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Old 06-01-2018, 10:10 PM   #1
B.M.
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Road Trip V

Road Trip V

Who? Me-Brandy, Kids- Wesley (20), Dillon (19), Madilyn (17), Austin (15), & Winston (12)
What? A 35 day road trip to California with a detour through South Texas…
When? Tuesday May 29th- Tuesday July 3rd
Where? All of California (national parks, major cities, Disney Land, and more) - Also South Texas and a few other states as well….
Why? I had a goal to visit all 50 states before my oldest son graduated. He graduated two years ago with us being two states shy of our goal. And my second son Dillon graduated last year. We have technically briefly driven through CA when we were visiting the North West states a few years ago. However, I didn’t count it as “visiting” since we didn’t even stop. California has so many national parks and other significant places- we have decided to give it its own trip. After this trip- our one remaining state will be Hawaii.
How? We will be driving. All of our other road trips have been via driving also. However, this year we are doing something different- driving two vans instead of one. Our vans seat seven people and there are six of us. But no one sits comfortably in the third back row anymore- let alone two someones. Wesley is 6’4, Dillon is 6’2, Austin is quickly approaching 6’, and even though Madilyn and Winston are smaller- they are not third row back seat small . As many hours as we spend driving on these trips, I felt that we would really appreciate the comfort of having two vehicles. Not to mention- we have to pack soooo much stuff, it makes the van all the more crowded. As I type this, we are already a few days into the trip and I can say we definitely made the right call on driving two vehicles. As for lodging- we are partly staying in hotels and partly tent camping (in the national parks). We have our days mapped out with great detail- but it is too much to list out here- I will just give you the details day by day….

Thanks for following along!
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:11 PM   #2
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Can’t wait to hear all about it Brandy!!
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:32 AM   #3
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I love hearing about your adventures! So - on with the show!!!
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Old 06-02-2018, 04:24 AM   #4
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I love your road trips, so I'm looking forward to hearing all about this one. Tell me though, how the heck did your kids get so old? I just read their ages and I was like "what???"
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:44 AM   #5
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Looking forward to following along.
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Old 06-02-2018, 10:27 PM   #6
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Signing on to follow your family on another road trip! Great summer reading!
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Old 06-03-2018, 01:02 PM   #7
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Sounds like another great summer driving adventure! I always enjoy these and happy to hear this will be state #49. I always enjoy the videos!
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Old 06-04-2018, 11:35 PM   #8
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Tuesday May 29
Day 1
Meridian, Mississippi

