Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disneyland > Disneyland Trip Reports > California & the West Trip Reports
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 09-09-2008, 10:10 PM   #16
maryr1oz
Mouseketeer
 
maryr1oz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Melbourne Australia
Posts: 417

Stunning

Hi,

I am following your trip report with great interest, your photos are magnificent and your kids are gorgeous!

We did a semi-similar trip this time last year, so i'm remembering our trip through your great photos - keep them coming!

Can't wait to hear more about Yellowstone...

maryr1oz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-10-2008, 06:55 AM   #17
estherhead
DIS Veteran
 
estherhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,296

Quote:
Originally Posted by KimAshton View Post
OMG that is stunningly beautiful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by maryr1oz View Post
Hi,

I am following your trip report with great interest, your photos are magnificent and your kids are gorgeous!

We did a semi-similar trip this time last year, so i'm remembering our trip through your great photos - keep them coming!

Can't wait to hear more about Yellowstone...

Hi guys! More to come soon!
estherhead is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 09-12-2008, 06:10 PM   #18
bethbuchall
Had to make sure she was in Disney World on her 40th
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,206

I haven't had a chance to read it all yet, but this is great! You went to many of the same places that we did, but in reverse order. It makes me want to write up a TR, too!

We have a 2007 Honda Odyssey and a GPS named Daniel. We also have three kids, though they are older than yours, and I left my parents at home.
__________________

bethbuchall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2008, 07:40 PM   #19
estherhead
DIS Veteran
 
estherhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,296

Quote:
Originally Posted by bethbuchall View Post
I haven't had a chance to read it all yet, but this is great! You went to many of the same places that we did, but in reverse order. It makes me want to write up a TR, too!

We have a 2007 Honda Odyssey and a GPS named Daniel. We also have three kids, though they are older than yours, and I left my parents at home.
OMGoodness!!!! Daniel & Sheila could get together & have GPS babies. And give directions in an Elmo voice.

Next chapter up in a few moments...
estherhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2008, 07:58 PM   #20
estherhead
DIS Veteran
 
estherhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,296

Day Eight

August 2, 2008

There comes a point in every vacation where things start to blend together and you completely lose track of time. That point came yesterday. It is a lovely point in a vacation. But often it is things going wrong that force you to enter that mode. The point where the plan must me adjusted, where you finally give up the control that makes your life at home work and go with flow of vacation.

Yesterday morning we got up when we got up, early I’m sure as my internal clock has not reset, and Donald & I left the children sleeping while we went for a leisurely breakfast at the little continental place at our hotel. I had coffee and a plain bagel with cream cheese and jelly. We overlooked the hotel owner’s trailer out back & a giant mountain. It was a little odd because teenagers where running the entire place. A girl about 13 was doing all the towels and sheets, a boy around 15 was replenishing the breakfast area and a boy around 17 was checking people out at the front desk. Other than a short glimpse of a woman doing paperwork at a computer, I never saw an adult. Oddly enough, it was one of the cleanest, best run places we’ve stayed. I guess teens really do know what they are doing. They sure TELL us they know what they’re doing, this is just the first time I was convinced.

We packed up and got on the road fairly early. Dad, who had run to the grocery the night before, decided he needed to get more supplies. I ran inside as well to grab some baby wipes (and I’m glad I did as I needed them later) and quickly was back to the car. It felt like Dad was in there FOREVER! But it probably wasn’t that long, I was just super anxious to get into the park and get going. And to be honest, as events played out, he didn’t need more supplies. We would have had plenty. He is currently making dinner with some of those supplies, though, and because I’m starving I won’t complain about my impatient wait too much.

We stopped at the North Gate to take a photo of our family. Dad took it and stood in the middle of the road to do so. He didn’t have his camera set-up right so he stood there a while and it was like a buffalo traffic jam as all the cars paused to let us take our photo. Don’t try this at home, kids, I’m sure anywhere else he would have been run over for sure. But people in Gardiner, Mt were willing to wait for the crazy guy to get out of the road.



We then were at the Ranger gate & Dad waved his magical senior pass and we were waved around the line of cars again. Yeah to the magical senior pass.

