June 25, 2015 The last post of the trip is always hard to get done….

It was hot early in Moses Lake WA…the temperature was already 75 degrees at 8am. Apparently the next day or two were to top out at 107 degrees…glad we are out of here 🙂

DSC_1942

Ben using a foot pump to blow up a big float for everyone to sit on in the lake.

The long straight and narrow road took us over mountains, next to the Columbia river, over Snoqualmie Pass and to Auburn WA. where we planned on surprising our niece and nephews with a quick overnight visit. Scott and I had to tell our kids where we were going since they would keep asking things and we had to keep on lying. They were so excited to see their cousins.

DSC_1943

Silas showing us the huge dead dragon fly that Ben found.

We decided to go to my parents house even though they weren’t home since they have a big house and it’s on a lake (a real treat in this weather). We drove into their driveway not long after my sis and the kids arrived. Scott honked the horn and we Ben, Katherine and Ellie came piling out of the RV. Anna and Silas were super surprised! I do love surprising people with fun stuff! They immediately got to playing and having fun! The lake is not too big so it warms up quickly. The weather has been so great that was already up to the July temperatures.

We had fun watching the kids swim and floating on a big raft thing. Ben even was able to catch a little fish with his pole. Not big enough to keep but the thrill of hooking something was pretty cool.

The afternoon was pretty much spent in and out of the water having fun. My brother in law came back from work and we all enjoyed dinner together.

DSC_1948

Floating on the “relaxation station” and enjoying the super hot temperatures!

One more swim in the lake and then we let all the cousins watch a movie together. Everyone stayed at mom and dads house so we could see each other in the morning.

DSC_1949

The morning we are heading back to Bellingham. Beautiful weather!!!

The day began full of sunshine and warm weather. Crazy…loving it! The kids swam yet some more and we got packed up and ready to go. Deciding our time with cousins just wasn’t enough we took Anna and Silas home with us for a few nights.

So our road trip comes to an end. It will be nice to get home but also sad that we won’t be waking up somewhere else tomorrow. Hopefully we will have some short trips this summer and we may be planning another big trip for next summer….keep you posted! Thanks so much for even reading about our travels!

June 17, 2015 The post that was forgotten…driving from Lake Louise to Banff to Canmore to Banff

We woke at 8:30 am! What? Yikes, that is some serious sleeping in! Usually I at least wake when the sun is up since our curtains do not block out light very well. The immense cloud cover was probably some of the reason I didn’t wake earlier. Scott and I got up and had some coffee while we heard the rain start tapping on our roof. Hmmm, bummer! This weather had been pretty unpredictable since we left Whistler. We were so glad that we were able to do our hiking yesterday!DSC_0733

DSC_0778

Check out this crazy bus! What a way to take a tour…you better like who you are traveling with!

The rain continued to fall and we got the kids up and headed out after breakfast. Banff is the next stop on this great northern adventure. We may be able to go on a simple, short hike or at least see something of interest. Boy is it ever raining. This is the worst it has been by far. All around us the mountains are hidden by white capes. I am certain that we are missing some gorgeous landscape.

DSC_0759

Looking for ground squirels

DSC_0764

Just being her silly, silly self!

The drive was not too far..just under an hour. It is raining! The town of Banff is pretty cute. Lots of shopping and touristy things to buy. We find a great parking space that seems too good to be true. No signs for no RV parking. We park, get all our rain coats on and head out to the main street. The kids love to shop these tourist trap stores. They could look for hours at the little stuffed moose that has Banff stitched into his little t-shirt, or the pens with carved bear and wolf. Some of it is pretty cute really 🙂 DSC_0777Ben was in search of a rocks and minerals store. He loves that stuff. My grandfather was a big rock guy and Ben was able to have some of his collection. He enjoys looking through it on occasion. The last gem store was in Lake Louise and there was something that he had wanted. We figured we would stop on the way out but forgot….oops. He searched a few of the shops and decided to purchase a little meteorite specimen found in Argentina. Sometimes I really don’t believe what these places sell..some of it has to be a crock. He was thrilled with his acquisition so that is what mattered.   Moving on and dripping from the downpour, we headed into the Old Spaghetti Factory for some reasonably priced food. It was pretty good and really not too expensive. We shopped around that mall area before deciding on two $7.00 movies for the kids (Annie and the Bee Movie were getting old). The skies had cleared a bit. We hadn’t done much in Banff…bummer. We had planned on camping in Canmore (about 15 minutes from Banff) We decided that we may as well head there. No reservations but it looked nice enough. Our GPS couldn’t find it…although many of the places we have stayed it couldn’t find. Makes me question the necessity of this little device sometimes 🙂

DSC_0768

Thanks for stopping the rain God! Smore time!

