Sunday, November 19, 2017

Day 19 - the end of Big Trip 8

Day 19- Saturday – July 13, 2013
0600 Up with Rocco – get him outside so he can take care of business.  He’s not used to going on an elevator to get outside.
0700 Go to Starbucks.  Stop for gas, $3.81/gallon
0954 Leaving hotel
1000 Sign for JoeBob’s Chicken Joint – voted best wings in 2006
1002 Stop for Jack in the Box breakfast
1036 California state line
1043 Tahoe National Forest
1050 Agriculture Inspection Station – get waved through
1057 Stop at Subway.  Sign outside says “Snow and ice fall from the roof – park at your own risk!”
1109 Leaving Subway- we even got cookies and chips this time!
1120 Donner State Park picnic area to eat.  Felisa gets a splinter.
12:05 p.m. It’s too busy here today – not really relaxing.  Might as well get going.
12:10 p.m. Stop at the museum for a bathroom break
12:35 p.m. Donner Pass summit , elevation 7,135 feet
1:11 p.m. Girl Scout Camp drop off complete
1:31 p.m. I-80 west
2:00 p.m. Secret Town Road
2:31 p.m. Rocklin,CA – stop for food at Arby’s.  Current temperature here in the valley, 98 degrees.
3:11 p.m. Sign for Jimboy’s Tacos
3:45 p.m. Stockton.  Construction traffic.
4:00 p.m.  Turn off for the I-205. Traffic finally eases up.
4:09 p.m. Stop for gas, $4.09/gallon.  Grab some fruit from the fruit stand as well as cold water and chocolate from the mini mart.  Expensive fruit here – 2 peaches cost $2.
4:53 p.m. Trucks full of something red, heading north.  What could it be?  Peaches? Tomatoes? Red peppers?
5:03 p.m. Heard a story on the radio that says sweat does not clog pores and that you should shower before you exercise, not after.  Say what?
5:21 p.m. Radio announcer recommends that pedestrians use only a single earbud for safety.  It helps maintain awareness of what is around you.  I totally agree.  I always use single earbuds when out walking the dog.
6:03 p.m. Pleasant Valley State Prison
6:18 p.m. Stop for gas in Kettleman City.  $4.26/gallon.  Current temperature, 99 degrees.
6:36 p.m. Back on the road.  Our final leg of the trip.
6:45 p.m. Cop!  (But he wasn’t interested in me, thank goodness!)
6:59 p.m. San Luis Obispo County.  Getting closer!
8:04 p.m. Can see the ocean!  Temperature is now 61 degrees.
8:10 p.m. Oops!  Almost missed the exit for Arroyo Grande.
8:14 p.m. Home Sweet Home!


