Our “California Adventure” a Road Trip to the West (Update: Day 17 - There and back again)

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by MarbleBob, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Love the Grand Canyon pictures. And that meal at Needles looks amazing!

    Shame about not staying for sunset. But given the drive, totally understandable that you all wanted a chill night at Yavapai.
     
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  2. MarbleBob

    MarbleBob DIS Veteran

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    Thanks!!! :goodvibes

    Very cool! Yeah, for most kids 45 mins is probably indeed enough... Unless you are going on an actual hike to the bottom or something more adventurous.

    Cool! I'm sure a road trip down the east coast will be awesome!!! So much cool stuff to see, can't wait to see how it plays out! :wizard:

    Thanks! Looks like you have some pretty awesome adventures planned for the next couple summers. Sounds amazing!!!! :thumbsup2

    Totally!!! :dancer:
     
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  4. MarbleBob

    MarbleBob DIS Veteran

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    Day 16 - Saturday, June 27 - Driving through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas

    The goal for the day was to drive to Amarillo, Texas... about 700 miles. Not a terribly long drive, but a full day of driving without a lot of time for site seeing. So we got up around 6am, packed up the car, and were on the road by 7am.

    I grabbed a few photos of the room/hotel before we drove off.

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    The Yavapai Lodge was actually pretty nice. Looks like it had been remodeled recently. If we come back to the Grand Canyon, I'd rather find a place closer to the rim (you couldn't really walk to anything from our room... at least not casually). But the room and setting were great.

    Sort of funny to go so much out of our way to snap a few photos of the rim and watch Teen Beach Movie, but I don't regret it in the least. At least the kids can say they've seen the Grand Canyon, and it wet my appetite for a future trip!

    Moving on... We passed the Bedrock City tourist trap on the way up to the Grand Canyon yesterday. We didn't really have time to stop and visit the "attraction", but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to stop for a few photos.

    Here's more info on the place http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11289

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    I had this one as my Facebook profile photo for a while. LOL.

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    Before hopping back onto I-40, we drove thorough the downtown section of Williams, AZ to fill up with gas.

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    I didn't grab any photos in town (it was my turn to drive), but they had a lot cool Rte 66 nostalgia throughout. It might have made for some fun window shopping on their main drag.

    A couple hours later, we stopped in Holbrook, AZ. Another town full of old Rte 66 nostalgia. We couldn't drive through without stopping at the famous Wigwam Motel.

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    Obviously, it's one of the inspirations for the Cozy Cone Motel from Cars.

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    Anyway, the wigwams were pretty cool... It would be fun to actually stay in one, but probably best on a parents only trip, as they are pretty small.

    We were about to drive past Petrified Forest National Park, but we didn't really have time to stop for it, so we did the next best thing...

    Let's go see petrified wood at one of the local rock shops in town... Jim Gray's. It was just a couple miles from the Wigwam Motel.

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    OK. this place was cool!!! We spent more time than we should have here, but the kids were having so much fun looking at all the minerals and fossils.

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    Fun stuff. And then.... back on the road again, more driving and more trains....

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    Around 1:30 or so, we were more than ready for lunch. We stopped at Westend Donut & Deli in Gallup, NM. Another Yelp find...

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    Add another great mom-n-pop shop to the list. Excellent customer service and the food was terrific.

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    Very good sandwiches, but the donuts stole the show!!!

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    Mmm.... Donuts!

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    The rest of the drive to Amarillo was fairly uneventful… but that was perfectly fine with us!
     
  5. jedijill

    jedijill Chiefs fan living in Bronco country

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    Your drive just shows that the Imagineers got Carsland right! Some cool relics of Route 66 and great looking food!

    Jill in CO
     
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  6. kelmac284

    kelmac284 Lover of all things Disney since 1975

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    Nice update. This part of the trip really reminds me of a trip we took in my childhood. My dad's parents used to live in Marshall MO and we took two trips there when I was a kid. One in 74 and one in 76. The first was a summer trip and we took prob I 80 which we went through Salt Lake City and I know parts of Wyoming and Nebraska. I remember the highlight being Little America which I am sure is just a glorified gas stop LOL but then on the winter trip we took the southern route and saw a lot of reservations and such and we too got close to the petrified forest but didn't stop. The southwest is def my least fave but I love all the Route 66 stuff. Very cool!
     
