So, we've just gotten back from a trip... and it was quite a trip with many valuable experiences, a lot of stress, and a lot of fun.
One month ago, we left Kansas and drove to Colorado. We met my parents in the southwestern part of the state in a town called Ouray. On the way there, our car started acting up, and when we reached Ouray, it gave out entirely. (Pay attention, and you MIGHT start to notice a pattern.) While the car was in the shop over the weekend, we went gallavanting all over some of the highest mountains in the country with my mom, dad, and my brother Ryan. I would post some pictures, but I just feel that pictures are so inadequate to show what a place really looks like. You really just have to go there to see what it's like.
We stayed in two different campgrounds and went swimming in a huge hot springs pool twice. Mom and Dad also treated us at a John Wayne restaurant, where a scene from one of his movies was shot. We got to see a lot of beautiful and historic sights in the area.
Monday rolled around, and we were able to get our car fixed while we saw a few more gorgeous places. (A powerful waterfall in a canyon, for one.) Once we had our car back, we decided to go on to California as planned, even though we had significantly less money than we had planned to have at that point. Paul's parents promised to lend us a little money if we needed it, so we drove through the state of Arizona and saw some more incredibly beautiful places.
We had decided to try some highways rather than sticking to the freeways, and the results of this decision were mixed. The scenery was amazing in the Sedona area (seriously, rivaling any beautiful place I've been in my life), but the roads curved and climbed through hilly areas so that the speed limit often got down to 25 or even 15 mph. It doesn't take a mathematician to calculate that it takes a lot longer to get somewhere going 20 than it does going 85.... So the day we spent in Arizona was quite a long one.
It was late when we finally got to Whittier, California, and we slept for half of the next day before we began properly socializing with Paul's family. In California, we went to the beach twice, and we also went swimming at a mountain resort called Oak Glen, where Paul's family frequently stayed when they were kids. We got to hang out with all of Paul's siblings and their families. And we went to the temple, too, which we have needed to do for a long time.
I love, love, love little babies, and I was so happy to have time with all four of my nephews and my niece that live in that state. (I look forward to Thanksgiving, when I can go to Vernal and visit my other nephew Ryan, too.) All babies are different, and their personalities are strikingly individual. They are all so cute! If I lived close by, I would happily be the date night babysitter for all of them as often as their parents wanted to go out. I'm really not that scared of diapers, either.
We spent the last few days of our trip in Phelan, which is in the high desert about an hour and a half from Whittier. As soon as we arrived, our car was having problems, and (you guessed it) it gave out on the morning that we were going to leave to come home. Paul's brother Craig and his wife Jenny were kind enough to let us stay another few days, since we couldn't leave anyway. Another of Paul's brothers, Jonathan, was in Phelan for another reason, but he put everything aside and spent many hours working on our car so we wouldn't have to pay for a mechanic again. He, with help from Paul, Craig, and Mark, (another brother, who had come up to Phelan when he heard about our troubles) took out the broken part and then installed a new one. It was really quite a sacrifice for him, and we were really touched by how much everyone wanted to help us.
Staying longer wasn't all bad because it meant that I got to have yet more time with two of my nephews, who I simply adore and could not possibly get enough time with. I got to know Jenny quite a bit better, too, which was good. She's a really funny person.
After the car was fixed, we were finally able to head home. My mom helped us out by getting a hotel room for us in Gallup, New Mexico. This time, our drive across the state of Arizona was shorter because we went all the way across on I 40. The state is gorgeous, even from the freeway, and so is New Mexico. I LOVE New Mexico, and I wonder why I never hear people talk about it. It's simply a gorgeous state, if you're a desert-lover like me. I loved driving across it and up into the edge of Oklahoma.
We were only in Oklahoma for a short span before we passed back into our state, Kansas. I had a lot of fun seeing amazing places and spending time with loved ones on the trip, but it sure felt good to come back into our town and get into our own bed.
Now, we have to pay our families back all the money we owe them... but at least we were taken care-of when we really needed it, and now life can go back to normal. My cousin Charsty is visiting us tonight and all of tomorrow. She is bringing her two wonderful little girls, and I am so excited to have time with all of them! After Charsty leaves on Monday morning, Paul and I will go to school to start yet another semester.
That's the end of this travel log.