George’s Birthday Adventure: The Long Road Home

When you’re facing the end of a trip, it can be hard to let go right? George’s Birthday Adventure had been truly epic and the 2,000+ miles back to Georgia seemed so boring. So in true Camp Granola style we opted to make it not boring…

A quick stop at Lone Rock for a few pictures was necessary don’t you think?

Four Corners…

Which is how we found ourselves at the Four Corners Monument. With Geography George on board, there was really no passing up the only place in the U.S. where you can stand in four states at once. Well…stand, sit, break dance, make silly faces, …you know, whatever your particular idiom might be.

While it’s worthy stop if you’re in the area, it doesn’t really require a lengthy visit. Once you’ve goofed around and done silly things in four states simultaneously, you can visit vendor booths where Navajo sell food and crafts. Other than that, just enjoy the desert view. It’s probably no surprise that without signs and flags, you wouldn’t know which state was which.

Fred on our first visit to Four Corners in 2009.
The Four Corners Benchmark
A very happy George in four states at once.

Things to know before you go:

Cozy lobby of the General Palmer Hotel.

  • The monument is quite remote. It’s best to make sure you’re groovy on fuel and supplies before heading out. They do have rest facilities and some food but there’s not a huge variety if you have picky eaters in your midst.
  • The entrance fee was $3/person at the time of our visit so have cash handy.
  • Your canine friends can stretch their paws on the outskirts but they aren’t permitted in the central monument area where the benchmark is located. (Poor Dobby!)
  • Like pretty much everywhere out west, it can get really windy. Poor George was horrified when a piece of paper was unceremoniously ripped from the back seat of Blubaru as he opened his door. Lest he become a litterbug, he ran his little heart out to catch it so it didn’t end up floating around the desert.


George got his geography fix at Four Corners and it was time for mine. I adore the San Juans and southern Colorado in general so we took the scenic route and wound up in Durango. And wouldn’t you know it, right at dinner time! Bummer, looks like we’d have to spend the night too, being so late and all. 😉

Imagine my delight at finding a groovy old hotel that allowed His Beagleness to stay. And not only was it dog-friendly, it was all sorts of granola awesome. The General Palmer Hotel is an historic 1898 Victorian hotel located smack in the middle of downtown. I’m a total dork for unique places and this fit the bill well…very, very well.

George loved the ancient elevator that could barely fit two people. I loved the original décor, rich inviting wood trim, and the small library in the lobby. This is a place that feels like home. Throw in a super friendly staff, free breakfast, and free wifi and you have a happy granola mom. I could be convinced to get out of my tent more often for places like the General Palmer.

For our one night in Durango, sweet Fred opted in for Dobby duty in the hotel room with a pizza reward. That allowed the rest of us could head out for a geocache, a walk around town, and dinner inside a restaurant. With Dobby on board, we sometimes forget what that’s like!

Alas, the road awaited us and it was time to get serious about getting back to Georgia.

The General Palmer’s location makes walking around Durango easy.
George loves root beer! Finding a new brand to try at Nini’s in Durango made it even sweeter.
Couldn’t resist a shot of the cool bench outside Nini’s.
So Camp Granola geek alert…Fred and George were very tickled by the small library at the General Palmer.
Oh yeah, there are some excellent candy shops in Durango. Conveniently the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is right next to the General Palmer.
How many layers of spray paint do you think are on these cars?

Cadillac Ranch…

But of course, no trip through Amarillo, Texas would be complete without a stop at Cadillac Ranch.
You see, Cadillac Ranch consists of a bunch of Cadillacs sticking out of the ground. For your vandal-wanna-be pleasure, you’re allowed to spray paint the cars if you so desire…and if you bring some spray paint. Fred and George were purposely kept in the dark about this roadside weirdness because it wasn’t a certainty we’d be heading through Amarillo, much less have the time to stop. I didn’t want to get them excited if it wasn’t a definite thing.

Unfortunately, this is where trip fatigue rears its head at Camp Granola. Mom, being too road weary to weather the hassle of stopping for spray paint, convinces herself that her young boys will simply be content with the oddity of seeing cars sticking out of the ground. Fred and George, too road weary to be their agreeable selves, got themselves in a snit because they had no spray paint. To be fair, they did eventually get over it and make the best of their time but I certainly didn’t earn any Mom-of-the-Year votes that day.

In short, the next time we find ourselves rolling through Amarillo, I owe Fred and George another stop at Cadillac Ranch and a few cans of spray paint.

Fred and George racing to see the buried Cadillacs.

Stick a fork in Camp Granola…

After our last hurrah at Cadillac Ranch (I guess that was actually a whimper!), we blasted through back to Georgia. With a 2 am re-entry back home, we put George’s Birthday Adventure to an end. Happy Birthday George!

If you just joined us, you can find the full recap in these posts:

George's Birthday Adventure (2012)

And now for your moment of green…

Soaking up the last bit of Utah at Lone Rock just north of the Arizona border.


  1. My girls *loved* getting Navajo Fry Bread at Four Corners last summer. Yum!

    1. Miss you guys! One of these days we need to coordinate an adventure.

  2. What a great family adventure! Cadillac Ranch brings back great memories for me. We drove past there many years ago, but we didn’t bring any spray paint. Love the moment of green!

    1. Cadillac Ranch is a trip isn’t it? I definitely owe the boys a raincheck on the spray paint mayhem. Oops!

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