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  7. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Mmm Donuts!

    And real life Carsland! I love that part of the world.
    That Wigwam motel looks cute. Maybe someday we'll stop there.
     
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  8. MarbleBob

    MarbleBob DIS Veteran

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    I totally agree!

    Those trips sound really cool. Hopefully, my kids will look back with the same fondness about this trip as you do with the ones that you took :)

    Right on PrincessInOz!
     
  9. MarbleBob

    MarbleBob DIS Veteran

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    Day 17 - Sunday, June 28 - And... were' home!

    So here we are, the last day of the trip... One final day of driving!

    This one was also going to be a very long drive, so we had even less time for site seeing. However, there was one last major site that I "had" to stop at, and that was the U-Drop Inn in Shamrock, TX.

    This is one of the classic and most famous gas stations and cafe's along the old Route 66. It was restored in the last couple of years, and we had to stop for it. Here's a summary of it, that's better than I could write up:

    https://roadtrippers.com/stories/u-drop-inn?lat=40.80972&lng=-96.67528&z=5


    Anyway, we had to stop here for two reasons. #1. This is one of the great sites along Route 66. Some good history here. #2. Ramone's Body Shop from the Cars movie (and corresponding attraction in California Adventure) are totally inspired by this.

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    So yeah, we couldn't not stop, right?

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    We arrived around 7:15AM and it was deserted. They have a little tourist/info shop, but it was closed on Sundays... and we were there too early anyway. No worries, we didn't have a lot of time to spare.

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    We walked around and explored for maybe 15 to 20 minutes and then we were back on the road. I'm glad we stopped, because this place was really cool! I love the green paint/tiles too!

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    And then we were back on the road. Pretty boring drive back to Missouri (relative to the rest of the trip.)

    I don't really have many more photos or stories to tell about the day. I guess, after U-Drop Inn, the highlight was Oklahoma City. We stopped there for lunch.

    We'd always heard about the Whataburger chain. It's supposed to be a TX and Oklahoma competitor to Inn-n-Out.

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    People seem to really love this place! Except for we found it to be fairly disappointing. Whataburger? Whatadissapointment. Except for I had a root beer milkshake. That was fantastic.

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    The burgers and fries were "meh" at best. I expected to like this place more... especially because the colors and retro themeing are so awesome. Oh well, they can't all be as good as In-n-Out!

    We noticed an outlet mall across the way as we drove in. We spotted signs for another Vans outlet and a Disney Store Outlet. We had run over there before we get back on the road, right?!?! Because, you can never have too much Disney on a vacation, right?!?!

    So, Vans was mostly a bust. Not unexpected, as we had already purchased 5 or 6 pairs total on this trip and I was only going to get anything that was truly an exceptional deal. That being said, we did pick up a couple pair of Star Wars shoes for cousin Luke, as he was pretty envious of the pair that I got towards the beginning of the trip :-)

    The Disney Store had some pretty good deals going, something like 50% off the already sale priced "Theme Parks" items. Needless to say, we walked out with a decent sized shopping bag.

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    So yeah, a couple more hours, we were in good ole Missouri.

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    And then after a few more hours, we had made it home.

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    I don't recall the exact time we arrived, but it was probably around 8 or 9 pm. Just enough time to unload the car, check around the house, and hit the hay!
     
  10. MarbleBob

    MarbleBob DIS Veteran

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    Closing Thoughts

    This really was a trip of a lifetime. One of my all time favorite vacations. And I'm sure the kids will remember this the rest of their lives too!

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    I think that I've mentioned before, one of my all time favorite rides is Soarin'. It's fun to think about all the places you visit while on the attraction, and to think that we actually got to see so many of them in person... including the Golden Gate Bridge, Redwood forests, drove past Nappa Valley, the mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, LA, Disneyland, etc. I'm sure the ride will take on new meaning when I ride it for now on. (Assuming that the video stays in rotation, as I heard rumors that they may switch up the videos in the future.)

