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Road Trip 2010
April 7, 2011. By Arnold Rapinan

Several months ago, I took my family to a spontaneous road trip to Grand Canyon National Park.  Unexpectedly, for me, it turned out that road trip can be a great way to bond with my children and wife, and overall just a great way to spend quality time together and build everlasting family memories.

Exploring Nevada
Athena admiring Grand Canyon
Visiting Sedona, AZ


As a child, my road trips meant going to the next town on a bus with not much excitement involved. As a young adult, I had a few road trips that were un-eventful that I hardly remember most of them. So my previous road trip experiences coupled with the fact that we were taking our then ten months old son made my expectations extremely low. I remember telling my wife that I will be happy if we make it to Las Vegas, the second city we planned to visit.

The idea was to stay at several cities along the way and that everything else will be "played by ear" - meaning if we reach Disneyland or Las Vegas and it becomes too tiring, difficult or boring, we will drive back home. With that plan, we decided to move forward with the trip, bring the children and see how it goes. The trip routes were as follows: From the Bay Area to Disneyland of Southern California to Las Vegas to Hoover Dam of Nevada to Grand Canyon to Sedona to Phoenix and Scottsdale of Arizona then back to Los Angeles to visit Universal Studios and Hollywood. Then head back home. For each destination, except Hoover Dam, we stayed at least a couple of nights to explore the city. Here are the highlights of our road trip in chronological order:

  1. Disneyland, CA: we stayed there for a few days, it was a "piece-of-cake" with the kids and everyone had a great time.
  2. Las Vegas, NV: it was a bit challenging as kids and Sin City don't really go that well together. However, we managed to watch a couple fun shows with my daughter: Lion King and Blue Man Group while my wife and I swapped to baby sit the little guy.
  3. Hoover Dam, NV: we were all excited to see the new Suspension Bridge. My daughter wanted to walk across it, so we tried but it was just too windy.
  4. Grand Canyon, AZ: the cold weather (29 to 31 degrees) and the snow did not deter us from enjoying the beauty and wonders of Grand Canyon. It was snowing both days we were there, but it was a great experience nonetheless.
  5. Sedona, AZ: the drive to Sedona was an adventure by itself. It was raining, snowing, got lost on the way to Sedona, and I somehow managed to get a huge screw into my tire. Sedona is definitely a must-see city in Arizona.
  6. Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ: we drove around town and spent my son's very first Thanksgiving dinner with his God Parents.
  7. Universal Studios and Hollywood, CA: we played at the Universal Studios theme park and visited the rich and famous spots of Beverly Hills and Hollywood.

Not only that our recent trip made me realize how fun family road trip can be, but it also made me believe that it is a great way to create lifetime memories that can lead to happier and stronger family. With this new realization, I am setting a new goal to do a family road trip once a year.

For 2011, here are the two options that I have been contemplating in the past few weeks: A road trip to Yellow Stone National Park in Wyoming (via I-80) or a road trip to Vancouver, Canada (via I-5). Each option offers multiple and exciting places to visit along the way. I am looking forward to it as it will be an adventurous and unforgettable family road trip 2011.