We're freshly home from our summer trip to Nevada to visit family.
While I'm not the Zulily addict that I used to be (and I hope that Paul appreciates that fact), I did recently go looking for sandals for Hannah, and somehow ended up with Road Trip T-shirts for Paul, Sam, and Eli (all different). This one cracked me up because Sam is my punster. He was not in a picture mood when we left before 8 a.m., however.
The teens brought along their tech stuff, Jack and Hannah brought their Leap Pads, but Katie's Leap Pad doesn't hold a charge (it's Jack's old one, from ages ago), so she brought coloring supplies.
Big trees, small girls.
We drove through some amazing scenery. I like trees, but I was able to appreciate the beauty in what the desert has to offer, as well. It was greener this year, which you'll see in later pictures.
Last fuel stop. "Let me take your picture, and then I'll buy you some candy." The teens wanted in on that deal!
After that, it was a whole lot of this. I think we're on "America's Loneliest Road" at this point. What's amusing is that after you turn off this road onto an even more desolate one, it's about another hour to get to our relatives. If you watch the first 6 minutes of the video in the link above, you'll see exactly what we saw.
After the 7 hour long car ride, it was time to play with family! Jack and Billy played a game of Risk. The little girls got to walk the dogs and play with Legos and such.
I love watching these two together. Sam is 4 months older than my baby sister. They have a cousin relationship, even though they're aunt and nephew.
All that playing made them sleep well, of course. The 4 teens would have liked to have gone nocturnal while we were there. Amy's friends would come over and there would be a flock of teens running around, playing hide and seek in the dark, laughing and talking until the wee hours while all the grown ups crashed out, exhausted.
We saw lots of wildlife. Eli captured this shot of a lizard one morning.
Buddy found a toad on her morning walk. We also saw bunnies and pronghorns (including one that crossed the road right in front of us on the way home, yikes!).
I enjoyed watching the swallows taking care of their babies.
Up in the porch roof, they've got a nest. You can just see the 4 little beaks popping up to look for their next meal.
They're not cute to look at yet, but the little peeping noises were adorable.
Paul likes Nevada. He would like to retire there someday. I think I'd miss California. And trees. And suburbia. Plenty of time to worry about that later.
First world problems: When you go to the desert and forget to take lotion and wind up using your facial moisturizer because your hands are so cracked that your phone doesn't recognize your fingerprints any more.
Paul, who is a far better cook than I am, made dinner one night while we were there. This is one of three pans of homemade chicken enchiladas he whipped up, while keeping an eye on the kids, when Buddy and I were out adventuring (more on that later).
More playing. That's Joel, Jack, and Josiah playing soccer.
Sometimes all that glitters really IS gold. Those tan patches at the base of the mountain are the gold mine. As dusk falls, the lights come on. Since it's a 24 hour operation, you can see mine activity glittering across the valley when it's dark out. I think there's a better picture on Paul's camera. I'll try to share that later.
Paul stoking the bonfire for the teens. The idea was to make s'mores, but most of the chocolate got eaten before the fire was down to coals.
A flock o'youths. It made me smile to see my kids run with the pack. Amy's friends and their siblings seem like nice kids. There's a couple of them that we see every year that I really like. Eli had a friend from camp last month that he was looking forward to reconnecting with.
I have a couple more posts to share about individual days of the trip, so imagine those here, okay? I'll add links later.
Gold Mine Tour
Adventures with Buddy: Part 1, Belmont Courthouse, Part 2, Belmont Cemetery
4th of July
All too soon, July 5th came, and it was time to get back on the road, headed for home.
I found myself thinking, "Nevada probably doesn't have a Gross Polluter Hotline like California does," as we followed this guy for a bit until we could safely pass him. His engine did not like hills. Not one little bit.
See the snow on the mountains? The kids got tired of me pointing it out to them. I'm finding that the teens are over my idea of entertainment in the car. They don't want to see who can spot the first Nevada state flag. They don't care about out of state license plates (I saw 20 states and 2 Canadian provinces).
Potty stop on the way home calls for more pictures, right? These guys were troopers. They did really well with all the upset to their routine.
And this is why we travel with plenty of snacks and water. Because travel is full of surprises and uncertainties, and it's good to be prepared for unexpected delays.
We made it home by 5 p.m. and I managed to get 3 loads of laundry done and the little girls washed before bed, so I felt pretty accomplished.
All in all, we had a lovely trip for the 3rd year in a row. I feel very fortunate that my step mother is so welcoming. Not everyone would ask a family of 9 to invade their home for several days every year. I'm thrilled that my kids get to have this extended family experience and make fun memories, since their only cousins live overseas.
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