Even though school was out last week for kids, teachers had three scheduled post planning days. My last day was scheduled for today- the day after Memorial Day. Why in the world they have us come back one single day after Memorial Day is beyond me…. We spent the three day weekend packing- but there is always a lot of last minute things to do and I really didn’t like the idea of working the same day as leaving for a trip. When I initially planned this trip- I knew I was scheduled to work this day but had though I might be able to get it off even though the last day of summer is often considered a “critical day”. Unfortunately we were scheduled to have a final meeting this morning at 9am and because I am the Social Studies department chair for the school- I had to give a mini presentation for what to expect next year and ask for feedback for things we had done this year so it could be taken into consideration going forward…. So- I went to work, gave my ten minute presentation, listened to the principal give his 30 minute presentation, and left- lol. Seems like this could have been done on the Friday before.
Since we are driving separately this year- the three oldest stayed home and went through the last minute checklist. I took the two youngest with me to work and we were on the road by 11am. We actually ended up being a few hours ahead of the others.
We had a 5 hour drive this first day. We passed through Alabama and stopped in Meridian, Mississippi for the night. We ate Chick-fil-A for lunch on the drive and once we were all at the hotel- we had sandwiches in the room for dinner. Winston and I swam in the pool for about an hour and a half. No plans this day other than just driving to our stopping point. We went to bed at a reasonable hour and the next morning we were bound for Arlington, Texas.
Wednesday May 30 (Day 2)
We had a 7 hour drive to Arlington, Texas. We didn’t set an alarm, but we still woke up decently early. We had pop tarts for breakfast and quickly loaded up the vans and hit the road.
Yesterday we started the license plate game and it somehow evolved into a competition between the two vans. Austin has declared we have to stay with our original “team” so that we have a clear winner and looser when it is said and done. I’m going along with it for now- but not sure about the whole trip as I am the only driver in the gold van. Whereas the white van has three capable drivers- Technically Austin has his learners, but he JUST got it and I have to be more alert when he’s driving than I do when I’m just driving myself….
We had packed sandwiches for the drive and ate them along the way. We had an uneventful drive and this time the other van beat us to the hotel by two hours. We all left at the same time, but my GPS glitched and cost us a considerable amount of time.
Our hotel was right next to Six Flags Over Texas. We have season passes to Six Flags that includes the annual dining plan- meaning we get two meals and one snack per day when visiting Six Flags. We were set to tour Six Flags Over Texas the next day- but figured we would go in and at least have a “free” dinner since we were right here. I had a burger and most of the kids had chicken tenders. It was hot (over 100 degrees) but the heat wasn’t as terrible as I had imagined it being. We were able to eat dinner in an air conditioned restaurant and since the park was dead (likely due to the heat)- we went ahead and rode one ride after dinner before heading back to the hotel. I think the name of it was Justice League and it was similar to Disney’s Buzz Light Year or Toy Story Mania, just not as well themed or tech savvy- but still fun all the same and having literally zero wait was wonderful. Once back at the hotel, we just hung out and eventually went to bed.
Thursday May 31/ Day 3
We slept in this morning and had mini muffins for breakfast. We were set to go to Six Flags and it didn’t open until 10:30am. Our hotel is basically right across the street, so we had zero rush. There is also a Hurricane Harbor less than 2 miles away and since it is calling for triple digits again- some of us wanted to spend some time in the water park. Wesley, Winston, and I went straight to Hurricane Harbor and the other three went to the main Six Flags Over Texas.
I really enjoyed the wave pool at Hurricane Harbor and that is all I did the entire time we were there. They don’t allow floats in the wave pool which is wonderful. Our local White Water allows floats and it makes the water way too crowded. Because no floats were allowed, most people were unwilling to go into the deep waters during the waves meaning I had the deep end to myself. When there is a crowd of people- I do not enjoy it. Even though I am a strong swimmer- when there are tons of people on floats bumping into you during the waves, it just isn’t safe (or enjoyable). Wesley and Winston rode a handful of waterslides with minimal wait.
Unfortunately our meal plan didn’t work at this water park- only the main Six Flags. So once we got good and hungry we headed the two miles down the road to Six Flags Over Texas and met up with the other three for lunch. I had a black bean burger. I had never had one before and I was pleasantly surprised- it tasted kind of like a taco.
After lunch- we rode a few things. The best ride was probably Runaway Mountain which was an indoor, in the dark roller coaster (very similar to Space Mountain). Winston and I rode it twice- the first time we had just a handful of people in front of us and the second time we walked right on. I couldn’t believe how low the crowds were. I think most people were unable to go to Six Flags in temps that were over 100. By staying in the shade- we managed to have a great day despite the heat. Had it not been so hot- I think we could have stayed till they closed as everything was a walk on. But the heat was intense, so after we ate dinner (I had a taco salad)- we headed out for the night. The heat and walking had left us exhausted- everyone was quick to go to sleep this night. The next day we would be bound for San Antonio, Texas.



video from first few days-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv-_EOc0ElU

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My Countdown Counting down to: Road Trip IV
!!!!!******!!!!!*****!!!!!!*****!!!!!!*****!!!!!** ***!!!!!*****
My Previous TripsWDW/Pop Century June 2008-- WDW/AS Movies Thanksgiving 2009-- WDW/Pop Century March 2010-- DCL/Wonder to Alaska May 2011-- WDW/Vaca Home off property Christmas 2012-- WDW/AS Music Christmas 2014
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Old 06-05-2018, 01:50 AM   #9
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How great to be able to have a more relaxing day after all that driving.
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Relaxing on board the Magic. The trip report for our back-to-back cruises on the Disney Magic has started!
My Countdown Counting down to: 2019
Happy New Year!
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My Previous Trips21 trips to WDW, 6 to Disneyland in California, 9 to Disneyland Paris, 1 to Hong Kong Disneyland, 1 to Tokyo Disney, 1 to Aulani, 1 to Hilton Head, 2 to Vero Beach and 13 Disney cruises on the Magic, Wonder, Dream and Fantasy
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Old 06-05-2018, 07:40 AM   #10
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I don’t think I would have lasted long in that heat, sounds like quite a fun day.
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:34 AM   #11
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Great start to the trip!!
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My Previous TripsAUG '16 - POFQ, APR '12 - POFQ, JUL '10 - DL, AUG '09 - DCL Western, AUG '08 - POFQ/BC, AUG '06 - AKL/BC/DisneyWonder/Poly, DEC '05 - AKL, APR '05 - AKL/BC, DEC '04 - AKL, MAY '04 - AKL/BC, MAY '03 - WL/BC, MAY '98 -offsite, MAY '94 - BC, AUG '85 - Poly, AUG '83 - Poly, AUG '81 - Poly, JUL '79 - World Inn, JUL '76 - World Inn
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:14 PM   #12
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Very nice start to the trip even with the intense heat. Love the video as I always enjoy these. You do a great job with these! Looking forward to San Antonio and hope you get to experience the River Walk area, which I've heard is quite something and somewhere I hope to visit one day with the great coverage of it on various travel programs.
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October 6, 2017-Enjoying an amazing dinner at Victoria & Albert's with PP's Dot and Drew

My TR from my most recent trip is now underway. Includes: Universal Studios Florida, Disney World and Sea World
Orlando Trifecta TR
-Updated December 10th! TR is now COMPLETED!