We were then on our way to Norris Geyser basin. This was to be our first real sighting of geysers and thermal features. But first we saw something totally unexpected and exciting: a grizzly bear! Right up close to the road. It was so exciting. He/she was eating berries and loving life. We watched for awhile (with all the other motorists) before it got full and lumbered off into the woods. What a way to start a day!

This is how close it was:


And with zoom:



From there we drove more slowly and saw other animals with our binoculars, though no photos and no real knowledge of what we saw. Lots of buffalo, mainly alone in ditches. We also saw a cool waterfall. The waterfalls out here are so huge and so amazing. So powerful. They really have taken my breath away, and I love waterfalls anyway. We then made a quick stop at Sheepeater’s Cliff to see marmots that supposedly lived there. Unfortunately, we didn’t see a single marmot. But the cliffs themselves were very interesting. Black and segmented. I didn’t know such formations existed in the U.S. It looked like it belonged in Great Britain (not that I've been there, I just imagine it would look like this.)





From there we stopped at Norris Geyser basin and made our only ill-advised mistake, which trust me, we’ve learned from. Mom wasn’t feeling well (she caught a touch of Ariel’s bug) and stayed in the car with Boo while the rest of us trudged into the woods to see ourselves some thermal features. There were two walks & we did one loop, perhaps ¼ mile, with Dad. It was in the blistering sun but very interesting. At the Y in the trail, he turned back to the visitor center to await us while we went to see some more on hot boardwalks. It really wasn’t too bad and it had been very interesting so when we got back into the shade we sat down and discussed whether we should see more in the Back Basin. The girl’s said no.

Just then, Mom came with Boo in stroller and said she was feeling better so she & Ariel & Donald went to the restrooms and to trade the stroller for the backpack. And this was where we made our fatal error.

We went for it.

It was a mile round trip on hot boardwalks in the heat of the day. It was high noon. At first we went down a long flight of stairs and passed an interesting geyser which was spouting all kinds of water into the air, not going off, but still interesting. At that point we were still clueless and in the shade of pine trees, thinking that this was the life.
We then rounded a corner and turned right. For the first ¼ mile things were great, photos were being snapped, etc. But you do know that thermal features are between 198 degrees and over 250 degrees. And it was high noon. And we were on reflective pieces of shiny wood. And we’re at 8,000 feet, much closer to the sun, and very little oxygen. I got burnt, the baby started crying (did I put sunblock on her? Darn it, I couldn’t remember), the children were dehydrated (why didn’t we bring water?) Mom still wasn’t feeling well & was feeling like she had to take care of us. At just over the ¾ mile mark there were no more thermal features, just a long, dusty path back to the flight of stairs that had seemed so innocent when we came down them. Once we got to the top of that, it was another ¼ mile back to the van (which we’d left parked in the sun.) By this point I knew I was absolutely fried and any time I spent in the sun was moving me closer to a second degree burn instead of a simple sunburn so I took off speed walking with Mom. Donald picked up the pace as well, though in the back of his mind he knew it was ill-advised.

Photos of Norris:








Sure enough, Ariel fell twice, the second time badly skinning her knees. There was no choice but to continue our death march to the van in spite of the blood and tears. Dad greeted us & told us he was quickly getting the belly bug. So it was high time to have a break. In the shade.

We rushed to Canyon to see if our cabin was ready and it wasn’t. So we then went to a picnic ground & looked for shade. All the great shady spots were all taken so we found a lame spot in half shade and made some rather pitiful peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the back of a spoon that had holes in it so half the peanut butter squirted out the wrong side. No one felt like digging for knives. At this point, the dehydration from being sick & being on a death hike caught up with Ariel and she started feeling shaky & ill. There were no potties so we rushed to a little wooded spot but she couldn’t relax. While I was hiding in the woods, Boo took a tumble & bloodied her face. So we yet again popped into the van and rushed back to Canyon to just get some fluids and ice cream in Ariel.