Total miles = 5,581

Day 18

Day 18 – Friday – July 12, 2013
0700 Wake up
0825 Loaded and leaving the house
Stop at McD’s for breakfast. Is this my first McD’s iced coffee of the trip? It might be.  Stop at the ATM.
1001 Leave Mountain Home.
1009 Train. First one we’ve seen in awhile.  This one has a lot of double-stacked cars.
1019 Sunny. Clear blue skies. 80 degrees.
1037 BOB96.1 is a good station for driving music.
1055 Gas, $3.77/gallon. The car in front of us has a SLO/Cal Poly Alum license frame.
1113 Leaving. That was a long break. I updated the blog and our Facebook status while we were stopped.
1125 Chicken Dinner Road
1132 Where am I?  While we are stopped at a construction zone I check my phone map to get a better idea.
1134 Still waiting for our turn to go.  Might as well put on some sunscreen.  Lots of sun coming in the windows today.
1138 Finally moving again.
1143 Snake River
1145 Sign at the laundromat says “Will work for quarters”. Marsing, ID
1150 Cows
1154 US Ecology Idaho Waste site. I wonder what they have there.  (Google tells me it is LowLevelWaste – a category of miscellaneous nuclear waste)
12:10 p.m. Oregon state line.  We are greeted by 55 mph zone and a sign warning that this is a ticket zone.  In the middle of nowhere!
12:11 p.m. Open Range next 122 miles
12:18 p.m. 4,643 ft elevation
12:21 p.m. Cow Creek
12:32 p.m. Next gas in 100 miles. Jordan Valley
12:34 p.m. Map shows that we are barely into Oregon.  At 55 mph we might never make it out again!
12:49 p.m. Lewis Clark Trail  Historic Site
12:51 p.m. Snow-topped mountain on the horizon gives me hope that the desert will end eventually.
12:52 p.m. Rock Creek.  No water, just rocks.
12:59 p.m. We’re losing our BOB radio with the good driving music. L
1:02 p.m. Police car headed the other way with its back lights flashing.
1:03 p.m. Snow zone
1:06 p.m. Owyhee River
1:07 p.m. Turn my MP3 player to “Hazy Shade of Winter” to help mentally cool us off.
1:31 p.m. Turn the GPS off.  It’s hot up in the window and I’m pretty sure we won’t get lost since this is the only road around.
12:32 p.m. Pacific Time Zone.  Now our ETA feels even farther off.
12:50 p.m. Dust devil
12:51 p.m. Grandma Duffield calls to check in.
12:52 p.m. Blue Mountain Pass, elevation 5,293 feet
1:15 p.m. Nevada state line and town of McDermitt.  Not much here but the token state-line casino.
1:16 p.m. 70 mph now.  Yay!
1:18 p.m. Paiute and Shoshone Indian Reservation. Driving through reservations always makes me sad.  They are so poor and lacking in natural resources.
1:35 p.m. Humboldt/Santa Rosa Mountain area looks interesting.  And it’s only 87 degrees here which is surprisingly cool.
1:46 p.m. Checking for a radio station. Nothing yet.
1:57 p.m. Paradise Summit, elevation 4,987 feet
2:11 p.m. Wind monster
2:21 p.m. Poke and Peek Hospital Auxiliary
2:28 p.m. Stop for gas at the Flying J. $3.69/gallon.  There is a Burger King here also.
3:04 p.m. Whoppers are hard to eat while driving.
3:09 p.m. Road is very bumpy and Rocco is being very grumpy.
3:14 p.m. End of the construction zone. Phew!
3:18 p.m. Rest area is closed.  The next rest area is not for another 76 miles! And there are no bushes to hide behind out here.  What are you supposed to do if you need a pit stop?!
3:22 p.m. Gold Corporation is hiring miners to work at Marigold Mine.
3:28 p.m. Some sort of crazy structure at exit 145.  What is it made of?  Rocks?  Giant antlers?
3:35 p.m. Pass 3 trucks full of livestock.  Were they pigs or blond cows?
3:40 p.m. Lost our radio again.
3:42 p.m. Rye Patch Recreation Area is a total desert.  Good thing we’re not planning on camping here tonight.
4:32 p.m. Fog may make roads icy.  Well, that would spice up this boring drive a bit.  No fog around though today.
4:36 p.m. Small dust devil crossing the highway
4:38 p.m. I have been seeing messages written with rocks alongside the road. I wonder if it’s for the pilots flying out of Fallon.
5:14 p.m. Arrive at Holiday Inn in Sparks.

6:50 p.m. Out to Barnes and Noble, dinner, and Petco.

Day 17 – Thursday – July 11, 2013

0630 Wake up. Let Rocco out in the backyard.
0800 Walk Rocco and wake up the kids.
0900 Take Rocco to day care.  He is not happy.  Breakfast at AJs.
1115 Roaring Springs water park in Boise.  It’s cloudy today which is nice for me – I won’t have to worry about getting a sunburn.
3:30 p.m. Time to head back.  Stop for gas and an errand at Home Depot before we leave the “big city”.
5:25 p.m. Pick up Rocco.  He is very happy to see us.

Leftover pizza for dinner.  Showers.  Doing laundry and getting the girls packed up for camp.  Crazy 8s.   And I finished the book I was reading.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Day 16 (full version)

Day 16
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

0630 Slept in

0750 Camp is packed and ready to go.  Current temperature, 55 degrees. Muffins for breakfast.

0757 Leaving.  Only 49 miles to Starbucks.  Oh wait - not leaving yet.  Emergency splinter removal needed.  We have two first aid kits with us and only one towelette between them - and it's dry!!! Might need to work on that when we get back.  And we should add tweezers too.

0806 Now we are leaving.  For sure this time.

0816 Hot air balloon

0818 Three more hot air balloons

0827 Cows

0909 Starbucks.  We had to stop and get Rocco out of the car.  He's acting weird again.

0940 Back on the road.  Current temperature is now 77 degrees.

0945 Oops!  Forgot to stop for gas.  All filled up now.  $3.67/gallon

0953 McDonalds

1000 Passing a boy scout trailer

1005 Three big RVs in a row, all towing a car, all from Florida.  Do you think they are together?

1007 Bear River Bird Refuge

1011 Another Florida RV

1021 Golden Spike National Historic Site

1027 A triple-trailer FedEx truck.  We passed a triple UPS earlier

1040 Rattlesnake Pass

1047 Snowville – looks like a desert to me

1053 Idaho

1105 Dust storm area

1108 Sweetzer Summit, elevation 5530 feet

1115 Occasional blinding dust storms next 19 miles.  That’s not good!

1116 City of Rocks National Reserve

1126 Raft River – looks to be about the right size for Ted the Rock

1127 Cows headed to the steak factory

1139 Idahoforest.org – the Governor says to reduce fuel because fires = pollution and danger

1140 Snake River – very wide

1144 Rupert, ID.  Is Ryan’s webkinz snake, Rupert, from here perhaps?

1149 Tanker truck from Florida.  What is he carrying all the way here from Florida?

1152 Exergen Temporal Scanner commercials have been on every radio station this trip

12:17 p.m. Gas, $3.75/gallon.  Lunch at Wendy’s.  Current temperature, 92 degrees.

