And now for week two! We still enjoyed the heck out of this area, but it was also time to take care of a few maintenance things. You know, like tire rotations and oil changes. We need to make sure our vehicle is in tip top working order so we can keep traveling. Fun fact, we had evidence of pack rats!! They had not done damage and the evidence was simply footprints, but still!! So now we are working on becoming savvy in deterring these creatures from visiting our truck and trailer.
So this week was a bit more laid back, but still so much fun!
Montezuma’s Well National Monument
Out of the three National Monuments we visited in this area, this one was the best. Not sure if it was because there were far less people or if it is because there is more to see, but the ruins were neat to see and the area was just so different and gorgeous. Not only is there a short 1/3 mile loop to see the well and cliff dwellings, but there are two offshoot trails. One takes you down to some additional cliff dwellings that were at water level and near a cave that houses bats. It really is too bad the cave is off limits, but I suppose it is important for the bats to have a safe home, too. Down this trail is also where you see the natural well water go under the cliff rocks. The other trail takes you around to where the water comes out of the rocks and joins the nearby creek. There is also the biggest Sycamore tree ever down this trail and it is so peaceful down there. Seriously, so neat. Oh and the boys received another Junior Ranger badge! That is three in two weeks!
Doug pointed out that there was no information about what the well actually is, so here you go. Straight from the National Park Service, “The constant supply of warm, 74 degree water was the life-blood of the people who made their home here. Over 1.5 million gallons of water flows into the Well every day, a rate that has not fluctuated measurably despite recent droughts throughout the state of Arizona. This water enters a ‘swallet’ near the end of the trail into the Well and flows through over 150 feet of limestone before re-emerging from the outlet into an irrigation ditch on the other side. Sections of this ditch date back over 1,000 years.”
Jerome State Historical Site
We had heard such amazing things about this place and so Katie drove the boys there to explore. The boys were underwhelmed by everything it had to offer, sans ice cream. Katie, on the other hand, found the views to be worth the drive. Add the cute tourist town and history and she was totally happy. The museum was not geared toward children at all, but they did have a really neat geology room with a black light display that sort of made the entrance fee worth it. The boys wanted to watch the movie, cause you know TV, but it was quickly obvious that it was above their head and they were not going to sit through it. It did start with a ghost, which is obviously the only thing the kids remember from the whole day.
Out of Africa
This is not something that was on our initial list of things to do, but Doug discovered that during your birthday month you get a huge discount. Being that Katie turns 34 on March 13th, it seemed like an obvious choice to adventure there. It is mostly worth the full-price cost. They literally give you giraffe crack (really just some sort of twig with leaves that the giraffe will not pass up) and tell you to put it in your mouth for the giraffe to lick your face while he grabs his treat. Katie could not experience this because the kids were not keen on it and were holding onto her for dear life. The five-year-old did feed the giraffe with his hand, so he got hand kisses. They then take you around and show you a bunch of animals that for one reason or another cannot live in the wild. Lions, tigers, bears (oh my!), zebras for days, a rhino, reptiles, lots of herd animals, a camel, and so much more. The bus ride takes you to the giraffe experience (included with the regular entry ticket), then into the more wild part of the park. Most of the herd animals are free to roam together here and the zebras follow the bus around because they know they get treats. Lots of really close up shots of animals you usually see behind a fence.
The Thousand Trails park was not the most exciting place to be, but the kids (and Doug) sure did find some interesting things. On one adventure they discovered Antlion holes and actually watched an ant get caught in the trap. They also walked down to the nearby river on trails that have not been maintained, so made for more of an adventure.
Aside from our exploring adventures that are very much a part of our homeschooling, this week our homeschool morning basket was primarily focused on nesting birds. We talked a lot about cliff swallows because there were cliff swallow nests all over at Montezuma’s Castle, but Katie also made some nesting bird fact sheets to compare different nest building materials and locations. We look for birds all the time, so we continued to do that this week. Katie also gave the kids some Cheerios and twine and had them make simple bird feeders by putting the Cheerios on the twine. Fine motor skills practice at its finest.
The five-year-old also really wants to learn to read, so sight words and simple words to sound out are also a part of the morning basket.
We ate out a lot this week. Not sure why. We enjoyed the wonderful Pizzeria Bocce to celebrate Katie’s birthday a bit early. They had really delicious pizza, a decent beer selection, and Postmodern Jukebox on their music rotation, so it was a solid place for us to dine. We also ate at Calavera Bar and Grill again and again enjoyed our dinner. Then there was a last minute, we explored too late and need to eat now, choice. Colt 804 Grill wasn’t terrible. It was actually packed and we had to eat outside on the patio. Despite the heat lights, the wind was so cold and somehow they messed up three of the four meal items. Food was good though, even though we didn’t get what we ordered.
Up next is our amazing snow filled Grand Canyon experience! So keep an eye out for that!
Current Adventure Stats:
On the road: 7 1/2 months
Miles towing our home: 4,319
Campgrounds visited: 36
Breweries visited: 31
National/State Parks/Monuments visited: 15