The family went to get ice cream while Ariel and I ran to the closest potty, which was in the registration/information center. She was in there for maybe 15 minutes while I chitchatted up the registration folks & talked them into giving us our cabins. It was maybe 1:00 pm? Maybe 2:00. I’m not sure. Anyway, Ariel didn’t feel any better & said her belly was cramping. I knew we needed a room NOW so we headed off to find the family. On the little walk to the ice cream parlor, she threw up multiple times. It is one of those moments when you know you are a true mom. There were people EVERYWHERE, lots & lots of people eating their lunches & shopping and I never gave them a thought. I just had her lean over the edge of the sidewalk & puke in the dirt. Then we’d walk a few more feet & lean again. I wasn’t grossed out & it never occurred to me others would be. Too bad for them if they were. I’m a Mom with a sick baby. She was my only concern.

We found the family & bought Ariel a big Sprite & Mom gave her the second half of her sherbet. We drove the short distance to our cabins & we all lay down. Surprisingly, I fell asleep. Sound asleep in the middle of the day which is not my norm at all. But I think the illness & the sunshine just knocked it clear out of me. Donald had been raring to see more Yellowstone when we got to the room, but he, too, was able to fall asleep promptly.

Canyon Cabins (the guy behind Mom & Boo is not with us):


Boo loved this cabin:


Elk behind our cabin:


By 6:30 Dad was completely bed ridden and the rest of us were feeling very well, and ready to see something. We went to grab a tiny bit of dinner and see some of the sights around Canyon. We ate at this 1950’s diner that you wouldn’t expect in a wilderness. Neither Mom nor I were really up for eating, but Donald & the girls were able to eat some French fries, some hotdog, and a cheeseburger (I had a few bites, Mom had none.)



We then went to see the Lower & Upper waterfalls of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. I was totally unprepared for what we were greeted by. The photos of this area are just so-so in my opinion. I was disappointed when the only rooming we could get was at the Canyon as other than the Grand Canyon, Canyons aren’t really my thing. But these two waterfalls and the canyon the cut through are absolutely breathtaking. Donald felt that the shear beauty and majesty of them is greater than Niagra Falls. I’m not sure I’d go that far as Niagra is so huge, but they are definitely prettier than Niagra. Amazingly, shockingly pretty. Artist’s Point has been a highlight we will not soon forget.

We took TONS of photos but I won't bore you. This was the best one:



After this, we filled up our refillable mugs (eat your heart out Disney fans, these are under $4.00 & twice the size as resort mugs!) and headed over to the amphitheater for the nighttime program. I had tried to find out what it would be in case it was something patriotic or evolutionary, but was unable to get any info. I jokingly said, “Wouldn’t it be great if it was on the wildlife here?”

On the way there, Boo was thrilled to be out of her backpack, where she had spent a lot of the day, and walking by her own power. So excited, in fact, that she wouldn’t hold onto Mom’s hand & came running to me. This was not a good idea on the uneven asphalt and she took a face first tumble. This was her second tumble of the day as in the mayhem of the picnic she had also taken a face first tumble. But this time she would not recover. Donald was not amused with Mom & I and he grabbed her & ran back to the van. We continued on the way to the amphitheater & what did we find? “The Wild Side of Yellowstone.” It was a powerpoint presentation on Yellowstone’s wildlife.

Once I had them all settled & realized they would enjoy the 45 minute program, I ran back to the van. Boo was screaming & blood was everywhere. This is where the extra wipes really came in handy as Donald had used nearly half of them trying to stop the flow of blood from both lips. No teeth were missing however. Donald was a bit panicky since he had just cleaned up gushing blood for a seemingly endlless amount of time. So I took charge at this point & told him I would drive them back to the cabin & come back for the rest of the family post-program. I guess he was able to entertain Boo pretty well & with Tylenol & medical supplies, he got her taken care of.

I, in the mean time, made it back in time for the entire program which was absolutely lovely. The ranger was in LOVE with Yellowstone & a true outdoorsman. He was so passionate about the animals and his program was great. It kept the girl’s interest as well as ours and we were very happy we had come.

