I don't consider myself a very spontaneous person, but I have to say I'm very glad that, on a whim, we decided to drive to Arizona for Thanksgiving. This is the sort of trip that we usually plan months in advance. I make packing lists and wash laundry and leave the house spotless. Not this time!
No....this time, we decided to make the trip around noon on Monday, and by 5:00 p.m. we merged onto I-25. We were well south of Pueblo before I started the search for a hotel in New Mexico. I had to manage a few other last-minute details on the phone as we drove, but so far I don't think I forgot to pack anything besides a Christmas present that I can mail. Not too shabby!
The best part of the deal is that we are making some fantastic memories. Instead of spending the week lamenting my loneliness, I am surrounded by family and friends. What is better than that? Um....nothing.
Garry, our fearless leader, is the best.driver.ever. He never gets tired.
The DVD systems worked really well, keeping the kids vastly entertained. We only made four stops between Colorado Springs and Mesa -- and one of them was overnight!
We stayed in the Hilton Garden Inn in Albuquerque on Monday night, which was a lovely part of our grand adventure. The kids were thrilled with the "fancy" room. (Admittedly it was leaps and bounds better than the Super 8 motel from Summer 2008, but nothing especially spectacular.)
We had special permission to sleep six in a room designed for four. Lexi slept with Garry and me, Zach and Gavin shared the other queen bed, and Tyler claimed a chair and ottoman. Once everyone settled in their beds, we turned out the lights. Everyone had the giggles and the wiggles after five and a half hours in the van at the end of a long day. I sang Primary songs for a while, and just as I was running out of voice (and song options), Garry turned on Dr. Seuss audio books. The voice of David Hyde Pierce lulled us all to sleep.
On Tuesday morning we took advantage of the hotel pool as soon as we were awake (which, miraculously, was a managable 7:00 a.m.). Swimming as a family was fantastic! Even though the water was a little cool, we had the pool to ourselves and had a marvelous time. We warmed up in the hot tub before heading back up to our room.
We enjoyed the *delicious* cold cereal, milk, yogurt, and bananas we had brought along for breakfast. Bon apetit!
And then we hit the road again. We still had a long way to go after passing the Arizona state line, but we were heading in the right direction!
Now, as we are settled at Granny's house for a long weekend, we are grateful for a comfortable, working van; accumulated vacation days; a long Thanksgiving school break; healthy kids who travel well; functional, portable DVD players; dry roads; strategically placed gas stations; cell phone coverage; and the ability to find joy in the journey.