Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And So It Began...The Griswold Family Vacation (ha!)

We're still suffering with a broken A/C. I say "suffering" because the temperatures around here have been in the upper 90's and with no A/C in half the house, We. Have. Been. Suffering. Luckily, the upstairs A/C is working (although I'm afraid it might burn itself up trying to cool the whole house when it was only meant to do half of it!). Randey and I have been sleeping upstairs in the guest room. It was kind of funny the first night. The second and third nights?... not so much. The part to fix the A/C is supposed to be in by noon today. Here's hoping we have blessedly cool air downstairs by sometime this afternoon. Now enough of that whining...on to the vacation stuff.
The first state we visited was New Mexico...the "Land of Enchantment". Except we visited the part that wasn't really all that enchanting, to be honest. In fact, it was actually kind of blah. The only pictures I have of it are of a passing train and some industrial looking buildings that I took as we were driving through. I was practicing with that new-fangled camera. I think I should have practiced more because some of my pictures could have really used it. lol Anywho, the picture shown below was taken around Trinidad, Colorado. We stopped at a Scenic Overlook to take a few pictures. Randey kept backing up, trying to get a shot of the boys and me along with all that pretty scenery. At one point, I was afraid he was going to get smucked by another car that was pulling over to take pictures, too. Randey actually got a picture of me briefing him about paying attention while his face is behind the camera, but I won't show that one. I look too much like a mean old lady in it. ha,ha That's Jake on the left, Kaleb in the center and me on the right. This next picture is of Kaleb and Jacob at the Crowne Plaza in Colorado Springs. They had enjoyed the indoor pool the night before, but I was too lazy to go down and take pictures then (yeah, great way to document the vacation, eh?). I made them go stand by the pool the next morning while Randey was checking out. That pool was quite lovely. In fact, the whole hotel was. Except they had no microwave or fridge in the rooms and, even worse, they charged for Internet access. What the hey? Who charges for Internet access these days??? But no matter, we were only there for one night. And all in all, it was a pretty pleasant night in pretty sweet surroundings.
We stopped in downtown Colorado Springs to get a drink at Starbucks. How charming is their downtown area? I wish we could have spent more time there. It looked so awesome. Here's Jake and Kaleb, looking like totally cool dudes (they'd hate it if they knew I'd said that. lol)
Check out the crosswalks there, too. I thought they were so funny, with the "eyes" in the o's.
Here's Randey, Jake and Kaleb, checking out the sites.
After we left Colorado Springs, we headed north again. We decided that a little Chick-Fil-A was in order so we plugged it into the GPS and found one in Denver. Downtown Denver. I loved their buildings. Here's a couple of pictures I took there.