12:53 p.m. Red light district energy education project.

12:56 p.m. Too many stinky feed lots along the highway

1:09 p.m. A group of 3 and then a group of 2 Penske moving trucks.  Do you think they are all 
working the same moving job?

1:18 p.m. Giant wine bottle and glass.  Is there a winery nearby?

1:20 p.m. Oregon Trail Center and 3 Island Crossing State Park.  Definitely want to stop next time.

1:24 p.m. FedEx double trailer almost crashed when changing lanes.  That’s the second time.

1:27 p.m. Trucks hauling grill propane tanks

1:49 p.m. Arrive at Mom’s house

We had Papa Murphy’s Pizza for dinner then went to the pool.  Met a Boy Scout and leader who showed us how they make paracord bracelets as a fundraiser in their troop.



Monday, January 16, 2017

Day 15 (full version)

Day 15
Tuesday, July 9, 2013

0600 Wake up

0728 Leaving - only half an hour behind schedule

0735 Starbucks line is way too long so don't stop

0737 Wag-n-Wash

0744 Gas, $3.61/gallon

0806 Heading up Ute Pass

0807 Fire danger is Extreme

0819 Stop at McD's in Woodland Park.  The GPS lied to us.  It said there is a Sonic (there's not) and there isn't a McD's (there is).  Oh well.  At least I got food and coffee.

0844 Rocco is making a weird noise in the back.

0846 Painted lizard rock grafitti

0850 Rocco making weird noises again - what's wrong with him?!

0855 South Platte River

0905 Pike National Forest and Wilkerson Pass.  Elevation 9,507 feet

0909 Cows

0912 Antelope

0932 San Isabel National Forest and Trout Creek Pass.  Elevation 9,487 feet

0940 Chaffee County.  "Now *this* is Colorado!"

0947 Buena Vista, elevation 7,954 feet

0955 Sign advertising a 10 day rafting trip

1016 Arkansas River

1024 Leadville, elevation 10, 151 feet.  "On top of it all!"

1037 Tennessee Pass and Continental Divide, elevation 10, 424 feet.  Current weather conditions - 66 degrees, sprinkling and breezy.  Feels cold!

1050 Top o' the Rockies Scenic Drive.  Looks like a nice area to camp and hike.

1055 White River National Forest

1100 Eagle River

1105 Notch Mountain, elevation 13,237 feet

1106 Old mine town

1108 This road is super curvy but has an awesome view!

1118 I-70

1131 Bellyache Ridge Road

1151 Colorado River

1153 Glenwood Canyon

1158 a long tunnel

12:06 p.m. No Name, CO

12:08 p.m. Glenwood Springs Hot Springs pool - the place is packed!

12:30 p.m. Rifle, CO - roundabouts in this town - yuck!

12:32 p.m. Sonic for lunch.  Program the GPS for Heber City.  205 miles away as the crow flies.  Current ETA is 6 p.m.

1:01 p.m. Gas, $3.89/gallon

1:08 p.m. Show on the radio about fire-adapted communities.  We have moved farther and farther into the mountains and forests and we need to learn to live in an environment that has fires.

1:18 p.m. Smells like rain

1:33 p.m. Construction stop

1:51 p.m. Stegosaurus Ridges

1:53 p.m. White River

1:56 p.m. Sheep

2:10 p.m. Rio Blanco River

2:37 p.m. Desperado Mine Road

2:40 p.m. Kenney Reservoir.  Maybe next time we should plan a break to swim in the lake.

2:47 p.m. Two plastic pink flamingos stuck in the rocks.

2:48 p.m. Cool globe statue

2:53 p.m. Chevron oil field

2:59 p.m. Pretty desolated out here in this corner of Colorado

3:07 p.m. Dinosaur, CO - elevation, 5,900 feet

3:08 p.m. Brontosaurus Blvd/ US-40

3:12 p.m. Utah

3:23 p.m. 97 degrees

3:27 p.m. Green River

3:43 p.m. Highway Patrol drives a pickup truck here

3:50 p.m. Gas, $3.73/gallon in Vernal

4:21 p.m. Uintah River

4:28 p.m. Best Western Plus - seems like a pretty nice hotel for a not-so-scenic area

4:32 p.m. Roosevelt, UT, 100 degrees

5:02 p.m. Starvation State Park

5:20 p.m. Wahsatch County

5:39 p.m. Chicken Creek East

5:46 p.m. Summit, elevation 8020 feet, 80 degrees

5:49 p.m. A semi truck is going 10 mph down the hill

6:02 p.m. Another one-lane construction road.  We are so close to our destination.  Will we really be there in 15 minutes?

