We got to celebrate this year in Portland, at my older sister’s house. The kids had a blast playing and lighting stuff on fire.
My little sister joined us on a trip north to see Mount St. Helens. It is hard for photos to capture the surrealness of a giant mountain missing half of itself.
We visited Powell’s City Of Books for the first time, the largest bookstore in the world. It was massive. Then we wandered around downtown.
We set off today on an 18 day road trip around the entire southern part of the country. We’ll make it all the way to the East Coast before heading along the Gulf Coast to get back home.
The whole day was spent on the road, well over 12 hours. We stopped outside of Yuma to look at the sand dunes, then a little further up the road to stretch our legs and put our hands into the Colorado River. We had dinner in Phoenix then drove the rest of the evening through Arizona’s mountains and into Albuquerque.
The landscape was gorgeous on the drive up to Los Alamos.
We spent the first part of the day at the Bradbury Science Museum, learning about how they built and tested the first nuclear bombs. The museum also covered lots of other areas of science that the Los Alamos National Laboratory now works on.
For the rest of the afternoon, we looked at the local critters and beautiful scenery at the Los Alamos Nature Center.
Having to get back on the road, we drove through more beautiful country, stopping at Santa Rosa, NM for dinner. Then it was a dark drive through the night to get to our hotel in Pampa, TX.
Of course our road trip would take us through the most extreme heat wave of the summer. But, we pushed through it, spending a few hours walking along OKC’s Bricktown Riverwalk. Some ice cream helped us all cool off before the game.
The OKC Dodgers were having a “Cielo Azul” night, where they wore their alternate uniforms and had Ballet de Folklorico performers in between innings. Our seats were so close, we were practically on the field. Connor ran the bases after OKC crushed the River Cats, 12 to 3.
One of the best public parks in the country must be The Gathering Place, which we spent the first part of the day in Tulsa exploring. They have a cool mirror maze, a sky forest to climb around in, a castle, and lots of amazing play areas.
When we couldn’t stand the heat any longer, we moved on to see downtown Tulsa. We stopped at The Center of the Universe, a spot where if you are standing in it, it echoes back your voice super loud.
Our day started off at the Arkansas State Capitol, where we looked around the grounds before exploring inside the building.
Next, we headed to the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Park. They had an informative museum about the fight to desegregate the high school, and the Little Rock Nine who were so brave to face such horrific racism. It was surreal being in a spot where such an important event in our country’s history happened.
We spent the rest of our day in Little Rock at the Central Arkansas Nature Center, where we learned all about the state’s wildlife.
If you ever find yourself in Memphis, I highly recommend visiting the National Civil Right Museum.
The Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, has been preserved and a museum built on the grounds, covering the entire history of slavery in our country and the Civil Rights Movement.
We all learned so much about such a dark time in our nation’s past and the fight for its future. It felt very solemn looking into the room where MLK spent his last moments, and standing in the spot across the street, where the fatal shot was fired.
The rest of our day was less serious but just as enjoyable. We ran by the giant pyramid that houses a Bass Pro Shop, before heading to Beale Street. We had dinner at Dyers Burgers and walked around the famous street, listening to the blues playing through the air.