Flagstaff was a nice surprise after spending a week in the desert! Lots of tall pine trees and mountains surrounded us. We woke up every morning to look out at the San Francisco Mountains. Flagstaff is a city of less than 5000 people. Very historic town located along Route 66 with trains that still run regularly through the middle of town. There was a large college population too. We stayed just 5 minutes from downtown at a place called Black Bart’s. Yep, it was a lot like its name sounds. The pros were that it had lots of tall pines, and it wasn’t very full, so we had space from neighbors. The cons were that it was located right off a pretty busy road and right next to a parking lot that would fill with 18-wheelers every night. Not that I’m complaining. It was fine with us and under $30 a night with full hook ups. This and the fact that we didn’t know the code to get into the public bathrooms, led Joe and I to take our first showers in the RV. We both agreed that it wasn’t a bad little shower. It’s in NO WAY a great shower, but not bad. Meaning the hot water did not run out! I will say that nothing motivates you to lose an extra 10 pounds like showering in an RV shower.
On our first day in Flagstaff we did a few Easter activities since we had driven most of Easter Day. One activity the kids really liked was when Joe and I packed tiny lunch items into plastic eggs and hid them around the camp. Once Juliet and Loralai tracked them down, we had lunch at the picnic table.
Then we went to the Visitor’s Center, saw a train really up close, and went to a GREAT park with super grossly full port-o-potties. L made 3 friends that day.
We did a lot of great things in Flagstaff, like eating pizza in the college part of town (Man, I wish I was still in college! You can dress horribly and no one cares and you don’t have to deal with your kids crawling under the table while eating your delicious pizza.) We also went to the Aquaplex which is this indoor swim-a-palooza, and for only $7 for each adult. Score! We did some not such a big hit things too, like visiting the Lowell’s Observatory ($11). It’s this place that this dude built to study space. I think it’s where Pluto was discovered or something? I didn’t really pay much attention, because I was trying to keep my 4 year old from breaking things in the expensive gift store, and had to keep leaving the auditorium because my 1 year old wanted to say “Hi” very loudly to everyone in the room. I quickly discovered that we would not mesh with the tour crowd (avg age 65), and decided to take the girls to tour the grounds on our own. I had no idea where I was going or what we were looking at. After 10 minutes of wondering around and looking in small museum rooms, I decided that if something has the words “Observatory”, or “Museum” in it, it’s NOT for us! Also on the “Bummer List” was visiting what I thought would be a cool, local 1950’s style restaurant called Galaxy Café to have milk shakes. It was really run down and had terrible food. Think lower quality then Denny’s. We did have a really nice waitress though.
I think we would all agree that our most amazing day was spent visiting Walnut Canyon Nation Monument. This monument preserves a 400 foot deep canyon that Native Americans inhabited over 800 years ago. There were 300 rooms built into the sides of cliffs and we could walk through several of them. Joe had to work, so it was just me and the girls. You had to walk down like 250 steps and then of course back UP those same 250 steps on the trail. I was hesitant to go down into the canyon with a 4 year old in dress shoes and carrying a baby, but Loralai talked me into it and I’m so glad she did! I moved Bean to my back and she slept the whole way. Loralai was a champ and was totally fascinated with the cliff rooms! We both learned SO MUCH! I got a National Park Passport Book (Thank you Chelsea) and got my first stamp. I also learned that there is a Junior Ranger program for 4 year olds and up! Yahoo!!!! Well you better believe I got in on that pronto! We got our Junior Ranger activity book, and found a cool place to picnic. The girls played with rocks and bugs and ate, and Loralai filled out her book. Then we went back into the office to have her sworn in as a Junior Ranger!!! She was so proud!
Later that day, once Joe was off, we drove to see Sunset Canyon NM, which preserves much of the site where a series of volcanoes erupted 1000 years ago. Still lots of black lava rocks, and L got her second Jr Ranger badge. It was a really good day!
We also ran a lot of errands. The thing about going on a trip for 4.5 months, is that it’s not all a vacation. There were several trips to Home Depot, Camping World, Wal-Mart, and Gas Stations. We also did our laundry at Black Bart’s laundry mat. I learned that I hate doing laundry in a laundry mat and I need to use twice as much soap as I did. It’s just hard to wash and fold 4 loads of laundry with 2 kids! And it kind of grosses me out to not know what was washed right before my loads. Sorry.
Friday, once Joe got off work, we unhooked and headed for The Grand Canyon. On the way there, we stopped at Wupataki NM, that preserves a Native American “City” from 800 years ago. Very cool! Ranger station closed before we could get L’s badge, so we will have to mail in her activity booklet for that one.
We made it to our camp ground in The Grand Canyon just as it got dark.
Things worth mentioning, that were not mentioned above….
At Black Bart’s there was a Prairie Dog that we would see running around. Joe especially got a kick out of this! Never seen a wild Prairie Dog before!
Ravens are HUGE!!!!
Because there is no water to begin with, in an RV toilet, you get a very undiluted urine sample every time you go. I have concluded that I need to drink more water.
We have rented the house from April 20- July 31st. Yahoo!!!! $$$ The renters have 5 dogs. Seriously. Sorry neighbors.