6:20 p.m. Jordanelle State Park.  Are there campsites available???  Yes!!!

6:28 p.m. Campsite selected.  There is some highway noise but otherwise pretty quiet here.

7:17 p.m. Camp it set up so head over to the beach.  The kids made a new friend - Ted the Rock.  They helped him become a Driftwood Sailor and gave him swimming lessons.

7:50 p.m. Back at camp to make dinner.  Tacos.  The refried beans smell funny so we throw them away and Bella ate a quesadilla instead.

0840 p.m. Finishing up dinner.  The sun is down now and it is cooling off nicely.  We play some Crazy 8's before bed.

Day 14

Day 14
Monday, July 8, 2013

0545 Rocco wakes me up early - again!  I let him out and he comes back with muddy paws.  :(  I clean him up and then go back to bed to play on my iPad.

0700 Get up. Have a cup of coffee.  Try to get another updated long version posted to the blog.

0830 One half-cup of coffee later, Day 3 has been posted.

0945 Walk Rocco

1030 Go shopping while the kids stay home to play Wii.  I go to Sonic, DSW, Whole Foods, Archivers, and the thrift store.

12:45 p.m. Back home to watch Rocco and get the van clean and prepped to get back on the road while the kids go to lunch and a movie with Grandpa.  Lunch at Schlotsky's and Despicable Me 2.

More afternoon activities...  pay bills, wash dishes, find a campground for tomorrow, and fold the last load of laundry.

Dinner is bratburgers on the grill (yum!), beans, and peas.  Grilled cheese for Bella.  Then a couple more roads of Mexican Train.  We end on the 2's.  It's late and I need to sleep.  We have a long drive ahead tomorrow.

Day 13

Day 13
Sunday, July 7, 2013

Grandpa made bacon and eggs for breakfast- yum!  Ron and Ryan took Rocco for a long walk out in the park behind the house.  Afterwards we all drove out to Black Forest to see the fire damage.  Sandwiches for lunch when we get back to the house then I take Ron to the airport.  We stop at the auto shop along the way so he can fix my headlight (thanks!).  I get to stop at Target on the way back.  The afternoon rainstorm passes through.  For dinner we go to SMASHburger.  After dinner we play Mexican train dominoes until bedtime.

Day 12 (full version)

Day 12
Saturday, July 6, 2013

0550 Wake up

0725 Leaving camp

0730 Stop for a train crossing

0734 McD's for breakfast and coffee.  Ron even ordered it right.  :)

0744 Another train.  There were so many trains passing through last night.

0745 Question of the morning... How was the campsite?
     Felisa: Scary!
     Bella: I would've slept through the storm if Felisa hadn't been crying.
     Ryan: The pavilion was nice.  Everything was nice until... the storm.
So next time we need to set up with better wind protection and more stakes.  The wind out here on the prairie is no joke!

0813 Cows and antelope grazing amongst the snow fences.

0818 Medicine Bow River

0819 Thunderstorms predicted state-wide today.

0823 All of these snow fences look new.  Not sure I've ever seen new ones before.

0825 Windmills (very appropriate for all the wind around here!)

0902 Gas, $3.33/gallon

0910 Wyoming Territorial Prison
What did we learn here?
Ryan: Before the stockade was built in 1875, 25% of the prisoners regularly escaped.
Felisa: Every day 720 brooms were made in the broom workshop
Bella: One prisoner gained the trust of the guards and was allowed to have a pet antelope.  One night when he went out to feed it, he just walked away and escaped.
Favorite parts?
Felisa: broom factory
Ryan: cell blocks
Bella: none of it

1013 Headed through Laramie

1041 Colorado

1120 Fort Collins

1136 Stop for lunch at SMASHburger

12:11 p.m. Leave SMASHburger.  Drive past DSW.

12:16 p.m. Peloton Cycles.  We give Ron 13 minutes to look around.

12:23 p.m. His review... they have "every specialized bike around".

12:53 p.m. Day 11 summary has been posted to the blog

1:05 p.m. Entering Denver and hoping for no traffic jams but the highway has been pretty busy so far all the way down from Ft Collins.

1:36 p.m. Castle Rock

1:40 p.m.  And there's the traffic jam...  down to 2 lanes.

2:19 p.m. Grandpa's house!  Showers for all!  Laundry is started!  Time to relax and tell stories from the trip.  Rocco enjoyed some free time in the back yard looking for rabbits.

