We headed back to BYU the next day.

Our first stop was the BYU Paleontology Museum. The museum is free, and it was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. It was just the right length for the children, and we saw several things that we had never even heard of before!

From there we headed back to the BYU Creamery for ice cream. We ate it outside at some shaded picnic tables with this beautiful view of Y Mountain.

After that, we toured campus some more. We also went back into the library to see a Samurai costume that is one display there, a display on the author Lloyd Alexander, and a mural in the children’s section.

Tree of Life Statue 2 The Prudent Homemaker
The Tree of Life Statue
That evening we went back to my niece and nephews house, where I made spaghetti for dinner.
The next day, while I did the girls’ hair, we watched my very talented niece and her very talented friend practice a piece for a performance that evening. My niece played the piano and the other woman played the oboe.
We drove home then, with a planned stop for lunch at Cove Fort.
Cove Fort was amazing.
It’s just a short way off the freeway.

They have a beautiful spot in the shade of some huge trees for lunch. I was rather delighted to see the trees when we stopped there for lunch on the way north. Several years ago, I had mentioned that other places have tall trees to my children, and one of them had replied, “You mean like palm trees?”
(Palm trees aren’t even natural here; they’re brought in. The desert in our area has no natural trees of any kind (I posted a picture on Facebook of it for reference), and where we live has been built in the last 11 years, so anything that has been planted here is still small). After that comment, I looked up images online of tall trees to show the children, but they couldn’t really fathom them. While we saw lots of trees on the trip, these were the tallest. Tall trees were one of the things I have wanted to show my children ever since.

After lunch, we took the free tour of Cove Fort. The fort was one family’s home, built to protect them from the Native Americans. The homeowner made friends with the tribe, so they never fought at the fort. It was a stop for travelers as well, so they had several guest rooms and a telegraph.
I love historical homes turned museums, and I saw several as a youth, so I was delighted to show one to my children. I highly recommend stopping for a tour if you are traveling on the I-15 through Utah.

Driving through the Virgin River Gorge
From there we headed home. We still had enough sandwich materials left to have sandwiches when we got home in time for a late dinner.
It was a wonderful trip, and I’m so grateful that we were able to show our children so many wonderful things.
Out total cost for the our one-week trip for 9 people was $375. Most of that was gasoline. Our vehicle got better mileage on the freeway than we do around town, of course, but a big enough vehicle to fit all of us doesn’t get great mileage; on the trip we got 12.7 miles per gallon (it’s closer to 8 for everyday driving around town). So, if you have a smaller vehicle with better mileage, the trip would cost you a lot less. We only spent a small amount on extra food for the trip, buying a turkey breast for slicing, a bag of pretzels, and ice cream out. All other food came from our pantry. This amount also included a gift for our niece and nephew. I am so grateful that they let us come stay.

In case you missed the other parts, here they are:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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  1. Loved the family picture in the Tree of Life. That’s one I’d have enlarged and put on the wall! How did I miss Cove Fort in all my trips to Utah when my daughter was at BYU? The children will remember and cherish this trip.

  2. Love the pictures, especially of the entire family in the Tree of Life. I wonder how long it took to get everyone in place for that one! I was trying to figure out how your son bent his legs like that in the second picture and it took a couple seconds to realize those aren’t his legs and his body is blocking one of his siblings, probably Winter based on the jeans color and shoe size.I’ve really enjoyed this trip and you were able to do it frugally (as opposed to cheaply). Your kids got some great experiences and I’m sure it brought back memories for you and your husband. I hope you are able to do more trips with them in the future.

  3. The tree of life with your family is the most wonderful picture! What a delightful trip you had, thanks for sharing the highlights. I really miss Utah and all the great places to visit. We enjoyed Cove Fort too.

  4. They let us sleep in the living room on the floor and in their children’s rooms on the floor. They have a three-bedroom house. They moved their children into their room on the floor. They were really generous, and we’re very grateful that they offered to let us come stay at their house.

  5. There are several trees native to your area of the desert, including screwbean mesquite, pinyon pine and the massive cottonwood. There is one neighborhood in North Las Vegas with giant pines that pre-date the city. It is too bad that none grow close to you, but there are numerous places around the valley to see trees!What did you do for a hostess gift? Any frugal ideas to share? I never know what to give.The tree of life photo is perfect!