My PassPorter Bookshelf
My Previous Trips1995-2000, 2006-Various in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, France, England, Holland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Lichtenstein, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Morocco; 1998-U.S. National Parks (California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada) 1999-Las Vegas, 2001-Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii, 2005-Memphis, 2011-Austin, TX: ACL Festival and Orlando: Bay Hill Lodge; 2013-Paris and Eastern France's Wine Country, 2015-Memphis for 7 WDW: 2002-WL, 2003-CSR, 2004-AKL, 2005-BWI, 2007-POR, BC, 2008-Offsite Championsgate Omni & CBR, 2009-Poly, POR (Decade of Dreams), 2010-POFQ, GF, 2011-POFQ, 2012-CSR,WL, 2014-POR, 2015-DCL Magic in Western Caribbean, 2016-B Resort in DS, 2017-USF: Royal Pacific /WDW: Dolphin

Last edited by SuperDave; 06-06-2018 at 12:26 AM..
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colexis Mom View Post
Can’t wait to hear all about it Brandy!!

Thanks for following along....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grammy Grumpy View Post
I love hearing about your adventures! So - on with the show!!!

Thanks!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by chezp View Post
I love your road trips, so I'm looking forward to hearing all about this one. Tell me though, how the heck did your kids get so old? I just read their ages and I was like "what???"

I'm trying to figure that out also!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by purplegal View Post
Looking forward to following along.

Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cam22 View Post
Signing on to follow your family on another road trip! Great summer reading!

Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
Sounds like another great summer driving adventure! I always enjoy these and happy to hear this will be state #49. I always enjoy the videos!

Thanks for following along!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by chezp View Post
How great to be able to have a more relaxing day after all that driving.

It was...


Quote:
Originally Posted by purplegal View Post
I don’t think I would have lasted long in that heat, sounds like quite a fun day.

Very hot!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Colexis Mom View Post
Great start to the trip!!

Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
Very nice start to the trip even with the intense heat. Love the video as I always enjoy these. You do a great job with these!

Thank you!!
__________________
B.
My Countdown Counting down to: Road Trip IV
!!!!!******!!!!!*****!!!!!!*****!!!!!!*****!!!!!** ***!!!!!*****
My Previous TripsWDW/Pop Century June 2008-- WDW/AS Movies Thanksgiving 2009-- WDW/Pop Century March 2010-- DCL/Wonder to Alaska May 2011-- WDW/Vaca Home off property Christmas 2012-- WDW/AS Music Christmas 2014
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Old 06-05-2018, 08:58 PM   #14
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Friday June 1/ Day 4
We had a 4.5 hour drive to San Antonio this day. We got up and got going early as we had a lot we wanted to do in our one day in San Antonio. We had pop- tarts for breakfast and quickly loaded the vans before hitting the road.
Winston, Austin, and I were still driving in the gold van and we stopped and ate What-A-Burger for lunch on the way. It was our first time eating it and we really enjoyed it.
The other three were a little ahead of us. They drove straight to the hotel without stopping for lunch. We were pleasantly surprised the hotel was ready early and they were able to check in early. Once checked in, they found a What-A-Burger in walking distance of the hotel and ate lunch while waiting on us to arrive.
It timed out well- we arrived at the hotel right as they got back from lunch. We quickly unloaded the vehicles and headed out for the Alamo. I had chosen a hotel in walking distance of everything we wanted to do here.
We wanted to see the AMC film about the Alamo before touring as I had read it gave good information that helped you enjoy the Alamo all the more. Unfortunately, the theater was having technical difficulties and there 1pm showing was cancelled.
Once discovering this- we headed back out into the triple digit head for the Alamo. I had pre-booked/paid for the audio self-guided tour. We quickly picked up our audio devices and started touring. We spent about an hour and half walking around, seeing the sights, listening to our audio, and taking pictures.
There was a guide out describing the Alamo battle in great detail- he did a wonderful job. I stopped and listened to him describe the entire battle. I will say I felt the audio was a waste of money. It did not provide a lot of info in my opinion and I would have been just as happy without it.
We were done by about 2:30pm and we walked back to the AMC and purchased tickets for the 3pm Alamo documentary. We enjoyed the film.
We now headed back to the hotel to relax for a few hours. Four of the kids went swimming. I showered as it had been very sweaty in that heat. Everyone took turns showering after swimming.
We had 6pm dinner reservations for the nearby Rainforest Café. The only other time we ate at RC was at Disney World several years ago and we did NOT enjoy it. But when Wesley heard they had a RFC here, he desperately wanted to eat it. So, we did. And thankfully- this experience was very different than last time- we enjoyed the food immensely! I had a taco salad. Madilyn and Dillon had pasta dishes. The other three all had burgers. We also split an appetizer that included several different things- my favorites were the egg rolls and artichoke dip. We all left full.
Rain Forest Café was right on the famous River Walk. So we walked the River Walk for a while after dinner. Even though the sun was setting, it was still very hot outside. The River Walk had a lot of stores and outdoor performers.
We were soon headed back to the hotel. Wesley and Madilyn did go back to the River Walk later that night once the sun was completely down to experience it at night. They enjoyed just walking around a little more…
We enjoyed our day in San Antonio.

