Tuesday, August 20, 2013

View from the Road: Mega Trip Part Five

This will be the last post about this vacation.  Period.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  It's the last day of summer vacation, for heaven's sake!

I left off on the 16th day.  Sad day, really.  We left Idaho and tried to make it to Colorado.  We were shooting for Denver, but knew that we wouldn't make it.  So we instead trained our sights on the Rocky Mountain National Park.  We got pretty close and ended up camping in the Arapaho National Forest.  It was probably the worst night of my life.  Troy's too.  We were surprised that we didn't freeze to death out there.  Our kids did fine throughout the night.  They snuggled together and enjoyed having the majority of the blankets we brought.  We adults, on the other hand, just shivered and chattered all night long.  My toes were burning they were so cold.  Try to sleep through that.  No, not happening.

But day 17 was much better.  We got into the park pretty early (since we were just dying, possibly literally, to get into our van and turn on the heat!) and started seeing the sights.  And here I will say one last time, if you haven't been to Rocky Mountain National Park, you should go.  This park, by far, had some of the most spectacular views!

We saw lots of wildlife at this park.

Here's a moose that I am proud to say I spotted 


Big horn sheep

This park is also known for a road that takes you up to the alpine tree line, where trees don't grow because it is the alpine tundra.  From this road, some 12,000 ft high, you can see whole mountains as well as the valley below and the expansive sky.  It gives you a dizzying feeling as you try to take it all in.  Like at an moment you would realize that you aren't standing on the ground anymore.  

Trying to catch up to Daddy

It was pretty cold out there

It was a stunning park.  One that I hope to visit again (provided that I follow my own advice and plan and prepare better).  But for our 17th day, we had other plans.  We planned to meet some friends for lunch in Denver.  They also graciously allowed us to spend the night with them.  And to boot we got a delicious, hot meal and a hot shower!  What blessings.  Unfortunately for you, I didn't take any photos.  Fortunately for me, I have wonderful memories.  

From Denver we headed to Albuquerque to visit my brother and his family.  We made it on day 18 and stayed until day 20.  Our time with them was too short, but we sure did  have a blast!  

Who's celebrating a birthday?!

Not any of them...

There he is!  The birthday boy, Johann!!

Cousin time!

Dishes time!

Girl time!

Hiking time!

This was a pretty fun hike!

For some...

and others!


When our time came to an end, on the 20th day, we packed our things and headed out bright and early.  We somehow managed to drive from Albuquerque to Houston in one straight shot with no one crying about being in the car too long!  Can you believe it?!  Well, you should because it happened.  

It was a great trip.  One that I will not do again for a long time or maybe even ever.  But hooray for no car trouble, no one pooping their pants, and very few meltdowns!  

Now off to bed because school starts tomorrow... squeeeee!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

View from the Road: Mega Trip Part Four

Will this be the final installment in the View from the Road series?  We can only hope so.  Let's see how far we make it!

I left you with our ninth day arrival at Glacier National Park!  This was the crown jewel of our National Parks destinations.  Troy had never been and I had never heard of it.  Sounds like the makings of a wonderful time.

Stone skippers

Beautiful mountains

Snow melt and waterfall

Kind of scary taking this picture because we had just seen a Grizzly bear by the side of the road

Looking for mountain goats

They insisted that the water was the perfect temperature for bathing suits.  They got out feeling like ice cubes...

But they loved it!
Now here's the part of the series where I give you advice should you ever dare to take a multiple National Parks trip.  #1) Google the weather for each park before you leave your house.  Had we known that the nights were going to be in the 40's/30's, we would brought sleeping bags.  (Luckily we were able to borrow his parents'.)  And if we had known the days were going to be so chilly in the mountains, we would have packed more than one long sleeve shirt and one pair of pants...  #2) If you plan on camping inside of a park, make a reservation.  Make a reservation a month in advance.  If they don't take reservations, get yourself a camping spot as soon as you can, preferably when the park opens.  Otherwise you may find it getting dark and then find out there are no more available camping spots in the whole park.  Then you will find yourself asking a local Indian fellow if you can camp on his property.  #3) And finally, find out what the park is like before you decide to drive across the country to see it.  You may find that you get there and almost all the park is for hiking, which your little fellow travelers can only do limited amounts of.

There are probably more things that I could advise you to do, or not do.  So if you ever find yourself wanting to take a similar kind of trip, feel free to ask me what I think.  

On day ten we did another tour of Glacier and headed back down the lovely state of Montana.  We spent the night in a lovely "log cabin" since it started raining.  We woke up on day eleven and made our way back into Idaho, headed for Twin Falls.  Along the way we made a couple of stops.  The first was at Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Walking up a cinder cone

Our second stop was at a natural hot spring in Carey, ID.

It was like hot bath water, but the kids had fun.  The cool wind blowing on you when you got out sure helped to cool you down.  It was a good time.

We spent the following five nights in Twin Falls.  We spent time with family.  We ate good food.  We saw a double feature at the drive in movie.  We went to Boise.  We saw a play.  We played tag.  And we only got these photos to prove it happened...

Orry lost his second tooth!  

Went shopping with Chessidy

Ate great food with this handsome man

Played at Aunt Nicole and Uncle Trent's house

Big helper

Drive thru movie buddies

It's sad, really.  But what can I say.  When you are having a blast, you sometimes forget to take a picture!

On the 16th day we left Idaho and began our journey home.  I will leave it here for now and make you endure one more post about this trip.  We ended up hitting one more National Park and I dare say it was the best.  We also saw more friends and family.  Tune in again for the conclusion!  And lot of thanks for journeying with us so far!