From Kayenta, AZ, we headed north.
We stopped at the Four Corners National Monument, the only place in the entire country where four states intersect.
It was in the middle of nowhere, and was lined with vendor booths, selling Native American jewelry and other handmade items. We passed those up, but took the requisite photos of being in multiple states at one time.
Our drive continued on, across the state line into Colorado.
Apparently, Coloradans have a different idea of "colorful" than I do!
We stopped for lunch in Durango, CO. We ate at the Diamond Belle Saloon, which was housed in a restored historic building on Main Street. The décor was very authentic, complete with the waitress in fishnet stockings with a feather in her hair!
Sixty miles east of Durango lies the little town of Pagosa Springs to visit my brother Shepard and his wife Breanne. They've been there the past year, with Shepard practicing dentistry in a small practice in town.
During our trip, Grant started complaining that his mouth hurt. When I peeked in to take a look, I saw his permanent tooth coming in behind his two front baby teeth...not the ideal placement!
Since Shepard is now a "real" dentist, we asked him to do the honors!
Dr. DeLong—with his very capable (and wonderful) assistant/wife Breanne—got to work, with Jack observing (Jack had been thinking he might want to be a dentist. That was, until he watched this. When it was over, he started feeling woozy, walked into the door jam, turned completely white, and nearly passed out. It took him 45 minutes to recover.)
Grant was an absolute perfect patient. He held perfectly still, listened to Shepard and was 100% cooperative. It was spectacular!
Here's the new smile...no more baby face!
These were the two teeth. The short one was a little loose, you can see the root was partially resorbed. The one on the right took substantially more effort to get out. Crazy! The tooth fairy brought $2.50...you'd have thought it was $250 by Grant's reaction!
Pagosa Springs is home to the world’s deepest natural geothermal hot springs. We spent an afternoon soaking in the tubs, ranging from 85 to 110 degrees! It was a little stinky, but incredibly soothing.
The kids were brave enough to take a chilling dip in the river!
After soaking in one of the hotter tubs (aptly named "The Lobster Pot"), the cool mountain air felt so good and I was perfectly content to lay on a lounge chair and soak up some much needed vitamin D.
The next day, we headed 20 minutes up the road to the snow. We stopped on the way up at "Treasure Falls"...rumored to have buried treasure hidden within it.
We spent a couple of hours sledding, with lots of wipe outs, laughter, and fun!
Love my "baby" brother...
It didn't take Grant long to figure out the easiest way up the mountain!
Shepard and the kids cooked an amazing dinner of homemade vegetarian pizza.
Then Shepard entertained us playing songs on the guitar with made up lyrics about giant cheese balls.
Shep and Olivia practiced some partner Acro-yoga moves (Olivia is learning some acro-yoga as part of the choreography for the play she is in).
The "kids" watched a movie on their new 3D TV...
We went pedal-boating (or is it paddle boating?) on the little pond in their neighborhood.
It was all fun and games until I fell in the pond, while trying to get back on to the shore! My foot in the boat got stuck in the pedal, while my other foot was on the shore. It felt like something out of a cartoon as the boat started drifting away from the shore and my legs got wider and wider apart. I froze momentarily as my right leg fell in the water, then Shepard came to my rescue and pulled me back in the boat. I was laughing so hard that he thought I was crying. It was not a very graceful moment (and thankfully, was not captured on film!).
We loved spending a few days with Shep & Bre in their home...this was a first for us. Usually, they are the ones coming to visit us! Their calm spirits and joyful hearts feed the soul, and we feel blessed to call them family.
We were flying out of Albuquerque to come home, which was about 3 ½ hours south of Pagosa Springs. We opted to drive down the night before, so we’d be well rested for our flight home.
En route to Albuquerque, we stopped in Santa Fe, NM for dinner at The Shed. The food was authentic Southwestern Mexican style, complete with “knock your socks off” spicy chile. I thought I was going to need a fire extinguisher for my mouth!
It was cool to walk through the town, the oldest US Capitol city in the United States, and one of the oldest US cities period.
After nine days away (and in close quarters for most of it!), you'd have thought we'd have been at each other's throats and dying to get home. In reality, quite the opposite was true. It was one of the best vacations of my life. We loved every minute together, had not a single fight or bad attitude, and saw some of the most beautiful places in the world. Honestly, there's not much more I could ask for!