll be heading on a most epic roadtrip this evening. Long story short, we were supposed to go to Yellowstone with some family but now we are heading way out west. The plan is to go to Taos for a couple of nights, then to Colorado, then Moab, next Lake Powell, back to Colorado, and again Taos, and finally home. […]

Posted 8 June, 2014 by Trish in Reading Nook, Road Trip / 29 Comments
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Gone Camping!

Gone Camping!

Well, the title should actually be “Went Camping” as we’re already done, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it. For years Scott and I have talked about getting a camper. Talk talk talk. We both enjoy being outdoors and there is such a short window of camping time in Texas because of the extreme summer heat, so tent camping only takes us so far. Plus, you know, the kids. I know we […]

Posted 17 March, 2014 by Trish in Life, Road Trip / 26 Comments
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