Our 3 week vacation

Day 1 -?

  • We waited until our son-in-law could get off work so he could get our grandbabies.? We finally left about 6:30 p.m. and got to Mt. Vernon, Illinois about 1:30 a.m.

Day 2 –

  • We left the next morning at 6:30 a.m.? There were golden fields of grain as far as you could see.? It was absolutely gorgeous.
  • There were oil drilling pumps all along the road.? They seemed very lazy because they were pumping so slow.
  • We also ran into a lot of road construction.
  • As we came through St. Louis we could see the Arch in the distance.? I would love to go up in it one day, but we did not have time to stop.
  • We drove into Mound City, because our tornado alarm went off on our phones.? We went in and ate at a McDonalds.? We waited there until the storm went around, and then headed on our way.
  • There were lots of flooded farm lands along the highway.? We saw our first wild life. There were two deer on the side of the road.

Day 3 –

  • We unhooked our car from the camper and drove into Sioux Falls, South Dakota.? This is a beautiful park.? The water falls just rolls through the town.? There was an observation tower where you could see and take pictures.? There were geese and their babies running around.? Such a beautiful setting.
  • We stopped at the Corn Palace.? They make their beautiful artwork out of corn. Even the outside of the building was decorated with corn pictures.
  • We had some sort of military jet fly directly over us.? It was just a little scary.
  • We are seeing deer more often now.
  • We stopped at Wall Drugs.? There were at least five hundred signs leading to this place.? It was ridiculous.? We did eat a bite and rest a bit while we were there.
  • We arrived at Horse Thief Campground.? The people were very friendly and helpful.? We were parked next to the owners brother.? As soon as we got set up we headed to Mount Rushmore.
  • We arrived at Mount Rushmore and walked? around and took pictures.? They started playing patriotic music which was very appropriate for the setting.? A girl came on stage and told us the reason each president was chosen to be carved into the mountain.? We then watched a 20 minute video about the monument being built.? They brought all the veterans on the stage and had a flag lowering ceremony.? Each veteran told their name and branch of service.? While this was going on they turned the lights on the monument.? It was very humbling to think of all the men and women who have sacrificed so that we could be free.

Day 4-

  • We are on our way to Custer State Park.? I am so excited because we have been told we will see lots of wild life.? The drive on Needles Highway was breathtaking.? There were steep, curvy roads with beautiful rock formations.? One of the rocks is shaped like the eye of a needle therefore the road gets its name. There are two rock formations that you can drive through. This was awesome.? Our son Steven thought he had to go rock climbing while we were here.
  • Some of the wild life we saw were chipmunks, buffalo, prairie dogs, deer, elk, and donkey.? Someone had evidently been feeding the chipmunks, because they would come right up to you.? One tried to get in the car.? One of the buffalo scared us, because he was directly on the side of the road as we came around.? We could almost reach out and touch him.? The donkey we saw had a baby, and it was nursing.? So swweett!? Steven walked out and took some pictures of an elk.? The people at the camp ground said they will hide their babies and lay out in the open like that in case there are predators she can run and the baby will be safe.

Day 5 – ?

  • We arrived at Grizzly RV Park after a long day of driving.? Along the road that day we saw deer, turkey, anteloupe, alpaca, hawks, and prairie dogs.? We continue to see oil drilling stations.
  • We have some friends, the Shirleys, who are doing some of the same trip that we are.? This is their last night here, so we are meeting them for dinner.? It was good to see them.? Who would have thought we would have to go so far from home to visit with them.