5:46 p.m. Going to Saltgrass Steakhouse for dinner.  Rocco waits in the car.

7:19 p.m. Back from dinner.

Rocco enjoys even more outside play time - he doesn't seem to want to go to bed tonight.  I'm all caught up on my iPad games and I have posted the full version of the first two days on the blog.

10:00 p.m. Bedtime!



Monday, November 07, 2016

Day 11 (Full Version)

Day 11
Friday, July 5, 2013

0630 Wake up. Rain and thunderstorms all night long.  Looks like Mother Nature wanted her own fireworks for the 4th of July.  It's very wet outside, but inside the tent - all dry!  For breakfast today we are having eggs and miscellaneous side dishes.  The cooler is getting a bit empty but we still need to get ice.

0944 Leaving the campground.  Things are sort of dried out.

0948 Stop at Lewis Falls for a picture.  Lots of people everywhere!  Time to take a poll on how long we will be driving today.
     Ryan - 9 hours including stops
     Bella - 8 hours including stops
     Felisa - 10 hours including stops (but 7 1/2 hours drive time only)
     Ron - 7 hours
     Sheila - 9 hours or less

0956 Felisa killed a mosquito in the car.  No stowaways!!!  (I killed 11 mosquitos back at the campground this morning.  They are everywhere after the rain.)

1002 Moose Falls.  No one at this pull out because you have to actually hike to see the falls rather than the falls earlier that were by the road.

1003 Time for Best Parts of Yellowstone--
     Bella - the lake
     Felisa - Old Faithful and the lake
     Ryan - Old Faithful
     Ron - Norris
     Sheila - seeing all the scenery and animals
     Rocco - the lake and campground walks

1005 Leaving Yellowstone via the South Entrance

1006 A series of roadside signs-
     We saw wildlife
     From afar
     Until we hit them
     With our car
     Slow Down!

1007 Headwaters at Flagg Ranch.  Stop for gas - $4.05/gallon.  Also pick up ice, coffee, and OJ for the road.

1025 Leaving the gas station

1033 Grand Teton Nationl Park and I get a sign picture!  :)

1040 Lizard Creek Campground.  It looks nice - small and remote.

1042 Jackson Lake.  Great view!  There is a flock of geese hanging out together in the water, just chillin'.

1043 2,992 miles so far

1048 Lots of wildflowers blooming right now.

1053 Laundry and shower facilities at the visitor center here.

1117 Leaving the visitors center.  We have a map of the park, water for Rocco, a smashed penny, and a stamp for my passport collection.

1127 Willow Flats overlook

1135 Jackson Lake Dam

1141 Mt.Moran overlook

1155 Jenny Lake overlook

12:18 p.m. Lots of bicycles out on the road today.

12:22 p.m. Stop at the post office in Moose, WY to finally mail Allie's postcard.  The sign inside the post office says "We appreciate you enormoosely!"

12:30 p.m. We have our 3G cell service back.

12:40 p.m. National Elk Refuge

12:44 p.m. National Museum of Wildlife Art - we should definitely stop there next time.

12:47 p.m. Jackson, WY.  Very busy in town.  There is rock climbing at the city park.  A group is riding horses down the ski hill path.  There are cool antler arches downtown and there is a tunnel into the mountain.

1:21 p.m. Lunch to go from Betty Rock.  We stop to eat at Phil Baux park but unfortunately dogs are not allowed so Rocco waits in the car then walks on the sidewalk.

1:47 p.m. Heading out

2:31 p.m. Look - an actual bridge for sale!

3:13 p.m. Pinedale, WY.  This town has a Mountain Man museum.  Sounds interesting for a future visit.

4:12 p.m. Eden, population 220.  Points of interest include Eden Bar and St Christopher's Catholic Church

4:33 p.m. Wild horse scenic tour turnoff.  (Further research reveals that this is an off-grid, serious 4-wheel drive scenic loop.  We survived the ghost town road but the van probably wouldn't make it here!)

4:46 p.m. Arrive in Rock Springs, population 23,000.  Stop for gas ($3.45/gallon) and snacks.  Ron is charging a 7% tax on all snacks which leads to some tough math problems but one of the kids says "Math is fun!"  Post an update on Facebook while we are in civilization.

5:07 p.m. Sonic!  But we're not stopping...  So sad.

5:08 p.m. Starbucks drive thru is very slow.  Probably because it's the only Starbucks for hundreds of miles!

5:15 p.m. Stop at the Chamber of Commerce for campground maps.  Flamingo Gorge is out - too remote.  Instead we are headed for Rawlins on I-80 East.

5:53 p.m. Onion truck with red, white, and yellow onions

6:06 p.m. Cyclist pulling a double-trailer.  Apparently double trailers aren't just for semis!

6:36 p.m. Blog summaries are up to date but I have tired fingers from thumb-typing it all.

