Adventuring, Immigration CAN-USA, Travel

Road trip Day 13: Hurricane, Utah to Claremont, California

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 Fort Morgan, CO to Hurricane, UT

Day 13: July 17, 2016

Hurricane, UT to Claremont, CA

Hello and a very late good night from Claremont, California!!!! We made it (well, almost!). We are spending tonight and tomorrow at my parent’s house and we are only an hour or so away from our new home. With my parents home only 6 hours drive from where we were in Hurricane, UT, and being as worn out as we all were, the temptation was too strong to resist. So we made the last long leg of our journey to drive through what remained of Utah, through a corner of Arizona, all the way through Nevada and finally crossed into California and find haven with my family. It has been nearly 2 years since we were here last and it feels so good to be home. It wasn’t without lots of crying, pacifying, stress and tons of traffic (which made our drive sooo much longer-what a welcoming gift, California), but it’s a relief to be here to rest and catch up with my family. More tomorrow. I am so beat. I just put Audrey down for the third time tonight so more adventure stories about today will have to wait while I catch some zzzs. We crossed into Pacific time so it’s REALLY late for me. But for now, I just wanted to send a short update sharing our excitement! #peitocaliforniaroadtrip #day13_hurricanetoclaremont


Day 13 update (continued): Before leaving Utah we planned on visiting Zion Canyon to do the scenic drive as we didn’t have much time but still didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see such a beautiful natural wonder! Turns out though that during the months of April to November you can only do the scenic drive via shuttle and as our two littlest adventurers were sleeping, we turned around just before the park entrance and did a different scenic drive to Lava Point lookout. I’m sure it pales compared to actually going through the national park but it was enough to fill us with wonder and give us a taste that left us wanting to come back in a few years to spend more time there and actually be able to hike and camp with the kiddos. We now have a list of places we need to revisit-future family vacation destinations!

We hurried on our way after making it down from the mountainside so we could make it to my parents house at a reasonable hour but thanks to traffic and despite our attempt to bypass it along different routes, we ended up on some crazy small, bouncy roads, and in an hour long traffic jam thanks to construction which wasn’t even going on as it was a Sunday afternoon. The only consolation we had as we inched forward was that the babes were sleeping.

The last home stretch was so painful and there were more times of crying and complaining and clenched jaws than of happy giggles or silence. The children had been in their seats for the last 3+ hours and I could totally understand why they would be grumpy. We hadn’t eaten a proper dinner yet and it was already almost bedtime for them. For the past few days we had always arrived to our destination before 5pm. Here we were 6:00pm and we still had an hour to go. I put on my “Californian driver” hat and did the best to work through the traffic to get us there as soon as possible. We were all so relieved to arrive and although we had a very wet carseat to clean and tears to wipe, we made it and we weren’t going back in the car for another drive at least for another day.

There was delicious Korean food waiting for us, open arms, deliciously refreshing Makgeolli (막걸리 ) and beer, and my sister had the next day off so she drove up to see us and spend the night! It was sooooo good to be home. What a gift! #peitocaliforniaroadtrip #day13_hurricanetoclaremont

A panoramic shot of Zion Canyon near its entrance.

Practical Tips & Funny Stories of the Day

  1. Do Local Eats:
    1. We used Tripadvisor to find the Pizza Wagon in Hurricane, which ended up being just a few blocks from where we were staying. So we ordered up 2 pizzas, called ahead of time like it was suggested, and the results were so extremely good. It’s a small family owned/run business so even kids were helping serve out the pizza, and it was HOT out…like 100+ degrees! You drive in and park at a school parking lot area and they have their tents set up right there where you can pay for and pick up your order. Such a neat experience and delicious local food! We’d definitely go there again. 5 Stars!
    2. River Rock Roasting Company– a coffee shop that’s totally hip and popular among locals in La Verkin, UT, just outside of Hurricane. We stumbled upon a coupon left in our room so we decided to look it up and try it out. We were not disappointed. It’s no secret Brendon and I are coffee-snobs, and although the Aero-press worked wonders for us as we travelled, it was so nice to have a fresh cappuccino that hit the spot. It was the perfect day for it too as we were exhausted and had a loooong way ahead of us. It’s good we don’t live close to this coffee shop otherwise we might be more broke than we are. 5 Stars!
  2. Just Ahead -Audio Travel Guides – We picked up one of their cards from a hotel lobby and saw that they offered a free trial for a day. We weren’t staying long so we figured why not? Honestly, we weren’t expecting much. But once we downloaded this app and set it up to play through the car bluetooth, we were truly impressed. The app works by detecting your GPS coordinates on your phone, prompting audio cues for points of interest. As you drive it picks up where you are (also depending on what direction you’re driving) to inform you of natural vistas or historical stories, and what routes you can take to get where. I mean, it was like having a real travel guide in your car! So cool! It guided us to Lava Point Lookout, a long and free road to the top of an overlook, a great way to observe some of the beauty of Zion Canyon and a refreshing stop for us. We drove on narrow roads along the ridges of plateaus and climbed up mountains…it was like entering an entirely different world! If you are traveling to one of the areas they cover, I would say they are worth it!

Read Next: Day 14

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