Fortunately, it was right across the street from a Walmart, so we were able to pick up my medicine there. The kids were happy to provide entertainment while I waited:
Such sweet children
This might be one of my favorite pictures of all time =)
Next, we drove to Aurora, CO and picked up the van from my friend Andrea. We gave her a brief tour of the RV and then drove about 20 minutes to Cherry Creek State Park, where we were staying that night. Then it was time for full on packing/unloading mode! You wouldn't believe how many nooks and crannies and cupboards and storage compartments there were in that RV to clear our stuff out of! The whole process actually went really smoothly and surprisingly fast!
We also did laundry while we were there and the kids were delighted to find that the State Park had a Junior Ranger program for them to do and earn one last badge!
Here is the complete set they each earned on this trip! Pretty impressive!
We fixed our last dinner in the RV (which beautifully helped us use up the last refrigerated/frozen food (other than what we'd need for breakfast the next morning).
Sorry about the lack of photos in this post... since I was sick, there weren't any planned activities or hikes or special places on this day, and since I'd already taken so many by this point, I guess I was just done =)
On the 28th, we packed our final stuff into the van, I drove it behind the RV and we left the campground, filled up the propane tanks, the (ginormous) gas tank and went to Road Bear to drop off the RV. The checkout process took FOR-EVER because there was a group in front of us and because they have to check over every.single.tiny.part of the RV to make sure nothing is wrong with it before they let us go.
I thought this comparison was amusing
Finally we were ready to start the 7 hour drive home! We listened to a bunch of Adventures in Odyssey, (thanks, Tim and Steph!) had lunch, I did a bunch of blogging, we stopped at Subway for dinner before reaching home at 8 pm.
Our friend, Wendy, had gone grocery shopping for us, so was waiting for us in the driveway and stocked the fridge....And left us dinner in the crock pot for the next day (after our busy CC day!) What a blessing she is!
Oh wow... home. It felt like a Month or more since we'd been there! We were all happy to be back in our own beds, and I was happy to once again have a bathroom that I could move around in and couldn't touch every wall without moving an inch! ;)
Here is a map of our entire trip with some stats to follow:
1 rental house for 3 nights and 1 hotel night
2 rental vehicles (not counting the RV)
6 National Parks (first ever for the kids and 5 new for the adults) plus multiple other National Monuments, Forests and Recreation Areas
2 Navajo Nation Tribal Parks
5 new states for Keenan, 4 new states for Moriah and Caleb, 2 new states for Philip and me
1 thirty-two foot RV, and in it:
1,445 miles travelled
181 gallons of gas consumed (at 7.97 miles per gallon)
10.9 gallons of propane (water heater, furnace, stove and oven)
1,250 photos snapped
35 million pieces of sand collected on bodies, in hair, pockets, shoes, ears and noses
35 meals prepared
49 state license plates plus DC spotted, missing only Hawaii
With the drives in the 2 rental vehicles, we traveled nearly 3,000 road miles, with an additional 628 miles in flight.
The Lord tremendously blessed us with good weather and safety throughout the trip. The most severe injuries were scraped knees and sore muscles. We didn't have any rain until the last two days after we were done with all of our planned outdoor activities and even then He gave us a break in the rain during our time unloading the RV to repack the van. We had beautifully cloud free skies at Bryce during the new moon to reveal awe inspiring views of the stars (and Saturn!) but partly cloudy days during most of our hikes to keep us cooler.
What a great trip and wonderful family memories we made together the past 2 weeks. I am So grateful to Philip, who outdid himself planning this trip! I certainly don't think we're going to do an RV trip every year (Philip says the driving is too stressful for him to do it that often) but it is certainly something we would consider in the future to visit the west coast, or the northwest national parks like Glacier and Yellowstone...maybe a Canadian trip to some of the provinces we've never visited!