Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Roadtrip, The final days

Day Nine
At the start of our trip, we intended to go through Yellowstone on the way home, but we got many recommendations to try Glacier instead. So, around noon, we headed north from Missoula. (We would have started out earlier, but we discovered our front brakes needed to be changed. Not a chance we wanted to take before winding our way up the "Road to the Sun".)
We decided to camp just outside Glacier Park so we could get an early start the next morning. Our campsite was near a reservoir by Hungry Horse, MT. The campground was fine; the neighbors, well. . .I'll just say it wasn't serene. Luckily a small rain storm drown out some of the noise. I will say, however, this campground had a very friendly host who gave us some great tips for our trip to Glacier the next day.
Day Ten
Lily slept so well in the tent, that we had to finally wake her up to take the tent down and get on our way. It took us an hour to get to the entrance of the park and another hour to reach the pass at the top of the Road to the Sun. I have never seen such spectacular beauty in my life. Every turn takes your breath away.

At the top, we took a three mile round trip hike to an overlook of Hidden Lake. Lily was a trooper and walked almost a mile, all uphill. The rest of the hike gave me and Mike an opportunity to burn some extra calories by carrying a thirty-pound "pack".

(Ahh, nice family photo. . .who is the lady in pink?!!)

On our way down the other side, we ventured on another 2 mile round trip hike to see St. Mary's falls.

Lily was so tuckered by the hike back that she literally fell asleep on Mike's shoulder. She took a good nap as we finished our drive through the park. As she snoozed, we got this pic.

Although there were a lot of people in the park, I am so glad we took the time to see it. They say the glaciers will be gone by the year 2030. My only regret is that there was so much more to see! But, by day ten, we were all ready to start the trip home.

We traveled a few more hours and found a hotel in Helena for the night. (I must mention that I was able to swing a great deal -- A two-room king bed and sofa pull-out at the Marriot for $94!)

The Last Day

The final day was just a push to get home. We left Helena at 8:30, and with some treats, a new sticky hand toy, and some fun glo-sticks, we arrived home at 1:15 am. What a great trip.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Roadtrip, Days 7 and 8

Day Seven

Today we said goodbye to our friends and Pullman and trekked to Aquarius campground in the Clearwater National Forest of Idaho. Mike and I had camped here many times and it had become our favorite spot. Unfortunately, all the sites were taken when we arrived (after a 3 1/2 hour drive!). Luckily, about 30 minutes down the road was another campground we enjoyed just as much, and it was a bit more kid friendly, too, with some calmer spots to hang out in the water. She especially loved this big rock that she called "the walrus".

We weren't sure how Lily would do on a camp-out, but she LOVED it. The tent was so exciting to her as well as brushing her teeth outside. "We can just spit on the ground?" She even slept right through a thunderstorm that echoed through the mountain valley like someone shaking sheet metal. It was awe-inspiring.

Day Eight

After a lazy morning packing up camp, we decided to take the "shortcut" through the mountains instead of heading back two hours to the the highway. I think it did save us some time, but we made up for it in tense driving moments. Multiple times our stomachs turned at the thought of a slight mistake sending us over the plunging shoulder. (Of course Lily was absorbed in Max and Ruby the whole time -- if you don't know what Max and Ruby is, consider yourself lucky!)
We finished the 71 mile drive in just over 3 hours. Whew.
We stayed the night in Missoula, MT. Pizza at the Makenzie River Company and DQ topped off the evening.
By the way, there are no pictures for this day because my camera battery died after that shot of me and Lily in the river, and the one thing I forgot to pack was the charger!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Roadtrip, Days 5 and 6

Day Five

This morning we headed to the WSU campus and wandered around the buildings, old and new. Mike got a chance to catch up with his grad school advisor while Lily and I headed to a local park and visited with some old co-workers that are still dear to my heart.

After picking up some Hunan at our favorite chinese place (New Garden), we took the winding road out to Boyer park on the snake river. It was a bit sad to be there without Zip, knowing she would love to take a swim.
That evening, we hung out with the Wilm's again. The kids played, the dads golfed and moms talked (and talked and talked). It was like no time had passed at all.

Day Six

We were supposed to leave Pullman today, but we just couldn't do it! We decided to hang out an extra day, and, thankfully, the Wilm's didn't mind putting us up one more night. The extra day gave us a chance to visit some favorite stores like Tri-State, Taco Time and Daily Grind. Maren and I even got a chance to go get a coffee sans pre-schoolers! We also took some time to hang out at Sunnyside park, which is just blocks from our old house on Walnut. Lily loved feeding the ducks and Mike and I even got in a little frisbee.

