Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Favorite Video of the trip!

Wrapping it up!

So we are finally home and in our own bed. It took us a while to get there but it sure feels good.
Our last night was spent in Rainier National Park. And thanks to our OP [old person] we camped for $6. What a steal. It was actually my favorite camp spot of the trip. Sadly we didn't get there til almost dark and we left around 10 so we didn't get to spend much time there.
This is the only picture I have of the site and it really doesn't show it at all. But it was so cute Madeline was all wrapped up by the fire and fell asleep sitting there.
Friday morning we took a nice easy hike in Rainier to what is called the Grove of the Patriarchs. It was an old growth forest of trees as old as 300 years and really really tall. The kids had a lot of fun running on the path and crossing a suspension bridge that of course freaked me out.
The kids did great and walked the whole thing! I think it was about 2 miles round trip!

From there we drove up to the Sunrise lookout at saw a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier. Lucky for us they had just opened the road that morning!

Once we had made it through that part of the park we decided to head home. The long drive began. I slept the majority of the way so there are no pictures. :)

We dropped our stuff off at our house and headed to my parents house. Delvin and Rose got out there and headed home. We stayed at my parents and tortured them and Tom and Jill with stories and pictures well into the night. It was kind of weird that since they had been following the blog the whole time we didn't have any stories to tell them. We just kind of reminisced about things I had put on the blog!
This morning we got up and cleaned the motor home for almost 5 hours! I was hoping that if we cleaned it really extra good that maybe they wouldn't charge us for the extra 22oo miles we went. {it didn't happen} Yes we estimated that we would go 2800 miles and we ended up going over 4000 miles! I guess that is what hitting 10 state parks in 14 days will do.
The parks we saw were
Crater Lake
Grand Canyon
Glen Canyon {I think this is one. Matt said there were ten and this is all I can think of}
Grand Tetons
Mt. Rainier
Also along the way I kept track of license plates and ended up seeing all except for Hawaii, Rhode Island and Delaware. Pretty impressive huh?

I don't have an exact number for the old person savings but I think it was somewhere near $400! Thanks OP. This does not include the savings from the OP's wife and her amazing cooking skills!

It was a great trip and the kids did great. I am so proud of them for hanging in there the whole time.
Hope you enjoyed the ride!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Glacier East!

It's day 11 and we are still going strong! This morning we got up and out of the house by 8. We headed back into Glacier too see the east side of the park. One of our first stops was at a salt lick area where a lot of goats came. It was fun to look at them through grandpas spotting scope and the kids even got in on the picture taking. On the way back to the car we saw one of the jammers that take people through the park. Madeline really liked it and wanted her picture next to it so we made quick friends with the driver and too a picture of Madeline with him.
From there we continued the drive and made our way up to a lodge by one of the lakes. It was beautiful. Matt and I went in and checked it out. The inside of the building was so neat and had an amazing view of the lake.

Next was more driving. We made it out to a overlook area and the kids had a great time throwing the rocks out into the water and scaring me a lot. The water was so beautiful!
Most of the day was spent driving around. The kids did really great even though they were stuck in the car for the better part of the day.
In the morning we will try to leave early in hopes of making it to Mt. Rainier.
Glacier Out!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yes I am a good Mom!


Last night we arrived in Kalispell at my friend Holly's. We were able to have some yummy dinner. Thanks Dan and Holly for letting us crash your place!
This morning we got up and going and headed into Glacier.
Holly borrowed an excursion from some friends and was a wonderful tour guide. She took us up the going to the sun highway. It was closed at the top so we couldn't drive all the way through.
Once we got to the top we climbed around in the snow and Matt gave the kids rides down the snow.
We also saw five big horn sheep. They were pretty high up so we couldn't see them too well.Here we are looking at the sheep.
That is as far as the road went through so we turned around and headed back down.
We stopped for lunch and from there we took a walk through the park. Matt, Delvin, Rose and Jude took off on a four mile hike. Jude did good but was carried most of {all of} the way. Holly, Addison, Madeline and I took the shorter easier route. We walked around a board walk and took pictures, and stopped along the way to throw rocks into the water. Madeline was our little photographer and did a great job! On our way back to the car we saw a deer and followed it out to the water and took about one million pictures of it. Once we were back to the car Madeline found a caterpillar and hung onto it for quite a while, and when we left she made him a little home out of leaves and a rock. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 9

