So many good pictures I can’t help doing a post even though I didn’t take notes and the days all kind of run together.
The week leading up to the vacation we did some packing here and there and Wednesday night I expected to have to stay up late figuring out what we needed and what would fit in the van but it went pretty smooth and I got a good night of sleep.
Pretty quick after work Thursday we were on the road west.
check that out, you can even see out the back window.
We drove to Junction City before stopping for dinner. Heath, Peanut and I got subway and then went to a Sonic that was the perfect spot to burn off the kids energy.
We ended up staying a long time as we were in great shape to be at the dunes before dawn.Then Heath drove a bit and I slept. Then we traded and I drove while everyone slept.
I started the audio book Maze Runner and got right into it. I had a couple deer stand right in the middle of the road and make me break hard and I ran over a bunny and lost my navigation for a bit while trying to find a gas station in the middle of nowhere but we still made good time and got in before the sun. I slept a bit in little bursts before 1 arm or hip or something would get numb and make me move. Then my early morning buddy got up and we hopped out.
It was like a 100F when we left KC and I saw the thermometer hit 38F at one point on the drive in but it was probably mid 40s when we got out. We made coffee and hot coco and checked things out until we were ready to shake everyone else out of the van. We got ready then headed toward the dunes.
Things start out with a abrupt wakeup as you have to cross some water that is freezing.
Getting past it is not much of a relief as the sand is also pretty cold first thing in the morning.
The only way to warm our feet was to keep them moving.
We climbed a few hills and stopped for breakfast.
We had various granola and breakfast bars and pushed fluids at the kids to help deal with new altitude and dry air.
We finished off our breakfast and watched more and more people come out.
Then we got busy playing and getting sandy.
We had no reserved campsite for the night so wanted to get to the first come first serve loop early to snag a spot. Once all the way down we tried to rinse off the sand but it was everywhere and somehow the shower station was colder then the snowmelt in the creek.
Once to the campground we ended up finding out the people in a great spot next to the one we had last year were leaving that afternoon and reserved the spot for us. We could not setup camp or anything so we decided to go for a hike before it got too hot. We drove on a 4WD road that goes between the dunes and mountains as far as we could get in the van then started walking it.
It was beautiful but sandy and getting hotter by the minute.
We came to a little side trail to the sandpit. This was a wide spot in the creek that had a really steep dune beside it.
It was really deserted and a great place to play. Pictures really can’t show how steep the dune was.
Surprisingly we all made it to the top
We played a bunch before deciding we better make the hot trek back to the car before it got any hotter.
We found a small shortcut trail but the sand was hot, we only had flipflops and we were getting pretty beat. It was a lowpoint in morale for the group but we made it and some cold Gatorade fixed everyone up. Moments later we were in our new home.
Right away we had lunch.
and met the neighbors.
We took hot sweaty naps then went back to the dunes and found out the creek was no longer freezing but had turned into a really pleasant beach.
So we did beach things like play in the sand.
We got terribly sandy and did our best at cleaning off in the still frigged shower but sand was still everywhere. Once back at camp we opened some drinks and made quick friends with another family. The kids all ran around together having adventures and we made up some stew/soup.
After dinner we went to our friends campsite and had a few drinks and talked while the kids made smores. We were all starting to fade pretty fast so as soon as it got dark and cool we went to bed.
It was pretty cool overnight and our blankets were just barely enough to keep us warm. The campground was pretty loud and we surprisingly didn’t sleep as solidly as you would expect after a driving night. Heath and I were up first.
I soon discovered one place I had not applied sunscreen.
So Saturday was a socks all day kinda day. We started with making some coffee and then got pancakes cooking.
and followed those up with hash browns.
Both items were little containers we added water too and then cooked and they turned out great and we all liked it.
We had slept in a bit and then taken our time with breakfast. It was getting hot when we got going and headed to a hike with a cold stream.
It was a pretty hike with a nice view of the dunes in the background.
but it was hot.
I had to help out the little one.
Eventually we made it to some water.
We stopped by the creek for a snack in the shade.
We tried to cool off in the river but it was too cold, so we just cooled off a bit then headed back down.
Next we found a little shade off the road and got some lunch cooked.
Bean took a nap in the car and we drove around and checked out some stuff. We ended up doing a program at the visitor center.
Then went back to the dunes and played in the creek a bunch until we got hungry and it cooled off.
Then we had some dinner.
and made popcorn.
At dusk we went to a ranger program.
It was the same as one we did last year but really good.
And after the kids got to touch rocks from mars, the moon and an asteroid.
Then we went to bed and this time no one was loud late at night or early in the morning and we all got a great long night of sleep.