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  • Writer's pictureGone with the Galbraiths

Reflecting on 2018

2018. What a year, a year that flew by in the blink of an eye. It brought a lot of joy, and a lot of struggles, but overall, I learned a lot about myself, so I'd call that a win in my books. Here's a recap of some things that happened this past year.


Road Trips

 

Big Road Trip 1:


I feel like I did not take as many trips as usual this year, but looking back on the year, I'd say I did a lot. The first road trip was a trip to Oklahoma City to visit some family. We didn't get to explore the city, but seeing family was fun.


The next trip was a big trip out west that my husband accompanied me on. We drove out west towards Albuquerque, New Mexico for the first night. On the way, we detoured to Billy the Kid's grave, in Old Fort Sumner Cemetery, NM.


Old Fort Sumner and "Billy The Kid's Grave"

Billy The Kid's Grave is protected by bars so that it does not get stolen. It had been stolen at least twice in the past!

We made it to Albuquerque, NM, where we crashed for the night. But, not before we took the Sandia Peak Tramway up to a beautiful view of Albuquerque. This tramway is the longest aerial tram in the U.S.!


Check out these views from Sandia Peak, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico!


The tramway making its way up to the peak.

We had dinner at High Noon Restaurant and Saloon. It was a bit pricey, but the food was delicious. Very much so worth it! So, if you're in Old Town Albuquerque, check it out!


Next, we made our way towards Flagstaff, Arizona for the night, but not before we managed to squeeze a lot of fun into our day.


First on the itinerary for the day, Petrified Forest National Park and The Painted Desert.


The Painted Desert, located in Arizona.

More from the Painted Desert. Can you see why they call it the Painted Desert?

The Petrified National Forest and the Painted Desert are combined.


One pitstop we did was a quick one to see a Meteor Crater in Winslow, Arizona.


49 thousand years ago, a meteor created this crater that is nearly a mile wide and 570 feet deep!

Speaking of Winslow, Arizona, here is my husband "standin' on the corner of Winslow, Arizona, you know, the Eagles song, Take it Easy?


Such a fine sight to see!

Next up, Sedona, Arizona! I fell in love with this place, so much that I made a point to go back again in 2018!



We finished up our trip by staying in Flagstaff, Arizona for the night. The next day, we headed to Page, Arizona. Page was another favorite, and I was able to make my way through it three times this year! I cannot wait to go back with my kids one day!


Here are some photos we took from our tour of the Lower Antelope Canyons. You cannot miss out on this if you are in the area! Stunning!


We also hiked a nice, sandy hill up and down to Horseshoe Bend. My husband and I had a lot of fun, but also found out how not in shape we are!


Horseshoe Bend

Also located in Page is Lake Powell. This was probably one of the best parts of the trip! We kayaked through the canyons of Lake Powell, and even did some muddy hiking once we got to our turn-around point.



We stayed in Page, Arizona for the night and then decided on a whim to go visit Monument Valley, Utah and to go visit The Four Corners Monument. This Monument is on the corner of New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. Monument Valley was a success. Unfortunately, we made the drive to four corners, and it was closed! We could see it, but could not stand on it. What a bummer, as we weren't the only ones to drive there and get that disappointment. Such is life! We decided to drive on up to Cortez, Colorado to grab some pizza overlooking Mesa Verde National Park.




Next on our trip, my ultimate dream trip, The Grand Canyon. My dad always told me stories about his road trip to The Grand Canyon when I was a child, so it's always been at the top of my bucket list. While I did get to visit it twice this year, I still have a lot more adventures waiting for me in The Grand Canyon National Park.




We headed from The Grand Canyon to The Hoover Dam, on the border of Arizona and Nevada. This history behind The Hoover Dam is interesting!



The Hoover Dam

Next up, Vegas! My husband has a great friend that lives in Vegas. They were stationed in Hawaii together. He did an awesome job showing up the area.


We stayed at Excalibur Hotel and Casino for part of our stay and we stayed in the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower during the other part. They both had perks. The Stratosphere had a wonderful view from the very top, and you could look out your window and see people jumping from the tower. They also had some rides at the top. The downfall was that it was a small drive to the strip. Excalibur was on the strip, so we enjoyed being able to walk the strip and enjoy some night life. We rode the Big Apple Roller Coaster on the strip and I got my first tattoo ever in Vegas at Club Tattoo. My tattoo is on my wrist and say "adventure." Fitting, right? We did the superman zip-line on Fremont Street. Also known as where most of the crazy people are doing their "thing" to "earn" money. It was interesting and not my scene, to say the least, but the zip-line was fun!




We also checked out Red Rock Canyon in Vegas.





Next up, also near Las Vegas, was Seven Magic Mountains. The rumor was that it was getting removed or relocated. I'm not entirely sure how true that is though!




