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Showing posts from October, 2017

Solo Camping in the Wilds of Three Rivers

It's 9:47pm and I just entered my tent. I'm camping solo (for the first time!) at Three Rivers Hideaway (last campground/RV park before entering Sequoia National Park) and I'm towards the back of the grounds, away from the motor homes and double wides. I'm also the only tent in the park. Picture a large dirt field with a few picnic tables and fire pits, a white building at the end that houses two restrooms and a shower, and then me, in my 4-person tent, next to my parked Honda Ridgeline, rapidly one finger typing on my iPhone.  I'm nervous. Anxious. Worried about the possibilities. This is a new experience; I've always camped with friends or family, surrounded by tents and motor homes of strangers. There's safety in numbers, right? I'm missing that here.  Every little sound makes my hearing sharpen as my brain tries to identify what I'm hearing and my increased heartbeat prays that it won't become a danger to me.  Bears. Coug

Ello Washington!

Ello Washington! We made it back to the US of A! and it felt good! We only spent a few days in Canada, but uff-da to the continuous math (converting hotel room prices, speed limits, figuring out gas prices or the change if an establishment accepted the US dollar, etc.). Blegh. Regarding the gas prices: not only did we have to convert Canadian to USD, but also liters to gallons, because, you know, we wanted to know how much we were paying. Highest prices so far on the trip! The drive along Trans-Canada Hwy 1 was gorgeous. We traveled through three B.C. national parks and they were all stunning. Beautiful trees with so many bodies of water. If Sicamous, BC, Canada and Shuswap Lake were closer to Texas, a move would have been on the horizon. Unfortunately, 2,409 miles is too far from the nephews! First stop in Washington: North Cascades National Park. We drove to the only open Visitor Center and asked the rangers what we should see, where to hike, and which campgrounds wer

Exploration of the Rockies!!

Helllo Everyone, After camping in a tent, the executive decision was made to sleep in a hotel (or maybe it had something to do with the below freezing temps in Wyoming? hah). We drove across the open range with strong winds, over the continental divide (and our first sighting of snow and beautiful mountains!), to the town of Jackson, Wyoming. Arriving in the early afternoon allowed plenty of time to explore this quaint tourist town and enjoy a filling and delicious meal (because there’s only so many PB&J sandwiches, cheerios, and jerky you can eat before you need something made in a kitchen!). Our hotel check-in guy stated it’s tradition to eat at the Silver Dollar Bar & Grill then enjoy drinks at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. So we followed his suggestions. The MDCB’s bar seats were saddles! We hopped aboard, asked the bartender to switch to the USA soccer match (boo USMNT for not qualifying!) and drank local beer while conversing with bar patrons about sighted anima

Discovering the Good in the Badlands

Oih, we’re in Canada! Weeeee! It’s been about 7 years since I visited this friendly country and 31 years for my mom. We entered through Alberta, just north of Glacier National Park. The border patrol lady, with the traditional Canadian accent, warmly welcomed us to Canada but sadly, did not stamp our passports. Sniffles. We are en route to Banff right now! More details to read later. Let’s backtrack to the Badlands…oh…a week ago? (So many stops since then!). We drove from Fergus Falls to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, with a quick stop to see Salem Sue along Interstate 94. If you enjoy animals, Teddy R. would be the park for you. We drove the 2 hour loop and were able to see two solo bison (which made us giddy in excitement, our first wild animals!) and then about 10 minutes from the end of the loop, a group of 100+ bison were essentially sitting on the side of the road, just waiting for their picture to be taken. Sigh. It was still neat to be that close, but not as exc

Let the Park Journey Begin!

Hellllo World! It’s a beautiful 45 degrees, the sun is shining, the wind blowing, and we are heading west on Interstate 20 towards Jackson, Wyoming. The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone are awaiting our arrival with snow covered mountain tops (yikes). Many thanks to Laura for gifting me snow boots! They’ll come in handy over the next week as we trek through the mountains searching for bears and moose (yes, we have bear spray, and yes, I hope I’m close enough to the wild animals to actually see them (kinda blind here), but far enough away that they won’t feel threatened and attack! Look at me being animal smart.).  Last night, we stopped at a campground and spent our first night in a tent. During the full harvest moon no less. Beautiful orange glow around the moon as we were setting up our tent. There were many hunters staying there as well, and our observations led us to feel ill equipped at camping (slight understatement). Our tent is nylon; theirs appeared to be made from

For The Love of Family!

Between Hot Springs National Park and Isle Royale National Park, time was spent surrounded by the love of family and it was a wonderful way to start off a two month road trip!  After 10.5 hours of driving on day 1, we found ourselves in Des Moines, Iowa, and in the company of 10 cousins. They showered us with Baked Ziti, molasses cookies, rhubarb strawberry pie (garden grown!), and a comfortable bed (provided by a selfless cousin who kept appointments and moving plans a secret from us because she didn’t want us not to visit! Ahh family.). The next day, we drove to Dyersville, Iowa, and met two cousins who proceeded to take us on a tour of Dubuque, Iowa. We visited two breweries, a winery, walked along the Mississippi promenade, drove over the Mississippi River into Wisconsin, took a right to drive into Illinois, then crossed a different bridge back over the Mississippi River (total drive time: 10 minutes, 3 states!). We then rode the shortest AND steepest elevator (origin