United States of America · 34 Days · 32 Moments · October 2014

Rita DeMichiel

Rita's adventure in United States of America

6 November 2014

We made it across the country safely!! Just as mom was getting checked out of the hospital, dad got checked back in. Hoping they both have a speedy recovery!!!

4 November 2014

Still driving - and driving / and driving ... Good times!
(continued 2/2) Our bellies full and content we continued on for another few hours. We crossed through Missouri, finally stopping for the night in Illinois. Tomorrow the final leg of our journey - hopefully! For now ... sleep'

3 November 2014

We loved Breckenridge and were contemplating spending another ski season in this beautiful town. Unfortunately, we got a call to let us know that my mom had a heart attack. We immediately changed our plans and set off on the "Cannonball Run" east! (You know ... "Got a long way to go and a short time to get there - we're gonna do what they say can't be done!") There was over 2,000 miles between us and Pennsylvania, The Rockies of Colorado quickly disappeared as we entered into the flatlands of Kansas. We fought the winds and rain all day getting lousy gas mileage. Exhausted, Pete pushed on and got us to Salina - the smack dab center of the country. We spent a few short hours in a Walmart and then kept going. As we drove through Kansas City, we received word that my mom was doing ok. She had a heart Cath done and they were able to put a stent in. She was recovering and stable so we decided to stop and grab some ribs. After all, it would be a crime to pass thru KC and not have some BBQ!

2 November 2014

We love carving pumpkins for Halloween! As the kids get older, the designs become more intricate. This year Christian chose the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland and it came out really cool!! We found a small colored strobe light and put it inside the pumpkin, giving the cat a really eerie effect! Dylan started with a basic jack-o-lantern and then found a template from Game of Thrones that he wanted to try. It was a really detailed design but he was determined to get it done. He literally spent hours designing and carving his masterpiece, which I must say is nothing short of amazing. I was really proud of him for taking his time and seeing his creation come to life. He truly has the patience of his Pop-Pop! Both of the boys' designs were super cool this year!! Now that Halloween is over and the pumpkins are quickly rotting away, I don't have the heart to throw them away! Guess we will keep them a little longer - or at least until the flies start circling!

31 October 2014

We found ourselves in Breckenridge for Halloween. This small town does a great job of pulling off trick or treating for the kids! The cops block off the major neighborhood in town allowing the kids to run the streets safely! Hundreds of kids showed up and the boys had a great time haunting the streets with goblins and ghouls galore! They visited a haunted house, actually had to smell a guy's feet (you know the old, trick or treat smell my feet...) and were asked countless times "Aren't you too old for trick or treating?" One guy told them when the facial hair starts to show it's time to stop. It really didn't phase them though! They were out for candy and candy they received!!! When we got home they happily sorted and traded their haul and questioned why anyone wouldn't want to trick or treat. I love that our boys are so self confident and not affected by the norms that society imposes upon teens today! I also love that that they got enough Reese's to keep me happy until next Easter!

30 October 2014

No road trip is complete without a break down! Pete was worrying about driving over Vail Pass since we had brake issues last month on the truck.The repairs were done before we headed east but he was still a little nervous about the steep grades. He traversed the mountains like a champ with no problem! Just as I was commenting on his stellar driving skills, he noticed smoke pouring out of the bottom of the trailer. We quickly pulled over to the side of the road to figure out what was going on. It appeared the leaf spring on the trailer snapped in half. Since that part essentially supports the weight of the trailer, we were going nowhere in a hurry! We got on the phone calling insurance, road side assistance and parts stores. We were 2 hours from Denver surrounded by nothing but small ski towns. Luckily, we were able to find a mobile RV tech to come out and get us back on the road! Despite popular belief, fulltime travel is not always fun!!