This quick drive into Canmore turned into a search that lasted far too long! Ugh…really. It had us totally in some residential area far from the actual location. We both looked at maps, tried to figure it out. Scott ended up realizing where we needed to go and got us turned around and heading to our final destination (we thought). The appeal of this campground was the laundry, the wi-fi and the playgound. We drive into a strange developement area with condo’s that are underconstrucion, a trailer park with some really run down trailers and the “RV park”…where did they get the pictures for the internet site? This place is a dive! It’s not like it was cheap either. Decision made…heading back to Banff to stay at a Provincial Park. On the road again in our rather zig zag fashion. We find the Tunnel Mountain Trailer Park and register. We ask for a site with a fire ring (you have to pay $8.80 extra to cover the fire permit) As we are paying the heavens open and it POURS again. Really? Oh boy, this day is crazy, this weather is crazy are we crazy? We are doing this! The park ranger says YOLO (you only live once for those that are like me and these little sayings escape them!). True park guy, true.

We find our space in the parking lot. Basically that is what it is. You pull along the edge so your tires are on pavement and your table and in the grass on the edge of the pavement. A kind of end to end deal. Different but good. We look to the level below us and it appears that a circus bus is parked there. I have never seen anything like it, honestly! It is bright orange with a big tour bus front and a circus looking back that appears to be a bunch of individual rooms. We talk to our neighbor and they say its a tour company. This group all appear to be German and whatever their cook had going for dinner sure smelled good…lots of garlic!   As we park and Katherine and I put out the awning the skies are looking brighter. Yay! Thank you Lord! The sun comes out eventually and we are able to start a nice raging fire. As we are sitting enjoying the warmth we notice these little ground squirrels popping their heads from their hole. Oh man does Gizmo want to get them. His body is shaking so badly I am afraid he might self destruct! He does an okay job with self control, although it is aided by a vibration collar that we put on him and a very strong leash! The kids want to roast some bread so they have fun doing that…things do taste better over an open flame 🙂 Smores are next and they are just as delicious! Just as Ellie finishes hers the black clouds are back and the rain begins slowly then it’s an all out downpour. New movie time! They settle in to watch Ice Age 3 and Scott and I enjoy just hanging out.

Banff had not turned out how we had hoped but that’s okay. There are days like that. Maybe we will head back one day with the kids or just us when they are all moved out and on their own. We are thankful for the time even if it is raining, we are driving in circles and we share our campsite with little ground squirrels.

June 24, 2015 Heading towards home…a stay in Moses Lake

We woke to sunshine coming in our windows. Getting an early start is the plan. Lots of driving and the place in Moses Lake looks nice so if we can get there early the kids will have a lot of time to swim and play.

Katherine woke earlier than the rest and really wanted to take Gizmo to the agility course one more time. I got things packed up and Scott got everything unhooked and ready for the road.

DSC_1908

This is the daisy hot tub, Ben spent the majority of his three hours here. I am not even kidding!

We said good bye to our friends that we ran into and headed out. The drive was going good. I had called ahead and left a message at the RV park to see about reserving a spot and taking them up on their mid week deal that was advertised on their site. I decided to call again around 9:30am to see if I could get a hold of anyone. They had room but that ad wasn’t supposed to be on the website any longer. Hmmmmm, I just saw it that morning and the evening before. The employee was quite hesitant to honor it and then we were cut off due to driving over one of the passes. I was getting myself all worked up about them not honoring it….I did call back after double checking once again on the website (and taking a picture of it) and he said he would honor the price cut if I did have a picture.DSC_1914 All the nerves for nothing..whew. I hate stuff like that! I was relieved that they said they would give us the advertised price because it looked like a nice place for the kids. They even had 2 little water slides. Also, the next option was another hour further and I didn’t think everyone would want to keep driving.

The drive was pretty thru the mountains but got a little dull once we were back in Washington and heading through the eastern part of the state. Don’t get me wrong, the gold field of hay are pretty but they do get a little boring to look at mile after mile. There were a few dust twisters that were fun to see 🙂

DSC_1915

Cute little slide…slow, but fun just the same!

DSC_1924

Monkey bars…YES!!!

