Pecos National Historical Park

Pecos National Historical Park is only about 70 miles from our house, so I am little embarrassed to admit that it has taken us two years to finally make it there. We pass it all the time on the way to wrestling tournaments or football games, but we never really have time to stop. On our way home from Kansas, we finally took the time. It was a great history lesson with a chance to stretch our legs for a bit.

Ruins

My crazy kids are photo-bomb happy…

I think if they heard “Hey, let me take your picture!” one more time, they would have hog-tied me and left me along the road somewhere…

A little over an hour after Leaving Pecos NHS, we arrived back home. As fun as it is to take trips, it is always nice to get back home. I am pretty sure the kitties were happy to see us! Charbie had fun out exploring with us, but I think even he was happy to have his favorite lounge spots back. Only two days left, and then it was back to school for the kids. There are just two months remaining in the school year, which seems hard to believe, but apparently time really has gone that fast.

Time to start planning our next adventure!

Dodge City and Beyond

We got up in the morning and walked around downtown Dodge City a little bit. We stopped into the Visitor’s Center and checked out an antique shop I had read about. It is definitely the off season because it was pretty quiet. The Visitor’s Center has a map for people to put pins in their home towns. Each month has a different colored pin, and there were not many locations pinned yet. We were showed the map from last year and it was filled! As it was, we were just the second pin in the state of New Mexico, the first being in Albuquerque.

A fun sign we found on the way to Dodge City.

Kansas Countryside

Dodge City

Dodge City

After lunch we decided to hit the zoo. The Wright Park Zoo is very small but cute, right in the middle of town. It is free to visit, but they do accept donations. We always enjoy visiting the animals, and this little zoo was the perfect place to do that.

It is true what they say about the wind never stopping in Kansas. It blew and blew the entire time we were there, well, except for a few minutes at Fort Larned when the flag was practically still. That probably does not happen very often! We had a wonderful time, though, and western Kansas is beautiful. (I am a sucker for farmland and cows.) Our plan was to start driving towards home until we found a nice place to camp for the night. That happened not too far inside New Mexico at Clayton Lake State Park. It was a great place to spend the evening.

After a good night’s rest, we would head for home in the morning.

 

Exploring Kansas

We had originally planned on staying at the same campground for our entire stay in Kansas, but ended up deciding against that. It turned out to be a good decision, because after a couple hours of driving across the state, we did not really want to go all the way back to where we had started the day.

Packing up camp.

Our first stop was Pawnee Rock. This was the half-way point on the Santa Fe Trail. It is basically a small mound out in the middle of flat farmland. They have built a small monument on the hilltop now, and you can see for miles and miles in every direction.

Pawnee Rock

Liam actually let me take his picture…

Once again, we appear to be all alone…

From Pawnee Rock, we continued down the highway for about 7 miles or so until we came to Fort Larned National Historic Site. We pulled into the parking lot at about 4:20, hoping that they were going to be open until 5pm. As it turns out, they close at 4:30. We ran to the Visitor’s Center to get a pin and a stamp in our passport, assuming that would be all we had time for. We were all prepared to simply admire the grounds on the walk back to the car, but we were invited to go along with the Ranger as he locked up for the night. We thought we would simply be able to peek inside the buildings as he locked up, but he ended up giving us a personal tour! We did not end up leaving the park until 5:45pm. They closed at 4:30pm. That was completely unexpected, and we couldn’t be more grateful!

Names etched into the walls.

Sleeping quarters. Two men to each bunk level, head to foot.

Special punishment for the really bad guy. They put Nathan in there…

From there, we drove to Dodge City. There was a campground we were going to check out, but it turns out Dodge City is a much larger town that we had anticipated. Not very comfortable tent camping in an unfamiliar city, we opted for a hotel for the night. We stayed dry during the night rain, and after a nice hot shower, we were all refreshed and ready to go explore Dodge City in the morning.

Spring Break!

Spring break is always such a great time for a road trip. It’s not too hot, and if you head the opposite direction from the rest of the crowd, you don’t bump into too many people. This year we decided to head to Kansas. We are trying to get the kids to all of the lower 48 states before they head out on their own, so now we are one state closer to that goal! Only 13 to go!

Nathan did not make it very far before falling asleep.

Our first stop was at Capulin Volcano National Monument. It was quite cold and very windy, but we practically had the place to ourselves, so there were no complaints there! What a neat, perfectly shaped volcano! I realize now that I did not take any pictures of the volcano itself, so I feel a little bit silly.

The view from the top was amazing!

We did not have too much trouble finding a place to park!

Mr. Amazing himself. ūüôā

It was windy on top of the volcano!

Quiet country roads are my favorite, and we saw only a handful of cars on our way to Lake Scott State Park in Kansas, which was where we made camp the first night. It was great! We arrived later than planned and it was somewhat difficult finding a place to camp in the dark. Once we figured out which loop we needed to be in, though, we were able to get set up pretty quick. Again we found ourselves practically alone. Apparently not many people are up for camping in late March in Kansas. Who knew?

Bright sunshine not only makes it hard to look, but also makes it hard to stop laughing!

Beautiful sky on the Colorado/Kansas border.

This kid loves to photo bomb, and he dove right into my sky picture!

My camp pictures will not load with our blazing (not) fast internet, so I will have to leave that to your imagination! Just picture a pretty state park right on a lake, with no cars except ours. Join us tomorrow as we venture a little further into Kansas to see what we can find!

Back to School… Already

I had been looking forward to Spring Break ever since Winter Break ended. What I thought would never come not only came, but is now over. Tomorrow, the kids and I must head back to school.

I can’t help but¬†feel that we were jipped a few days. Spring Break is traditionally Monday through Friday, making for nine days off including the weekends. For some¬†unknown reason, our Spring Break was Thursday through Tuesday. It was not sandwiched by¬†weekends. It was not nine days long.

Regardless, it was enjoyed. It was nice to have some time to goof off, sleep in and wreak havoc on our poor little unsuspecting town. As wild and crazy as my kids are, I enjoy hanging out with them. We squeezed in a lot of fun activities over the break.   

Coloring Easter eggs was a great way to start off our mini vacation.   

We woke up Friday to a snow storm. Luckily it didn’t stick around too long.¬†

Roller skating is always on the list of things to do when we have time.

Saturday morning we headed down to Paris Gibson Park for the city Easter Egg Hunt. It was originally cancelled because¬†it had lost¬†its Sponsor, but an incredible company stepped up to keep it going. The kids had a blast. Remember how Nathan is usually the one who¬†doesn’t win anything? Well, the lucky little duckling waddled away with a new beach towel. He was feeling pretty special.

The kids were pretty wound up from the egg hunt, so we headed over to an indoor play land to let them run off a little energy.

It was such a beautiful day, we couldn’t resist going for a drive. We ended up out at the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge and saw an amazing variety of birds and wildlife.

Easter morning started with another egg hunt for the kids. They ate candy for breakfast and then spent a crazy amount of time blowing bubbles all over each other.

We spent the afternoon with friends and the kids had another egg hunt. It turned out to be a beautiful day. 

And of course, yesterday we brought Flash home. He seems to be settling in nicely and was pretty excited about his breakfast this morning.

Like all days off usually do, our Spring Break went by way too fast. It was a good way to recharge a little bit and now we are ready to head back to school and make that final push for June 3rd.¬†Then on to summer vacation. Only 27 school days to go…