It’s hard to believe that our Great Western Adventure is over. During our 2 1/2 weeks in Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and California, I definitely had a few “what was I thinking?!” moments, but overall, it was a very fun trip. (I’ll never call it a “vacation” though!) We are blessed to live in such a beautiful country and I'm so thankful I got to see parts of it for the first time and share it with my family. If anyone is planning their own adventure with special needs kids, here are a few tips from our experience to hopefully help make your trip run smoothly.
We ended our trip in San Francisco, the beautiful city by the bay. Our first day, we rode a trolley down to Fisherman’s Wharf, where we had the uber-touristy sourdough bread bowls with soup. (James had pizza). The trolleys are cool and are refurbished from other cities around the world. Some have placards that show where and when they originated.
Although we were at the airport bright and early Monday, our flight into San Francisco was delayed. Alas. We finally arrived and rented a car and drove to Yosemite National Park, where we hiked much of the next day. At 2,425 feet, the Yosemite Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the US and we hiked around the bottom part of it. The rocks seemed a bit treacherous and I was scared to let Tom wade around too much. There were signs that said people had been swept away by the currents!
We had a relaxing time in Los Angeles, living the movie star life and not doing a whole lot! We visited Universal Studios on Friday, which is always a lot of fun. It is constantly changing and now features a Harry Potter World, similar to the one in Orlando. James and Daniel performed magic all over the park with the wand that had chosen Daniel when we went to Florida. Thomas asked for a “red bird” (phoenix) and James liked getting a snowy owl (thanks Charlotte!) and seeing Fiona, Donkey, and Shrek from four of his favorite movies.
After all the adventures of the first part of the trip, we needed some time to relax! We spent the day in Palm Springs, where the most exciting part of the morning was Daniel chasing James with the squirt gun. James wanted to escape and yet kept putting himself in the line of fire… hmmm. Tom enjoyed pouring water in the pool.
In a trip with many amazing days, this was one of the highlights!
Starting in Peach Springs, along Route 66 in the Hualapai Nation, we took a bus along a bumpy road to the launching area along the river.
We started in the South Rim Visitor’s Center and had to immediately check which national parks ranked above the Grand Canyon on the Parks-opoly game that we had seen previously. (The Grand Canyon is a yellow, which Bill and I agree is shameful. It should be green at least!) We also watched a short movie about the park, and, of course, stayed to the end so James could dance to the credits.
We came into the Grand Canyon National Park from the east and stopped at the Desert View area first. It has an interesting watchtower that we could ascend for an even more panoramic view than the one from the ground.
Canyon #3: Antelope
Charlotte, Dan, and I left the twins with Uncle Bill and visited Antelope Canyon, which is run by the Navajo people. We rode to the canyon in open trucks with seats on opposite sides of each other and were a little concerned as all the other vehicles got further and further ahead of us on the sandy dried riverbed that is the road. We took a guided tour with Kerndale, who was very helpful with camera settings inside the dimly lit canyon. It’s kind of like a cave with skylights and the walls are beautiful shapes and striated colors created by wind and water. At times, there have been flash floods in the canyon, which are very dangerous, as people get trapped. We made it through ok and then followed our flute-playing guide back to the truck.
Welcome! This site was originally intended to focus on skiing and snowboarding, but I've included marathons and some family adventures as well. Thanks for visiting.