National Lampoon’s wishfit vacation


Oh, loyal friends and readers, how I missed you. But what a time I’ve had.

What I didn’t tell you is that for about three weeks, Mike was in India for work. It was a hard secret to keep, and I wonder if you noticed he was missing from photos, and my descriptions of activities. I certainly did. But, paranoid girl that I am, I just didn’t think it was a good idea to announce that we were manless for such a long time. I know, I know, I watch too much Criminal Minds.

Anyway, when he got back (oh happy day), this family had some catching up to do. And luckily, Garrett was on the cusp of his two-week fall break from school. So we decided to pack up the truck and hit the road, Chevy Chase style.

Here’s the route we took, give or take a few side-trips and scenic byways:

Here is Mike’s truck:

He loves to take photos of his truck.

Day 1: Denver to Albuquerque

As you can see, we were loaded to the gills. Camping gear, fishing gear, biking gear, any kind of gear you can imagine, we had it. Most importantly, we had a nice little cooler, packed with special snacks. I made fresh banana chocolate chip muffins the day before we left. I packed trail mix, granola bars, apples, pb&j sandwiches, and a nice bottle of anniversary champagne. You see, my husband was still in India on our anniversary, so we thought we’d just extend the celebration.

Well, round about 1 pm on our first day of travel, when we pulled over to snack on some of those goodies, the cooler was nowhere to be found. Yup, it had tumbled off the back of the truck somewhere between Denver and the New Mexico border. From then on, that cooler was referred to as the muffin cooler, and the boys kept looking for it everywhere we went, though we never did retrace our route.

Not a good start.

Day 2: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Every year in October, Albuquerque celebrates, I don’t know, having a crazy name? I thought it would be fun to check it out on our way through town, so we got up at 4 am, bundled up, and headed out to a big field to watch the action.

The photo above is from Dawn Patrol, when a small number of balloonists are allowed to launch in the dark. Pretty amazing (and warm)!

That’s really a priest right there–a couple got married in their balloon and then took off into the dawn sky. Don’t mind my early am scare-face.

Once it got light, hundreds more balloons, of all shapes and sizes, took off all around us.

Yes, that is a Darth Vader balloon, and yes, I ran across the field to get this sweet shot.

Shout out to The Spirit of Colorado balloon.

Once we hit our balloon limit, we were on to Flagstaff, AZ, with a stop for sopapillas on our way out of town, and lunch in Taos, NM.

Days 3-5: Flagstaff, AZ

At the Flagstaff Nordic Center, I realized a life-long dream: I got to sleep in a yurt. And it was every bit as awesome as I imagined.


We stayed in the yurts for three nights, and explored the area, visiting Sedona, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Montezuma Castle National Monument, among others.

Seeing cliff dwellings was another small obsession I indulged during this trip. Amazing.

A volcanic wasteland is way cooler than you might imagine. Plus, it’s fun to pee into an ancient volcano crater–at least that’s what all three of my guys tell me.

And after lots of drive-time, we also busted out some side-of-the-road silliness.


This is what happens when the photographer tells you to “frolic.”

Days 5-6: Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park

By this point in the trip, I’d managed to develop a pretty decent cold (though I tried to convince myself it was allergies), and was feeling a little droopy. Plus, my husband likes to scare the bejesus out of me, by getting waaaay to close to the edge of the world’s largest holes in the ground.

My was paranoia tripled by the fact that I have the world’s klutziest 3-year-old.

That photo is from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. My advice, see it, photograph it, move on. You will find more magnificent treasures in Zion and Bryce.

Zion was breathtaking. We planned to stay there a couple of nights, but because I was feeling kind of lousy, we just stayed one, and then headed home. Paired with Bryce, it is definitely on my list for a return trip.

This view is of Bryce’s Amphitheater from Sunset Point.

After a mad photo dash through some of Bryce, we started the 10-hour return drive. Well, it would have been 10-hours if  two little boys hadn’t made a pact never to need the bathroom at the same stop. We probably added at least 45 minutes for “emergency” potty stops.

Still, lots of fun, lots of memories, and a few things checked off my life list.

I know I overloaded you with pictures in this post, but I had a week’s worth of explaining to do. Believe me, this is just a small number of the hundreds we took.

So, has anyone taken a crazy long road trip lately? Can you go five days without a shower, like me? Does your husband like it when you call him “Sparky?” Do just want to chat about yurts? Let me know.


2 thoughts on “National Lampoon’s wishfit vacation

  1. Chrissy says:

    Love sleeping in Yurts! Something about it is so grounding. Perhaps their location. Never seen one smack dab in the middle of the city. Hearing dew drop off of the tree canopy and roll down their heavy canvas is a sound like none other. Sleeping in a “tent” which has a solid bed and surface to step onto is a lovely upgrade from a soggy air mattress. Hurray for you making it the 3 weeks and 10hrs and 45 potty breaks!

    • wishfit says:

      Yes, I would like to travel the world, hopping from yurt to yurt. You check one thing off the life list, and another is born. The little wood-burning stove was enough to make me fall in love, but the fact that I could sweep the floor every day made me the happiest. It’s camping-lite, which I like more and more as I get older and achier.

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