Day 8 Yellowstone

Day Eight
We drove through the night from Bryce Canyon to Jackson Wyoming. Once we were in Jackson we stopped to get some groceries and had some breakfast. From there we went
toward Grand Tetons. It was raining really hard. Matt and Madeline got out and tried to sneak up on some elk. The were able to see a cow and a calf. Since it was
raining so hard we just headed on to Yellowstone. When we got into Yellowstone it was about 30 min before Old Faithful was predicted to erupt. So we sat in on a
presentation of the park in winter time. zzzzzzz We left the presentation a bit early so we wouldn't miss Old Faithful. We found our spot, got the cameras ready and....
waited and waited and waited. This time he was not so faithful. It was about 15 minutes late. The kids really enjoyed it. Jude was so excited to see the "volcano"
We then headed back to our campsite, and on the way we saw quite a few different animals. Madeline is very good at helping me keep track of all the animals that we see.
So far we have seen, Mule Deer, Elk [bull cow and calf] Crane, Bison, and Antelope. Just as it started getting dark we saw 4 buffalo right next to the road. We stopped
for pictures and they were so close. They started getting closer and closer until we thought they were actually going to get into the motor home with us. The big daddy
was about 5 feet from Matt! Then they all crossed the road right in front of is. Too bad it was too dark to get any decent photos.
As soon as it was dark Grandma started telling stories to the kids, They LOVED it! They kept asking for more and more stories.
Again our senior citizen has pulled through with the savings. We got into two more parks free and our camping half price. For a savings of $60 just today. Old person
savings to date-$235 Nice work!

Zion & Bryce

Day 7
Headed back into Zion. Once we were up and out of the [non parking lot] rv park we hopped a ride into the Park on a shuttle bus. The Shuttle bus took us on the
roads that they had closed to public traffic. It made several stops along the way at different view points. We road the bus to the end and of the line. That took
us to the river walk. it was so fun to put our feet in the water. The kids loved throwing rocks. i think they would have stayed there all day to throw rocks.
We walked along the river for about a mile and the kids tried to stop at every rock and boulder to try out their new climbing skills. Once we were at the end of the
we stopped again to throw more rocks. The one mile back the other way felt a little more like 10 miles. And we didn't take any pictures of that part. :o)
The next stop on the way back to the visitor center was weeping rock. Delvin Rose and Matt hiked up to see it and I stayed with the kids.
I am so amazed at the beauty of Zion. It was a park I had not heard much about so I didn't know what to expect. I would say that so far it has been my favorite.
The kids loved it too since the rocks were fun to climb. They have decided that they are officially climbers. They now want to climb to the top of everything.
Delvin asked Jude if he climbs trees and Jude said "no I don't climb trees, I climb climbing trees!" It was pretty cute.
As the day went on we all started to get a little delirious, You may be able to tell in the pictures but you can really tell on the videos. Matt started referring to
himself as Clint Eastwood and saying things like "Eastwood Out" at the end of video clips.
Here is a sweet picture of an arch we went through and in the foreground our faithful companion, Tilly. Well, maybe not so faithful. She is causing a bit of confusion
tonight in her navigating trying to get us take the most bazaar turns. I am glad we also have Mr. McNally.

From Zion we headed to Bryce Canyon. This was another place that I didn't know much about but was very impressed with. The kids were sleeping and we didn't want to
wake them up so we took turns going to the view points. It was nice that way because the edges of this place were the worst yet. And of course Matt had to scare me
over and over by getting as close to the edge as possible or running straight to the edge and making an abrupt stop. Proving once again that I am a giant chicken.

So now we are driving through the night to get to yellow stone. Matt and I are the only ones awake. Hopefully that will explain the next part of this post.

Here is a list of things for you to know if you are planning on taking a road trip.
1. Take an old person with you. Trust me it will save you a lot of money. They don't eat much and they get you into National Parks for free. So far our old person
has saved us $150!!!
2. GPS's are great, but you also need an atlas. You can travel with an atlas and no GPS but not a GPS and no atlas.
3. Bring as many pieces of technology as possible. Here is an example of our technology list: Laptop, camera, video camera, ipod, Vehicle GPS, Personal GPS, 5 cell phones
and a discman.
4. Make sure to have some sweet music. There are certain things that must play while on said road trip. Artists like Johnny Cash are great because if you follow rule number one
it is something that people from all generations will like. CCR has also proven to be great road trip music.
5. When playing music on the ipod and you have it on shuffle make sure you are on top of the player. It can be slightly uncomfortable when you go from singing Psalty
tunes with the whole family to a song like Poker Face and your 5 year old knows most of the words. This is not a song that spans the generations.
6. Another great person to bring along is the old man's wife. She is the perfect candidate for cooking meals. She can make wonderful meals out of random things in
the RV. She also is good at reading to the kids.
7. Make sure you have a large memory card for your camera or bring your computer along so you can put them on there and make more room on the memory card. We may or
may not have taken 1200 pictures and we are just half way through the trip. {FYI, please know that if you ask to see pictures of the trip you should mark out a lot of time. I will
show you all of them and the hours of video.}
8. Bring sleeping pills along. If the uncomfortable bed doesn't keep you from sleeping the snoring and loud breathing of people who are sleeping will.

To Be Continued...................