    In addition to the over 6,000 photos that I captured, I came back with three or four hours of video. LOL. If you are interested, here's a 17 day vacation summarized in a 16 minute video. It's basically short clip after short clip. Feel free to take a look, but you certainly don't have to!



    So what's next for us?

    This June we are going to Hawaii for two weeks to celebrate Stephanie's parents 50th Anniversary. Including everyone from this California trip, plus Stephanie's sister and her family. We'll have 15 people on this one. We've never been to Hawaii before, so this is going to be awesome. We'll spend 6 nights in Maui, and then 6 nights in Oahu with everyone. And then wen they all leave, we're taking on another three nights at Aulani! I'm stoked on that! (Can't go a whole year without getting at least a small Disney fix!)

    Then in summer 2017, we're going on a cruise with my side of the family. My parents have taken us on two Disney cruises before, but this time we'll be going with Royal Caribbean. So no Disney next summer, but we'll be trying to see how we can squeeze in a day or two in Orlando. Wanting to see the latest Harry Potter world at Universal.. or maybe a day at the Magic Kingdom.

    So I guess that's it for now. Thanks to everyone for following along. It's awesome that so many of you shared your personal experiences, tips/tricks, and fun comments. It's been a blast!!!

    :hippie:
     
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  11. jedijill

    jedijill Chiefs fan living in Bronco country

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    What a fantastic road trip! I have fond memories of Whataburger but I wouldn't have put it on the same level as In-N-Out. Sorry you had a disappointing meal. :( I do recognize the rest stop where the statue of the cowboy is. :)

    Hawaii sounds amazing!

    Thanks for writing this TR....I know how much effort goes into them.
     
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  12. melk

    melk DIS Veteran

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    What an epic trip! I have thoroughly enjoyed following along with you and your family. It's given me inspiration for our upcoming trip and I have taken note of several things you did that I hope to include in our trip.

    I watched the video and you really captured all the highlights of your trip...great job!

    Thanks again, I have really enjoyed it and sorry to see it come to an end. It's like when you finish a good book that you want to keep going. But I'll be looking forward to reading about your Hawaiian adventure!!
     
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  13. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    "almost as smooth as your head!" haha, kids are great! :rolleyes:

    Love the video! Puts some of the scenes into perspective - like how big the Great Salt Lake and salt flats were - Glacier Point looks beautiful in the video! Yeah for Bob Gurr! Also getting to see those classic road side eateries again was great. Also nice to hear everyone's voices so now I attach a voice to the comments

    Great video on Radiator Springs Racers! I'm still chuckling at Scooter Santa at Starbuck!

    Thanks again for writing this TR - you did such a great job! As mentioned, it's at least part of the inspiration for us doing our own road trip this summer!

    Hawaii sounds great - and Happy Anniversary to Stephanie's parents!

    Something tells me you will squeeze in a little Disney that summer of 2017 ;)

    Thanks again!
     
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  14. kelmac284

    kelmac284 Lover of all things Disney since 1975

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    Loved the update and your entire report. I really love when people do such detailed reports with lots of pictures. Such a joy to read and re-live my own memories as well as hear about things I have yet to do. Your trip to Hawaii sounds amazing. I have only been once to Oahu many years ago and my kids have never been. Ironically we tried to trade into the Aulani with our timeshare but even trying 3 years in advance we never got in so last year we switched to DW. I am bummed we didn't make it to Aulani and it is still on my list for someday as well as just Hawaii in general but I am super excited about our DW trip. This will be our 5th but i has been 6 years which is an eternity and so much is new since we were there last. I also want to do a cruise. My mom has done RC one and loved it so another bucket list item. I am a bit bummed you aren't doing any more disney for a bit as I so enjoyed your report. And LOVED the video. Everything I watched really sparked a lot of memories and I felt like I was there. Have a wonderful trip this summer and hope to see another report someday!! :)
     
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  15. jeeperwy

    jeeperwy Mouseketeer

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    I have so thoroughly enjoyed your trip report. It seems like you were just getting started in our little state of Wyoming. :)
    I also recognize the statue! We drove from Wyoming to Joplin this summer and we actually ate at that rest stop! Subway was horrible but the view over the interstate was pretty neat!
    Thank you for taking the time to write this. It was quite a journey!
    Kari
     
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  16. disney ny

    disney ny Mouseketeer

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    Amazing trip report- I enjoyed it so much. I would love to do a road trip like this with my family. It seems like you have a great family and you were able to fit so much in. Thanks for sharing it all!
     