Saturday June 2/ Day 6
This morning we were visiting Fiesta Texas Six Flags. The Six Flags was about 30 minutes from our hotel. We packed up from the hotel and loaded the vans. The plan was to spend the day at Six Flags and then drive a few hours towards our next destination.
This Six Flags has a water park inside of the regular park which is ideal. The temps were set to be in the triple digits again and we knew we would need to be in the water. We started out riding a few rides in the main park area as the water park didn’t open until later in the day.
When it was nearing time for the water park to open, we headed that way and claimed a few seats in the shade. Dillon and Austin sat in the seats and read books rather than swim or ride water slides. This is the norm for Dillon, but I was surprised Austin didn’t want to swim- he usually enjoys water slides and such. Madilyn and I spent a little time in the wave pool, but it was too crowded to stay for long. I also went around the lazy river a few times with Winston. Wesley and Winston rode a few water slides.
We ate in the water park area for lunch. I had pizza and it was not very good.
Toward the later afternoon- some of the kids rode a few more things in the main park area. We ate a barbeque place for dinner in the main park area which was really good. After eating dinner, we were ready to call it a day.
Madilyn wasn’t feeling well by the time we left. She was a little red despite using and reapplying sunscreen and she had a headache- I suspect she was dehydrated. She didn’t even eat her dinner…. I gave her Tylenol and told her to drink water non-stop on the ride- she did and she was fine by the time we got to our destination….
We had a 3 hour drive in front of us to Del Rio, Texas. This was just a stopping point as we would be driving to Big Bend National Park the next day….