Day 6 –

  • Lower Geyser Basin – This area is beautiful with mountains, valleys, rivers, and prairie lands.? We saw two beautiful ospreys in the tops of trees along the creek.? We thought they were eagles, but one took off flying and we could tell it was an osprey.? Shortly after this we started seeing buffalo, and more buffalo.? Did I tell you we saw buffalo?? Haha!? They were everywhere!? We started seeing smoking geysers everywhere.? We stopped at the Excelsior Geyser Crater, and it was totally beautiful!
  • Old Faithful – This was well worth the trip.? She was on time and always faithful.? We toured the Lodge, and it was made out of massive pieces of wood.? It should be there for many years to come.? There were signs everywhere saying: Danger – Fragile Thermal Area- Keep Out.? There was another geyser behind Old Faithful that decided it was not going to be outdone.? I think it had more power than Old Faithful.? One of Wayne’s friends got on the Old Faithful live web cam on the internet and did? a screen shot of us at Old Faithful.? That was cool!
  • West Thumb Geyser Basin – This was another area with beautiful, colorful, smoking geysers.
  • Yellowstone Lake – This lake was not only huge it was absolutely beautiful.? It seemed like it went on forever.? You could see the snow covered mountains in the distance.? We finally saw two elk, but they did not want to have their picture taken.
  • Hayden Valley – We saw many, many buffalo today.? I don’t think I would ever get tired of seeing them though.? They are beautiful and massive creatures.? We saw some beautiful water falls, wild flowers, and beautiful bubbling thermal features today.
  • Slippery Otter – This is were we had dinner for the night.

Day 7 –

  • Norris Geyser Basin – It was a very foggy morning, and there were buffalo crossing the road.? We saw lots more buffalo today.? A coyote ran across the road in front of us, and stopped to look back at us.? Spooky!? We saw some more beautiful water falls, and wild flowers.
  • Mammoth Hot Springs – This was absolutely beautiful.? There were thermal features everywhere, and they were all different colors.? We saw a large cone shaped rock that was very unusual.? We passed through a small town, and there were huge elk just laying out in the yards like a dog would.? We saw more anteloupe, and waterfalls.? There was a pull off to see a petrified tree.? While we were here there was a chipmunk running around.? He climbed up in the top of one of the bushes and was watching us.
  • Grand Canyon of Yellowstone – We saw another waterfall before we got to this area.? There were lots of cars stopped on the side of the road, so we stopped.? There were lots of people with binoculars, who said they had seen a grizzly up on top of one of the mountains.? We never saw anything.? We went around another curve, and there were lots of cars.? This time there was a Ranger there, which means there is something around. There was a black bear sleeping under a tree.? It was about to rain, so he told us to hang around and we would be able to see it.? Sure enough it got up from its nappy nap and started toward the road.? The Ranger made everyone go back to their cars.? It finally went back toward the woods.? We went up on top of a steep mountain.? There was still snow on the side of the road, so I made a snowball and threw it at Steven.? Finally we made it to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.? It was magnificient.? There were two beautiful waterfalls cascading down into the canyon.? It actually did look like the Grand Canyon in Arizona.? Steven decided he needed to go hiking down, so we waited on him.
  • Lamar Valley – This was a beautiful valley full of hundreds of buffalo, elk, anteloupe, and chipmunks.? We headed back to the camp ground after this and got into a buffalo jam.? We had to wait for a little while until THEY decided THEY wanted to get off the road.? Getting closer to the camper we saw a beautiful Bald Eagle by the creek.? Wow what a way to end the day!

Day 8 –

  • We headed out to Gardner, Montana.? On the way we saw buffalo and elk, and I am liking this a lot.? We stopped at a souvenir shop and purchased Wayne some swim trunks, and maybe a few chocolates.? The boys are going to do the Zip Line this morning, and I am going to go shopping in some of the little shops.? They had a wonderful time at the zip line, and I enjoyed shopping.? We met for lunch at the Yellowstone Gardner Grill.? In the afternoon they did the White Water Rafting.? I found a neat little place called the Tumbleweed.? It was a coffee, ice cream, book, and internet cafe.? I enjoyed the afternoon just reading and facebooking.? They ended up having a wonderful time rafting.