6:46 p.m. Oh no! Construction!

7:07 p.m. Checked in at Western Hills Campground.  We're the first tent here but there are tons of RVs.  Ron picked up fried chicken and salad from the grocery store for dinner.

9:15 p.m. A rainstorm is coming so time to head for bed.

10:20 p.m. HUGE STORM!

10:30 p.m. Whew- it's over.  We're alive.  Felisa says that was the longest 10 minutes of her life.  Now that the storm has passed, we need to move the tent to a better windblock and add lots of stakes!

11:35 p.m. Bedtime, take 2.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Day 2 – Friday – June 26, 2015


0630 Alarm goes off.
0650 Kids are up and getting ready to go.
0753 Time to tally up our license plates from yesterday – 35 + Alberta, Canada
0833 Leaving the Purdy’s house
0840 Starbucks
0849 The GPS is confusing me.  But I’m going to go ahead and trust it that it knows the best route.
0904 Second cow sighting of the trip
0914 Buddy’s Diner
0930 Sudden heavy downpour and then stops just as suddenly
0946 Train
1023 Crumpled can sculpture at the recycling center
1029 Blue sky – first time today
1046 Dan River
1107 North Carolina state line
1116 Quebec license plate
12:02 p.m. Neal John Deere Tractor Museum sign
12:07 p.m. Stop at Cookout for lunch.  Apparently this is a drive-thru only restaurant (unlike the one in Knoxville) so we have to find a park to eat lunch in.
12:29 p.m. Train horn scares me to death!!!
12:32 p.m. “Picnic” along the tracks, sitting in the car.  Can’t find any parks nearby.  In front of us is an Oregon license plate.  Across the street is a school called Brittain Academy.  As we look at it longer, we realize it is abandoned.  Online reviews are mixed but nothing mentions the fact that the school is closed.  We decide that it would fit perfectly in a Scooby Doo movie – a haunted school.
12:50 p.m. Walk to see the giant chair – the World’s Largest Duncan Phyfe Chair.  Along the way, Ryan checks the sign on the door of the school.  It is a flyer for mental therapeutic services.
1:07 p.m. Leaving Thomasville.  The kids vote to skip the courthouse museum in Lexington.  I was planning to stop because I thought it would be similar to the courtroom of To Kill A Mockingbird.  Giant Mattress wins over random old courtroom.
1:25 p.m. Carolina Aviation Museum sign – maybe next time.
1:29 p.m. See the giant Daniel Boone roadside statue as we drive past on the highway – don’t even have to stop.
1:31 p.m. Washington license plate
1:39 p.m. North Carolina Transportation Museum sign
2:30 p.m. Gaston County
2:38 p.m. Gas, $2.56 in Gastonia.  Current temperature is 97 degrees with a heat index of 108 degrees!  The car display says 101 degrees.  Too hot!
3:12 p.m. South Carolina state line
3:26 p.m. Giant Peach water tower
3:27 p.m. Cherokee Hills Scenic Road and Cowpens battlefield signs
4:27 p.m. There’s a guy standing on the overpass holding a confederate flag.
4:31 p.m. Baby cows riding in a trailer
4:44 p.m. Savannah River Scenic Highway sign
4:52 p.m. Georgia state line
5:38 p.m. Made it to the mattress store – home of the World’s Largest Mattress.  Fun to jump on and cool furniture to look at too.
6:30 p.m. Beef O’Brady’s for dinner.  See highlights of a World cup game but have to leave before the US game starts
6:34 p.m. Sunset over the Atlanta airport
8:40 p.m. US scores against China (game highlights via text message from Ron)
8:53 p.m. GPS sunset
9:03 p.m. FDR State Park – home of the Little White House
9:39 p.m. Alabama state line and Chattahoochee River but no time change

9:43 p.m. Hotel.  Finally.  What a long day!  Note to self – 9+hours of drive time = 13+ hours of total travel time!  My poor, tired, swollen feet…

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Day 1 – Thursday – June 25, 2015