We finally arrived in Moses Lake.   I have never been here before. It looks bigger than I expected. The RV park did not look like I expected. It was nice…just a little run down. The kid behind the counter was polite in telling me he had no idea how I found this web coupon. I seriously think he thought I was lying. I had the picture, I explained how I found it..that is all I could do. I just let it be silent (Scott told me trick, you just be quiet and wait and usually they will feel they have to say something) I waited…he said that we would only charge us the $30 that the coupon advertised. Great. Our spot was okay. There are quite a few RV’s that are here long term is seems. The huge propane tanks kinda give it away..and the potted vegetable gardens 🙂

We head to the pool first of course. There are a LOT of rule signs everywhere. Honestly, I am not sure if I have seen as many as this place has. They must have had a lot of naughty campers to feel that they need that much signage. The little water slides were cute. Ellie liked them most. The pool was creative but only 3 feet deep so Ben opted for the hot tub (shaped like a daisy) plus the pool wasn’t heated. I guess that it wasn’t too terribly cold since the girls had fun in it. They met a little girl named Sarah who they played with for a long time.

DSC_1921

Such sweet little girls 🙂

Scott did a little swimming and then he and I read our books while the kids swam..for three hours. Yes, three hours! They were some pretty wrinkled kids after that. We have been on mountain time for quite awhile so when we came into Idaho we switched back to pacific time meaning we gained an hour.

DSC_1923

The pool had a couple bridges to swim under which was fun, even if the whole thing was only 3 feet deep.

We had them get out and headed back to the RV for some mac and cheese and hot dogs (using it all up) and some salad so that there was a little something healthy in there.

Off to the tiny playground after dinner then a couple of games of Farkle. We are headed to Auburn tomorrow to see my sister and her family. A fun surprise ending for the kids.

One night there and then back to Bellingham Friday.

I can’t believe that our trip is just about coming to an end. Fun, fun times. We really enjoyed staying in all the state park campgrounds this time. We are definitely going to be doing more of that.

Only a couple of entries left for this trip. Thanks again for reading and keeping us in your prayers!

June 23, 2015 Looking for gems, sweat and sweets

We planned on getting going early this morning since Scott had about 5 hours of driving ahead of him and we were doing a little back tracking. We are headed to Philipsburg MT to look for sapphires at the Gem Mountain store. They have a location in the mountain area where they mine but that is closed both Tuesday and Wednesday…darn. The store/company has really great reviews on Trip Advisor so we are going to make our way there despite not being able to go to the actual mine.

On the road and driving by 8am, the sunshine is out and the morning is quiet. Montana is such a beautiful state! We travel alongside the east side of Flathead Lake. Wow, this is a huge lake and it is gorgeous! The upper east side reminds me a lot of the Chelan area in WA. There are numerous cherry orchards and various other types of fruit trees. The views of the lake from these farms are terrific. There are a few state parks along this side of the lake. We are thinking this would be a great place to camp for a week or so. The water is so clear along the shoreline that I can peer right to the bottom.

The drive gets much easier as we hit some major highways. Scott has had a lot of curvy, slow going roads on this trip. Pretty much like driving Hwy 20 at home. Its nice for him to sit back and turn on the cruise control!

We are going to pass thru Missoula on our way to Philipsburg and then come back to stay the night in a KOA. It is a bit of a back and forth but it makes our drive the next day shorter.

DSC_1905

The Testicle Festival…held in Clinton…hmmmm

Getting to Missoula seemed relatively quick…getting to Philipsburg seemed much longer! The road just kept going and going. Its a good thing that they discovered sapphires in this area or I am not sure anyone would travel there. We came up a town named Clinton and the upcoming festival grabbed out attention. You judge why by checking out the pictrue. Wow, what some towns do to get on the map!

Arriving in Philipsburg we stopped at a little lemonade stand run by two little kids. Considering how many people stopped by our kids lemonade stand before we took off on this trip we just had to buy a few cups. They said it had been a busy day and really we took their last three cups. Busy place 🙂

DSC01632

Our first tray of gravel.

