“A family that vacations together, stays together”
This time of year, I get the vacation itch. I started planning, making lists, searching the internet like a mad woman, and putting together a budget for our summer vacation. We always have a blast spending time together where ever we go. I think I love our vacations so much, because we don’t think about any problems we have at home. We just get in our car with our week’s worth of clothes, snacks, and of course our map and itinerary, and venture the world.
We have went camping, to the beach, hiking, fishing, sight-seeing, and went on historical trips. We try to keep our budget low when we are planning our trip. We are a family of 5, so it can get expensive. We try to find all sort of attractions that we can get into for free or as cheap as possible. Sometimes that is not easy to do, and sometimes we splurge for something that is way too cool to pass up. My family loves museums, history, and nature attractions, so it is pretty easy to have an exciting vacation on a low-budget.
My favorite vacation of all time, and I believe that all 5 us would agree, was 5 years ago. We had planned to go to Destin, Florida, but a hurricane came through and it was flooded and damaged. So instead of the beach, we decided to go to Pikes Peak and where ever else we decided to go, and found out that it was on fire. So here we are sitting in the living room Thursday afternoon, and we were planning on leaving to go somewhere on Saturday morning. Talk about being a bit stressed.
We got the Rand McNally map out and started looking. Together we came up with a plan. The kids wanted to go to Roswell, New Mexico because they are very intrigued with the idea of aliens. We were going to go there first but it so happens, that very weekend, was the Famous Roswell Alien Convention, that is held annually. Every motel was booked, so we had to modify our route just a tad. We decided to head to Carlsbad, New Mexico first and spend a day at the Caverns and spend some time on the Pecos River. We had an awesome time. We had no idea how much fun we would have. The Caverns was self-guided and you could have spent as much time down there as you wanted. They even have a little restaurant down there. It was beautiful and awe-inspiring. The Pecos River was beautiful and had an amazing sandy beach. I was amazed at how stunning it was. We stayed two nights there but wished we had stayed a third to just hang out at the Pecos River a bit more and stayed that evening to watch the bats exit the Carlsbad Caverns. We heard that watching the bats exit in the evening, is something that you don’t want to miss.
That night we were on the road again and on our way to Roswell, New Mexico. Our older two kids were super stoked about going to Roswell. We stayed the night and marked out our route for the next day. We got up the next morning to paint the town. We stopped in all the shops and took our time surveying the Roswell Alien Museum, reading about Area 51 and the alien landings. My kids were never more convinced that aliens really DID land in Roswell, New Mexico. Of course for lunch, we had to venture over to McDonald’s, which resembled a very shiny space ship. I think the kids had a very fascinating time and I am glad we agreed to spend the day in Roswell.
That evening we were on the road again and we decided to head to Colorado to spend the day at Royal Gorge. I had never been to Colorado, so I was excited to see how beautiful it is. We stopped a few times at the overlooks and just gazed at the trees and mountains. When we got to Royal Gorge it was a breathtaking view. I am deathly afraid of heights, so I had a hard time appreciating the beauty real close to the edge like my thrill seeking crew did. I kept my distance and still had a nice time and could see quite nicely. When we crossed the bridge, I was not expecting it to sway as much as it did. I mean it was a fairly large and sturdy bridge, why did it have to move so much. I can’t see how that is safe, and when a car inched its way across, all I could do was freeze in panic because the boards under my feet would creak and pop. I mean don’t get me wrong, the place was beautiful and my family had a great time. Of course they just laughed at me while I slowly made my way across the bridge. I don’t think I have ever been so high in my life. The river looked so small and narrow, but in reality is a very large, and mighty rushing river.
When we finally made our way across and was looking around, they noticed that they were giving mule rides around the rim of the gorge. Our littlest son was to young to ride so of course, I didn’t mind sitting back while they saddled up and went for a ride. Me and the little man just looked around and sat down to listen to some amazing blue grass music. When they got back they were hyped up and said that was the most memorable moment in their lives. The owner of the company told us that they have a policy for families with small children who are not old enough to ride. They would allow me to ride for free, and my older two can ride again. So they talked me into it. I had a surprisingly great time. I had never ridden a horse or mule, and especially not so close to the edge of a million mile cliff, so I was a little nervous, but I have to say that it was a moment I will never forget as well.
That was a our last leg of our journey. We headed home through Kansas. We stopped for an hour or so in Dodge City for lunch and just to stretch or legs. After a week of being on the road, we are all ready to get back to the comfort of our own home. We had a wonderful time and we all still talk about how much fun we had on that trip. Some day we will have to relive it.
I feel that family vacations are important. You don’t need to go somewhere fancy and expensive. We always have a small budget, but we make the best out of what money we have. Even a weekend away from the house is a nice break from reality some times. It is important for a family to spend time together. I enjoy our time with each other every year where ever we go. I am not sure where we will spend our vacation this year, but where ever it is, I am sure it will be just a great as every year past.