Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Roadtrip 2014 Week 2

June 14- We woke up to the sound of snow on the tent...and it was COLD!  We shivered our way through some hot cocoa and then headed over to the Yellowstone Canyon visitor's center to see the museum and attend a ranger's talk so that the kids could get their junior ranger badges.  At that point, the sun had started to come out, but more snow was clearly on the way.  We decided that this was VACATION, not Survivor, so we opted to pack up camp a day early and drive to Idaho Falls.  A hotel would be nice and warm, and then we could say that we had OFFICIALLY visited Idaho, having spent the night there.  
Yes, that is snow!

She did a lot of this- we have excellent car travelers!

June 15- Father's Day!  Of course, we started the day with a swim in the pool, before heading out to the Tautphaus Park Zoo in Idaho Falls.  It was a wonderful little zoo...very small, but with tons of great animals up quite close.  Then we hit the road for Salt Lake City, where we stayed in a nice house that we rented through Air BNB.  We all snuggled up and had a movie night.

We got to see lions this close- no zoom lens here!

June 16- We started off the day with a trip into Salt Lake City to see the Temple grounds.  They were very beautiful and well maintained.  After heading home for naps, we decided to visit the Discovery Museum, which was a huge hit with the kids.  We wandered around the outdoor mall nearby and played in some fountains near a 2002 Olympic plaque, and then finished the day with some dinner.

June 17- Headed over to "This is the Place" Heritage Park, located on the spot where Brigham Young apparently announced that they had found the right spot to settle.  It is a historical village with working blacksmith, printing presses, leather work, etc.  The kids got to make rag dolls, button yo-yos, try out the printing press, see some Native American dancing, tour old homes, and best of all...taste some fresh donuts.  We didn't mind the rain too much.  After naps, we drove out to the Great Salt Lake Marina so that we could see the Great Salt Lake.  It was...salty!  In the evening we got together with our dear friends Sean and Emily and their little Eloise.  It was great to see them.

The Great Salt Lake

June 18- No pictures this day, I guess.  Drove from Salt Lake City to Fort Collins, CO to see my Aunt LeAnne and Uncle Kevin and their beautiful home.

June 19- Had a wonderful day in Fort Collins.  Hit the neighborhood beach in the morning.  After naps, we headed out for some ice cream at the infamous Walrus, and then played some of the outdoor pianos and got a touch wet in the jumping fountains.  Dinner was delicious tacos and was followed by another trip down to the beach before bedtime.

The Walrus!


Not so dry!

Every city should have pianos sitting around to be played!

Making friends with Herb the dachshund

June 20- Not much to say about today...782 miles until the next turn!
We did this over two days...we're not that crazy!

June 21- Woke up and took a quick swim at the hotel before hitting the road for home.  Stopped in Bettendorf at the Family Museum for a bit of playtime and a stretch before finishing off the trip.  We were welcomed back into Illinois by a big rainbow (apparently we arrived home just after a nasty storm!)  It was an awesome trip, and we all decided we would turn right around and do it again...if someone else would pack the car and do the laundry.  All said, we traveled 3, 924 miles, saw 11 states and made a lot of great memories!

Can you see the rainbow?
Giggly travelers ready to get home!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Roadtrip 2014 Week 1

We have a goal to take our children to all 50 states before we send them off into the world.  This summer we set a goal knock a bunch more states off the list, so we set off on what would end up being a two week, 3.924 mile roadtrip that took us through 11 states.  It was AWESOME!  Here is the recap:

June 6- Left around 1:30pm.  Dinner at Paul Bunyan's Cook Shanty in Wisconsin Dells.  Made it to Minneapolis and stayed the night at the Hilton Garden Inn.

June 7- Enjoyed a swim and awesome breakfast that was only slightly spoiled when we found out our valet-parked car had been hit by a rogue dumpster.  Exchanged insurance info, and since it was still driveable (with a huge creaking sound every time the door opened) we decided to press on!  Met and fell in love with the new and adorable Charlotte Kimble before heading on to the Spam Museum in Austin, MN.  Met up with our friends and travel partners, the Freybergs.  Traveled to Sioux Falls, SD and called it a night at the Econolodge.  Phew!

June 8- Quick breakfast at the hotel before viewing Sioux Falls and traveling through the Badlands and the Blackhills (the landscape was so cool and so much more than we expected), past Wall Drug and the Corn Palace.  We found the first of several tiny Brigadoon-like coffee shops that graced our trip, providing sustenance when we least expected it.  We arrived at Spokane Creek Campground and enjoyed some hot pizzas while we set up camp.  Then we wound our way around some 300 twists and turns, loops, switchbacks and generally mountainous roads to see the evening flag ceremony at Mount Rushmore.

Heaven in a cup.

Mt Rushmore by night...hard to capture.

June 9- Packed up camp and waved at Mt. Rushmore on our way to the Crazy Horse Monument.  Booked a LOT of miles across Wyoming, stopping to have a snowball fight on a mountain pass.  Arrived at the gorgeous Red Lodge, MT ranch that belongs to Holly and first cousins once reomoved (that took us a while to figure out).  Slept like logs!
Mt Rushmore

Crazy Horse

We did a LOT of this.  Our kids are WONDERFUL travelers.

Snowball fight in June!

I think there were 5 or 6 kids in there by morning!
June 10- Woke to a wonderful breakfast of blueberry pancakes.  Left the kids with the four Freyberg grandparents who are along for the trip, and Janet, Gavin, Matt and Helen all headed out for a trail ride on horseback (or mule-back, in Matt's case).  We enjoyed fording a stream, mountain views and seeing Bitterroot, the Montana state flower.  In the afternoon we enjoyed the grounds of the ranch, including a little playhouse and a comfy hammock.  Dinner was fabulous veggie pasta and we, again, slept well!

Matt's, Annie Oakley.

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Bitterroot Flower

A little playhouse just their size!

Rough life!

June 11- After waiting for the overnight snow to clear, we took the advice of the snowplow man at the gas station, grabbed a cup of coffee from another miracle coffee stand, and hit the Beartooth Pass into Yellowstone.  It was as treacherous, snowy and beautiful as promised.  We drove through the park, viewing Bison and other animals, on our way to Canyon Campground.  We set up camp, and the Freybergs cooked up some wonderful foil dinners for us- meat, potatoes, veggies...yum!  We had S'mores for dessert.

The roads were clear, but there was still a LOT of snow up there!

It may not look like much, but to was beautiful.  Trust me!

June 12- HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATT!  We had a chilly birthday breakfast of oatmeal before heading out to see the lower loop of Yellowstone.  Waterfalls, geysers, fumeroles, hot springs, and of course...ICE CREAM while we waited for Old Faithful to erupt.  Back to the campsite for birthday dinner- Taco salads in Doritos bags and Chocolate Peanut-butter bars for "cake."

Old Faithful

Check out the bear marks on this tree!

June 13- We bid farewell to the Freybergs as they headed onto California and beyond.  The kids worked on their Junior Ranger booklets and we had a very easy morning at the site.  In the afternoon, we headed to the upper loop of Yellowstone to see the Mammoth Hot Springs.  The highlight of Beatrice's day (and perhaps trip) was the Scat Board at the ranger station...inspired by a pooping buffalo, she took a real interest in all things scat-related!  We finished the night with spaghetti and s'more s'mores.  Then we snuggled into the tent...which was a good thing, because it was not long before the snow began to fall!


Happy camper and her scat board.

Not springs!