Unfortunately, the Chick-Fil-A was located in a downtown shopping food court that didn't open until 10:00. Seeing as how we were on a schedule, we opted not to wait. We got more Starbucks instead and hit the road to Cooke City, Montana.
And that's where the fun began! Here's what the weather looked like when we arrived. I took a picture of Randey and the boys underneath the sign at our motel. By the way, does anybody remember that movie "I'll Be Home for Christmas" with that kid from Home Improvement? Remember when the girl and the guy who was trying to steal her from the main character stopped in that Bavarian town over night? That's what this motel reminded me of. Actually, most of the town did. For some reason, about 50% of the people we spoke to had a German accent. I half expected them to be wearing Lederhosen underneath their coats!
Here's the "motto" of the Alpine Motel:
I'm sure it's some deep and intense meaning, but to me, it just seemed kind of goofy. Part of the charm, though. Here's what our room looked like there. Gotta love the themed bedspreads, right? And the wood paneling. Yikes! (Karolee, do you recognize the red scarf laying on the left bed?? It REALLY came in handy, thanks!)
Here's the view from the door of our room. Pretty spectacular, huh? I took this the morning after we arrived, as we were headed for breakfast.
Check out this place...the "Soda Butte Lodge". I thought it looked kind of cool - sort of rustic and sort of mid-century modern, all at the same time. It's a definite improvement over the old Soda Butte Lodge (pictured below).
This was a sign in the window of one of the souvenir places in Cooke City. Funny, huh?
And here's what our car looked like that first morning. Kind of chilly, but not too bad, right?
We ate our breakfast and headed into Yellowstone National Park. Woo-hoo! Talk about amazing scenery! (Sophie, I took some pictures just for you. I'll get them printed up and in the mail to you soon!) Here's a picture of Kaleb, me and Jacob taken shortly after we entered the park. The weather had started getting really, really cold and snow had started to fall.
Here's some of the Bison that live in Yellowstone.
We drove right by this guy and he barely even blinked.
As we wove in and out on the trails, the weather went back and forth...snowing in some spots, just cold and slightly damp in others. Check out this Bison that decided to block the road. I think he seriously considered taking on this Coca-cola truck, but eventually decided against it.
Here's a mule deer (maybe?). (I think this picture may be out of order because I think we saw her in Gardiner, Montana, just as we were leaving the park the next day.)
This next picture is of a bear that strolled across the road in front of us. I think he was the highlight of the whole visit to the park for Randey and the boys. They were thrilled - hollering at me to take more pictures, take more pictures. Personally, I didn't think attracting the wild animal's attention with the flash on my camera was the greatest of ideas so I took just a few shots. When the bear walked within inches of my car door, I took zero shots. I mean for Pete's sake people, we were in a Vibe. The bear could have eaten our entire car in about 3 bites. lol
Here's Jake and Kaleb, posing like manly men. And griping the whole time about how sharp the rocks were that they were sitting on.
Isn't this pretty? Some flora from the park. This was me playing with my camera, trying to get an "artistic" shot. lol
We stayed in the park for hours and hours. It was great. One of the main roads was closed - (for the whole year! go figure) - so we had to take the long way around to Old Faithful. About halfway between Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful, the weather just got too bad. The snow was falling down, blowing all over the place, visibility was getting worse and worse...we decided to turn back and head for the motel. We made it back, had an extremely overpriced meal (like all the other ones in Cooke City, except for breakfast!), and went and sat in our room. The Internet worked for about an hour, about half the cable channels were out...and the snow kept coming. Boy, was it BEAUTIFUL!! I loved it, each and every little flake. This is what we woke up to the next day:

Pretty flippin' awesome, isn't it? Remember that song, "Snow" from White Christmas? It kept playing thru my mind as I looked at all that gorgeous white stuff.
Here's a picture of Randey and me in front of the motel sign. Wow, what a difference a day makes, eh? lol
Here's the motel parking lot that morning.
And here's Kaleb getting up from making a snow angel (and yes, he did have a warmer coat, but he's a teenager who knows everything and didn't feel the need to wear the darn thing). I wish he'd told me he was going to make his snow angel so I could have gotten a picture of him actually doing it, but again, he's a teenager....
Here's the result of his work, though. Not a bad little angel, huh?
And here's Jake, lying in the snow. He wasn't actually making a snow angel (he's far too cool for that). He was just laid out, enjoying the cold.
Here's another of my "arty" pictures. I like this one so well, I may have to use it on my Christmas cards this year.
And here's a couple more pictures of the beautiful scenery, covered in the snow. I love this tree - it just screams "CHRISTMAS" to me. lol
BEAUTIFUL, ISN'T IT? (The scenery, not the photography)
Here's an awesome picture we took as we were driving out of the park that last day. It's a mama moose and her calf. (By the way, you should be able to click on all these pictures to enlarge). If the ginormous tourist bus that was pulled over taking pictures ahead of us had moved its big self out of the way, I might have gotten a better shot. ha)
And here's one last shot of the area just north of the park before we headed to Billings. Breathtaking.
I have to say, I am a city girl, all the way. I like having grocery stores, shopping, gas stations, book stores and all that other good stuff within close proximity to me. No doubt about it. But the beauty and grandeur of Yellowstone is a site to behold. It's so worth seeing - even I felt a certain closeness to the land that normally is not in my nature.
Next, we spent a day or so in Billings, Montana with Randey's dad. Randey's niece, Dawn, and her husband and children also came up for a visit at that time (which was great!!). Then we headed to Mount Rushmore. And that's what I'll talk about next time...