Day 9 –

  • Grand Teton Mountains – We headed back through south Yellowstone to get to the Teton mountains.? There were buffalo and many fly fishermen.? We ran into a terrible traffic jam for about an hour, and we never did find out what was wrong.? It was probably a buffalo jam.? The Tetons were breathtakingly beautiful.? They still have snow capped peaks.? Wow!? We ate lunch at Signal Mountain Lodge, and it was very good.? We went on around to Jenny Lake, and it is gorgeous.? When we first walk up there is a sign that a black bear was sited here 3 days before we came.? Yikes!? We walked down to the lake, and you can still see the snow capped mountains.? There are people swimming in the lake, and yes it was cold.? The two little girls close to us were shivering.? We took a different route back to the camper.? We saw beautiful grain fields and lots of potato fields.

Day 10 –

  • This was a long day of driving.? We saw beautiful mountains, flat pastures and farmland.? We saw anteloupe and deer in the fields.? There was a train going through a tunnel in the mountain.? We saw the beautiful Clark Fork River which seemed to go on forever.? The two lane roads were 75 mph, because there was nothing as far as you could see.? There were transfer trucks pulling three trailers.? They did have beautiful lakes and rivers.? We stopped in Moses Lake at a Love’s gas station to spend the night.

Day 11 –

  • Driving to Mount Saint Helens – We saw several crop duster planes flying over the crops.? There were lots of wind turbines on the mountain sides.? We also saw what looked like reindeer but we didn’t see Santa. At the gas station right before the KOA there was a mama deer and two twin babies.
  • We unhooked our camper and headed toward the coast.? We stopped at the Port of Astoria.? There were massive ships in the harbor.? There were sea lions lounging around on the piers and swimming in the harbor.
  • Sunset Beach, Oregon – The beach was massive, and the sand was a soft grey color.? I just had to put my feet in the water, and burr it was cold.? Most people were wearing long pants and jackets.
  • Red Lobster – Steven bought Wayne’s Fathers Day meal here, and he also paid for mine.

Day 12 –

  • ?KOA – The camp ground served donuts and coffee for breakfast since it was Father’s Day.? They also served lunch for Father’s Day.? We had BBQ, hotdogs, baked beans, slaw, chips, water flavored with oranges and cucumber.? All for free!? This is by far the friendliest KOA we have ever stayed at.
  • Mount Saint Helens – This was a very curvy mountainous drive, but very beautiful.? We could see the mountain for miles before we got there.? We were told to go to the Johnson Ridge Observatory for the best view and they were correct.? You watch a short film and then they pull the curtain, and you see the magnificient mountain.? It was amazing what had started to grow back in the barren land.? The trees and wild flowers are beginning to take hold again.

Day 13 –

  • Another day of driving.? The backup camera had to be worked on it was being lazy.? We passed through Portland, Oregon, and Wayne said it was more stressful than driving through Nashville in the rain.? Some of the pasture fences have the crop names on them.? There was ryegrass, fescue, mustard, clover, and meadowfoam (it makes oil).? There were several wineries in this area.? There were lots of steep grades up and down the mountains.? We did see Mount Shasta for miles and miles. It was very beautiful.
  • We ate at a Subway at a T/A truck stop.? We were going to stay the night here, but there were lots of beggars, so we moved to the Love’s truck stop.

Day 14 –

  • ?We left the Love’s gas station headed to Yosemite.? We ate breakfast at Denneys before we left.? We saw some more crop dusters in this area.? We saw apricots, sunflowers, and lots of stuff we had no clue what it was.? There were awful curvy, steep roads, and our motor home over heated.? When we got to the KOA there was a wrecker picking up a ladies car that had pulled her oil pan off her car.? We had pizza and ice cream for dinner.? Yum!? I’m afraid the diet is gone until I get back home.

