On Thursday I began the "flying solo" portion of our journey. The boys and I left St. George at 9:30 a.m. and started driving toward Mesa, Arizona. That day turned out to be one of our best so far!
I opted to enter Arizona by way of Zion National Park. The route required a park entrance fee and a slow journey through the canyon, but both setbacks were totally worth it! My pictures of the canyon turned out really lame (I'm not convinced that the convenience of a tiny camera is worth sacrificing picture quality), but at least we documented our presence. I made the boys jump out of the car several times for photo opportunities, and we all marveled at the beauty of Zion Canyon. Wow. Those cliffs and mountains are just amazing! Zachary commented, "I've never been in this part of the world before!" He was equally impressed.
Just south of Page, Arizona, we had to stop in a construction zone. Traffic was literally at a standstill because one road was reduced to a single lane for both directions of traffic. My parents had warned me about the setback, so I was prepared to wait, and when a construction worker knocked on my window to tell me the wait would be 15-20 minutes, I turned off the car and let the boys run around and take a potty break in the bushes. I decided it was the perfect time to nurse Gavin.
The only problem was that the standstill lasted five minutes instead of 20. I was exactly half-way through nursing Gavin when the semi truck parked behind me blared his horn. A few seconds later, the car in front of me began to move!! Tyler was chasing a lizard and Zach was on the other side of an embankment and I was...not quite decent. Gavin cried in protest as I shoved him back in his seat, yelled for the big boys to come back, and ran around to the driver's seat. The road didn't have any shoulder to speak of, so I had to drive about ten miles before I could pull over and let Gavin finish his meal. That little episode definitely got the blood pumping!
I really enjoyed watching the landscape change from majestic red-rock mountains in Zion to the green forests of Flagstaff. Seeing the pine forests reminded me of Oregon.
A Love and Logic lecture I once listened to offered this advice: don't give away the ice cream. In other words, let your kids understand (and enjoy) a connection between treats and good behavior. Zach and Tyler definitely earned an ice cream reward by the time we got to Flagstaff. They were incredibly well behaved in the car that day. They also earned money towards a movie theater excursion next time a good G-rated flick is playing.
We pulled into my parent's Mesa driveway at 6:15 p.m., so our journey lasted exactly eight hours. We still had plenty of time to see and play with all the cousins and my siblings that night -- what a treat! We love spending time with family in Arizona.