29 October 2014

Natural hot springs flow abundantly in Colorado. Ready for some soothing relaxation, I found a hot springs located along our route that claimed to be world renowned! With visions of exotic pools like those we encountered in Budapest, we pulled into the parking lot of Glenwood Springs Hot Pools. We all peered over the fence - each of us equally unimpressed. It looked like a giant unchlorinated community pool. At $16 a person we debated whether or not we should go in. We had our suits on, we wanted to swim and it was world renowned, lol! We decided to go for it! We started in the 94 degree mineral water and then slowly worked our way into the therapy pool, which was a balmy 104! After a few minutes the kids spotted a diving board at the far end of the lap pool. They spent the rest of the night jumping and flipping off the dive - putting those trampoline skills to good use! Worth the $ - not really but a unique way to spend a day in Colorado!
Saving the City and Dancing in the Streets! Christian has often talked about learning the Michael Jackson "Thriller" moves. I read in the local paper that a dance school was sponsoring a Zombie invasion flash mob. This had Christian's name written all over it! We hit the thrift store and came up with a spur of the moment costume. We got to the dance studio and there were only a few zombies there. Dylan wasn't planning on joining in but the instructor asked us both to join and we couldn't say no! Within an hour we were confident and ready to go! Only problem was there wasn't enough zombies. We got outside and were met by the local radio station and tons of locals lining the street ready to see the Thriller flash mob. Christian was ready but the other zombies backed out, intimated by the crowd. The poor instructor was feeling hopeless and begged me to help him. The three of us took to the streets and nailed it! Yup, we saved the night for the town! All in a day's work, lol

28 October 2014

Another Jr Ranger badge under our belts! We visited the Colorado Monument. Locals call it the mini Grand Canyon. It was a beautiful fall day for a hike and once again we were blessed to witness the splendor of our nation! Go outside and hike - it's a great big wonderful world!

25 October 2014

Every kid loves to jump and play - especially my two boys! Walking down simple city streets regularly turns into a parcor challenge. That's why they were thrilled to spend a few hours at the Air Silo Trampoline Park in Grand Junction, Colorado! They bounced, flipped, played a few rounds of dodge ball, swung on the rings, bounced some more and mastered their obstacle course skills. Watch out "American Ninja"! We may have a couple of new contestants for you!

24 October 2014

PUMPKIN picking with Teens ... We all love the fall season! As the air begins to chill, we pack away the flip flops and pull out the sweaters and heavy blankets. First stop of the season is always a pumpkin patch to get in the mood for the upcoming holidays! The boys have climbed hay bales, gotten lost in corn mazes and run through pumpkin fields all over this great country of ours! This year we found ourselves in Grand Junction, Colorado, a week before Halloween ready for some harvest fun! The farm we chose to visit had all the usual activities you would expect. Only problem was the average age of participants was about 7 years old. Now standing at six feet tall, my "babies" felt a little too old to participate. We decided to pick a pumpkin from the fields and then head on over to the haunted house, where the average age was about 17. It's so hard being a teen! Thank goodness you never get too old for candy!!

23 October 2014

With snow in the forecast and frost on the pumpkins, it was time to get moving! We waved goodbye to the splendor of Utah and headed further east towards Colorado. It was the day of the solar eclipse so we made a pinhole camera out of a shoebox (ala Highfield Elementary). We watched all the really cool changes and got to see the eclipse at its full magnitude. Pretty awesome! Now ... Time to find a pumpkin that wants to be turned into a jack o lantern!

22 October 2014

Can't get enough of these Arches - just gorgeous! There is a photo op around every corner!
We ended up spending more time in this area than we planned! It was just too beautiful to leave! We hiked a ton of trails and saw one amazing arch after another! Windows, Skyline Arch, Delicate Arch, Sand Dunes Arch, Landscape Arch, Devils Garden, Double Arch, Balancing Rock, Park Avenue and the Three Gossips - we hiked through them all! The rangers taught us about geology and showed us where to find ancient petroglyphs. We even attended a night ranger talk where they discussed the similarities between Arches Park and Mars - incredible stuff! We then enjoyed star gazing in the infinitely black skies of Utah. And I think to myself ... "What a Wonderful a World!"