We fell into our beds exhausted, despite our afternoon naps, and slept deeply.
estherhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2008, 08:13 PM   #21
bethbuchall
Had to make sure she was in Disney World on her 40th
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,206

I am loving this TR!!! You have inspired me to start my own on Monday. We didn't do any of the ranger programs while we were there, because there just didn't seem to be enough hours in the day. Some day I will go back and make sure I do some of those programs.

Poor Boo! I am glad that she was ok. I'm also sorry that you all had a touch of sickness while you were traveling.

Also, your pictures are gorgeous!
__________________

bethbuchall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2008, 08:31 PM   #22
estherhead
DIS Veteran
 
estherhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,296

Quote:
Originally Posted by bethbuchall View Post
I am loving this TR!!! You have inspired me to start my own on Monday. We didn't do any of the ranger programs while we were there, because there just didn't seem to be enough hours in the day. Some day I will go back and make sure I do some of those programs.

Poor Boo! I am glad that she was ok. I'm also sorry that you all had a touch of sickness while you were traveling.

Also, your pictures are gorgeous!
Oh, please start a TR! I would love it. The ranger programs were great. We really enjoyed them and stay tuned for our Teton experience. AMAZING! A night that will never be repeated.
estherhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2008, 08:57 AM   #23
estherhead
DIS Veteran
 
estherhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,296

Part Two: August 2, 2008

Well, our bellies are full of pasta and grilled chicken and we’re also back from our silly little jaunt to the gift shop. Long story, too boring to share.

Back to our nice evening rest. We had decided to leave our curtains open and awake at dawn to see animals. I don’t have a clock on me, so I don’t know what time I originally woke up, but it was way too early & I decided the animals weren’t worth. The second time I woke up, though, I figured I should rouse the family. We hurriedly threw clothes on, and not even bothering to comb our hair, we leapt into the van. It was 6:30 am.

We went south through Hayden Valley just sure we’d see moose as that is where they supposedly live. But it was not to be. No moose for you. We did see a trumpeter swan and two coyotes, though they were all further away than the animals we’d seen previously so no photos. We also saw lots of other animals we’d already seen and a pelican and blue heron and lots of duck, none of which had we seen earlier. After two hours we were done & made it back to our cabin.

I was feeling not so very good again & laid down to finish the book I had been reading. The girls played, and Donald played Civ 4. At around 10:00 am? Mom came in and said she would stay with Dad & Boo if we wanted to go off & have fun by ourselves. Well you can bet your bottom dollar I did want to leave Boo & have fun by ourselves so we quickly hopped up & ran out the door faster than you can say “geyser.” Suddenly, I wasn’t so tired.

We stopped by the Visitor Center and picked up a Geyser Prediction paper and headed slowly down to the Old Faithful community, stopping to see random things along the way. One thing I knew we had to see was the Artist’s Paintpots as it had been Mom & Dad’s favorite when they were here & the photos looked amazing. The trail was only 1/3 mile back there so we decided to go for sure. Well guess what? We walked the 1/3 mile and there was a HUGE barricade with HUGE danger signs all over. Now, I certainly like rangers taking care of me & don’t want to go somewhere that is now dangerous. But it would have been nice to know before we walked the dusty, trees all burnt to the ground, boring 1/3 of a mile! We were all so irritated (as were the other people on the trail!)

By the time we got to Old Faithful, I was just sure that we wouldn’t see it, that this would be the one time Old Faithful quit spouting and was no longer faithful. How long can a geyser really be faithful, after all? We hadn’t seen a true spouting geyser yet & I was of half a mind that we wouldn’t. All the dust & sun had gotten to me.

I was surprised, for some odd reason, by how many people were at the Old Faithful complex. There were three exits! People were absolutely everywhere. Old people with canes, newborn twins in sun bonnets, Canadians & Floridians. Everywhere.

All Donald could think about was peeing & all I could think about was getting to that geyser promptly or we were going to miss the very last time in history Old Faithful would spout. He wisely dropped us right at the geyser where it had been scheduled to go off 20 minutes prior & was yet to be seen. It is supposed to go off every 65-90 minutes. It had last gone off at 10:40 am & as the sweet southern boys sharing my fallen pine tree in the shade shared with me, it was now 12:30. By my quick calculations that is at best 20 minutes late. Just as I suspected, it wasn’t going to go off. Ever again. I just knew it.

