We are here: Bear Lake: the place of my childhood summers that I can’t get enough of.

And before I get into anything else, I must report on how we got here.

First you must know this:

I am a lightweight when it comes to driving. I don’t like it one bit. Even driving to our neighboring town in the desert to visit family throws me for a loop. I do realize I am completely wimpy. The only reason I can bear carpools is because I get my kids enclosed in the car with me and I can talk their ears off if I want to (and listen to them interact with their friends which, in my mind, is priceless).

But if I try to drive any type of long distance, my eyes instantly start to droop and it’s all I can do to keep them propped open.

So I have to report that I did my first real road trip alone with all the kids over the past two days and we all lived to tell about it. Dave had to hustle back to work after our California 4th of July trip (more on that later), but he drove us as far as Las Vegas en route to our annual July Bear Lake trip. He was hesitant to let us drive the rest of the way without him (especially with Lucy who he has refused to drive with following some incredibly awful trips a while back), but I promised I’d be slow, wouldn’t drive late into the night, blah blah blah, so that he could get back and get some work done before he comes up in a couple days for our reunion and then leaves for China again.

Let me reiterate that I KNOW that there are moms out there who do this long distance driving thing all the time. They can do particular routes practically blindfolded and they can drive all night if they need to. I honor those women! And quite honestly, in the back of my mind, I think I really should buck up and be one of them. After all, I love traveling so much that if I had the choice between living in one place forever or traveling all over the world and living out of a suitcase forever I’d pick the traveling in a heartbeat, even with five kids in tow.

But driving has always been Dave’s deal. He gets us safely where we want to go. And I’ve always been thankful as can be about that.

As we pulled up to the airport to drop Dave off I literally got sick to my stomach thinking of the long drive ahead of us (of course, I didn’t tell Dave that…he was worried enough already).

But I’m so happy to say that we actually had fun. I feel like I know my kids ten times better than I did before. Yes, there was some fighting…even some kicking. Yes, there was some ketchup spilled in the car. Yes, there were some ear-splitting screams from Lucy.

But there was also the ancestor stories I got to tell my captive audience. And some good learning with our “Mike-and-Ike” game. (Sometimes Dave and I will let the kids take turns answering a bunch of questions…things from our extended families’ names and ages, math facts, how to spell hard words, etc., and give those who can answer correctly a Mike-and-Ike…works for hours.)

Elle was my special helper on this trip.

Things I am thankful for:

  • The fact that we got a really bad flat tire before Dave left, and that he and Max were able to have some serious bonding changing it before Dave raced to catch his flight.

Cruise control

Elle’s willingness to sit next to the monster (ooops, I mean Lucy) and keep her endlessly entertained even when she was met with some serious attitude.

Fields colored in endless variations of green stretched out on both sides of the road with sprinklers shooting out at haphazard angles catching the sunlight just right to take your breath away (I’m sorry, but Utah is gorgeous).

Red rock mountains

Logan Canyon…are you kidding me? That place is so breath-taking I could hardly stand it. It’s a good thing there were bugs splattered all across my windshield so I wasn’t tempted to take pictures along the way.

(We did stop and get one at the end.)

  • Silhouettes of mountains in varying shades of gray in the distance made hazy with the afternoon sun.

  • Brilliant, velvet green stretching half way up the majestic mountains along the way.

    (Lu was mad as a hornet in the car so she missed out on the photo op.)

    Believe it or not, now I have visions of more road trips ahead…

    Maybe I will buck up and be one of those long-distance driving moms after all.

    But until then, we’ll soak in this beautiful place that this road trip got us to.


    1. Bear Lake is certainly worth the sacrifice…. though I'm glad to hear you fared better than you had hoped. Your kids are just so stinking cute – love the group picture, even if Lucy wasn't up for a smile. Road trips are hard for littles.

      I must agree that Utah is beautiful. I am ever grateful to live in this valley that has "blossomed like a rose." We are counting down to our Bear Lake vacation in August – wouldn't be summertime without it. We just made Pickleville Playhouse reservations today… Have you been? If you haven't, you should check out their latest Juanito Bandito installment. Good times. You and the kids would absolutely love it. Okay. Novel over. Enjoy!

    2. I too hate to drive by myself and have TONS of friends who do it all the time. I feel like a wimp, maybe when my youngest is 3 I will attempt it!

      I miss Utah so much..it is so incredibly beautiful!

    3. I forgot to mention to you that we have a cabin north of Bear Lake too. Its outside of Ophir and Paris! I second your road trip madness but at times its priceless. I make the San Diego to Salt Lake road trip about 3-5 times a year but I have sisters on the way so it makes the drive much more pleasant.

      Thank you for your comment and I would love the opportunity to take you shopping one day! You can come out for the POM retreat in Cali in Septemeber and I will show you some places.

