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Road trip Day 11: Fort Morgan to Grand Junction, Colorado

A quick introduction for those just joining us…

Sharing our Road Trip, Day by Day

From the day we arrived here and settling down, I’ve dreamed about sharing the daily logs from our road trip (which I shared only on my private Facebook page), photos and videos, as well as some funny adventure stories and practical tips/lessons for anyone planning to travel long distances in a very full car with very busy babies and/or toddlers. I wrote these daily updates as a way to keep our family in the loop and let them know, every night, that we had arrived at our next destination point safe and sound. Little did I know that we would get such a following of friends and relatives who were interested in following our trip! I am so grateful that God gave me the perseverance to keep them up because they are such treasures to our family now, and an online journal we can always look back on.

Note: I have put the updates I wrote last year in italics so you easily differentiate what I wrote last year and what I’m adding today.

I hope you join us for the next 15 days as we relive this forever epic #peitocaliforniaroadtrip! Below are the links in case you missed them.

Day 1 Summerside,PE to Bangor, ME
Day 2 Bangor, ME to Rochelle Park, NJ
Day 3 Rochelle Park, NJ to Pittsburgh, PA
Day 4 Pittsburgh,PA to Louisville, KY
Day 5 Louisville, KY rest day
Day 6 Louisville, KY to Michigan City, IN
Day 7 Michigan City, IN rest day
Day 8 Michigan City, IN to Davenport, IW
Day 9 Davenport, IW to Bellevue, NE
Day 10 Bellevue, NE to Fort Morgan, CO

Day 11: July 15, 2016

Fort Morgan, CO to Grand Junction, CO

Good night from Grand Junction, Colorado! Today was another long drive day but boy was it so incredibly scenic! Driving into Denver and seeing the mountains on the horizon, delving through the winding mountain side and tunnels with the Colorado River running beside the highway and occasionally seeing people rafting or canoeing was pretty amazing. Brendon did all of the driving so whenever the babies didn’t need my attention, I sat back and just marveled at God’s magnificent creation! There was a moment when both kiddos were sleeping and I desperately wanted to nap too but I couldn’t help but keep my eyes open so that through them my soul would be able to take in the awe and wonder, the beauty and majesty, the immense sense of blessedness and gratitude I felt. After having travelled across more than 2/3 of the United States, I now understood why the song “America the Beautiful” had always moved me. Here I was witnessing the immense beauty of it all and had the children not been snoozing I think I might have burst out into song. It seemed so appropriate! There was a bit of traffic but nothing too horrendous. We did see a group of deer just minding their own business as we all inched forward, merged lanes, and waited out the construction delay near Glenwood Springs. The little towns nestled in at the foot of these mountains were so picturesque especially Vail. Wow…if we had the money and the time, that’s one place we’d love to return and explore and stay for a week or two. Anyways, enough drooling over beautiful places! haha.

The Colorado Railroad Museum

Before we entered deep into the mountain side, just west of Denver in the city of Golden there’s a fun train museum called The Colorado Railroad Museum that we read was recommended for children. Dominic currently loves anything with wheels be it construction rigs, dinky cars, and of course, trains. He was napping when we arrived, and as he woke to see a train passing right in front of our car with passengers, he just thought it was the coolest thing he’d ever seen. He excitedly squealed, waving at the people, “Hey guys! Hi there! Choo choo train! Woah!!! Cool!!!” We knew right away this would be a long stop and it ended up being a great one for our family. Downstairs past the gift shop was a little museum with model trains and a little play area for the kids with train tables, Lego trains and other train toys. Both Audrey and Dominic loved getting down and playing for a bit. It’s so difficult to find a play area that both kids can enjoy when you’re traveling. Playgrounds are great for Dominic but Audrey is still too little for it, so finding a spot like this was golden (haha pun intended).

St. Frances Cabrini Shrine

Just about 20 minutes from the Colorado Railroad Museum is the St. Frances Cabrini Shrine. We stopped, said hello to Jesus at the chapel, and while walking around the garden on our way down to the shrine, Dominic stumbled up a brick stairway and scraped his shin. I think he was paying too much attention to his new toy train, and the poor kid has toes too big for his feet! Perhaps it was the combination of him being tired and hungry and being a dramatic toddler… he just went nuts. He was screaming and there was no end of it even when we remedied it with bandaids and Polysporin. So we finally resorted in handing him the iPad with Paw Patrol episodes playing and decided to just hit the road again. He eventually calmed down. So much for visiting the shrine! lol. At least we got to make a visit and say hi to the Big Guy before rolling onward.

Lunch break. Time for a beer.

A Rest & View at the Noodle Company in Dillion

From there it was just a straight on drive to Grand Junction with a stop for gas and lunch (which we stopped for in Dillon which was incredibly scenic). Once the babies fell asleep for their afternoon nap, Brendon and I breathed a sigh of relief. They were so cranky today and so needy and vocal about it, and we were just exhausted.

Settling in for the Night

Once we arrived at our motel in Grand Junction, we just vegged for a little bit (as much as we could with tired babies), foraged our cooler for a bite to eat, and called it an early night. Tonight the weight of this trip finally caught up with us and we felt tired and so ready to have it be done. We have made it to day 11 before feeling this way, so I think we’re doing pretty well. We had originally planned to visit Moab, UT, a beautiful destination, but due to the kids having such a rough time and us too, feeling drained from this trip now, we decided to forgo Moab and drive right on through. We hope to be able to come back to visit when our kids are a little older so we can camp and hike and really enjoy it. #peitocaliforniaroadtrip #day11_fortmorgantograndjunction

Practical Tips & Funny Stories of the Day

  1. Stop places. Do things. Don’t just drive on through. Sure we were tired and done with this trip, but only because we had to keep up a certain pace. We wish we had made more provision for some of the Points of Interest along the way. One tool we found to be remarkably helpful was https://roadtrippers.com/. Simply pop in your origin and destination and RoadTrippers will show you all the top places to visit, view, gas up and stay along your route as reviewed by fellow travelers. This was how we found the Railroad Museum and the Shrine, and we will definitely keep this in our travel kit for future family trips.
  2. Boo-boos are going to happen. On our road trip, we had our medical kit ready with Polysporin, Paw Patrol Band-Aids and an iPad chock full of toddler games. We also gave out a lot of snacks when kids were feeling sore and tired. As you can see Audrey shared our love for beef jerky and it served as both a snack and a teether.
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    July 30, 2017 at 10:05 am
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