21 October 2014

No trip to Moab is complete without an off-road adventure! This was by far the highlight of our visit! We hooked up with a local guide, Josh from Cowboy Country, who we can't recommend enough! He was awesome! We rented a four seater UTV and set off for the well known rec area, aptly named "Hell's Revenge" Pete started off as the driver and then half way through we switched so I could have a chance. I must say I rocked it and am ready to buy a couple UTVs to pull behind our RV :0) We rode up and down sides of mountains, screaming with joy. The adrenaline rush we all experienced was out of this world. Josh told us stories, taught us about the topography of the land and even showed us a couple dinosaur tracks. Crazy cool! He took us on canyon ledges and up, down and around some death defying terrain. Pete said it was like every off-road video he had ever seen! The boys are already making plans to come back when they are 21 so they can drive!!

20 October 2014

Arches National Park is the last park we plan to visit n Utah. Similar to its sister parks, it is gorgeous in every way. We arrived into town and stopped at the visitor center to get our bearings and find a campground. As usual, the rangers were helpful and provided us with a map of BLM land that we could camp on. The Bureau of Land Management sets aside land that cannot be developed on and is for the use of citizens to enjoy either for free or a very small fee. It is very popular in the Southwest and a great way to save a few bucks! We decided on a great little area right outside the park called Ken's Lake. Perfect in every way, this spot provided beautiful views along with a picnic table and fire pit. We were set and ready to enjoy Moab Country!

19 October 2014

Capitol Reef is part of The Big Five National Parks in Utah. Once an underwater reef, this 100 mile span now consists of incredible red sandstone formations. We had a great time hiking to Hickman's Bridge (careful not to damage the cryptobiotic soil, lol). We loved searching for ancient petroglyphs and earning the Junior Ranger badge. We visited The Gifford House, an authentic Mormon Homestead. That is where we found the most delicious homemade pie! Capitol Reef is a fantastic place to learn about our past from a geological standpoint. Another amazing stop on the road of life!!

16 October 2014

Today finds us in Bryce Canyon. Hiking among giant red "hoodoos", we meandered our way down onto the canyon floor. Looking up at the giant rock formations surrounding us was awe inspiring! We hiked through The Queens Garden, explored the Navajo Loop, and then worked our way back up thru the giant rocks of "Wall Street". The kids earned yet another Junior Ranger badge and this time around, even I earned a badge for "Hiking the Hoodoos"! Man, we love our National Parks!!

15 October 2014

UTAH ROCKS ... Anxious to explore Zion National Park, we scored a coveted camping spot and set off for a day of adventure in The Narrows! This strenuous hike involves hiking through the waters of The Virgin River - yes, through the water!! Traversing slippery rocks was so much fun amid the rushing waters of this pristine river. Surrounded by giant red rock, lots of other hikers, rock climbers, and even a scared little fox, we traversed a few miles upstream through the gorgeous canyons. One of my favorite hikes by far! Zion is appropriately translated to "quiet sanctuary"!

12 October 2014

Found out the first major SNOW storm of the year hit Colorado today! Since that is the way we are heading we decided to wait it out poolside until the roads clear! Definitely much worse places we could be stuck in - like that snow!! Maybe tomorrow we will make some time??

11 October 2014

On the road again... We left the lights and excitement of Vegas behind and headed towards Utah. Our first stop was at The Valley of Fire. Beautiful red rock formations seemed to appear out of nowhere! We enjoyed hiking through sand covered trails and climbing dinosaur aged rocks! This park is known for its vast amount of petroglyphs and it did not disappoint! We had a great time spotting the etchings on the rocks and trying to figure out their meanings. As the sun quickly set, we found our way back to the highway in awe of this amazing country of ours!

10 October 2014

After a few days of endless indulgence in sin city it was time to get back on the road! We gambled, stuffed ourselves at one to many buffet, shopped till we dropped and enjoyed ourselves immensely! Gotta love Vegas!