I also stopped by Lincoln, where I used to teach, not expecting anyone to be there in the middle of July. When I peeked in the office, Frances was there! And as I was talking to her Kenny showed up as well. How fun to see some old co-workers.
We also took time to quite literally smell the roses at Lawson Gardens!
Lily got a chance to giggle uncontrollably with her "cousins" as she called them. They all sat around their little table at supper and made up nonsense songs. "If you're happy and you know it, eat your fork!" It was an adorable sight.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Roadtrip, Days 3 and 4

Day Three

Despite a restless night, we all woke in good spirits today. We were on the road by 8:30 and made our first stop in Kellog, ID. This was always one of our favorite stopping points -- a cozy little mountain town. A trip to the park and gas station for a treat got us on our way again.

Just a bit later we were in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The drive through the 4th of July pass and down to the lake is one of the most beautiful I've seen. We stopped at the big resort and marina on the lake, walked the longest floating boardwalk in the world, and lazed on the beach for a bit.

After another short drive we arrived at the Motsenbocker's, just south of Spokane. I wish I would have taken a picture of the view from their deck -- a breathtaking overlook of the valley and grazing cattle. We had a great time catching up with these old friends.

On to Colfax for a visit with Mike's grad school buddy. He has three kids and Brooke was a sweetheart with Lily (which gave Mom and Dad a break after 60 solid hours with her :-)
Finally on to our hotel in Pullman. What a wonderful feeling to cruise through the Palouse again!
Day Four

An early morning today (but then again, it was already 8:15 in MN!). We drove out to one of our favorite little hikes at Kamiak Butte. This 1/2 mile hike gives you a stunning view of the Palouse. Lily took a couple tumbles on the hike and isn't so sure she likes hiking as much as Mom and Dad, but the park at the bottom was good reward.

Still a little thrown off by the time change, Lily was definitely ready for a nap by 11:30. It was her first chance to nap in a bed (not a carseat!) in 4 days. She slept 3 hours and we finally had to wake her to see our old pastor and wife, the Swansons.

Finally out to dinner with some good friends, Maren and Brandon, while an old student of mine babysat the kiddos.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Survivor: Westward Road Trip, Days 1 and 2

Day One

So far, so good. Lily was pretty easy in the van. Very few grumpy moments from anyone. Our first stop was Bismarck for lunch in the park and a trip through the zoo. Lily's wingspan is equivalent to that of a peregrine falcon.
Then on to Teddy Roosevelt for our first view of some scenery. (You might be seeing this one on a Christmas card :-)
Some candy and videos later, we arrive in Miles City for the night.
They maybe should have charged us for an extra box of tissues -- Lily could not get enough of the built in Kleenex dispenser!

Day Two

Not quite as grump-free today. Each member of the family had their moments!
A slight detour through Billings brought us to our first stop -- Pictograph Caves. Pretty cool sites but very hot weather.

A (long) while later we decided to try a 7 mile detour to see the Lewis and Clark Caverns. We descended a winding road to a clear river and a picturesque campground. Then curved our way back up 3 miles to a busy visitor center. "Let's see some caves!" Ah, but the caves can only be viewed by a guided 2 hour tour! Oh yeah, and no one under six is allowed. (Is this age discrimination?) Needless to say, we didn't see the caverns. We did get one picture from the top, though.
Finally (and I do mean FINALLY) we arrived in Missoula at our hotel. Ahh, only 2 hours left of Montana driving -- is this state huge or what!? We will be in Pullman by tomorrow evening!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


As I am pulling Lily in the wagon, back from the park:

Lily (chanting): "Ollie's dead, Ollie's dead!"
Me: "Oh, Lily. We don't say someone is dead if they really aren't."
Lily: "But we say Jesus died?"
Me: "Umm, yes. But he came back to life."
Lily: "Can he come to our house?"
Me: "Well, we can't see Jesus."
Lily: "Why?"
Me: "Well, he doesn't have legs and arms like us."
Lily: "But does he have shoulders?"

I choose just to be silent. A few moments later,

Lily: "Mom, what are heads for?"
Me: "To hold our brain."
Lily: "What are brains for?"
Me: "For thinking."
Lily: "What are chins for?"
Me: "No more questions, Lily."


Lily and her buddies, Emily and Bri.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Merica's Birthday"

Lily is still asking about "Merica" and her great birthday party -- parade, candy, sparklers. We'll never be able to compete when Lily's birthday rolls around!