We found Gem Mountain and parked the RV. Heading in we noticed that you look for your gems in front of the store. It is easier to see the stones if you look in the sunlight. Inside we were greeted to a man getting really angry at the gal at the counter that he drove the 22 miles to the sapphire mine and it was closed. He was pretty annoyed and she was pretty sassy back at him. Hmmmmm….okay. Great, we are next. She was in a lovely mood and told us they had no tables…maybe in 30 minutes. Everyone showed up at once. So….do we put our name in? “No reservations” she says with a dead pan look on her face. Do we just come back in 30 minutes and hope there is a table? “Yes”. I was super annoyed….so rude! I know we caught her at a bad time but something tells me that she is not the kind hearted, helpful type to begin with. Outside the store we see an open table. We look around and it seems that no one is using it. Scott goes back in and she verifies the open table with the guy working outside. He confirms and we get it. Yay! Part of me wants to walk across the street and not give these guys our business but this is quickly forgotten because our outside guy was great. Very friendly, informative and helpful. He gave us the run down and washed our gravel and dumped it upside down on our table. The sapphires sit in the middle on top with the way they wash and swirl the gravel in the mesh trays.DSC01633

DSC01634

Ellie collecting all the shiny gems from her little mix that the guy gave her.

We find a few right off the bat and Ben is hooked! He is loving this “treasure hunting” of sorts. Now, I understand that this has to be rigged in their favor. They are not going to let some tourist walk away with some sapphire worth a truck load when they paid only $25 a bucket. We went the “cheap” route and bought two buckets of gravel. They say it is just straight out of the mine. The thing is that they have other types of buckets you can buy instead of the basic one. They have this thing called the Mega Bucket, they have buy 6 get the 7th free and so forth. We were happy with our two buckets worth.

The sunshine was getting pretty warm but the kids were not deterred. Keep on hunting with the little tweezers. Ellie was focusing and accidentally dumped her little vile of gems on the ground. Not easy to see on the concrete. She was bummed and the guy noticed so he came over with this little film canister full of tiny little rocks and sapphires. These were so small they were worth nothing so it was a great way to make her feel better and keep her really focused on getting every shiny one out 🙂

Each bucket of gravel had three to four screens worth. We became quicker as we went. The sapphires basically look like sea glass. Seven screens later and quite a few gems we were cleaning up our table. The guys next to us bought the Mega bucket ($125) and they were really raking in the big gems.  Ben was in awe!  Unless you are planning on paying to have your gems cut and set then it really isn’t worth it.  I was impressed with the size of ones they were finding.  They admit that they add more to these buckets…really pretty much a given that you will find a bigger one.  Even with our little buckets the experience was really fun and the kids enjoyed it immensely!  It would be fun to go somewhere that you got to dig yourself…so everyone has the same odds and its not about what size bucket you buy 🙂

DSC01642

After stopping at the Sweet Palace. I loved the side of this antique store…great colors!

The main street itself is really cute. Really nice store fronts. We went into an antique store that was little but packed, and then into a place called Sweet Palace. DSC01636It was open but you couldn’t see in. We walked through the door and were amazed at the rows and rows of bulk candy, fudge and chocolate covered things. The eyes of the kids became like saucers. Funny that this little place with a main street that is three blocks long, can have something this huge and not have it shut down. Do people actually eat that much candy? The girl in the store tells us they have over 1,300 kinds of candy. Yikes! We were looking for a milk shake but they don’t do that. There is a soda fountain across the street. Ben and Scott go there while the girls and I look around. They are back quickly saying that the place is closed…today only 🙂

Candy treat it is…Ben opts for fudge. I got a sample of one kind and it was delicious…very rich! The girls got a small bag which took a long time. Too many choices really!

Back to the RV we walked. Pretty warm and ready to head to Missoula. We are staying at a KOA so they have a pool, laundry and wi-fi. I may do laundry but since we are just about done I may skip it and we use everything we have.DSC01638

Pulling into the KOA there are a lot of people here…I hope we can get a spot. I hop out and go into the office to check it out. A guy in front of me is checking in. He says his name and I do a double take. It is one of Scotts friends brother! What? Funny, I introduce myself and we chat a bit. His family is taking off on their own cross country trip and today is their first stop! Random meeting him here. He goes out and says hi to Scott and we all chat a bit before heading to our sites. We never run into anyone we know in all our travels so that was a neat surprise.

The girls are immediately at the playground and the dog park with Gizmo. It is nice that it is fenced and he can run around…finally. Being on a leash all the time has not given him that much exercise, especially since he couldn’t really do anything at Glacier.

Next, Scott takes them all to the pool (it is 88 degrees outside) and they all enjoy a swim. I make up some dinner…trying to use everything up and getting darn close.

DSC01640

Lots and lots of candy!

Late eating and then more playground time then the kids see an agility course for the dogs so they spend another 30 or 40 minutes trying to get Gizmo to do the course.