6 October 2014

Christian the Coaster Kid strikes again! The Stratosphere rides have been on his bucket list for quite some time. He's read about it, watched YouTube videos of it, and dreamed about it. Today was his turn! He saved up his money and bought the all access wristband. The rest of us went along for moral support! We boarded the elevator inside the Stratosphere Hotel at Level 100. Our ears popped as the elevator quickly climbed to the 856 foot tower level. We checked out the the indoor observation deck and watched a guy bungee jump off the edge of the tower. Thankfully, the boys didn't try that one - not out of fear but only because they didn't have the $150 to do it! I'm sure we will be back! We then got into the next elevator that brought us further up the tower to 909 feet above the street. It was truly an amazing view! As the sun disappeared into the horizon, the lights of Vegas twinkled below us. We had a 360 degree of the entire city sprawled out before us......
It was time for Christian to take his first ride on Insanity. They strapped him into a dangling chair while I prayed a few Hail Marys for his safety! The gate dropped and the ride extended away from the rooftop and began to spin - yes SPIN - 909 feet above street level! Filled with adrenaline, as soon as the ride landed safely he ran to X-Scream. This is a roller coast type cart that catapults you off the rooftop into the abyss! Nothing like watching your child dangling over the side of a building. As if that wasn't enough, he then went higher to the Big Shot Drop Tower at 1,149 feet! Coaster Kid is now being renamed to Crazy Kid!! (If anyone is wondering about Dylan - he opted out and chose to be the YouTube video guy). Smart move Dylan :0) I must say, Christian is one crazy brave adrenaline junkie! So cool!
Viva Las Vegas!

5 October 2014

After the excitement of the night before, we opted for a little more family friendly action! We walked the strip taking in the sights, watched the Bellagio fountains dance, enjoyed a buffet at Sam's Town, reminisced about our trip to France at the Eiffel Tower and took in a great family fun juggling show! Great day in Vegas!
Once we settled into the campground and adjusted to the 100 degree heat, we were ready to take on the city. We headed out to Freemont Station to check out a free laser light show I had read about. Unfortunately, what I didn't read was that it was bike week in Vegas. The kids got an unexpected education in drunken debauchery. Welcome to Vegas - yikes!

4 October 2014

After endless hours of driving thru the deserts of Nevada, we were thrilled to see the city of Las Vegassprawled out before us! We were ready to take a break from driving and enjoy the action awaiting us! Viva Las Vegas!!
Sometimes traveling gets long and boring - especially when you are driving on "the loneliest highway in America" ! Nothing but brown rolling hills and strange government testing sites are all you see for hours on end. That's why it's so exciting when you stumble upon a gem like Mama Sarah's! I ate the best chimichanga that I ever experienced! Authentic home made Mexican food is exactly what we needed to spice up our trip and keep us rolling down the road!
10/4: After about five hours back on the road it was time to stop for the night. We passed a creepy rest area and kept on going until we spotted a small road side sign for RV parking. With full hookup, cable and wifi it had our name written all over it! By the light of day we realized we were parked in the middle of nowhere with nothing but desert mountains and scary buildings surrounding us...time to hitch up this wagon train and move along! Next stop .... Vegas baby!

3 October 2014

As summer wound down to an end, we spent a little more time in the vortex of Tahoe catching up on doctor and dentist appointments. We caught up on some online work, fine tuned our homeschool curriculum and enjoyed some relaxing down time! But now as "hitch itch" sets in we are ready to hit the open road yet again! So here we go ... Oct. 3, 2014: Junk food on hand for miles of endless driving - check; stocked up on Redbox DVDs - check; 2 excited kids, 1 driving ready Dad and 1 road tripping co-pilot Mom - check. We are ready to roll - next stop Nanny and Pop-Pop's in Harleysville, Pennsylvania ... Only 2,681 miles to go ...