DAY 8 - Arkadelphia, AK to Oklahoma City, OK (335 miles)
According to TripAdvisor, there aren't many attractions in Arkadelphia - the DeSoto Bluff Trail (pictured above) being their number one suggestion, which is less than a mile long. But apparently Arkadelphians don't spend much time on TripAdvisor because it turned out there was an awesome tubing place next to our hotel. So we spent 4 unphotographed hours lounging on the Ouachita River, a huge vacation highlight!
Though after we finished tubing, driving 5 hours, sunburned and soggy, to Oklahoma City was NOT a vacation highlight (but we made it!)
DAY 9 - Oklahoma City - National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
In Oklahoma City we stayed in an artist's airbnb, which was gorgeous and roomy and perfect for long lazy mornings. I'm completely smitten with Denise Duong's artwork and plan on buying a piece when I can afford it (click here to see her website).
T, especially, loved the huge back yard.
We spent our afternoon at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (thank you Groupon). By this point in the trip, we were becoming a little sick of museums (but the midwest/south is so hot that it's hard to do anything outside) and when F learned that they banned women from rodeo competitions in the 1930s she became incredibly angry with the whole patriarchal establishment. But the museum had a kids' room and though it was geared at younger children, my kids still managed to make the best of it. And the old west "town" also was a hit.
I went to yoga in the evening (thank you Yogalab for a great class) and came home to a wonderful home cooked meal, with T as my waiter.
At night, we walked to the plaza district (think hipster) for ice cream.
DAY 10 - Oklahoma City, OK to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, TX (290 miles)
We spent the morning at Oklahoma City's art museum, which had a permanent Chilhuly exhibit as well as some great modern art. They were also hosting a visiting Matisse exhibit from the Pompidou Center in Paris. Poor Dan, who isn't an art museum fan, was none too thrilled as we hadjust visited the Pompidou Center last summer, so we paid to see the same art two years in a row (maybe next year we'll see their collection in another random city, life is so quirky).
Anyways, the museum had tons of great play/art stations for kids, allowing them to escape boredom by designing a mobile and using transparencies to craft a landscape.
After the museum we piled back into the minivan and headed for our "cow" cabin in Texas's Palo Duro State Park.
If you've ever drive to Amarillo Texas, it's a little flat, and muted, and sort of desolate looking. So after miles of blah, coming upon a gorgeous canyon in the middle of nowhere feels rather remarkable. This was the first stop on our trip where we finally started to feel like Arlington was far far away.
We rented a rustic cabin, built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps ("CCC") and I was a little nervous it would be covered with mice and bugs. But the cabin ended up as a huge trip highlight (plus it had AC). We relaxed, we kan jammed. We hiked. And, most importantly, we spent tons of time outside. Seriously, SO MUCH HAPPINESS. Plus roadrunners were everywhere!!
DAY 11 - Palo Duro Canyon State Park, TX to Albuquerque, NM (315 miles)
F woke me up early, so we walked around the park post-sunrise and, wow, was it gorgeous.
Then we piled back in the minivan for more driving on 1-40 W (so much desert!). The clouds seemed super low and vibrant, almost like they could attack us.
On the way into Albuquerque we stopped at Tinkertown, a tiny museum made up of handmade dioramas and antique toys. If you're ever in the area, this place is pretty awesome. The kids had a blast watching all the little moving parts and having their fortunes told by the animatronic gypsy - P will be a movie star, T a school teacher, and F a dishwasher (poor F was a little put out by the gypsy).
Our hotel in Albuquerque faced a spaghetti bowl like highway and watching the cars move through the ramps was a little fascinating.
So much tiredness.
DAY 12 - Albuquerque, NM to Santa Fe, NM (65 miles)
We spent the morning hiking in Petroglyph National Park, where we saw almost no petroglyphs (apparently lighting makes a key difference on your ability to see the writing on the rocks). And it was hot. And the kids complained. But I still thought the place was rather gorgeous and (yet again) it was so nice to be outside and out of the car.
A litte chill out TV time at the hotel before we moved on.
In the afternoon, we drove to our airbnb in Santa Fe. This house was the big splurge of our trip (a private pool!) and it did not disappoint. It was the kind of house where you start to think about going through your entire savings in order to stay as long as possible.
We especially loved that the house had several different outside "nooks" for reading/relaxing, so everyone could chill in their own personal bubble for awhile.
DAY 13 - Santa Fe, NM - Horseback riding
We promised the kids that we would take them horseback riding sometime during the vacation, so this day seemed as good and any (especially since there was a ranch within walking/hiking distance of the house). I'm not really a horse person, so the experience sort of freaked me out at first. And poor F was literally frozen with fright. But I don't think I've ever seen P this happy. By the time we reached the mountaintop, we all had adjusted to our four-legged friends ("friend" might be an overstatement) and the views were phenomenal (I wish I had photos, but I couldn't handle the horse and camera at the same time).
In the afternoon, P and I visited Site, Santa Fe's modern art museum. As much as we love modern art, this was a little too abstract for us (i.e. we didn't "get" it in any sense), but we still had fun looking around. And then, in the evening, we spent more chill time at the pool.
Happiness by the pool.
DAY 14 - Santa Fe - Meow Wolf
I've wanted to visit Meow Wolf ever since I read about its "immersive art environment" on Colossal and I was not disappointed, this place is totally original and bizarre. My photos don't do it justice, you have to go to experience it in person to really get the full scope.
So that concludes Week 2 of our big road trip. Next week, I'll post about the third week, which includes river rafting and Mesa Verde (so fun!).
I hope you're all having a good summer!