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Hank and I had the BEST Labor Day weekend!!!

It started off with a couple bumps. We planned on leaving Friday since I got off at 2, but by the time we got packed, ran errands, talked to Koyer for an hour, and had dinner, it was already 7 ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚, so we opted to leave bright an early Saturday morning. Lucky for me, Hank was up at 4:30 ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ, so we loaded the car, had breakfast, filled up with gas, got ice for the cooler, and we were on the road by 6:30 โ€œishโ€ ๐Ÿ˜ We are slow movers ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚

We were cruising right along, not much traffic at all, until we were about 20 minutes outside of Phoenix. There was an accident ahead and the guy in front of us suddenly slammed on his breaks, and I slammed on mine (I always give plenty of distance, thank goodness, otherwise this would be a very different story), just barely missing the vehicle๐Ÿค Unfortunately for us, the huge jacked up, blacked out Ram behind us did not stop in time and clipped us from behind. All of our stuff went flying forward, scattering all over the SUV, and we had to pull over ๐Ÿ˜ฌ Poor Hankie just kept saying, โ€œAre you going to change the flat tire?โ€ with little tears in his eyes ๐Ÿฅฒ Thank goodness everyone was OK, but we were shaken! Not to be deterred from our adventures, we all exchanged info and were on our way. We made it to Flagstaff a little while later, which was the main hub for our weekend. What a beautiful area!!Trees ๐ŸŒฒ everywhere ๐Ÿ’š

Our first day we went to Walnut Canyon NM, where we hiked for about an hour. There are cave dwellings and hieroglyphics throughout, as well as various sky walks along the way. Hank did such a great job hiking with mom!!

Then we drove to Sunset Crater NM. We hiked amongst the volcanic ash, as well as the ash and debris from the recent fires this spring and summer. Then we followed the roadway for a beautiful scenic drive, which led us to to the Wupatki NM, which are the pueblos of the Hopi and Zuni people. We did the interpretive walk through , which was beautiful ๐Ÿ˜ and hot ๐Ÿฅต Hankโ€™s favorite part was the blow hole where he could bend down and feel the air coming out, and the giant game ring where he could walk around in circles ๐Ÿ˜‚ Momโ€™s favorite was the the bedroom because you walked through a little area and into the shade ๐Ÿฅต๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ’ฆ

From there we drove to Williams (awesome town!) and did Bearizona ๐Ÿป ๐ŸฆŒ ๐Ÿบ ๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ‘This was hands down Hankieโ€™s favorite spot ๐Ÿ™Œ The animals are roaming free amongst the trees and come right up to your vehicles ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜ You can have your windows down through the whole drive except through the bears and wolves ( which is of course where Hank kept rolling the window down ๐Ÿ˜ฌ and the guy got on the speaker and said, โ€œKeep your windows up!!โ€ in a weird voice that sounded a lot like the wizard from OZ ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿซฃ๐Ÿซ  Hank was not impressed when I hit the โ€œlock windowโ€ button ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚). And, of course I struggled during the bison exhibit, being from MT and all - Donโ€™t go near the buffalo ๐Ÿฆฌ ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚, but I relented and โ€œunlockedโ€ the window. He was far enough away ๐Ÿ˜‰

The next day Hank and I had IHOP and hit the road by 9. We drove from Williams all the way to Kingman, near the CA border so we could do half of the AZ Route 66 ๐Ÿ™Œ Iโ€™ve ALWAYS wanted to do this!! It was neat and touristy ๐Ÿ˜‚, but we had a great time ๐Ÿ’œ Hank was so unimpressed by all the photos I made him take that he pulled a play from Brotherโ€™s book - blanket over the head and fell asleep ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚

After that we went back to the KOA, complete with bouncy pillow, playground and go carts, where we played for most of the afternoon. When we were literally all played out, we went to our campsite where we cleared out the back of the SUV and camped for the night ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ We put our chairs out, enjoyed the fire ๐Ÿ”ฅ and read stories before climbing in and rolling into and over each other all night ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Monday morning we got up early and had the now mandatory IHOP before starting the rest of the Route 66 road towards New Mexico. We stopped to see Meteor Crater Natural Landmark, which I thought would be a 10 min photo op of a huge hole in the ground ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ, but it turned out to be a really awesome interactive museum next to the huge hole in the ground ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ That was a 2 hour detour of FUN!!

We stopped a few more places along Route 66, then ended our weekend at the Petrified Forest NP and the Painted Forest NP. Wow! It was really cool and very beautiful!! I watched someone steal a small piece from the forest floor and knew he had not been to the visitors centerโ€ฆ Read the photos showing the letters of the bad luck that happens to those that take from the parks ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜œ No thank you, Iโ€™m only looking for the good luck ๐Ÿ€ ๐Ÿ˜˜

Thinking we were done with the sites for the weekend, we started our journey home. I opted for the two lane route home because I prefer back roads (MT raised ๐Ÿค˜) vs interstate. Little did I knowโ€ฆ ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚ It was 3 HOURS of canyon driving ๐Ÿ˜… We went through the White Mountains and Salt River Canyon Wilderness ๐Ÿคฏ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™€๏ธ It was some of the most breathtaking views Iโ€™ve ever seen, but it was never ending!!! Weโ€™d climb up, up, up FOREVER while going around, around, around; and then down, down, down and around, around, around weโ€™d go๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ It was fine and dandy until it started getting dark, and then I was a little afraid since I didnโ€™t know all the turns, but we made it home safe and sound (and a bit dizzy ๐Ÿคช) by 10:00 pm ๐Ÿ˜ฎโ€๐Ÿ’จ๐ŸฅฐWish I could have gotten pictures, but i was kinda scared to pull off ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜‚ I guess Hank and I will have to make a weekend out of it sometime soon ๐Ÿ˜˜

This kid cracked me up 1,000 times, read me the same two books at least half that, and was a mega trooper ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฅฐ It was so precious and adorable to leave the music off for hours and just listen to the magic of him play ๐Ÿฅฒ Talk about a beautiful mind ๐Ÿฅฐ#Blessed ๐Ÿ’–



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