  1. OOOOOOH! You are making me want to take a trip to Yellowstone! It looks SO GORGEOUS! Your pictures are GREAT! And, I think you SHOULD use that picture for your Christmas cards. (Two years ago, I did that with a picture from an ice storm we had. Everyone LOVED that card!)

    The picture with the bison is a hoot! It really puts into perspective how BIG they are doesn't it? That thing was almost as tall as the Coke truck!

    I'm glad you had a good time, and I can't wait to see the rest of your pictures.

  2. Love your pictures, they are quite something to see, we have bison here up north ,they are huge things.I love the pics they tell a story without words, just lovely!
    Thanks for dropping by my blog ,and yes its hard to be good when your eating when you love food and are use to eating a certain way then you MUST change how you eat and prepare....sigh.... oh well like you said I eat to live not the other way around.
    Take care,

  3. Those are great pictures. I can't believe the amount of snow at this time of the year.

    Looking forward to the next batch of pictures.

  4. Kari, I just love reading your blog! We did the Mt. Rushmore/Yellowstone vacation with our 3 kids 13 years ago. It was a great trip (thinking back after all these years). We never did see a bear at Yellowstone. We did the south and west side, though. Did you get to Jackson Hole, Tetons, etc? We took a couple of extra days and did that - it was a lot of fun.

    I loved all your pics. Looks like the boys had a good time. Yes, use a snowy pic for your Christmas card!

  5. Oh you lucky girl. That is some beautiful photos. I bet you had a blast. I wish we had that snow! I know you do with the air out. Good luck.Oh and I wish you had half of this cake!

  6. Holy freaking crap! What amazing pictures. I've always wanted to see Colorado and you've brought some of its beauty too me. I laughed out loud at the first shot and your description of keeping hubby out of harms way. definitely a Griswold moment. The view from the hotel! the animals! the snow! you must have been so thrilled! Can't wait for more!

  7. Oh WOW, look at you all skinny and svelte on your vacation! I loved the pictures I don't know what you are ranting about practice...thanks for the tour, hope there are more pictures to share!
    hugs love ya bunches
    Aunt Sandi

  8. Wow,wow,wow! Beautiful pics...I simply must make it to Yellowstone Park sometime in this lifetime!!! Looks like everyone had a fabulous time :o)

  9. Well I must admit that I feel so lucky to be born and raised in the beautiful state of Montana!!! I can't wait to move back for good this time!!! I had a great time seeing you guys and I miss you!!

  10. why...why...why am I 5000 miles away from a road trip through the states? I laughed out loud at your description of NM-- that's where we were before this assignment. And the Enchantment part is hidden, you have to look for it :-)
    Great, great photos-- love the snow pictures!

  11. Thank you for the sweet comments you left behind. Your trip looked awesome, so many nice pictures to look at. Hope your air gets fixed soon. Take care, Susie H~

  12. I SO enjoyed reading that & seeing your photos - what a great holiday!

  13. You certainly had yourselves a cool trip there. But snow! Eeek! I'm in the NE and I don't have any desire to see snow, right now. ,-)

    Hope your A/C is fully working by now!

    'Smailnsigh' blog

  14. Kari,

    What great photos. I bet you were lovin the snow. No fair, I went to Alaska and seen no wildlife. LOL Really, really awesome trip and photos.

  15. Wow! No wonder you thought it was Christmas...those shots are fantastic. Bet you wanted to bottle some of that snow and save it for Texas!

  16. I love all the wildlife pictures. Hopefully one day we can visit there!!!

  17. The post date says June. THAT is snow. I stand amazed! I would be like you... I would leve ech beautiful little flake too!


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