Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Break 2017: The Grand Canyon and Beyond

The Austin Spring breaks typically look quite similar, finding fun things to do locally. This year we decided to mix it up a bit and take our family vacation during spring break. Addison selected to go to the Grand Canyon, and I read spring break time was a great time to visit this beautiful National Park. So, it was a go.
We flew out of Omaha on Saturday morning all feeling well. Leading up to this trip, Asher had been sick for nearly a week. But, he had felt better the last few days before our departure. Anyway, we landed in Las Vegas and after an hour wait for the rental car (yes, not joking), we were off and driving the 4 LONG BORING hours to the Grand Canyon. If you select to do this, select a car with great gas mileage because there are not many gas stations after you leave Vegas. There is not much of anything! We were dreaming of water without a place to stop. We had a Camry, so the gas situation was great.
We arrived to see the Grand Canyon before Sunset Saturday afternoon. We were in awe when we stepped out of the car to see the view. It was jaw dropping. Nobody in our family had been there, so it was fun to experience it together. We took a view pictures and checked a few things out before sunset. The town we stayed in, Tusayan, Arizona, was just outside of the Grand Canyon National Park Entrance. The town is about a half mile long with hotels and a few restaurants on each end. Beyond the hotels are endless trees. That's it. The town had one gas station with a convenience store (that charges $7.99 for a box of wheat thins. Let's just say, you best have what you need before you get here). The town does have a Wendy's and a McDonalds. The first night, we fueled up on Wendy's. We have never eaten at a Wendy's because we are not typically fast food type people. But, they had something for all of us. The end of the first day.

In the middle of the night, we were awakened by Addison getting sick. She was vomiting. Great. Thank goodness I brought anti bacterial wipes. My alarm went off at 6am and I thought it was super dark for my run but whatever. I ran around the town in circles (so boring) in the dark. When I got back to the room I realized my phone had not updated to the spring ahead time change and I had just gone running at 5am instead of 6am! Everyone was awake when I returned to the room from my run.  Addison was still sick but thought she could make the ride into the park to see the Grand Canyon. We visited all the hot spots to see the great views of the canyon. All the while, Chris was stopping the car so Addison could get sick outside the car. It was horrible. The Canyon was beautiful, the weather was nice in the 60s. Since we left our room by 7am, we were finishing up at the visitors center by 12:30. Addison was still sick, so we needed to return to the hotel so she could rest. It was not super busy, but we could see it could get busier as the day went on. Since Addison was sick, there was no hiking in the canyon for us this trip. We spend the afternoon resting while the kids hit the spa. We did find a walking trail nearby that I decided I would try and run the next morning (against Chris' wishes because this trail ran into the woods. Although pretty, it was spooky to run alone). We grabbed food easy on the stomach and went to bed.

Sunday night I was awakened by Asher vomiting. Seriously! I walked into the bathroom and it looked like a vomit bomb went off in there. I am not sure if it was the smell or the mess, but I broke out in a sweat and had to leave the room into the cold outside so I did not throw up myself. I layed on the cold concrete deck. As I looked over, I realized my options were to try not to get sick or to throw up on cars. I held out. Once recovered myself, I went into find Chris with his face covered cleaning up the bathroom with the wipes I had brought along. It was awful. Poor Asher had the whole GI works too, and spent the night on a make shift bed right outside the bathroom.

I got up at 6am Monday and went running. I felt nauseated from the night before but knew the fresh air could only help. I ran the trail into the woods after sunrise. It was beautiful yet cold. It was a damp, maybe 30 degrees, but it felt so much colder. Once back at the room, the family was starting to crawl out of bed after yet another horrible night. Asher showered and got into clean clothes and made his way to the car. He was ready for bed and we were just getting up. He curled into a ball in the backseat as we made our way to Sedona. On the way we visited the Slide Rock State Park. $10! parking fee seems a bit steep for the maybe 2 hours we were there. Gees! It was pretty, but obviously the water was much too cold to swim (although idiots were getting it). The idea is to slide through the rocks in the water. Looked like fun if the temperature was right. It was hot, pushing 80, but the water felt like 40 degrees. The girls and I checked out the area first while Chris and Asher used the restroom. An hour past and Asher still could not leave the restroom. So, I stayed with Asher while Chris went with the girls to see the area. What a nightmare. Poor Asher said he felt dizzy and his stomach hurt all day. We drove through the beautiful Oak Creek Canyon before reaching Sedona. We attempted to see the sights around Sedona but what a traffic nightmre! I guess spring break is there big time because the temperatures are more reasonable. We saw the Chapel of the Holy Cross (The Chapel in Nebraska near Gretna is much better), Red Rock State Park (VERY EXPENSIVE!! And with a sick kid, we could not hike. So it was a total waste of money because there is nothing to this place! Take our recommendation and skip it!), Cathedral Rock, the Sedona Airport Vortex, Bell Rock, before heading back to the hotel. It was hot, in the 80s, so the girls went to the pool. Asher, now feeling a little better, went outside to dangle his feet. He did get in briefly but was too cold and weak to swim. Poor kid. We found our favorite Chipotle for dinner (Asher wanted plain rice and chips but did not eat any of it) and then visited the art area for Addison. She even got to see some local artists making pottery and is hoping to find a pottery class here at home. We survived another day.