0911 Leaving.  Beginning mileage is 172,459.  Temperature is a nice 75 degrees.
0920 Stopping at McD’s because I’m hungry and forgot to eat breakfast.  And because I like McD’s breakfast!
0947 On Highway 29 south and have encountered our first traffic jam.  Construction.
1006 Our first entry in the license plate game – West Virginia
1009 Maryland license plate
1011 Lots of notes… my secretary (Ryan) is feeling overworked! ;)  First cows have been sighted – it’s officially a road trip now!
1012 North Carolina and Pennsylvania license plates
1015 First roadkill of the trip – a dead raccoon.
1017 MooThru drive-thru restaurant.  Real ice cream from real dairy farmers.  Follow the herd!
1018 New York license plate
1019 Rappahannock River
1033 See a sign for Montpelier – President Madison’s house.  We’ll have to come here sometime.  It’s really close to home!
1044 Washington DC license plate
1118 New Jersey license plate
1122 Firehouse Subs for lunch in Charlottesville.  The car parked in front of us has an Alaska license plate!
1155 Lunch is done and we’re back on the road.  Ryan tried the Level 10 crazy hot sauce.
12:00 p.m. Waffle House.  We pass them all the time but have never been to one.  It seems like Waffle House followers are part of a cult.  What sort of initiation is required?  I’m pretty sure the first visit has to be at midnight or later.
12:02 p.m. Illinois and Georgia license plates
12:07 p.m. Arizona license plate
12:14 p.m. Passed Michie Tavern.  Another historic sight I didn’t know existed.
12:17 p.m. Monticello parking lot.  Lots of good license plates here – Alabama, Ohio, Tennessee, and Massachusetts
2:47 p.m. Leaving Monticello. Our significant items from this visit (can be a fact, a favorite part, or just anything that was memorable about the stop) are:
Ryan – the double-faced clock
Felisa – the various floor-plan pictures in the visitors’ center
Bella – the alcove beds
Sheila – that he sold his books to pay his debts and then bought more books, creating new debt
Before we leave the parking lot, we drive though, “fishing” for more license plates.  We found Utah, Connecticut, California, Indiana, South Carolina, Missouri, Florida, Wisconsin, Alberta, Delaware, Mississippi, Michigan, Texas, Maine, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Arkansas.
3:01 p.m.  Stopped at Michie Tavern to take a picture.
3:30 p.m. Goochland County
4:00 p.m. James River
4:17 p.m. Gas, $2.45.  Current temperature is 90 degrees.
4:35 p.m. Allie’s house!

Richard made yummy baked ziti for dinner and Allie made a birthday cake for dessert.  At bedtime a big thunderstorm with hail rolled through.  I might not be allowed to come back – I seem to bring a lot of bad weather when I come!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

On Thanksgiving

Last week Felisa drew a picture of all the Thanksgiving foods, including something called Kirby.  When I asked her about it she said, "If you sat at the kids' table you would know." I love that! I love that they have special Thanksgiving memories of their own.

Julie, a friend of mine, is an Australian living in the States at the moment. She recently commented on Facebook that she was finally going to be at a regular American Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's house. When I read that, I instantly felt so sad for her. Thanksgiving to me is all about the people; more is better.  We travelled some as a kid to have Thanksgiving with my dad's family in Illinois and I have lots of great memories from those holidays together. We were (and still are) a military family so we moved a lot and didn't always have the chance to drive to Grandma's. On the years we stayed home, our door was always open to anyone we knew that didn't have a dinner to host or attend.  We have been fortunate since living in California to be able to travel to New Mexico to celebrate Thanksgiving with Ron's family.

I can't imagine a Thanksgiving dinner with just our core immediate family. All that work to prepare a meal and no other friends or family to share it with? How sad that would be, at least to me. So you can see why I felt sad that Julie hadn't been invited anywhere the first couple years. I can only hope that I am always aware and proactive in future years to notice anyone without a dinner invite so that I can invite them to celebrate with us any time we are not travelling for the holiday.  After all, what's Thanksgiving without friends and family and laughter? A few years ago we celebrated at Shani's house. The kids were downstairs while the adults were gathered around the table. Later my kids complained that the adults had been making way too much noise and laughing so much. Really?  Sounds like a perfect Thanksgiving to me!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

On military life

The hard goodbyes and wonderful hellos of the military life...

A comment made by a friend on Facebook, a career Naval officer currently serving a (recently extended) remote duty tour on Diego Garcia.  It just really struck me and resonated for me.  So true.  The goodbyes are so hard but the trade off is all the wonderful hellos that you never would've had otherwise.  A hard life in many ways and yet a blessed way of life too.  I am grateful to have had so many wonderful experiences and seen so many places thanks in part to the nomadic military life I have lived, first as a dependent, then as an active service member, and now as a dependent once again.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Friendship Quote

A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely.
-Pam Brown

Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 10 (full version)


Day 10 – Thursday – July 4, 2013

 0630 Wake up.  Get dressed right away so I can get Rocco out for a potty break.  He still won’t go. I think maybe he’s still nervous from the fireworks last night.  Then  we spot some elk cruising through town, enjoying their breakfast and it’s a hopeless case.  He just won’t pee! So back to the cabin to see if anyone else is up yet.

0700 Felisa is up so she comes with me to walk Rocco again.  I have once again just about given up hope when he finally decides to pee.  Whew.  Talk about bladder of steel!