video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsXO64XeqSA



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My Countdown Counting down to: Road Trip IV
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My Previous TripsWDW/Pop Century June 2008-- WDW/AS Movies Thanksgiving 2009-- WDW/Pop Century March 2010-- DCL/Wonder to Alaska May 2011-- WDW/Vaca Home off property Christmas 2012-- WDW/AS Music Christmas 2014
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Old 06-05-2018, 09:04 PM   #15
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Saturday June 3/ Day 6
We thought we had a 3 hour drive in front of us this day for Big Bend National Park. However when we put it in our GPS, it was over a four hour drive. We were going to be touring Big Bend National Park today and it was calling for a high of 106 degrees. For this reason, I really wanted to make park opening which is why we had driven a few hours the previous night- to get that much closer to the park.
Unfortunately with the longer drive scheduled, there was no way we were going to make park opening. We stopped and ate What-A-Burger for breakfast. They have breakfast offerings but all of the boys ordered burgers since their menu is 24/7. Madilyn and I had biscuits and gravy. We enjoyed our breakfast and we were now headed toward Big Bend.
Once we arrived at the park, we stopped at several overlooks. One of the main things the park is known for is the expansive Chihuahuan Desert. There were not a lot of people visiting on this very hot day and there was desert land as far as the eye can see. The park is also known for a lot of fossil finds. We did look at some fossil exhibits. We only took one very, very short hike. Due to the heat, hiking was simply not an option.
One of the things we were most looking forward to was going into Boquillas, Mexico. In recent years, the border crossing at the Rio Grande River was re-opened and I thought visiting Mexico via the infamous Rio Grande River sounded exciting.
There were a lot of border patrol officers not only in the park, but outside of it as well. We actually went through multiple border patrol stops going to and from the park. There was an officer near the border and he asked if we were sure we wanted to cross the river into Mexico. He said due to the high temps they have had to rescue a lot of people due to heat strokes and such. I said yes, we are sure. He advised us to take plenty of water with us and wear hats. Some of us wore hats, some didn’t- but we all took ample water.
It was a short hike down to the river and there was a man with a rowboat offering to row us across for $5. Given that the water level was high, we paid the $5. The heat made swimming sound nice- but the water was hot, not refreshing and I definitely didn’t want to walk around Mexico in wet clothes.
Once across the river, there were a handful of men offering donkey or truck rides into town. It is only a half mile walk- but the heat was sweltering. Some of the kids wanted to hike it. I opted for the air conditioned truck and told Winston he had to come with me. I let the others make their own call. In the end- Dillon and Austin went for the donkey ride and the others rode in the truck with me. Wesley really wanted to walk it, but not alone…
Once into town, there really isn’t much to see. The town is very small and I believe has a population barely over 100. There are two restaurants in the town. We elected to eat at Falcons. It was very good and very cheap. Winston and I ordered tacos. Madilyn had burritos. Dillon had stuffed peppers with rice and beans. Wesley and Austin had some odd dishes that I don’t even know what it was- it had eggs in it and beef jerky among other things. We shared some of our dishes to give others a taste. Everyone enjoyed their meals except Austin. He liked the taste- but it was insanely spicy. I tried a bite and regretted it, it was so spicy. I thought Madilyn’s was the best- her burritos were very, very good. They had bottled drinks. We ate outside in the shade- they do not have air condition. They just got electricity a few years ago- solar electricity.
After eating, we headed back to the river and back into the U.S. We enjoyed visiting this small town of Boquillas and I was excited to have crossed the Rio Grande River.
We were supposed to camp this night inside the park near the border. It was first come, first serve and the park was empty- so no worries of the campground filling. Wesley begged me to get a hotel as the heat was so intense. A park ranger told us that it would still be in the 90’s at midnight and I agreed that would be difficult to sleep in. So, we found a hotel a few hours away- toward our next destination which was Saguaro National Park in Arizona.
On the way out of the park- we stopped at a few more overlooks and then we were off to El Paso, Texas where we would stay in a hotel for one night on the way to Arizona. Unfortunately, this ended up being a very rough drive!
For one, the drive was VERY isolated. We drove for hours without seeing a single other vehicle or any sign of civilization. Of course during this time, our gas started running very low and we had ZERO cell service. We had long lost sight of the other van and had no way to call them. Every once in a while we would see signs that there was a town or junction coming up- but we would get there and there would be nothing- NOTHING. Our gas was well below the E when we finally found a gas station. The prices were insane- but I was very thankful to have made it.
We also drove into some very intense storms. We could only pick up one single radio station- and it was talk radio. I mostly kept it turned off, but occasionally turned it on to see if any other stations would pick up. One of the times I turned it on- it said we were under a severe storm watch that included hail and 60 mph winds. I already knew the weather was bad as I was driving in it- but this sounded really bad. The radio was saying to get indoors. But we were driving past nothing but desert. There was no option but to keep driving, so we did…
We finally made it to a small town where we had cell service and also took the opportunity to top off our gas just to play it safe. We got out our sandwiches to eat for dinner while we were parked here and I got a phone call that no parent ever wants to get…
Wesley (and Dillon and Madilyn) had been in an accident. They were a good ways ahead of us on this drive. They were all okay- Thank God! They were driving through the intense storm and hydroplaned. Wesley was unable to regain control of the vehicle. The van began spinning in complete circles- they all three later told me they thought for sure the van was going to flip. It didn’t. But it did spin several times and eventually crashed into the guard rail. The entire passenger side of the van was very banged up and scratched up. The back tail light was busted and we needed to replace both tires on the passenger side of the van. I’m so thankful everyone was okay. The van only had cosmetic damage and once we replaced the tires- it drives just fine….
We finally made it to the hotel and we were exhausted. I couldn’t help but think we might should have just sucked it up and camped in the triple digits after all…. Tomorrow we would be bound for Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona.


video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAReToPFqmU&t=5s



__________________
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My Countdown Counting down to: Road Trip IV
!!!!!******!!!!!*****!!!!!!*****!!!!!!*****!!!!!** ***!!!!!*****
My Previous TripsWDW/Pop Century June 2008-- WDW/AS Movies Thanksgiving 2009-- WDW/Pop Century March 2010-- DCL/Wonder to Alaska May 2011-- WDW/Vaca Home off property Christmas 2012-- WDW/AS Music Christmas 2014
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