Starting in Springfield
June began with a one-night trip to Missouri.
I gathered with relatives to celebrate my dear Aunt Spencer, after her sudden passing. I felt extra grateful, that I had seen her in January.
Sad occasions often result in good reunions. I had a nice visit with Dad.
I saw cousins that I haven't seen in a while. It was a sad, but special beginning to the month.
Off to Oregon!
On June 4, Don and I left for Oregon. We stopped for a night at the cabin and toasted to safe travels ahead.
Our drive began in Texas, but took us through New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California.
Every evening we celebrated with a toast.
We talked about what we'd seen along the way and the good things coming up.
We hit some interesting hotels. La Posada in Winslow was once a Harvey House Hotel.
The old Mizpah has been sitting in Tonapah, NV for 116 years. The Border House was next to the state border, but it was also once a "boarding" house hotel. In Crater Lake National Park (OR) we stayed in a rustic lodge. All so different!
We had good food on the road. Don enjoyed a burger and tots in Post, TX and a spicy Mexican feast in Albuquerque, NM!
I ordered at a crazy looking counter in Seligman, AZ and a wooden counter in Tulelake, CA. No complaints about my grilled cheese or my ice cream!
We wore the proper dress for our bigger feasts in the evenings. Bolo tie for a Southwestern meal in Winslow.
Neon paisley for my crazy steak feast, in a retro Lake Tahoe casino!
Curious Crossroads & Borders
We stopped to admire some noteworthy intersections and state lines, on our trip. The iconic Winslow intersection was free of tourists at 5:30 am.
We couldn't stay at the iconic CALNEVA Hotel, because it had closed down. The hotel (once owned by Frank Sinatra) sits directly on the border of California and Nevada. But we stayed at the hotel next door.
Sunsets and Sunrises
I love catching a good sunrise or sunset while traveling. The RR tracks were glowing in the evening, near our hotel in Winslow.
I rose extra early to catch the sunrise at Crater Lake Lodge. 5:15 am!
Happy Valley, OR!
Happy Valley was our destination. We arrived on the 10th.
This was the real reason for our trip. We came to help with a move.
Grandma & Pop-Pop
Don and I didn't fill boxes or move furniture. We entertained Charlie, more than anything!
It was a little sad to know we would never come visit this house again... or enjoy neighborhood walks, with views of Mount Hood.
But there was nothing sad about this little girl. And there was nothing sad about knowing our daughter's family would soon be living in Texas!
After 2 years of traveling over 2,000 miles to visit Charlie, we now will drive only 2.5 hours from Sugar Land to Austin!
Starting Off in Oregon
After packing and closing up the house, the 5 of us left in 2 cars. We gave ourselves 12 days to meander back to Texas.
The first stop on the road involved a cozy stay, back at Oregon's Crater Lake Lodge.
Fireplaces, mountains, volcanic lake and snow...!
Pool & Ice Cream in California
There was nothing unique about our chain hotel in Redding, CA where we stayed on our second night.
But Charlie had her first ice cream cone ever. She also had her first real pool experience! Both were a hit!
Fun food stops made the road travelers happy.
Lucky for us, Charlie is pretty content in the car and she loves restaurants!
Reunion in Sacramento!
Our most special stop on the road was a 2-night stay in Sacramento. What a treat for our family to be all together. (click to enlarge)
We had a Father's Day BBQ and a wonderful brunch outing. We had lots of yard time with apple picking and rock collecting.
It was relaxing to spend 2 days (mostly outside) before being stuck in a car again. It was extra hard saying good-bye to Scott & Cha. Wish we could have had a 3-car caravan!
Nevada... Vegas with a 2-Year-Old!
We spent 2 nights at the Mirage, in Las Vegas.
Sounds like a crazy idea with a 2-year-old... especially one that won't be carried and doesn't like hand holding.
Charlie would have preferred running ahead of us at all times, but she was given a choice of holding hands or holding the strap of my bag. She cooperated well!
Sin City Entertainment
It was all about the pool and shopping for Charlie. Actually she only "tested the fabric" as we passed a display.
None of us are big gamblers, but Heidi and I did dash away one evening and had fun losing some money on the slot machines. I would recommend Willy Wonka, as the most entertaining slot machine.
Arizona's Grand Canyon
We spent one night at the Grand Canyon and caught the sunset.
I stayed on Charlie duty most of the time. I was happy that she liked following birds and looking into trees more than climbing the wall.
We couldn't get dinner reservations at El Tovar, till 9 pm. But it was a wonderful feast and our toddler hung in there well.
Cooling off in Colorado
We took a break from the road, for 2 days of relaxing, in Durango.
We only wandered from our hotel as far as our legs would take us.
The children's museum was a hit. The food trucks at 11th Street Station fed us well. Mostly we loved hanging out on our hotel's terrace.
Santa Fe is not the ideal vacay destination for kids, but again it was all walkable for us.
We had a heavenly dinner at the Pink Adobe. The 300 year old building has housed the restaurant since 1944.
The atmosphere was quiet and cozy. The food was heavenly!
Touristy Stops Along the Way Arizona & New Mexico
We found some kid-friendly dining along Route 66 in New Mexico and Arizona.
Elvis and diner decor in Kingman, AZ. A stuffed bear and BBQ in Tucumcari, NM.
Charlie obviously thought it was silly to pay $8. per person and wait in a line for a goofy photo op at "Four Corners! She walked away. But we did get to add Utah to our list of 7 states. (somebody should have instructed us about putting our feet in different states!)
Back in Texas
We spent 2 nights at Texas hotels before reaching Pop-Pop & Grandma's house. The Big Texan in Amarillo and Shady Villa in Salado.
The kitschy Big Texan was a hit. Shady villa's pool was broken and the restaurant was closed, so no comparison. Big Texan actually wins the prize (for kid friendly fun) out of all our stops. (click to enlarge)
We swam in the Texas-shaped pool, then dined in the crazy Big Texan restaurant. We stopped to visit the Horse Hotel, before turning in at the Big Texan Motel. I love a motel room with saloon doors!
Home in Sugar Land
On the 28th, we split up our caravan. Heidi and Jamie said good-bye to Charlie in our car. They headed to their house closing, in Austin.
Charlie slept a bit and woke in good spirits. We had a couple days to reintroduce Charlie to the house. Back at Christmas she wasn't yet 2, but she remembered her favorite things.
After 2 weeks of no crib and no routines, Charlie was suddenly in a house with no Mommy or Daddy and no baby-proofing. Thank goodness this little girl is flexible!
Charlie kept me moving from room to room and activity to activity, but I couldn't have been happier. I was giddy when she picked "Eloise" as her go-to-sleep-story, each night. I was delighted over her songs and pretend games.
But the most exciting thing, is what you don't see in any of these photos. Her beloved "Paci" went to his own bed, as soon as we arrived at the house. He only came out at bedtimes! The timing was lucky! None of us can believe that she happily went along with this.
Heidi and Jamie arrived at the house on the last day of the month. We cracked open champagne to celebrate their return to Texas after 6 years.
What a packed month! We spent so much of it on the road, that we literally zoomed through the month! I will admit I'm pooped, but in a good way. It feels like we squeezed 90 days into 30. Why? I think because Charlie seems 90 days older! What an experience to watch your grandchild grow for a month! July 2023 won't be forgotten!