Friday, July 7, 2017

The trip into Yellowstone

 The day we left Alliance it was sunny and beautiful. We drove toward past Hemingford, waving toward my sisters who live there and onto Wyoming. 

There are some incredible landscape changes from Western Nebraska into the area of Cody, Wyoming. 


Fort Robinson state park is a huge change from the open prairie grasslands of Nebraska. 


It was then that we realized that his moving truck was going to have a pretty difficult time going up some of these long, steep hills. We were going about 20mph up these hills by the top, but it didn’t last long before we got back in the open prairie grasslands of Wyoming. 

The difference then becomes that we saw the mountains in the distance and antelope scattered throughout the fields around the roadways. 

The mountains seem to stay forever in the distant foreground as the surrounding area became longer hills and large grassy valleys. Every once in a while there would be an outcropping of sandstone sculpted by the high prairie winds. It was what seemed to be a never changing landscape until we drove into the Shoshoni Canyon and, oh boy, did it change!


 We started driving down into the canyon with high rock walls on either side of us. We drove through some tunnels and could see where the railroad paralleled the road and also went through tunnels. The river was flowing beside us and the road twisted and turned with it. 


We found a spot to pullover to allow us to soak up some of the surrounding beauty and awe. The kids found a small waterfall and creek and we all were amazed at the new and stunning landscapes around us. 


After a short break there, we continued our drive through the canyon and came out the other side to see more…prairie lands.


This is NOT my photo.
Oh, fun side story: We are driving northwest and we had been seeing tons of antelope, a few whitetail deer, and some mule deer, but all of a sudden, there was an elk on the side of the road. My husband calls me up on the walkie talkie and said “Honey, that is the biggest damn deer I’ve ever seen! Did
you see that?” I said “Yes, I saw it, but it was an elk.” I was laughing so hard and he messaged me back and was like “Same thing”. No dear, they're not the same thing.

The mountains were still off in the distance, but grew closer as we approached Cody, Wyoming. We had pre-planned to drop the moving truck and trailer and my car off in a secured storage lot so that we could take the camper and the truck into Yellowstone. It was getting to be around dinner, so we ate dinner in Cody and then headed up to Yellowstone. I didn't get any photos in Cody this time around, but will post many more as the story of our journey continues.

We drove through the some beautifully daunting and almost evil looking mountain areas and then areas that appeared to be appeared to be soft, rolling hills as we climbed in elevation toward Yellowstone National Park. 

As soon as we crossed into the Park, we saw a grizzly bear on the side of the road. It was almost a 100 mile drive to get from Cody to our campground, Grant Village Campground, on the West side of Yellowstone Lake. It was raining on our drive in and it seemed as if the sun was setting, but it seemed to set for hours because of the mountainous terrain we were in. 

Everything around us was incredible and beautiful. As we came up to the lake, we saw elk everywhere and saw (and smelled the sulfurous) steam coming up from hot springs around the lake. 

By the time we got to our campsite, the kids were fast asleep, it was dark, and it was cold! We set the camper up quickly and everyone got into bed and slept the night away so that we could have wonderful adventures the next day!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Our time in Alliance with family

I know it's been over a week since I've written, and it's with good reason. I'll get into all of that later, but for now, let me recall some good times we had in Alliance while we were visiting with family. We weren't there very long, but we kept the days pretty packed full of activities while we were there.

One of my favorite things about visiting my family is that everyone always comes over and we have huge family dinners and gatherings...that happens when you have 3 siblings and they each have 3 children! It gets hectic trying to plan it all and make sure we have enough food for everyone, but once everyone is able to sit and eat and chat and hang out, it all turns out fun. The adults get a chance to be adults while the cousins all play together and have a great time!

The kids went exploring and found a snake and played games and finally went swimming for the next several hours. I went with them for a little while, but mostly it was just the cousins.

I was able to get my bike out and take it for a ride. It was quite lovely out and felt great to be moving around.

The next day we went to the lake...and by "we" I mean many of the family members! My brother brought his boat and the kids went tubing (kids, including my husband). We cooked and ate and watched people wipe out on the tube and laughed and just had a wonderful day. The wind was quite brisk and the water was chilly, but that didn't deter the children!

That night, My Love and I took advantage of the fact we had a babysitter and we went out for a few beers, just the two of us. It was a fun evening.

The next day we celebrated Victoria's 10th birthday a month early (so that we could be with family and because we won't know anyone in Alaska to celebrate with when we get there). We made fresh strawberry-rhubarb crisp for breakfast and the kids had a water balloon and water gun fight and we ate cake and dinner and just had a wonderful day!

Victoria and Gryphon both got a few presents and they were both so thrilled with what they got!

 Gryphon's reaction to his little 4 wheeler was so wonderfully innocent and excited and I wish I had gotten that on video. 

Knowing we were leaving the following day, Sunday, My Love and I went shopping to get some groceries for our camping trip in Yellowstone (more to follow on that).
We got up the next day and headed West, with tears in my eyes. I tried really hard not to show my daughter, who was riding with me, how difficult that was for me. We've always headed back East when we were done in Alliance and this time, it was different...and it was heartbreaking and a bit exciting. I love to travel, but maybe still a bit in denial that this isn't just a vacation.........