Tuesday we climbed into the car and make our way back to Vegas, stopping at the Hoover Dam and Red Rock National Conservation Area. Although I don't believe Asher got sick Monday night, he was weak and very sick all day. Chris had to carry him all over the Hoover Dam area. Addison was completely scared by the Hoover Dam. Not sure what she thought would happen, but she did not want any part of it. The kids loved the Red Rock National Conservation Area. It is gorgeous, fun climbing and HOT! The kids loved the climbing. Asher was too weak to do much of any climbing but the girls got their fill (and Chris too). We got into Vegas around 3, checked into our hotel, and returned the rental car that we now hated. We then walked to Vegas to find food. Asher still did not have an appetite, poor thing, and had to be carried. And Chris thought he would not be getting a workout in! We saw our first homeless women sticking her head into a trash can (and she was higher than a kite) and Addison wanted to help her. Oh goodness, she is one we can not help today, Addison. That night, Alivia took her turn at getting sick. Now all the kids have had it.

Wednesday was the walking day from hell. We had not looked into Vegas buses yet or we would have known that the bus stop to the strip was right next to our hotel! No joke! Instead we walked 13 miles walking the strip! I ran 7 early in the morning, so I was exhausted! Vegas was very hot, upper 80s, so we walked the strip, went to the M&M store, Hershey store, and Coke store and took in the crazy sights. Vegas IS NOT FOR KIDS. We knew this before hand but we were flying out here so decided we may as well show them the lights and sounds. Oh my word, the place is gross. As a psych nurse, I can attest that Vegas has a real mental health issue. They leave their mental health to walk the strip at all hours, flipping out, screaming at their voices. If that was not scary enough, the rest of the people and the street performers will scare you. We got our picture taken with Mickey Mouse and friends. Little did we know we were to pay them for the picture. We thought they were with the hotel! We learned to just keep walking. YUCK! After a few hours, we all knew Vegas was not our thing. The smoke was enough to make you gag. Ugh. After all our walking, it was time to hit the pool. Alivia was feeling better, too, and went to the pool, too. We figured out the bus system so we could go to Fremont Street to see their light show. It was to go hourly from dusk to midnight nightly. We arrived at 6:15 and sunset was at 6:35. We figured the first show would be at 7 since that is dusk. Nope No luck. We were stuck there in the tunnel of cigarette smoke, naked people, and lack of good food choices for an hour. Yuck! The kids got icecream (for dinner!) as we waited at complained a lot. The show was not what we expected. I would recommend skipping Fremont Street too unless smoke and naked people are your thing. We then bused it to the Bellagio Hotel to see their water show. The water show is fabulous but SHORT! One song! I remembered it being longer. We got another song while we waited for the bus. At this point, everyone was tired, hungry and could care less about a water show. Made it through another day.

We were awake most of the night with Asher vomiting again. He again slept outside the bathroom. I believe he was sick 3x turning the trip, so I must have forgotten one time. It seemed like he was sick the entire trip because he never ate. Ugh. Anyway, Friday we woke up ready to just relax. We took the bus (YEAH FOR THAT!) down to the Coke, M&M and Hershey store for Alivia and repeated some of the treats. Asher was super weak and was carried. We got back to the hotel before noon and the girls swam all afternoon. It was very hot. It was nice to feel the sun and the water after being in the Nebraska cold. Asher stayed in the room with Chris and caught up on TV and got some rest. We ordered dinner into the room as we packed up for home.

Friday we got up early and flew out of Vegas, arriving back into Omaha at 1pm. We were tired and happy to be home.

We feel lucky to be able to take family trips together. We loved the Grand Canyon and will call the rest of it an experience. Not sure on our next vacation so I best get to planning!