Road trips with kids – Spring Break 2016

I find that quite often people tell us how brave we are to travel with our kids. Brave, not really. Foolish and without a choice, absolutely. Truth is, we want to travel. We want that for our family. Like some families are total foodies. It’s what they do. Their kids love kale chips and ask for seconds of sushi. We missed that boat – our youngest only eats a certain kind of hot dog or a diet consisting of bananas, rice, apple sauce, and toast. I exaggerate, he likes mac and cheese as well.

So, when reflecting on what we would want more of as a family, the insanity of travel came up. Maybe it’s because travel was part of our childhood; or because it’s the easiest way to expose our kids to new things; or maybe we just like to see how many ways we can fail at parenting and life while surrounded by strangers and unfamiliar surroundings.

The other piece that I can’t possibly leave out…the truth. The truth is that the alternative to travel is coach surfing for the entire week of Spring Break while I wonder why the kids seem so restless and bored. For Spring Break 2016, we decided to take a road trip to Colorado. We miss the snow, the mountains, the thin air, the mountains. Also, it should be noted that we are semi practical and borderline, but not exactly, kind of thrifty. We decided against a ski resort because when all is said and done, it’s expensive. Especially when you factor in a child that is not potty trained, and 2 out of the other remaining 3 people in the family are not proficient at skiing. So, does it make sense to spend all that money to ski, maybe not this year. But hey, there are still mountains, snow, thin air, and hikes to be done while carrying a 35 lb, 3 year old. Oh, and flying is out of the question when there is a minivan begging to hit the open road.

I can already tell you, that our travel day might not go in the family record book as the best travel day ever. We left at midnight on a Friday night so that we could have more time to explore the Great Sand Dunes near Alamosa, CO. Around 4 am, our 3 year old woke up and was in the best mood ever. I lie. He was incredibly annoyed and done with sleeping. Unlike most people, these are not my finest moment because I become thoroughly irate when lacking sleep. We shall fast forward to our arrival to the dunes because nothing else is worth mentioning about that car ride, especially not my need to stop on the side of the road for a potty break.

The sand dunes are large and are accessible by crossing a really cold stream. Apparently some of us in the family have a high tolerance to freezing cold water and can walk across a snow melt stream barefoot. Which is so interesting to me given that on mornings, she is the same person that insists wrapping herself in a blanket to eat breakfast because our house is sooooo cold. Go figure.

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Some of us like having our picture taken, and some of us have to be in the right mood. Of course, maybe if he had gotten more sleep in the car, he would have been in the right mood, but I’m not bitter about that.

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I want to take this moment to fully admit that my husband and I are completely out of shape. These sand dunes are A. made from sand which can be considered a workout when walking on the material at sea level; B. high – like hiking around high. Let’s just say, we didn’t hike around very far on these inclined mounds of material that are great for working out your quads.

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Adorable little people in a great mood. One is barefoot and the other smiling. I will take what I can get.

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Not a very far drive from the dunes sat a waterfall. Of course, it’s not a far drive when you go the right way and when the correct road doesn’t require you to drive 10 mph lest you ruin the shocks on the poor minivan.
The hike to the waterfall was not taxing, but when you are running on 4 hours of sleep, thin air, and a child that wants to stop every 3 seconds to poke a stick in the snow, it’s possible an inappropriate hand gesture or two may be released.

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But gorgeous rocks, a frozen waterfall with moving water underneath were well worth the trek.  Is it me, or does the rock structure on the right look the left side of a person’s face?  The air is thin people.

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And of course these people make everything worth it.

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Well, it’s easy to say that now because I had a Moscow Mule at dinner, we upgraded our hotel room so we have 3 beds instead of 2, and no small children are asking me questions or yelling.  It’s just the beginning, there’s so much more to come.

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