We decided to drive to Baker, California to get some Alien Jerky. We also got to see the world's largest thermometer.



Here are some more pictures from our few days in Vegas.


Next, we drove down to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, near Sierra Vista. We visited a another good friend from Hawaii. Before stopping at her house, we swung into Tombstone, Arizona to check out some Wild West history.


Tombstone, Arizona. Friendly people in a wild west atmosphere.


The saguaro is a Cactus that can be found in southern Arizona and be grow to be over 40 feet tall!

We finished up our trip back home to be with our kiddos. My sister was gracious enough to stay with them while my husband and I enjoyed this trip.


Big Road Trip 2:


So my best friend called me up and wanted to come visit me in Texas from North Carolina, but not only did she want to visit Texas, she wanted me to road trip out west with her again. So out we went. My kids stayed with my husband this time. Trust me that they would rather stay home than drive hours and hours for day and days in a car. They don't have as much fun as I do, yet, but I still do take them on many of my trips.


We did some of the same things that my husband and I did, so I won't repost the same photos, but I will recap. We started out in Texas, stopped by Billy The Kid's Grave in New Mexico, Stopped by Winslow, Arizona to see the corner, stopped by Petrified Forest National Park/The Painted Desert, and made our way to Flagstaff for the night. We even stayed in the same fancy Motel 6 in Flagstaff that my husband and I stayed at. We woke up the next day and spent the day exploring Sedona. Once again, I just love this place, so I'll put up some more photos. We spent a little more time exploring here than my husband and I did.




The next day, we drove on up to The Grand Canyon.



Next, we made our way up to Page again. This time, we only did Horseshoe Bend, but boy, was it hot! We made our way up through Utah and stayed there for the night. When we woke up, we drove to see the Hoover Dam again, and then through Vegas again. This time, we didn't spend much time in Vegas, so we had more time to explore California.


Viva Las Vegas!

Lake Mead

We drove from Vegas to Death Valley National Park. We actually went during the "hottest month ever!!" It got up to a whopping 128 degrees while we were driving through! We tried to get out of the car as much as we could, but with that heat and a pregnant friend, the two didn't mix well. To my surprise, we found some sand dunes to climb, some fantastic views, and a canyon to go through. The drive out of Death Valley National Park was jaw-dropping. Driving through the mountains was like being in a fairytale. We found ourselves in the desert in the Joshua Trees.



From Death Valley, we decided to head up to Yosemite National Park. We stayed an hour or two out and would finish up the drive in the morning. My friend was doing some research and found out that the park was closed due to some major wildfires. So, we headed on down to Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park. They are connected. I was pleasantly surprised with this place. It's definitely on my list to visit again with my kids one day!




We decided to head home with a couple of stops, of course. We drove Ventura Highway outside of Los Angeles. We had originally planned on doing Los Angeles instead of the National Parks, until we realized how close they were. We decided the park would be way cooler, and I'm sure they were! We hit up Tombstone again and made our way through El Paso to head home. Texas is a HUGE State. And this is the year my best friend got me addicted to Jack in the Box tacos. Oh well.


Big Road Trip 3:


Utah! We drove through Utah on the previous two trips, and we were sooo close to more National Parks, but we did not have enough time to explore them, so I made it happen on Thanksgiving break. My sister flew in, now I had someone to go with, so why not? My husband was in Missouri for a few months due to training, so we decided to travel. This time it was me, my sister, and my two kids. This was an interesting trip, as kids always make it a little harder, but still worth it. They are young, but I hope that Alana can keep some of those memories forever. We did our own version of The Grand Circle.


First stop, Amarillo, Texas. We were driving through Amarillo anyways, so we decided to make a pitstop to check out Cadillac Ranch. Along the way, we also spotted hundreds, maybe even in the thousands, of wind turbines. We also saw a lot of cotton fields, something that I have never seen!



Cotton Fields and Wind Turbines in the Panhandle of Texas.


Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

Next up, we stayed in Raton, New Mexico for the night.



Next, we drove up to Great Sand Dunes National Park, located in Colorado. We got to drive through see the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. What a view! And those sand dunes that came out of nowhere?? Wow!



Beautiful Rocky Mountains

My children playing in Great Sand Dunes National Park.

We had a lot of fun in the dunes, but it was time to head to our next destination, Garden of the Gods, located in Colorado Springs.




We drove up to Denver to crash for the night. The next morning, we woke up a bit late, but we drove through the beautiful snowy mountains. We made a stop in Frisco, a gorgeous little Hallmark Christmas movie looking type of town. I was not able to capture any pictures that would do it any justice. We made it to Moab, Utah and checked out some of Arches National Park. We tried to hike to Delicate Arch, but it was getting dark and we had the kids, so better judgement told us to turn around. We drove around and checked it out and decided to come back in the morning. We did a little bit of hiking with the kids and saw some more arches. What a beautiful park!


Just hangin' out....