Vajentic Family Western Odyssey: Week 1, Day 4 (Tuesday, July 16)

Ben and I woke first, so we went to eat breakfast at the Little America Inn buffet.  Ben had a hankerin' for biscuits and gravy.  At this point of the vacation, I was still going through the motions of eating healthy, so I had oatmeal.  After breakfast, Ben went back to the room, and Eric took a 2-mile hike through the pines behind the Little America Inn.  There was a great trail right behind the hotel that wound its way through the pines and provided some gorgeous views of the surrounding area.

In the pines in Flagstaff, AZ

The boys got in another swim in the morning before we left.  We checked out and headed toward Sunset Crater Volcano National Park.  On the way, we stopped at a Wendy's drivethrough for Sharon and the boys.  We should have gone in, since Sharon spilled ketchup all over her seat belt!  It took about 45 minutes to drive to the park north of Flagstaff.  We stopped at the visitor center and used our shiny new America the Beautiful pass to get in free!  We also picked up some National Park passports to keep track of our journey, and a new ranger hat for Ben.  The Lava Trail at Sunset Crater was something to behold.  It felt like we were walking on a different planet.  The boys enjoyed this hike, and Ben even made a video on his iPod.


Creepy looking tree at Sunset Crater Ntl. Park
Dominic holding some old lava


Benny skipping and a jumpin'

After we got done with the hike, we drove through the rest of the park, which took about an hour, and then headed toward Williams, AZ. It was cloudy and rainy during most of the rest of the day. We arrived at the Grand Canyon Railroad Hotel in Williams around 3:30 PM.   As per our developing tradition, Ben and I went to check-in, while Sharon and Dominic waited in the car. After settling into our room (our 4th hotel room in 4 nights!), we went over to eat at the Grand Canyon Hotel Buffet. It was a great buffet! There was lots to choose from, and good, quality food. After dinner, we bought some souvenirs from the gift shop, including some expensive, fancy coke bottles that the clerk said some people make into salt and pepper shakers. Dominic was salivating over some obsidian knives in a display case. The boys wanted to swim, so we headed to the pool, which was way on the other side of the large hotel. The pool was quite crowded, and not very appealing. However, I did take a quick dip in the hot tub. Back in the room, I caught some of the M.L.B. All-Star game. Ben wanted to go to the arcade, which was by the pool, so back went Ben and I, all the way to the other end again (have I mentioned that my foot was hurting?!) We played some old-school Ms. Pacman, Galaga, Bowling and Hunting. A little later, Ben wanted to go back up to the vending machine for some snacks. Fortunately, Sharon decided to accompany him on this trip! Interestingly, I caught a little bit of the news, and they were talking about a flash flood in Flagstaff that I remembered driving past earlier in the day. Good thing Ben didn't get wind of this, because he was already freaking out about the rain. Before bed, Ben enjoyed writing in his new National Park passport journal. Dominic....well, he didn't care so much for the journal. Eric transferred over 400 pictures from our first four days onto the computer, and tried to log onto the Internet to post some Facebook updates, but the connection was super slow!   Day 4 was in the books.

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