In bed around 10:30pm and we are off tomorrow to Moses Lake. There is a nice place there with another pool.

Only a couple more nights and we are back home.  I always like to come home but its always a bummer too.  Mixed you could say.  Our time on the road is simple…that I enjoy.  The kids are not distracted or busy going here and there…that I enjoy.  Scott is around all the time…that I enjoy.  I know we are so blessed to be able to take this time.  I love home too and I do look forward to catching up with friends, watching the kids play and lovely flowers!

Until tomorrow…

Thanks for keeping up with us!

June 22, 2015 Racing, putting and water soaking day!

DSC01595

The mini golf course was so neat! They even died the water an aqua blue.

DSC01596

The water towel and all the features made this a fun course to walk around.

The sun greeted us to our last full day in Glacier National Park. We had a great, level campsite and I slept the best I have since arriving here. With no set plans for our day we took the morning slow. We had to return our car back to Whitefish (about 25 miles away) by 2pm so we decided to hang out and until 11:30 and then head out.

DSC01606

Caught her asking where to go 🙂 She looked much more confident as the laps went on!

DSC01610

Notice Scott egging him on with a wave? I think Ben passed him a lap later.

Along the road to Whitefish there are all kinds of activities you can do. They have rafting, horse riding, zip lines, a house of mystery (sounds a little sketch to me) and a fun center with mini golf, bumper boats etc. After returning the car we decided to check out the activity center. It was a reasonable price for the kids and Scott to do mini-golf, race car driving, bumper boats and this giant maze they had. I paid to just go on the bumper boats…how can you resist those?

They started on mini golf. It was the neatest course. So much detail in the design and each hole was different and creative. The kids loved it and they did pretty good! There were no hole in ones but it was close a few times.

DSC01615

Soooo wet after the family bumper boat war!

Next was racing the little gas powered race cars around a track. Katherine just made the cut with her height so she could drive one alone! She was nervous and excited about it. Scott and Ellie teamed up and Ben had his own car…he was ready to bring the speed! DSC01616The other great thing about this place was that we were pretty much the only ones there! Everything we did it was just our family. Everyone got into their cars and the kid gave them the rules and then they pulled the starter cord on the engines and they were off. Katherine looked panicked at first. She raced out of the pit and her confidence was building, the first lap she was worried about where she was supposed to go. “Just keep going around the loop!” I hollered. Yeah, she was feeling better now. I got a kick out of watching her cruise around lap after lap. Ben was in hot pursuit of Scott and Ellie and finally caught him after about 4 laps. They were able to drive for about 10 minutes. It was so fun to watch!DSC01617

DSC01619

This shows about 1/10th of the maze. It was really huge!

Next we decided bumper boats would be fun so that we could get a little wet before they did the huge maze. They could all stay cooler that way. It was about 77 degrees out so we all thought that sounded good. Once again it was just us. We all picked our boats and the girl running it told me to take a particular boat because it shot low. I didn’t understand the significance of that until the ride was underway. These little boats had a squirting pistol in the handlebars so that you could move (slowly) through the water while soaking your victim. Scott started soaking me before I was even released from the dock…that’s it buddy! I quickly went after him and realized how awesome it was to have a low shooting water pistol 🙂 I could get right up to him and aim at the face..ahhh,ha,ha (did that come across at an evil laugh?) at one point Scott yells over to Ben “Ben….stay single!” It was all in good fun of course 🙂DSC01627

DSC01629

Yay Katherine!

DSC_1894

Mud dino eggs ready to throw!

There was no mercy for or from anyone. No family bond that caused anyone to second guess a pistol of water to the face or in the ear. We were all ruthless…even little Ellie! Her boat malfunctioned and stopped squirting and she was quick to go get in another soaking machine. The kids were laughing so hard. We were on that ride for at least 10 minutes. Any idea how soaked you can get in 10 minutes? Well, lets just say that we had no dry parts left. My hair was dripping! We unloaded off of the boats and then immediately laid down on the warm pavement. How happy we were that we had the RV and we could retreat and change before the maze! We put our drying rack in the parking lot and hung our clothes out to dry while they tried to conquer the maze. This maze is huge! As you enter you time stamp your card then you have to find your way to four different towers to get a stamp. One has an M, an A, a Z and an E. Once you’ve gotten those you have to find the exit and then time stamp your card again to see how well you did. They were off. Scott and Ellie teamed up and Ben and Katherine were on their ownDSC_1899. Katherine was frazzled about 5 minutes in because she had only gotten one stamp and everyone else had two. Scott and Ellie were doing great. Ben was having a rough go and then the employee told him he went down the wrong side of one of the towers. He found his way back and went down the other side and continued on. Katherine all of a sudden popped up at another tower, then another, then the last one…she finished!  Only 18 minutes!  Go Katherine, she definitely didn’t get my sense of direction…I would have been in there forever!  Scott and Ellie were next with 24 minutes and Ben with 30 minutes.  Such a fun stop to make!  We all truly enjoyed ourselves.  They had a white board near the concessions window with high and low scores.  Katherine beat the lowest time score on the board!  I told the overly enthusiastic (said dripping with sarcasm) teenage employee and she erased the previous name and put Katherines name up.  Proud moment 🙂