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  17. annie170

    annie170 DIS Veteran

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    I love your photos of the Grand Canyon. Just breathtakingly beautiful! I also like that Conoco station and the Wigwam Motel. The imagineers did a fantastic job with Cars.

    107 degrees! Yikes! Isn't that when the locals say it's a "dry heat."

    Overall, great trip report! Your kids must be good travelers spending that much time in the car.

    If you don't mind me asking, with a 17 day trip, did you do laundry along the way or pack enough to last all 17 days?

    Sounds like you have two great trips coming up. Aulani is on my bucket list.
     
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  18. DaeHyFoog

    DaeHyFoog Let's all sing like the birdies sing...

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    Hi annie1170! I'm Matt's wife, and since I'm the one who took care of the laundry, I thought I'd respond. :) When I planned for packing, I made sure everyone had enough laundry to last a little more than a week. When we stayed with Matt's aunt and uncle outside of San Francisco, I did a lot of laundry the last day or so before we left their house. This was a little less than halfway through the trip. I then ran one load at the Candy Cane Inn in Anaheim, which held us over until we made it home.

    Matt, thanks for taking the time to put this report together! You're the best, and you did a great job.
     
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  19. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

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    Thanks for sharing this super awesome road trip! Loved every moment of it.

    Here's to Hawaii. Hope you'll ping me if you do a PTR/TR.
     
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  20. MarbleBob

    MarbleBob DIS Veteran

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    Yeah, that's a bummer about Whataburger. They probably are never as good as In-n-Out, but maybe we hit this one on a bad day or something. I'd be willing to give it another try some day. :)

    Thanks for following along the TR

    I'm glad that you found the trip report helpful for your upcoming trip. I hope you enjoy your trip as much as we did ours!!!

    Thanks Phil. I love that you picked up on the smooth head jab from Princess. Funny!

    You are probably right about summer of 2017. In the meantime, I'm trying to work out approval for attending a Disney Institute leadership training class in May at the Boardwalk Resort in WDW. https://disneyinstitute.com/courses/leadership-excellence/ It's a bit pricey, but I had initial approval back in December. But, we're having some budget cuts and this one is on the chopping block. Probably 50% chance now. But if it pans out, then Stephanie will come along too. She loves the idea of spending a week at WDW and maybe not even getting a park admission. Instead just exploring all the resorts and relaxing at her own pace. Sounds fun to me!

    Thanks so much for the feedback! I hope you a blast on your upcoming WDW trip. And yeah, a lot has changed in the last 6 years, so it'll be cool for you to experience all sorts of new things at once!!!

    I'll probably do a mini report of the Aulani experience this summer :-)

    Cool! Thanks for following along. I hope to come back to Wyoming some day soon. I think I mentioned before, but I spent 6 weeks near Lander in a geology field camp after I graduated college. Got to explore a bit of the state during that time, and then Stephanie came up afterwards and we spent another week goofing around and backpacking in the Tetons. Such an awesome state!!!!

    Thank you so much for the feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed the TR and I hope you have the opportunity to do an epic road trip with your family too some day :)

    I agree, the Imagineers did indeed do a great job replicating those iconic Route 66 destinations. I guess you are right about the dry heat. I had to pump gas in that heat, and while it was indeed blistering, it wasn't quite as oppressive as a 100 degree day in St. Louis with 100% humidity. LOL.

    Thanks Stephanie! Can't wait to do it again some day :-)

    Thanks again for following along and for all the feedback and tips throughout the PTR and TR. I'm sure that I'll at least do a small TR for Aulani this summer, and I'll be happy to ping you when I get started. Thanks!
     
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  21. Positively Bashful

    Positively Bashful Earning My Ears

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    What a fabulous trip! My dad was a big fan of the National Parks and we did some great journeys back in the 70s & 80s to visit some of them. Your report reminded me of how wonderful it is to see the country by car instead of flying over it. I need to call my sister and tell her that our long delayed Route 66 vacation is back on the agenda.
     

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