You can find links to any other 2016 Grand Adventure posts at the "home page."
Day 27: We packed up and headed out early to go to Mass. It took three tries to find a church with Mass at the right time, but we made it!
Then we visited a near-by state park, Sinks Canyon. This wasn't on our original itinerary (see previous post for our change of plans due to being tired of snow and cold), but it was fascinating to see the river vanish into the rock and then hike over to where it reappears.
The kids loved it, because there were rocks to climb.
Second Daughter casually identified an American Dipper which we read about before our trip but didn't see in California. We also saw a snake and lots of trout. Our visit ended a bit abruptly when First Daughter took a big fall.
We all piled back in the van, fortified with snacks and drinks, for the long drive to Denver. We finally arrived at our hotel around 9 pm.
Total driving for day 27 - 398 miles.
Day 28: We spent the entire day at the Museum of Nature and Science, including the traveling Robots exhibit. This museum is massive!
Our local museum membership got us in for free (though we had to pay for the Robots exhibit - thanks Grammy!) and we ate lunch there quite reasonably. They even accepted our visiting membership for a discount at the cafe.
We had a few minutes to play at the park, too, before going to my cousin's house for dinner. It was such a treat to see her and spend time with her wonderful family. Her son instantly adopted our kids and led them on a happy romp through the neighborhood.
Total driving for day 28 - 46 miles.
Day 29: We began the day with swimming! Our kids still think hotel pools are awesome and we hadn't had a chance to visit this one. I was a bit disappointed, but the kids were content.
When we hopped back in the van for the final day of driving. We made it close enough to home to have dinner with Kansas Dad's parents. By 10:30 pm, we were mostly unloaded and the kids were sleeping in their own rooms.
Total driving for day 29 - 536 miles.
As I wrote in my original post, the trip by the numbers included:
1 van with over 200,000 miles on it before the journey began
1 large tent
5823 miles (not counting the rental when our van broke down)
11 national parks
1 national monument
1 national recreational area
4 state parks
3 science and nature museums
a ferry ride (van and all)
and another country (Vancouver, BC)
It was supposed to be the trip to last a lifetime, but mostly it just peaked our interest in even more camping and traveling around the country with our family! In fact, we'd only been home a few days when we booked a campsite at Rocky Mountain National Park for July. That'll be another post or two.