We headed back into Glacier and decided to just enjoy the campsite, some dinner and a fire.  Ben whittled a really long stick into a point to roast his marshmallow.  It looked ridiculous!  I told him he could roast a marshmallow on the neighbors fire if we weren’t having one 🙂

DSC_1897

Giganta smores stick. Katherine was the mallow spotter. She had to tell him when to turn so he didn’t burn his smore 🙂

They all made mud pies in the dirt..actually they ended up making more like dinosaur eggs.  They then threw them at the trees to watch them explode.  There was a downed tree that they were using as a balance beam and they all walked Gizmo around the campground. All in all a pretty fun evening.

Still trying to nail down our plans for the next couple of days but thinking we are heading south to Philipsburg, MT to find sapphires.  The actual mine is closed tomorrow but the store is open where they sell you a bucket of mine gravel and give you the tools to sift it and find some sapphires to keep.  The kids are looking forward to it!  Then to Missoula for the night.  A lot of driving but we wanted to go somewhere we haven’t been and do something different than we have before.  Just a couple of nights left of the trip and it seems like its just flown by.

Thanks for reading and following us on this journey.  It has been a great time with the kids and Gizmo has done a really great job, he’s really been no trouble at all.

Until tomorrow!

June 21, 2015 Father’s day!

DSC_1729

Papa Bear with all his cubs.

Happy Fathers day to Scott and my dad!

The sun was shining when we woke…later than we would have liked 🙂 It seems to go this way on these trips. We start out getting up early and by the end we are rollin out of bed after 7am. Just relaxed I guess.

I was able to talk to my dad and tell him I love him which was great! I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful father and such a wonderful husband who is an awesome dad to our kids!

DSC_1733

This is the bear mug Scott really liked…much to my dismay 🙂

We didn’t really have any big plans for the day. Scott wanted to look into renting a little motor boat to take on Lake McDonald or maybe go do a hike…we will see.

DSC_1739

Ellie found this bug on our car. Check out those antennas!

The kids came out with cards and gifts in hand, excited to watch him open them up. We had made specific trips back to the gift shop for each of them to get a little something with their money for him. Katherine was so excited to give him a stick that Ben had whittled. All along they “played” that it was for Katherine…so cleaver 🙂 She also got him some chocolate (always a hit). Ellie gave him some Rolo’s and Ben bought him a card game all about animal poo. Yes, poo! He was laughing so hard! The tag line on the box say “The game of trumps and dumps”. Scott got a kick out of it which made Ben’s day. We gave him a couple other things and then enjoyed a yummy egg, hash brown and bacon breakfast.

We had to move sites so Scott and I got all things packed up while Ben and Ellie played the poo game….Ellie was laughing pretty hard at times!

Our new site is nice a level..ahhh. Our last one had such an angle that even with all our blocks under the front we were headed a bit downhill. With camp set up we headed to the lake to first see about some mini doughnuts that they make until noon, then rent a boat.

Well, no doughnuts for today…machine broke. Bummer, but better for our waistline. We decided to rent a boat for a couple of hours instead. The sun was shining and we got all our gear and set out. Ellie and Ben tried fishing for awhile but no bites. The guy at the dock said fish are just hard to catch in this lake. We traveled along the shore for some time looking for any signs of wild life. We really want to see a darn moose! Nothing….no birds even. Oh well…lovely just the same. DSC_1741The water is the most gorgeous color of blue! Ben and Katherine got to drive the boat a bit which they loved. Katherine was tenative at first but got the hang of it, Ben just wanted to go fast…which wasn’t too fast really. This boat probably topped out at 15mph.DSC_1749

