Grand Canyon, Travel, West

Headed west + conquering our summer bucket list


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September 3, 2013

Headed west + conquering our summer bucket list






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World travelin’, sustainability guru, humanitarian, foster and adoptive mommin’, photographer, photobooth-er, educator, multiple hat wearing entrepreneur. This girl’s love language is hugs and her tank is filled by serving others. You can find her under a palm tree, on a mountain, renovating a vintage trailer/house or running through the sprinklers with her husband, two boys and three fur babies.

And we’re off. Literally.

We took off for the summer and headed west to conquer a massive family bucket list… and all alongside our Golden Doodle puppy. So many people have asked how we even began to plan a trip like this. And let me tell you, it was so easy. A bit of organization and a bit of spontaneity and you’ve got yourself a lifetime of a bucket list all rolled into one summer. We planned a year in advance to take this trip because Philip (my wonderful man) hadn’t seen many things in our country. Really, he hadn’t left our state of Missouri and Kansas much other than to visit Egypt a few years ago during college. Yes a big step I know. But I couldn’t believe he hadn’t seen the mountains, or our coastlines, or even our bolders and deserts America had to offer. And a HUGE passion of mine is to stand amidst these place and truly experience what is out there.

On this trip, we constantly reminded ourselves how lucky we were to have a faithful car to travel in, amazing national parks to rest our heads at night, a fun and respectful relationship to enjoy each other this ENTIRE trip (yes we didn’t have many disputes or rolling of the eyes with each other). It was a really satisfying feeling to know that we were conquering hundreds of our best national parks in the United States in one month, when people spend their whole life dreaming of visiting these breathtaking landscapes so delicately created by God alone!

Marvel. Speechlessness. Stillness. Awe. Humbling. Grateful.

These were all words that could describe a lot of emotion we felt throughout our experience. We’ve been asked so many times “what was your favorite place you saw?” And you know, that’s a pretty impossible answer to give. Each place had a complete different perspective of our world, and held it’s own beauty and uniqueness. Whether it be mountain peaks, volcanos, geysers and hot springs, rock structures, desert land, canyons… they were all so different. And ALL were my favorite for what they offered.

Some fun facts:

We ended up making 18 “big” stops over the course of 30 days. Over 95+ hours driving in our car, 3 nights slept INSIDE of our car, a few too many nights in motels in the middle of nowhere,  14 days slept in a tent with a deflated air mattress, only a couple of stormy days and nights, a lot of extreme and record breaking heat, almost freezing cuddles in the tens up in the mountains, lots of wind, a few days of the swimming pool, ZERO sun burns (believe it or not), lots of campfires in the chilly mountains, a drive in movie night, one battery breakdown (due to the drive in night), a Vegas show, many meadows, lakes and rivers, lots of climbing,  lots of creative hikes with our dog (as he couldn’t go on national park trails with respect to their natural world and animals), tons of laughing, lots of early mornings, beautiful sunsets, smog, tourist attractions, city bus tours, and over 5,000 miles conquered. So many stories from peeing our pants of laughter, to being completely undressed for the weather, to lots of prayers and even an ENGAGEMENT. You must read about all our adventures below. We’ll walk you through how we planned this trip, how we chose where to stay longer and how we didn’t kill each other by the end of it. [smiles]

I don’t want to overwhelm you with landscape images, which is why it’s taken me so long to narrow our 5,000+ images down to my favorites for our post about our glorious summer adventure. But if you are interested in any of our stops below, definitely click on the picture and it will take you into that blog post featuring the city or national park and you can read a little and see a little bit more of the wonders we saw.

Step into the life of Jana and Philip and come re-live the peaceful summer we had together. Start by clicking on the Garden of the Gods right below us.

Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods, Colorado landscapes, Colorado portrait photographer

Mesa Verde National Park, Pueblo People, Historic sites, annual park pass, mountains, Jana Marler

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  1. Cindy says:

    WOW, awesome pictures…………………..what a gift that you were able to take time and money to make this trip. You will never forget it, that’s for sure!

  2. Chuck Lazenby says:

    Not only did it take a lot of time to plan the trip but also make up this Blog. Your trip sounds like it was wonderful even though you did take Floyd. The pics are beautiful GrPa

  3. […] I love them. Print one big one for your space or create a little cluster like I did here from the images we captured during our traveling tour we did last […]

  4. Cinderella says:

    This is just the perfcet answer for all forum members

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