  6. Andrea, I have never seen those pines that you mention and we lived in North Las Vegas for many years, but the others that you mention were further out in Red Rock and Blue Diamond, right? Those aren’t close to here. I have seen some trees further south (Green Valley) when I was speaking, in the few “older” parts of town that there are, but since most of the city was built in the last 20-30 years, and the soil is poor, trees simply aren’t that big here. As you saw from the photo of our area that I posted, the native desert has no trees in my area; we aren’t even at a high enough elevation to have Joshua trees (which of course are not tall). There is a park in Summerlin (also not close) that has some larger trees, too–but they still aren’t as tall as the palm trees they brought in a few years ago at the shopping centers near us. The trees at the parks here are those wispy green-trunked ones with yellow flowers in the spring (I don’t know the name of them, but they look like giant tumbleweeds). In 10 more years, they trees near us will have grown more, but with the poor soil, most still stay small. It sounds like you lived in Green Valley/Henderson when you were here.For a hostess gift, I gave her a $25 gift certificate to her local nursery. I know she is planning to add some things to her garden.

  7. I, too, love that photo of your family in the tree of life. What a wonderful photo!We spent $350 each summer for our family of four to go camping for a week at our favorite park – this includes a camper cabin with electricity, beds, etc. The cabin holds six but we only have four in our family. The tent sites are much cheaper per night than the cabins. Anyway, you did great with keeping the costs down and I am sure your children will remember this trip for a LONG time! What a great time with your family.Thank you for sharing with the rest of us,Lea

  8. Deja vu’ all over again! I made this same trip with our grown daughters and grandkids, sans husbands (they arrived later either flying or driving) We had a business conference in Vegas about three summers ago, and invited our children. The drive down from Provo, was the same path, and most of the same stops and hot!! Love the picture of the “Y”, which fit your family perfectly!! Back in 2002, I climbed up to the “Y” on the mountain side with one of my sons-in-law, and son, thought I was gonna die, but I made it! Again, thanks for bringing back sweet memories!

  9. Definitely do-able, just kneel then slide your feet out from under your behind! 🙂 I too have had several friends who sat like this all the time when we were growing up. I never did like sitting like that myself…..Lea

  10. Beautiful! It is my best intention to travel out west in 5 years or so. Your family is beautiful. I agree with live and learn. Seeing that you have a new post of your vacation, and I grabbed a cup of tea and a piece of chocolate and sat back to enjoy the eye candy. Thank you for sharing!

  11. It looks like a very lovely vacation! I’ve enjoyed seeing Utah through your posts. I’ve only ever seen it from the air/airport during a layover on my way to Jackson Hole one year during Christmas. It was beautiful! I’d love to visit one day.

  12. Dear Miss Brandy,I love, love, love the family photo in “The Tree of Life Statue”. The photo would make a nice family wall photo. All the photos are really wonderful. What a wonderful vacation. I assume the weather was cooler out your way.Blessings to you and your lovey children and husband.Anna

  13. Thank you so much for sharing your vacation with us. The pictures you took are just stunning! Your cost efficiency on the vacation…truly inspiring! I just love reading your blog.

  14. Those will be special memories for your children—because my daughter is 50 now and still tells me little details of our travels when she and her sister were young. We started camping and driving on trips when she was about 5. The first year we rented a cabin in a state park, but then we bought a tent and went everywhere in the east, where we live. In 1973 we took two weeks with 5 people, the 5th being my 15 year old sister, on a camping trip through New England for $400. I don’t know how that compares to your figures for your trips, but I think it would be close. There are many, many interesting things to see for free or with small admission charges. Camping in state parks was –at that time–less than $10 a night. Since we have gotten older and use motels now, I have not kept up on the current prices, but usually state parks are in very pretty areas and have woods and sometimes beaches for swimming. Occasionally we had to pay 25 cents for hot showers–that might up the price for your family, or you might be able to send the smaller ones through 2 at a time, or one big and one small together. I’m sure you would find the most frugal way. We took most of our food camping with us but allowed for a couple meals either out or at a preplanned stop. I used just road maps for planning in those days—and no computer! I studied the maps for attractions to see. These days with computer help, planning might be even easier. I, too, think the tree of life photo is stunning. Just the right spot for your family! Thank you for sharing so much with us.

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