There were a few home on the lake….not sure if they are owned by the park or what. We cruised around and just enjoyed the time on the water. After our two hours were over we got back to the dock and asked the guy where to find moose. He said they have seen them at Two Medicine lake in east Glacier, about an hour or so away. Well, that is closer than the other place that is two and a half hours. We hop in our car and head into west Glacier in search of a milk shake (one of Scott and the kids favorite things). We see a sign for an estate sale so we head there and I buy a great french press for just $5. I was just wanting one for the rv. There was a restaurant there that had a little soda counter that you could sit at and have a milk shake or pie or something sweet. We all grabbed a swivel stool and ordered some milk shakes.DSC_1813

DSC_1820

Driving the boat and loving it!

After talking for a bit we decided to try to drive to Two Medicine Lake and see if we could spot a moose. It’s the only place we have heard of that is somewhat close. They say dawn and dusk are the likely times to see them. I vote for dusk…getting the kids up at dawn and driving there would not be fun. We figure we can see the east entrance this way and maybe have a father’s day dinner out on that side.

All ready to go we set off. Our eyes are peeled the whole time. Scott says that if we see a moose we can turn around and go back. Ellie immediately say “Moose!” She was not so happy about this decision to ride in the car for an hour in search of this elusive animal. Unfortunately there was no moose….at all on the drive. The east entrance was cool, there was a huge lodge and a golf course. The drive to the lake was pretty as well. We arrived lakeside and decided that our odds were not good. We really should have brought binoculars. Scott, Ben and Katherine walked a little while on a trail that went alongside the lake but didn’t see anything. It was getting quite a bit darker out. Well…we tried 🙂 Heading back into east Glacier we found a great Mexican restaurant. The place was hopping and we ended up getting seated around 7:45pm. The food was delicious! Well, no moose but a great meal 🙂DSC_1838DSC_1839DSC_1834

The drive back to camp gave us some stunning sky colors as the sun was setting. I love how God paints the sky at day break and the evening each day. The thin clouds were lit up red and pink. All in all we had a wonderful day celebrating Scott and enjoying our time as a family. We will see a moose someday…it just wasn’t in the cards today.

DSC_1841

Yummmmm, chocolate shakes!

DSC_1888

Beautiful way to end our day!

Tomorrow we are going to do a little hike and then return our rental car.

We have one last night at Glacier then we are headed somewhere…..we will see!

June 20, 2015 Long roads, bear and marmots!

DSC_1598

Our first stop of the day.

The sun is shining! There are no looming dark clouds above us and the birds are singing happily in the trees. What a lovely start to our day! Planning to hit the road early we woke the kids a little after 7am, ate and packed up what we would need for our drive on the Going to the Sun road. Its weird not taking the RV with us…I really just always have everything I need 🙂 I made some snacks (because everyone is always hungry) and had lots of water, variety of clothing etc. The park doesn’t allow dogs on any of the trails…super bummer! Canada was wonderful that way. Dogs were fine just as long as they were on leash and you picked up after them. This presented a little bit of a problem just because it limited how long we could stay gone. We left him in the RV and began our journey.

The kids…well, all of us, were still pretty tired. Ellie was having a rough go this early. I know that once we were on our way she’d liven up. The beginning of the road traveled alongside Lake McDonald. The lake is one of two of the parks largest lakes. It is rather long and narrow. The water is a deep blue green. Our first pullout was a waterfall lookout.DSC_1599 I love waterfalls. They are so powerful and sound so magnificent as the water crashes over rocks and over ledges. We took a few pictures and then jumped back in our car. Getting around is a lot easier in this little vehicle!

A little farther up the road there were a bunch of cars stopped…..looking, looking…two little black bears in the woods. Cool! They were pretty deep in but you could see them. Wow, under an hour in and we saw a bear! DSC_1601The road continued alongside McDonald river and began climbing in elevation. The vista’s were lovely! Lots of mountain tops and hills covered with green fields and trees. Waterfalls could be seen near and far. We are planning to make it to Logan Pass (about 32 miles into the 50 mile road) and check out the visitor center. There are a couple of long hikes there but we may just do a little of one. They say the visitor center parking lot is full by noon which is one reason that we wanted to get and early start.

One pull out gave us a gorgeous view of a mountain with the name of Heaven’s Peak…nearly 9,000 feet tall. We ventured along a trail there for a little bit. The morning was so beautiful with the clear skies and the sounds of nature around us. I love looking into the trees and seeing the moss covered ground dappled with sunlight that has made its way through the pine branches.DSC_1616

DSC_1643

Weeping wall…lovely!

