Traveling With Kids in The Time of Corona
For someone who used to plan family road trips every other weekend, it's been a really hard couple of months. So for my son's fall break, we took a 6 days road trip to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Petrified Forest National Park. And now it's almost Christmas, I 'm just getting around to finishing this trip blog.
Our first stop from Phoenix is Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams. It's about a 3 hour drive. Some people like it, but I didn't feel it was worth the price. Maybe because due to Covid there were no shows and no Tour Bus. Bears were in abundance though, so if you came to see the bears, you won't be disappointed.
We stayed at this cute little train themed BnB next to the train station, loved it! I really liked the historic old town feel of Williams, cute little downtown with bars, restaurants and shops. Of course, Williams is best known for the Grand Canyon Railroad, who doesn't love an old fashioned train ride with views of the Grand Canyon?! The train station was built in 1908, and it feels like you have gone back in time.
Since we are only an hour away from the Grand Canyon, we made a day trip of it. We've been to GC many times before, but its grandness still awes me every time. The IMAX movie at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center at Tusayan is a must see!
Our next stop is Page. The Horseshoe Bend is just 10 minutes from downtown. There is a parking lot, cost $10 to park. Then you walk about 15 minutes to the rim of the Bend. I tell you, it is not for the faint of heart! There is just a small area with railings, and then you are able to walk right to the edge. The view is amazing! But I had to restrain my son from going further and further out. Be careful!!
Last time I came to Page was to see Antelope Canyon. This time it is closed due to Covid, so we found a small beach by Lake Powell for the kids to play. It's called the Lone Rock Beach, and it is a camp ground. Lots of RVs just parked right on the beach. It is a gem! I will definitely come back to camp next time.
For many many years, I have dreamt of going to Monument Valley. I read a book where this guy camped in Monument Valley and the way he described the sun rise just painted this remarkable picture in my mind all these years. Well, this time we are finally going there! I can't believe it! I found a camp site run by a local Indian family. As I was driving on the highway, and getting closer and closer to that famous landmark I've seen in so many movies, my eyes started to tear up. This for me was a pilgrimage.
The campsite was really just very basic, but I didn't care. We asked the host to make the local Indian Taco for us for dinner. They built a fire for us, and we roasted marshmallows and made smores. It was really dark and the sky was full of stars, so clear we could see the Milky Way. My son just laid on the roof of my car in his sleeping bag and looked up for as long as he could. Everything was just how I had imagined it to be, it was perfect!
Day 5: The last leg of our trip before going home was the Petrified Forrest National Park. It is only about 4 hours drive from Phoenix but we've never been. It's incredible how wood can turn into such gorgeous looking stone, all different colors and different mineral contents. These petrified wood have been here for millions of years, even before dinosaurs walked the earth! How amazing! The kids loved it and they all got a new Junior Ranger Badge after completing the activity book we got from the visitor center.
I'm so glad we took this last minute trip (2 days planning time) and went to some new places we haven't been before. I feel rejuvenated and recharged, ready to take on another 6 months of staying home, social distancing, and online schooling.
Except for that one night camping at Monument Valley, we basically stayed at Airbnb most of the time. We had reservations at first about traveling with kids in the time of Corona. We didn't want to stay in hotels with central air conditioners, we chose Airbnbs with hospital grade disinfection service. And when we entered each new house, we used disinfectant spray and wipes to clean again. I also brought a UV Light Sanitizer wand to sanitize the bedding in each room, taking no chances here.
Here are a few other must have travel accessories we brought with us:
1. Foldable backpack: Light and easy to pack, great for day trips to Grand Canyon and Petrified Forrest.
2. Convertible Pillow Quilt: Can use as a pillow and blanket for the kids when they are napping in the car, and can use as quilt cover when we slept in the tent.
3. Stick on disposable car trash bags: These are essential for long road trips cuz kids are constantly snacking and I don't want my car to be full of trash.
4. Mosquito Insect Repellent Patches: Even though there were no mosquitoes this time of year, where we camped, there were plenty of big ants and other insects. We didn't want them inside our tent, so we stuck lots of these patches inside and outside of our tent, and the insects stayed away. It was great!
5. Collapsible Chopping Board: We cooked every night, and used this as a basin to wash the veggies first before using it as a cutting board. So useful!