Colorado Road Trip: Part 1 - And we're off!

We just got back from our Epic Colorado Roadtrip 2019! We had such a good time. And the month before this road trip was really rough which made the break feel very necessary. But I'll skip the rough parts of June and go straight to fun pictures.

Part of our Road Trip philosophy is to stop and see the roses sites. Yes, sometimes we do just drive overnight to make some progress but this trip, while about 16 hours each direction, was not rushed so we made a couple fun stops each day. Some where pre-planned but a few, like our first stop at the Brown vs Board of Education National Historic Site, were impromptu. It was right off the highway when we all needed a bathroom break so we just took the exit but I'm so glad we did because it turned out to be a really great stop. It's not always easy to find information about smaller sites and how kid friendly they are but we did pretty well this trip.

Brown vs Board of Education National Historic Site (MacKenzie - 4.5 Stars, Craig - 5 Stars)

It went totally over Norah's head but Jonah and especially Lucy were at a good age for discussion. I was impressed by the displays and got a bit emotional. Education and children are passions of mine but what struck me the most was how recent it all was. It's one of those concepts that I think just takes time to sink it. A couple decades seems like forever to a ten year old but much less to me now that I'm in my 30s. All in all, a good place to spend 30-60 minutes.

The kids stopped me at this image to say it looked like they were doing Swedish Drill. We've just started adding that Charlotte Mason subject in ourselves so they thought it was neat that they aren't the only ones :-) 

And these aren't the best pictures but I loved seeing a Kindergarten that I could be jealous of - you know, from back in the days when Kindergarten was fun! A piano with folk songs, bins of wooden blocks, a few slates and a play kitchen. 

Eisenhower Presidential Museum (MacKenzie - 3 stars, Craig - 3.5 with the caveat that it probably would be higher for both of us if we could have see the museum)

This is only a couple hours from my parent's old Leavenworth, Kansas house and Craig, being who he is, had wanted to go so badly when we visted them but it wasn't ever a good time. But we finally made it! The actual musem part was closed for renovations but we did the shortened exhibits they had moved into the library and toured his childhood home.

This isn't the best picture as they're just sitting waiting for our tour but it's a great example of a Norah face. She makes these faces all the time. I'll get 3 kids smiling nicely but Norah's just got this weird smirky thing going on. 

My main impression upon leaving was that I may have had some differences of opinion with his mother, but she did apparently know how to raise boys. In general, I just love visiting historic homes, especially ones from not too long ago but before Americans started getting crazy with house sizes and "needs." It makes me feel much more reasonable about our family and house size. This is their living room. None of the (7!) boys were allowed to sit on the furniture, but I guess there must have been enough floor space for them.

If we head this way again, which I'm sure we will sometime, we'll probably want to stop again and see the full museum. 

Also, it was ridiculously hot that day. High 90s or even into the 100s. We couldn't get a picture with all the kids because at different times, we had some who refused to leave the shade. I don't blame them. Another fun family moment I want to remember. Norah was getting fussy so I took Jude out of the Kinderpack on my back and handed him to Craig and put her in there. She's heavy but I can handle it for short periods. A few minutes later, I panicked because I couldn't find her! Luckily Lucy was around to remind me that she was literally attached to me at that very second. Crisis averted!

We ended that day grabbing pizza and catching up with some friends. Time for parents to talk, kids to run, play with bubbles, and pet some horses meant we could pile back into the car around bedtime and get just a but further before having to stop for the night. 

We actually find that to be helpful in stretching a day's progress. We don't do a ton of table/movie time in the car but even if we think we've hit our max distance, a nice long dinner break with a movie afterwards can often get us further so we could get up and going for Day Two where we saw....

Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site (MacKenzie - 4 stars, Craig - 4 stars)

Stopping here made me excited about starting Tree in the Trail again with Jonah next year. It was a privately-owned trading fort on the Santa Fe Trail. 

Craig had the map but it was neat to take a guess in each room as to what purpose it had or who stayed there. I was impressed by how "fancy" several of them were. 

It was mostly a self-guided tour but both interpreters we talked to were quite good. The first showed us some signs that the three different groups (plains Indians, trappers and Mexicans) used to communicate and trade. The second let the kids practice their buffalo skin-compressing skills. 

Norah's fascinated by the ant she saw by the bathrooms. So glad we travel long distances for these rare education experiences :-)

All in all, another fun spot. 

We actually had different plans for the second day but we made really good progress on day one and at that point, we were so close to the cabin, we could just taste it so on we went!

And the last hour's drive took us through the San Juan National Forest so I threw on a few kid podcasts and we enjoyed the scenery. Pagosa Springs (and Part 2 of our adventures) awaits!

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