Back on the road we reach one of the tunnels. Not very long but impressive with its three arched windows for viewing. These windows were actually build on a whim by the laborers while they constructed this road that links the west side of the park with the east side of the park. The road was started in 1911 and took 21 years to complete. DSC_1617They stopped construction during the depression and the average day pay for a worker was around $1.50 and if you were a skilled worker than you could make $5.00 or more a day. Rough work they had to do, many areas are blasted out mountainsides with rock guardrails to keep the traffic safely on the roadway. There were some hairpin turns and some amazing waterfalls! There were a few times people were doing things that made me question their intelligence. For example…a mom (yes, a mom) was sitting on this rock guardrail with a drop off behind her, getting ready to take a picture of her kids by the weeping wall. There is no turnout, there is no where to park near this wall. It is busy with traffic and these roads are not wide. You had to be quite defensive since people hug the center line due to the rock walls that seem that they could touch the car and the cliff on the other side. I once again had Ben’s quote come back to me “It’s always dangerous for stupid people”. trying to drive by her and her kids on the other side of the road…really? What people will do for a picture that they probably will never even print!

DSC_1653

At Logan pass visitor’s center

We reached Logan Pass at 9:30 am and there was still plenty of parking. The visitors center had some neat info but not as much as I would have expected. The gift shop was busy of course (this is where the money is apparently) and we just had to check it out for a bit 🙂 DSC_1660 DSC_1666

There was still a lot of snow on the mountain side where they have one hike. The trail goes up the mountain and across and ends up being about a 4 mile round trip hike. We knew that we probably were not going to make it too far. When you looked up the mountainside it appeared pretty daunting with all the snow and just the sheer height of it. We started off and immediately saw a Hoary Marmot. I know…weird name right? It looked like a groundhog to me. The snow wasn’t too terribly difficult. They had wooden walkways that were exposed in parts. It was a pretty steep climb and Ellie was NOT loving it. The snow helped though 🙂 We made it maybe a half mile up and decided that we were good with our progress and it seemed like a good time to head down. I had brought some garbage sacks just because we may need them for something and the kids decided to try to slide down on them. Didn’t work too well but it was certainly entertaining!

Back to the car we continued to the end of the road. I spotted a bear close to the road but by the time we found a turn out and got back there it had headed pretty deep into the woods. We could only spot him briefly.

DSC_1668

Getting ready to slide on garbage bags 🙂

We walked down to St. Mary lake and enjoyed the views there and then made it to the end of the road. Guess what we did? Went into a gift shop 🙂 Deciding that we had been gone for long enough we decided to head back to camp. It was nearly 1:00pm and the trip back would take nearly two hours. The return drive was just as lovely! At certain times it appeared you were going to drive off the edge of the world! DSC_1670 DSC_1671 DSC_1678

DSC_1688

Rocks under the water at St. Mary’s lake

DSC_1687

Enjoying the views at St. Mary’s lake

DSC_1708

What your hair can do when its dirty 🙂

Gizmo did just fine of course and we relaxed for a bit before taking the car to a bike path (the only place dogs can be) so that we could give Gizmo some exercise. We walked on a path that was way shorter than we expected and ended up at Apgar Village again. This is where we were the first evening here. We headed down to the lake side and checked out the boats for rent. I think this is on the agenda for Father’s day. The kids found a little bat that was injured..or dying…and pushed him into the shade. The girls were quite upset about the future of this little bat. We decided to let Gizmo take a swim. The water was really cold but we really wanted to go in so we threw the stick. He went out and back, out and back so many times until he was so darn cold he couldn’t do it. He was shaking so badly!!! Poor dog! I had brought him a towel and we dried him off best we could. His teeth were even chattering! We walked into the village and were standing by a store while Scott ran to the bathroom and some guy says ” What’s with the dog?” I assured him that the dog was just cold…and quickly walked away…bad dog parents! Ha, ha…really, he is a dog. At least he knew when to stop 🙂 DSC_1726

Back at camp we made burgers and watched Ben whittle some more, the girls played with sticks and Scott and I enjoyed the fire.

Great day today! We did a lot of driving and not as much hiking as we had thought, but we will do some in the next day or two. We are here for a total of 4 nights and then we are headed somewhere…not sure yet. Possibly southern Montana or Idaho or even somewhere in Washington. We will see….

That is the fun of it 🙂