Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 6

Day 6

We woke up this morning to 4-6 inches of fresh snow. It was absolutely beautiful! I took a picture of the sunrise from the hotel room. Unfortunately, I shot it through the screen and the screen is very obvious.

As we were leaving the hotel John put the cell phone in his sweatshirt pocket. You know the front one on the belly of a hooded sweatshirt? We were about 10 minutes away when he reached in to grab the phone and realized IT WAS GONE!!!! Darn! We turned around and headed back to search for it. We pulled into the driveway where he thought he had most likely lost it (he had been bounding through the snow--- yes, my husband bounds! =)) only to find out that it had been freshly plowed. Our hearts sank as we stared at the huge mound/hill/mountain of freshly plowed snow in front of us. My trustly cell phone had fallen victim of the snow and was now MIA. BUMMER!

Leaving the cellphone behind and driving on, we went through Taos, NM and then reached our exciting destination for the day--- The Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa, CO. Oh burr was it cold!!! The wind was ripping! We were ready though. We were armed with winter gear, with sleds in hand, and a relentless determination to sled on those sand dunes--- no matter what! Or so we thought! =)

We drove up as close as we could to the dunes (which wasn't very close). I headed out with the boys as John put more clothing on. The wind was outrageous. Daniel freaked out and headed back to John. Before doing that though he asked me if we were going to get a ticket (two different times mind you). He obviously felt like we were doing something wrong. Ethan and I trudged on. We finally made it onto the first sand dune and there the wind picked up even moreso. We were getting pelted with the sand. We continued on a few more steps, hoping that the wind would subside, or at least slow a little. It didn't and we had to bail out on our conquest. I did get some pictures though. In the pics you can see the sand whipping across the surface of the dunes. The kids did the Junior Ranger program, and we ended our day in Colorado Springs.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 5

Day 5--- Ski Sipapu, NM

Nestled up in the mountains 20 miles SE of Taos, NM is Sipapu. Skiing was really cheap-- about $60 for lift tickets, rentals, and a night in a hotel room.

We had a blast. They didn't have many runs open but the ones that were open were a decent distance. The boys did great. Toward the end of the day Daniel (the daredevil) went off with John while Ethan (the cautious one) and I stuck together.

John used my little point-and-shoot digital camera and took some video. The video quality isn't great, but it was easier to handle. John took most of the video while skiing backwards.

Daniel is in the blue coat. Ethan is in grey and orange. I am in yellow. They just happened to meet up with me and Ethan on one of the runs.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 4

Day 4 was a day of the unexpected. We got a flat tire. Thankfully this wasn't as bad as it could have been. I was considering getting two new back tires before we left--- thankfully I didn't. We were at a rest area right before crossing into Texas when Ethan noticed that we had a nail in our tire that was spewing out air. We got two new tires in Amarillo.

That was the big adventure of the day. Other than that we were in Oklahoma, Texas, and finished our day in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Santa Fe is interesting. All of the buildings and houses are fashioned in an adobe style.

I finally feel like I am in the west.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 3

Day 3

This was Ethan's dream day (John didn't confess to this as Ethan did, but I am sure that he was psyched). They got to go into two state capitols in one day. Trivia time---- What is the capital of Arkansas? What is the capital of Oklahoma ? Did you get them? If so, and you think you are smart--- what is the capital of New Hampshire? Missouri? South Dakota? I just thought I'd try to stump you. =) Yes, this is what we do in the car quite often. Back to my point though. We went into two capitols (I went in one, they went in two).
(BTW, we looked this up--- "capitol" refers to the building and "capital" refers to the city.)

After Little Rock we went to Hot Springs National Park. The kids did the Junior Ranger program and we touched some of the hot water. If you haven't been there you are not missing anything.

In Oklahoma City Daniel got one of his Christmas gifts. He got to pick out an animal at Build-A-Bear. This gift was under the guise of being for him, but really I enjoyed it as much as he did! =) I tried to talk him into getting one of the reindeer but he was set on his dog that he named Smokey. Smokey has a firefighter's outfit on.

Angie--- I am with you girl--- Okalhoma City is rather dull. The mall was really nice though!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Day 2

Day 2

It was a day of driving, driving, and more driving. I am not a fan of driving. I don't have much to say about this day because my day was full of A LOT of sleep.

The bright part of the day was having lunch in Memphis with my friend Anne. Anne, it was great seeing you. Heidi is so cute! I love her personality. When you come down to Florida give me a call!

As most of you know, Ethan and Daniel are great in the car!!! Seriously!!! I printed them off a bunch of pages about the states that we are passing through. They have coloring pages, maps, state facts, crosswords, and word searches. The biggest highlight is when we pass into a new state. Today we were in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas.

We ended the day in Little Rock, AR.

