Each of the kids began this seven week road trip with a plan as to what type of souvenirs they would be collecting. They each had a plan to collect something from the stops along the way with the money they had saved.
Grace decided to buy patches from each national park to sew onto her favorite backpack, making it a special reminder of all the places she has been.
Rusty decided to collect key chains that he could attach to his backpack.
Molly opted to collect postcards from each place we visited. She chose postcards because they were inexpensive but also a great visual reminder of all she has done.
Toby and I were collecting magnets from each stop to add to our magnet collection, as well as starting a sweet bumper sticker collection on the back of the Gnome mobile to highlight where it has been.
And we’ve been covering the ceiling of our bus with flyers and ticket stubs.
Ozzie decided to collect maps from every state we traveled through and every park we visited. This turned out to be the cheapest souvenir of all since free state maps are available at rest stops and National Parks give out park maps to guests.
His choice to collect maps wasn’t surprising. Ozzie LOVES geography. He loves reading maps and can spend hours playing around on Google Maps. An Atlas is his idea of good bedtime reading.
Being such a fan of geography and maps, you can only imagine the excitement he was feeling as we drove to Four Corners monument…the only place in the United States where you can stand in four states all at once.
I remember thinking Four Corners was such a cool place as a kid, and have a picture much like this one that we recreated, with a hand in two states and feet in two states.
The drive to Four Corners took us down poorly maintained back roads for a 40 minute drive off the highway.
Owned by the Navajo Nation this is a privately owned monument located on Navajo land in the middle of nowhere.
The cost to enter is $5.00/person, which is a bit steep when you consider all that is there is a granite disk marking the boundary where Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona meet,
but in the end we felt the fee was worth the experience.
Here is a little info about this unique place:
“The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. It is the only point in the United States shared by four states, leading to this area’s being called the Four Corners region. The monument also marks the boundary between two semi-autonomous Native American governments, the Navajo Nation, which maintains the monument as a tourist attraction, and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation.
The origins of the state boundaries marked by the monument occurred just prior to, and during, the American Civil War, when the United States Congress acted to form governments in the area to combat the spread of slavery to the region. When the early territories were formed, their boundaries were designated along meridian and parallel lines. Beginning in the 1860s, these lines were surveyed and marked. These early surveys included some errors, but even so, the markers placed became the legal boundaries, superseding the written descriptions of geographical meridians and parallels. This includes the Four Corners Monument, which has been legally established as the corner of the four states.
The monument where “visitors can simultaneously straddle the territory of four states” is maintained as a tourist attraction by the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department. Unlike many other attractions based on what are primarily political boundaries, such as the Berlin Wall, Four Corners Monument is an example of a political boundary that is a tourist destination in its own right. The monument consists of a granite disk embedded with a smaller bronze disk around the point, surrounded by smaller, appropriately located state seals and flags representing both the states and tribal nations of the area. Circling the point, starting from north, the disk reads with two words in each state “Here meet in freedom under God four states”. Around the monument, local Navajo and Ute artisans sell souvenirs and food. An admission fee is required to view and photograph the monument. The monument is a popular tourist attraction despite its remote and isolated location. As early as 1908, people traveled long distances to take pictures of family and friends at the monument in Twister-like poses, sitting on the disk, in a circle of friends or family around the disk, or for couples to kiss directly over the disk.” -Wikipedia
We arrived and were pleased to discover we were one of a few tourists there. This meant more of an opportunity to take multiple pictures, an opportunity that wouldn’t have been available had there been a line waiting. During busier times they ask that you limit the number of photos you take to three.
Ozzie was beside himself, gleefully calling out, “I’ll see you in a little bit, Mom. I’m headed to New Mexico!”
Tyler loved jumping the border lines with Ozzie, shouting, “Now I’m in Utah. Now I’m in Arizona. Now I’m in Colorado!”
We waited for our turn to take pictures.
The actual monument was quite pretty, surrounded by the flags of each state and local tribal nations, with a granite disk reading, “Here meet in freedom under God four states.”
We started by getting a group picture with the kids all picking the state they wanted to stand in. Grace opted to stand in the center where the four states meet.
It was crazy to say,
“At this moment all my kids are scattered across four states!” 🙂
Then some of the kids requested pictures alone on the monument.
We ended our visit with a stroll around the booths that encircle the monument where Native Americans were selling their wares.
We all enjoyed watching one artisan demonstrate how he chips away stone using deer antlers to create arrowheads.
The girls loved all the turquoise jewelry and each bought a pair of earrings.
There isn’t a lot to see or do at this stop. It is a 15 minute- 60 minute stop, but it is very cool.
It is one of those “Bucket List” stops. For where else can you go and say to your children,
“Kids, its time to go! Tyler, get out of Utah. Molly, it’s time to leave Arizona. Rusty, you need to head out of Colorado. Meet me in New Mexico at the bus. It’s time to leave.”
Next Stop: Mesa Verde