      Have a wonderful vacation in my favorite spot as well. Too bad we aren't there the same time!

    4. I hate long road trips as well. And I am not the driver in my family either…I leave that up to the hubby…thank goodness for them! Glad you made it safe and your pictures are beautiful. Enjoy your vacation!

    5. beautiful pictures! I have done the LONG trip as well! Those older kids are such a big help! Reading your book and just read the part about your reunions at Bear Lake.. have a wonderful trip!

    6. Good for your for overcoming your fear. I am not a big fan of driving either, I HATE highways, well, eight lane highways that is. Having moved from the east coast of Canada, to traffic central, Atlanta, I can completely understand your lack of desire to drive. That is great that you did it and did a great job. Just think of the opportunities it will open up for you and your family. Good work!!! At least the destination was well worth the effort!!!

    7. You are one of "those" mom's who do long distances now! I am not, as I only just did a CA to AZ 5 hour trip this last week. I enjoyed about 75% of it, the rest was when my little guy was screaming that he was DONE with the car seat. And I didn't have the energy to take a single shot. Darn it.

    8. I'm so glad you made it safely!
      I love how a road trip with just me & the kids feels like such an adventure!

      We had so much fun with you guys!
      Jake is hoping to do something with Max one of these days. I think they bonded over a jacuzzi full of bubbles!!!

    9. Oh I can SO relate to this post. I am one of those moms who also is not up to long distance traveling…especially with kids. I've hardly ever have had to do it. I have to this coming August for a niece's wedding….I am getting sick to my stomach even thinking about it. Thanks for the motivation!!!

    10. oh you're so good driving there! I don't do long distance, maybe the other side of my city which takes an hour and that's it! I actually just don't like the picking up speed and sticking to 110km/hour here. So I leave it all to hubby

      Oh and the scenery looks gorgeous and how lucky to get your flat BEFORE your hubby left you guys. I think God set that up nicely for you!


    11. Awwww, Logan is MY canyon! I grew up in Cache Valley, so the canyon was where all my fun times were had. That first picture in your post brought back so many memories….my first summer job was picking raspberries at a farm next to Bear Lake. I'd get on a school bus really early in the morning, with a bunch of other teens, and it would take us through the canyon in the dark. We'd hit that beautiful overlook just at dawn.

      Anyway, we're headed to Bear Lake for a family reunion next week. Only it will be a three day drive for us. Yeehaw! Last year when we went back, we were so homesick that my husband made me go househunting while he tried to figure out how to telecommute. The only thing holding us back is how much we love our pediatric cardiologist. (More than family, canyons, and great outdoor recreation, apparently?)

      So fun to see familiar sights! Have a great time.

    12. We are going to Bear Lake this weekend! I can't wait! I love road trips with my family and prefer them over flying…but by myself without my husband driving, I think I'd rather have a root canal. I am so impressed you did it and ended up LIKING it! You ARE superwoman 😉

    13. I love the road trips with the kids so I'm glad you did this. It's empowering, isn't it? I love that time in the car as everyone has books to read and we just talk, laugh and make memories. Unfortunately most of our memories are from having to pull over on the side of the road so someone can go potty and it ends up being a hilarious experience. From all of our roadtrips, I would think that desert between Southern California and St. George would be green by now 🙂 We just had the same experience as you with the tire going flat right before Beaver. I'm sooooo glad Jamie was there with us as that would be too much for me to handle (and quite scary). Way to go girl. I'm proud of you!

    14. Shawni-

      I was just there and am so bummed that we missed you. I agree with you about Logan Canyon. My grandparents have a cabin there (20 min.) from Bear Lake. It's one of my favorite places on earth.

      I'm the same when it comes to driving- my eyes just close. We drove through the night for Ruby's sake (17 hours)!

      Our reunion is always the last weekend in June. I hope we overlap some year, so we could see you.

    15. Love Bear Lake! In fact, we were just there this past weekend. My in-laws have a cabin on the same street as your families older one (with the tennis courts). My husband feels the same way about that place. He grew up going there for summers. Its his place to relax and not worry about a thing.

    16. I'm headed there in about 2 weeks for a family reunion, and although I've spent plenty of time in UT for summer vacations haven't been to Bear Lake…I'm glad to hear such a great review! I love the Mike and Ike idea, I'll have to remember that one!

    17. Hey Shawni, So glad you guys made it safe. Will you have Saydi call me? I tried her email but don't think she's checking it. I'd love to come see you guys. Thanks
      Jen Jacob

    18. I know what you mean…We literaly just got home tonight after making that long drive from Park City to Gilbert. It was worth it though, we spent some time at our favorite place on the planet, Bear Lake and then Park City! love Bear Lake, Logan Canyon, and the beautiful green mountains of Utah! I admit it's really hard to come back to the desert and the heat. Wish I could spend the whole summer at the lake!

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