Thursday, March 17, 2016

Our Palo Duro Adventure

Since we only have about 2 weeks left in Oklahoma before our move to Ohio, I decided to take the boys,  Olivia, and the dogs on an overnight trip to Amarillo and the Palo Duro Canyon.  Not only is this likely our last chance to see the "Little Grand Canyon", but it would also give me a chance to see how our dog, Trixie, travels before setting out on a 13+ hour trip to Ohio. So yesterday afternoon we drove to a hotel in Amarillo and stayed in a hotel overnight. (For those wondering why Kelsey didn't come with us, she is currently in Utah with friends and enjoying a visit with her fabulous Uncle Danny, Aunt Jessica, and cousin Jackson.)

***As a side note, I learned that Maddox is too light of a sleeper to share a hotel room with dogs that may need to make a potty run at 4 a.m. When he wakes up at 4, there's no going back to sleep. And I seriously need to bring some melatonin for Connor when we are on the road if I want him to fall asleep before 10 p.m. But on the bright side, Trixie doesn't get car sick! This bodes well for our drive to Ohio.***

Before I get to the pictures from the hiking trip in the Canyon, I'm going to fast-forward a bit to two incidents that happened on the way home - both worth remembering.

Incident 1: Comedian Cop
     After leaving the park, we headed back to Amarillo to gas up the van and get some lunch before making the 4-hour trip back to Edmond. Since the canyon is SE of Amarillo, that meant backtracking a little out of our way. (For those who need a geography lesson, Amarillo is in the Texas panhandle, due west of the OKC area.) I happened to be in a construction zone on the highway heading west and not paying attention to my speed, so a policeman pulled me over. He asked us where we were headed, and I told him we were going back to Oklahoma after seeing the canyon. 
     He must have wondered about my answer, because he asked me again, "So, where are you headed now?" 
     "Back to Oklahoma," I replied. 
     "You do know Oklahoma is in the other direction, don't you?" 
     Yes. Yes, Mr. Police Officer. I do know. But thanks for letting me off with a warning instead of a speeding ticket!!

Incident 2: Dead Battery
     A little over an hour from home, my battery light in the van came on. I watched it and worried, but didn't really know what it meant so I kept driving, hoping and praying we'd make it home without incident and I could get my car to our mechanic. Within about 20 minutes, all my gauges had stopped working, and I knew we were in trouble. I called our mechanic and he told me to find a local auto shop and get someone to charge our battery so we could get home and he could take a look at it. Fortunately, we were almost to a town that had what we needed. I called the closest mechanic and he told me I could stop by and he'd help me out. As I pulled off the interstate into town, I hit a red light and the van died completely. A couple of really nice guys (did I ever tell you how nice the people are in Oklahoma??) came to my rescue and pushed me through the intersection into a parking lot. A lot that just happened  to be almost directly behind the mechanic I was aiming for. And as an added blessing, a city park was directly across the street! Olivia took the boys and Trixie over to stretch their legs and play, and I got help from the mechanic. A mere 45 minutes and $10 later, we were on the road home and made it safely. So although it wasn't the way I wanted to end my "last" Oklahoma adventure, I was grateful it worked out the way it did!

So, this trip to Palo Duro Canyon Park this morning...

I wonder if this sign was trying to tell us something?? Falling hikers maybe??

The first thing we did after getting into the park was stop near the visitor's center to get our bearings. The kids quickly learned that this plant was painfully sharp. The green blades are pretty stiff and the tips? Those are thorns. Long, sharp thorns. Apparently we aren't fast learners, though, because I'm pretty sure that each of us got pricked at least once before we left.

I asked the boys to take a picture by the sign, and they started goofing off. In order to get them to be serious, I said, "Be respectful, boys, you're by the flag!" That's when Connor struck this pose. Little turkey. I couldn't argue, though... a salute is respectful!

Olivia found great satisfaction in  sitting on this wall next to a drop-off. I don't know why it makes my stomach do flip-slops to see it, but it does. Every time. And now that she knows it, Olivia takes every opportunity she can to make me suffer!

Although the most popular trail at the park is the Lighthouse trail, we opted for an easier one since we had the dogs and a long drive home.

Trixie seems to like hiking, but I'm not sure we like taking her. We can't get her to drink water out of anything except her usual bowl, so it was hard to watch her panting and thirsty. Annabelle didn't mind the hike at all. Although it was probably because she spent the time in the backpack pet carrier that I was wearing. Yes, I have become one of "those" pet owners. It's a little humiliating, to tell the truth!

At one point the boys wanted to go climb up on this ledge for a picture. Maddox tried to climb up first, but he couldn't make it alone so he asked for a boost. Connor tried to give him one by letting Maddox climb on his back. It didn't work, but it was funny to watch!

Fortunately, Olivia came to their rescue and got them up there.

And now a few more pictures of our scenery and the boys...

When did Connor become such a ham? Usually it's Kelsey and Maddox making crazy faces at the camera!

Overall, it was one of the longest 28 hours of my life.
But we're still glad we went.
Mostly, though, we're glad to be home.
And especially glad that the boys (and dogs) are asleep in their own beds...