Thursday, December 17, 2015

Arches National Park & Tips for Road Tripping with a Toddler

A couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to go and stay in Aspen, CO for a week. Since I was well into my third trimester, we decided to make the trip by car. With no stops this is a 11 hr trip, but since we had one newly potty-trained toddler and one very pregnant person in the car, we decided to break the drive up over two days, taking advantage of the extra travel time to appreciate a part of the country we had never visited before.

Will and I had never been to Utah or Colorado so we can officially add those to our states visited list. We also happened to drive right by Arches National Park and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to spend a few hours exploring. This was a perfect park for us since you drive through a lot of it but has a lot of places where you can stop and walk/hike around.

We stopped a few times to just take some pictures but actually walked around at Balanced Rock and Delicate Arch. Balanced Rock was super impressive since we could get up nice and close but I couldn't do the 6 mile round trip hike to get up close to Delicate Arch. We instead did the 1 mile round trip hike that was surprisingly steep and didn't get us very close, so we got to admire it from a distance.

Will had a blast exploring and climbing on the rocks (and doing the "so big" arms over head pose). It also was surprisingly chilly which felt great when climbing. Everything was so impressive, pictures really don't do it justice. We really could have spent more time exploring if I was able to walk better so we may take another dedicated trip at some point. They even have camping areas in the park which would be pretty amazing when it is a little warmer!

If you are planning on taking a long road trip with a newly potty trained toddler, here is what we learned:

  • Bring a potty with you: It will always be in the middle of nowhere when the announcement is made that they have to go to the bathroom NOW and stopping on the side of the road is the only option. The potty made it feasible if not still weird.
  • Ration juice or any other drink your toddler really likes: Save the drinks they really like for bribes (you will need them) since they will drink it way to fast and you will stop every 15 min for awhile.
  • Regardless of why you stop, take advantage of the bathroom: We established a "you must try" rule any time we stopped and whenever we were leaving after a few times of having to stop within minutes of getting back on the road.
  • Keep them in Pull-ups: Will is in underwear except for naps and nights, but we kept him in pull-ups during the entire car ride just in case we couldn't stop fast enough. He always asked to go and we would act like he was in underwear ("keep your pants dry until we stop!") but if push came to shove, the pull-ups kept us from having to clean his car seat mid trip.
  • Bring distractions: We loaded my kindle up with shows and movies so that time between stops could be extended just a bit by Will not constantly focusing on going to the bathroom. Even with that, we had to stop about every hour to hour and a half while he was awake and only made it 2 hrs once so also Bring Your Patience!

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