0800 Stop at the local small market to pick up some food.  We got fruit, muffins, hot dogs, bread and ice.

0820 Stop in town to get some coffee.

0840 Mammoth Hot Springs.  Mmm… smell the sulfur!

0855 Visitor Center.  We take turns going in and waiting outside with Rocco.  While I was outside I saw a 4th of July parade across the street in the lodge parking lot.  Rocco’s favorite part of this stop was sniffing the elk poop in the park.  What did we learn here?

Felisa – Otherwise known as song dogs, coyotes communicate through howls, yelps, and woofs.

Ryan – Elk cows give birth away from the herd and stay away for 2 weeks until the babies are strong enough to keep up with the herd.  They keep the calves hidden while they graze during this time.

Bella – Mountain lions eat bison and elk and sometimes also porcupines and marmots.

0930 We are on the road towards Old Faithful.

0937 Decide to drive through the Mammoth Hot Springs upper terrace on the way.  It definitely smells like sulfur up here!

0948 Orange Mound

0951 Angel Terrace.  Lots of dead trees here.

0952 Leaving the Upper Terrace Drive.

1009 Obsidian Cliff

1015 Roaring Mountain.  The 1988 forest fire burn area is across the street.

1034 Norris Geyser Basin.  Rocco and I hang around the parking lot while Ron and the kids go check it out.  It’s not too bad when we first arrive but the longer we wait, the crazier it gets in the parking lot.  Too many people and not enough spots.

1130 Leaving Norris.  They were able to see examples of all the main types of geothermal features – steam vents, hot springs, mud pots, and geysers.  What did we learn?
Felisa – Mud pots are sometimes called paint pots when minerals tint the mud various colors.
Ryan – Pork Chop was a friendly hot spring named for its shape.  In 1971 it turned into a continuous steam vent.  In 1985 it erupted violently shooting out lots of debris and has continued  to occasionally erupt since then.  Pork Chop is not so friendly anymore…
Bella – Hot springs are the most common geothermal feature in Yellowstone.

Our favorite parts of Norris:
Felisa and Ryan –the colors
Bella – the orange and green creek
Ron – Porcelain Geyser

 
1134 Elk Park

12:04 p.m. Fountain Paint Pot – a busy area so we didn’t stop but from the road it looks like a small colorful geyser.

12:12 p.m. Biscuit Basin

12:15 p.m. Passing Old Faithful.  We are worried about being able to find a campsite for tonight so we decide to skip Old Faithful and head for the campground.   We’ll come back up later in the day.

12:25 p.m. Continental Divide, Craig Pass, 8262 feet

12:33 p.m. Continental Divide, 8391 feet

12:44 p.m. Continental Divide, 7988 feet

12:56 p.m. Lewis Lake Campground.  The campground is pretty full already but we find a spot and get set up.  The group before us were total litterbugs. This place is a mess! After lunch Ron and the kids take Rocco for a walk and then we all relax a little. Ron takes the girls down to swim at the lake while Ryan and I stay at the camp with Rocco to read.  After a bit we hear thunder.  Not long after the swimmers are back.

5:13 The car is packed back up with our food and other items we don’t want to leave sitting out while we drive back across the park to see Old Faithful.

5:22 p.m. Continental Divide, 7988 feet

5:32 p.m. Continental Divide, 8391 feet. People are in front of the sign so I don’t get a picture.

5:43 p.m. Continental Divide, 8262 feet. I got a picture but it’s raining so not sure it will turn out.

5:55 p.m. Old Faithful parking.  It’s raining here too. We have arrived at a good time.  We can look around the visitors’ center for a bit before Old Faithful’s next predicted eruption.  I was worried we would have arrived just after an eruption and have to wait a long time.

6:47 p.m. There she blows! The estimated time was 6:39.  The show lasted 3 minutes.  We stood in the rain for at least 30 minutes waiting for the eruption but now we’ve all seen it and can check it off the bucket list. Even Rocco got to see it but he had to wait off to the side since he wasn’t allowed in the official viewing area.  He had a better seat though, at least for the waiting time, because he stayed dry under a tree!  After the eruption Ron took the kids shopping at the general store while Rocco and I went back to the car.

7:20 p.m. Leaving Old Faithful area.  As we drive back to camp there is a full double rainbow.  So awesome!

7:52 p.m. Finally got a picture of the Continental Divide sign.  We have crossed the Continental Divide 9 times today!

8:02 p.m. Back at the campsite. Throw together a quick dinner of franks-n-beans.  The rain held off but there are 6 million billion bazillion mosquitoes swarming us. It’s awful!  We start a fire hoping to scare them off with the smoke and we’re all covered head-to-toe and nothing we do seems to be thwarting them.  Our last defense – hide in the tent!

9:45 p.m. All of us are bedded down for the night.  No one is sleepy but it’s the only way to avoid the mosquitoes!