The only pic that I have is of Daniel. He LOVES to help out when we are on vacation (Ethan does too-- this is something that developed from our Alaska trip). The picture is of Daniel pulling in a suitcase that rivaled his size. He really wanted to pull it in though. In the picture you can't really tell how big it is.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Day One 12/08/08

We left on the 8th after John's last final and headed out of town with excitement for all that lay ahead. Okay, so the truth is not ALL that lay ahead. Not for me at least. John was thrilled to add blue marks to his map. For those of you who know what I am talking about-- you now know that Ohio doesn't have that many rivers. =) For those of you who don't--- John highlights all of the roads that he drives on in his trusty atlas. This means that he likes to drive on roads that he hasn't been on yet (by the way, this used to be annoying, but now it is oddly cute). So this trip out to Colorado we are going a northerly route whereas last year we took the southern route. Day One wasn't full of excitement but hey we are headed out west-- does it get much better?

For my Tallahassee ladies-- we passed our peanut hay in that one field in GA, and all of the cotton was harvested--- I reminisced about good times.

We stayed in Birmingham, Alabama.

Sorry no pics today.

Sunday, August 17, 2008



Day 1

Days 2 and 3



More Later

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I'll add more later

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


We are leaving Fairbanks, Alaska and we are off to Denali NP today. There is 80% chance of rain today and 70% tomorrow. We are hoping to get to see Mt. Mckinley, but based on those numbers it may not peak its head out of the clouds.

Fairbanks was a nice resting spot for us. We didn't really do much. We did get to see a few moose though. Did you know that moose put their faces under water and eat the vegatation? When they come up (after quite a while of being under) lots of water pours out of their mouthes. I had no idea.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Alaska or Bust!!!

We made it!

We pulled into Eielson AFB around 1:30 this morning (determined not to spend another night in that tent). Eielson is just east of Fairbanks, Alaska.

For this blog entry, what is important is not point A or point B but the trip in between. And what a trip it was! Our tally as of yet is 14 bears, 2 bull moose, 2 coyotes, 2 wolves, and 1 snarly porcupine (he was a plump one) who was ready to take on our SUV-- he was backing up towards us and readying to take a swipe. Yes, I misinformed many--- they do NOT shoot their quills, they back up toward you and wait to swipe you with their prickly little tail (or so the internet told me).

Since the last entry we went through Banff NP, Jasper NP (both in Canada), Hyder, Alaska, and the Yukon Territory.

Banff and Jasper were beautiful. This was our second time there so we made it fast this time. We did spend some time at Moraine Lake. I love it there. The mountains are spectcular and the water really is that greenish-blue color. In the picture with all of us infront of the lake you can see the ending of an avalanche just left of center. I generally don't like strangers in my pics but the one with the canoe was striking.

In Hyder, Alaska we went to Tongass National Forest. They have an elevated boardwalk located right by a river that is packed with huge salmon. You just stand there and wait for the bears to come out and fish. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see any fishing but we did see two grizzlies and one large black bear walking around.

We did loose a tire to the Alaskan roads last night. We were on a nice paved road when all of a sudden our tire went flat. There are four huge in the side wall of the tire. We have no idea what happened. We are working on getting it replaced. Our tires are under warranty on base, but we can't get one in Fairbanks for 7-10 days (we will be gone in three) and Anchorage says they can't get one for 3-4 weeks. So the bummer is that we are going to have to pay full price for a tire that would have been prorated. Oh well, we'll see how that goes.

For those of you who know about the paragraph that belongs right here about John loving the Yukon--- he deleted it, and no he is not a dork. =)

Thanks to CS Lewis (for writing it), modern technology (gotta love CDs), and Tara (for such a splendid idea) we have listened to "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and we are currently on "The Silver Chair." I LOVE this series so much. Everyone should read them. I read "Screwtape Letters" earlier this summer and it was great as well. CS Lewis was brilliant and used by God. Right now I'm reading "Hinds Feet on High Places". We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Glacier National Park

We spent 3 nights in Glacier NP. What an amazing place! There was so much that we wanted to do still--- more for another trip I guess. I know that I always write this, but truly, my pictures just don't show this park justly. We rode on the free shuttle most of the time and I couldn't ask them to pull over so that I could take some pictures. I sure wanted to though. The mountains were beautiful. The main road through the park is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It takes you up, up, up with mountains around you often times on every side. Our bus driver joked around saying that you could buckle up if you'd like, but if we went over the edge that we would just have to try to enjoy the ride down as it would be our last-- seatbelt or not. It was crazy steep. There were waterfalls all along the road. We saw a lot of mountain goats and we had a deer that hung out around our campsite a lot, but that was it for wildlife (we talked to a few people who ran into bears on the trails). Off to Canada tomorrow. Oh, by the way--- for all of you who know my bear story about mountain biking in Banff--- I saw on the internet that a lady was attacked by a black bear a few days ago on the same exact road (the road is not all that long) where we saw the HUGE black bear. She was jogging and only had minor injuries, but yikes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Yellowstone National Park

"Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!"
Ok, so not really, but we did see some amazing animals. We spent 4 nights in Yellowstone camping in the wild. We saw bison galore (in our campground mind you), two black bears, one humongous grizzly, elk, a wolf, two coyotes, a moose (just outside Yellowstone), and a humble little marmot with a loud squeaky voice. I love the animals, but John loves all the other stuff so I have included pictures of all of it. Sorry that the bear pics are blurry, but it's not like I was about to go ask those
large-toothed, sharp-clawed creatures if they would mind me taking a couple pics up close. Tomorrow we are off to Glacier NP. I have to admit that I am LOVING this hotel tonight, the hot shower, clean clothes, and dinner in town. Ethan keeps reminding me that this is a "Boy's Vacation". Okay, okay, I get it.
Enjoy the pics!
(In John's defense-- the pic of him sleeping on the bench right in front of the spring was the result of him taking allergy medication that was not non-drowsy.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Badlands National Park

Yesterday we went to Badlands National Park. Check out the picture where John and the boys were scaling the side of one of the dunes---yes, they were really that high! In the black and white picture look at the top left corner, and you will see a Big Horn Sheep laying down and enjoying the view from up high. We had to stop at the "Corn Palace" on the way.... it was corny (sorry, had to do it =)).

Monday, July 7, 2008


The boys and I have been in Ohio for over a week now. It is so beautiful here. John's parents live near Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We've had a great time! Check out the pics in the slideshow below.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Day 12 Christmas

Day 12
"On the tweleth day of Christmas my three men gave to me, twelve days of "forever memories", eleven runs on the bunny hill, ten scary mountain passes, nine dollars to visit Four Corners, eight sandstone hoodoos, seven amazing vistas, six petrified wood chips, five Indian dwellings, four yummy tacos, three spinning windmills, two fighting boys, and an exciting road trip for our family."

On Christmas we were in Colorado Springs. We took the kids to Garden of the Gods where we climbed on the rocks. Later that evening we went over to a friend's house (Sarah, it was so nice seeing you and your family).


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Day 11

"On the eleventh day of Christmas my three men gave to me, eleven runs on the bunny hill, ten scary mountain passes, nine dollars to visit Four Corners, eight sandstone hoodoos, seven amazing vistas, six petrified wood chips, five Indian dwellings, four yummy tacos, three spinning windmills, two fighting boys, and an exciting road trip for our family..."
Monday the 24th we went skiing at Monarch. It was awesome! I was amazed at the price of it too. Daniel with the lift ticket, skis, and helmet was $5 total and Ethan was $20. I thought that it would cost a lot more. They picked it up quite quickly. By the end of the day they looked pretty good.

John and I didn't get to ski alone too much --- we both got an hour each. It was so nice though. Just looking at the peaks surrounding us was worth it. The runs were long, wide, and powdery--in other words, everything that North Carolina skiing is not! =)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Day 10

"On the tenth day of Christmas my three men gave to me, ten scary mountain passes, nine dollars to visit Four Corners, eight sandstone hoodoos, seven amazing vistas, six petrified wood chips, five Indian dwellings, four yummy tacos, three spinning windmills, two fighting boys, and an exciting road trip for our family..."

Okay so there weren't exactly ten mountain passes, but they sure were scary! We drove from Durango, Co to Gunnison and the whole way was mountainous. There were restrictions on 2/3 of the passes making chains or 4wd mandatory. Red Mountain Pass was the scariest. It is a two lane road with a steep 1,000 foot drop off the side and no guard rails. The road was covered with packed snow and ice. Let me tell you, that is NOT a good combination. However, obviously, we made it safely to Gunnison, CO on Sunday night.

On our way to Gunnison we stopped at Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP. The pictures don't show how dramatic it was. It was beautiful.

In Gunnison we took the kids ice skating! It was so cool. We skated on a pond for a couple hours that night. The kids were really good at it. They ended up playing tag with 5 or so kids that were there. I, on the other hand, had only been ice skating twice before this. I did just fine, but I am sure that it was pretty ugly! In my defense, John's skating was pretty ugly too. =) I thought that it was really cool that you can skate for free though and skate rentals were only $3 for as long as you wanted.

This is a herd of elk that we saw off the side of the road.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Day 9

"On the ninth day of Christmas my three men gave to me, nine dollars to visit Four Corners, eight sandstone hoodoos, seven amazing vistas, six petrified wood chips, five Indian dwellings, four yummy tacos, three spinning windmills, two fighting boys, and an exciting road trip for our family..."

Saturday we visited Capitol Reef NP, Glen Canyon, Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah, and Four Corners. The drive from Capitol Reef NP to Four Corners was amazing. The pictures with the overlooks and also the pictures with the red sandstone in the foreground and the white capped mountians in the background are from the drive.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Day 8

"On the eighth day of Christmas my three men gave to me, eight sandstone hoodoos, seven amazing vistas, six petrified wood chips, five Indian dwellings, four yummy tacos, three spinning windmills, two fighting boys, and an exciting road trip for our family..."

Friday we went to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Zion was pretty, but Bryce was the coolest place ever!!! At BNP we took a snow covered trail down into the canyon past tall rock towers that are called hoodoos. The view was indescribable. The pictures don't really do it justice but hopefully you will see at least a glimmer of the beauty that we got to experience.
Zion NP

Bryce Canyon NP

Fire Station Field Trip

Fire Station Field Trip

Bat Man

Dakota aka "Dog"

Mr. Man