Day 15 –

  • Yosemite Valley – Beautiful trees and mountains.? We ate at the Yosemite Lodge food? court, so we each got what we wanted to eat.? You could see the waterfall and Half Dome from here.? There were people doing the lazy raft down the little river.
  • Yosemite Falls – There were many points where you could see the waterfall.? You could see it from Yosemite valley as well as Glacier Point.? It looked like two waterfalls, but it was just the way it was winding it’s way down to the canyon.
  • Half Dome -? There was a legend about how the rock got split down the middle.? Just an old legend.? You could also see Half Dome from Glacier Point, and there were people walking on top of it.? How crazy is that.? Not me!
  • Glacier Point – There were steep winding roads to get to this point.? We went through a tunnel that was 8/10 of a mile long.? You could see the water fall and Half Dome from here.? This was a breathtaking view.? On our way back down the mountain we saw a lot of cars stopped, so yep we had to stop also.? Oh yea four grizzlies in a little meadow on the side of the road.? There was a mama, baby and two young grizzlies.? I could see two of them from the car, so there was no need for me to get out.? Wayne and Steven got out to take some pictures, but the grass was high and made it hard to get good pictures.? Soon the ranger came along and made everyone leave.? Oh well Wayne got to see his bears, that’s what matters.
  • Mariposa Grove – My dream come true.? The hike was pretty much straight up the hill, but I was determined I was going to make it.? The trees were huge just like I had imagined.? There was a dead one laying on the ground when we walked up, so of course Steven had to climb on it.? We finally made it to the one you used to could drive through and it was massive.? The first one they carved out to drive through had fallen, so we did not walk that far.? While we were there a deer decided to come through and visit.? He was not afraid of us.
  • Back to the camper -? On the way back it was getting dusky dark.? We came around a curve and there he was a black bear.? He still looked like a young bear, and off the side of the road he went.? He did not stop for a photo shoot.? We also say another deer on the side of the road.

Day 16 –

  • ? Today was a day of rest before we head out for more adventures.?? I did do laundry, and go to the grocery store to stock up.

Day 17

  • Today is a day of travel.? We are headed toward Flagstaff, Arizona.? We saw a coyote on the side of the road.? We say tons of apricot and avocado trees. The roads to get back to the interstate were very rinky dinky.? We stopped in Bakersfield and ate lunch.? Our motor home started trying to over heat.? The temperatures were 100+ which made it hard to breathe.? We ate at an IHOP for lunch.? There were little short shrub bushes as far as you could see.? There are a lot of trains in this area, and it so neat because a lot of them you could see the beginning and the end at the same time.? We ate at Carl Jr’s for supper, and saw a beautiful sunset.? We stayed at a T/A gas station over night.

Day 18 –

  • When I pulled our reservations out for KOA Flagstaff, I was extremely upset.? I worked so hard on making everything perfect.? Low and behold the reservations said May not June.? We went on to the KOA any way in hopes they had something open.? Well bless their little hearts they found us a spot, and made this grammy very happy.
  • We headed out to Monument Valley.?? This is where a lot of the old westerns were filmed.? It was very hot and dusty.? It is owned by Indians, and you pay $20 to drive through.? The rock formations were very beautiful.? They had each one named according to what it looked like.
  • After we left here our car air-conditioner quit working.? I’m glad it made it through Monument Valley.
  • We had Chinese for supper.

Day 19 and 20 –

  • These two days were travel days.
  • We saw prairie dogs, a road runner, anteloupe, and deer.? We also saw some crop duster planes.
  • We stayed at Love’s gas stations these two nights.

Day 21 –

  • We are on our way to Little Rock, Arkansas.? This will be our last day before we head home.
  • As we got almost to the KOA, there was a fire truck stopping everyone.? A tall vehicle had come through and caught the telephone line and pulled it way down.? We had to drive off into a parking lot, so we could go around it.? Well when we got to the KOA we still had to wait to sign in because their phone and internet was down.
  • Steven found a couple of comic book stores to go visit.? Wayne tried to figure out what was wrong with our car air-conditioner, and I did laundry.
  • We went to a really nice steak restaurant for supper.? It was called The Butcher Shop.? Yummy!

Day 22 –

  • Headed for Home Sweet Home.
  • We saw lots of rice fields, and corn fields.? We passed a beautiful church with a very ornate steeple.? We saw more crop duster planes.? The creeks and ponds were overflowing with water.? The roads needed lots of repairs.? There were beautiful morning glories on the side of the roads.
  • I love to travel, but after 3 weeks it was very nice to be home!

I hope everyone enjoyed our trip as much as we did.? It was a wonderful experience.