The theme of this trip was go with the flow. The trip didn’t exactly go as planned but if you do something often enough things are bound to not go as planned occasionally. My kids were on fall break earlier this month and we had a trip to New Mexico planned that was to include our first backcountry camping trip. Unfortunately the government decided to shut down so we were not able to go to backcountry camping. We had planned to go to White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. White Sands has been on my bucket list for sometime. In addition to all that the park has to offer you can go sledding on the dunes and the kids were really excited about the prospect of sledding. We live in the desert and the kids have only been sledding once. Our original itenerary included White Sands National Monument, Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque and Four Corners (per the kids request).
We were hoping that the shutdown would end and the parks would open so we changed up our trip so that White Sands would be at the end rather than the beginning. Unfortunately the shutdown lasted longer than our vacation so White Sands is back on the bucket list. Enough about what didn’t happen, lets continue on with what did happen!
We started off by spending our first night at the KOA in Flagstaff, AZ. We wanted to see Meteor Crater and it is fairly close to Flagstaff so we thought that would be a good place to spend the night. The next morning we went to Meteor Crater and then our plan was to drive through Monument Valley on our way to Goosenecks State Park in Utah. It was hard to find places to camp during the shutdown because so many parks have a connection to the government. The Utah State Parks are not which is why we chose Goosenecks, and the fact that it looks really neat. The winds were so strong at Meteor Crater that we decided it was safer to go back to Flagstaff and get a hotel for the night than continue driving. I am not sure how strong the winds were but they literally stopped us in our tracks, which the kids thought was so cool. We were walking and then a gust of wind would come and we could not move. If we were walking in the direction of the wind it gave us a speed boost. I felt like Mario when he gets the star and is running through the levels at supersonic speed.
Meteor Crater was interesting but was not as enjoyable as it could have been due to the wind. Several friends have told me that it is always windy at Meteor Crater but this particular day was ridiculous. We were not able to stand outside to look at the crater for very long because I was afraid the kids were going to blow away.
Meteor Crater is the largest impact crater to be discovered in the Unites States and is the result of a meteor crashing into earth 50,000 years ago. Your admission gains you access to a museum with some interesting exhibits, several movies, a guided rim tour (which I am sure would have been really interesting but it was too windy) and a walking path to several look out points. Meteor Crater was interesting but expensive. We spent $45 for our family of four to enter and we were there for about an hour. Had it not been so windy I am sure we would have spent more time exploring.
The first night in Flagstaff we stayed at the KOA. I loved the grounds of this KOA but I would not stay in the particular kabin we were in again. First, for the good. The playground was amazing. The kids had a blast! It reminded me of the playground toys from when I was a kid.
There is also a place to play horse shoes, some fun places to take pictures, a nature trail, and in the summer they have an activity center with horses, bikes and a splash pad.
The roads here are very narrow which I found odd for a place that caters to people with RVs. And now for the bad. Often times KOA kabins are all in a row but they face the same direction so you are not staring into your neighbors cabin. Not the kabins at this KOA. The fronts faced each other, and they were close together, so it was really awkward. Supposedly they have two other kabins in a different area of the park and I forgot to drive by to see if they faced each other. If you are interested in staying in a kabin here I would suggest calling to see if the other kabins face each other.
The second night in Flagstaff we stayed at the Embassy Suites. It was supposed to snow that night and I was not staying in the KOA kabin again so we picked a hotel. Hot diggity dog…I heart Embassy Suites. Aside from a nice room, they had free happy hour and a cook to order breakfast, all included in the price of the room. After a cold, windy and frustrating day the warm, cozy bed (and wine) was just what we needed.
We woke up the next morning, ate our yummy breakfast, packed up the truck (in snow) and hit the road for Four Corners. Earlier this year the kids requested that we take a trip to Four Corners. It’s out of the way from everything we have planned this year but they had their hearts set on visiting so we tacked it onto this trip.
Four Corners is on the Navajo reservation and is the only place in the United States where four states touch. There is a plaque where the states meet and you can stand in one or all of the states at once. Vendors are scattered around the monument selling Native American crafts and jewelry. Little Miss requested that we play Twister on the four states so that’s just what we did.
Other than that, there is not much in this area. Back in the car we went and headed for Albuquerque.