Donald must have found a parking lot & bathroom and was soon next to us & plopped down in the shade on our lovely pine tree to wait for the tardy Faithful with all other 7,000 or so people from literally all over the world. By this time I figured it was gonna spout as it was making all kinds of gurgling & spurts. We waited another 5 minutes or so & that puppy went sky high. It was neat. Very neat. And I guess I must admit, faithful.







My plan was to grab something to eat & then see all the geysers around the Old Faithful area. But first I wanted to look at the next geyser predictions. I ran over to the Visitor Center & beat the crowds and got my info quickly. As I walked out, Donald said, “Did you find out where the sun spotting is?” Well goofy me hadn’t asked the ranger that question & I really needed to know. I spun on my heel & headed back in, this all took less than 5 seconds but it had allowed the 7,000,000 people from all over the world to catch up with us.

The gentleman in front of me kept asking the same question 18 times & yet didn’t really understand the answer. I was ready to bonk him on the head. It was like the ranger was talking to a five year old who just kept saying, “What did you say?” despite looking the ranger dead in the eye. Grrrrr! Why didn’t I ask my stupid question before? Finally, I kicked the guy to the curb and found out & we were out of there. We hightailed it to the Old Faithful Inn.

Unfortunately, we didn’t know there was a big construction zone & ended up going the long way around. Which allowed all 7,000,000,000 people from all over the world to get in to the Old Faithful Inn before us & form an EXTREMELY long lunch line for what I’m sure would have been very mediocre food. So I got a brainstorm to be a rebel & have ice cream for lunch. Partly this is because all the other good people didn’t believe in ice cream before lunch & so there was no line at all. This grand idea also allowed us to snag great seats on the upper balcony outside overlooking Old Faithful, in the shade, none-the-less. It was a glorious luxury. Ice Cream for lunch overlooking the most famous geyser in the world.

I had been looking forward to seeing the Old Faithful Inn ever since we had seen the Wilderness Lodge in Disney World and fallen in love with it. The Inn was the real deal which the Disney version is based on. It was every bit as fabulous as I imagined and I very much enjoyed our “lunch” there. Donald felt the Disney version was more beautiful. Me, I like the real deal. It just smelled right & felt right. Though I’ll admit, Disney did imitate it pretty well.







After that we carried on with our plan to see the Old Faithful walkways & then go look at the sun. But when we hit that boardwalk & looked out over that hot, steaming area with the 7,000,000,000,000 people we quickly decided we just didn’t want to. While we were deciding how to kill a half hour, Ariel said she wanted to go to the bathroom. So we went around Old Faithful to the Old Faithful Lodge (as opposed to the Inn) and while Ariel went, Donald grabbed our refillable cups from the van. We filled ‘em up with deliciously cold soda & bought two hot pretzels and made our way over to the sun viewing area. It was early, but they were already set up & no one was there yet so we had a private viewing and chit chat with the astrologers.

I guess the sun has an eleven year cycle (I had no idea) and that we are in the only 6 week time period in the 11 years where no sunspot activity is happening. It was kind of like looking at a bright red light. OK, I’ll admit it, it was EXACTLY like looking at red light since nothing at all was leaping off of it. But at least I learned something & have seen the sun. I’m still glad we did it, even if the sun is being boring. I guess the full eclipse yesterday was about all the excitement old man sun could muster.

Sunscope:



As that was happening, Old Faithful went off again behind us so we turned around and caught another great viewing.

We then hopped in the car to go see more geysers, fumaroles, and paintpots. It was all quite interesting and we didn’t get too fried or cranky.





Then we went to sit in our car and wait for the Grand Fountain Geyser to go off. It spouts every 12 hours & was supposed to go off at 3:30 pm, give or take 2 hours. We got there are 3:00 pm & it certainly had not gone off yet. We sat in the A/C & read our tour books about the boiling water & the little warning spouts & the overflow. We watched the geyser in front of us go off 5 times and I read about the flood & imagined the heavens opening up with rain & the water of the earth spurting up to flood the earth. It’s pretty easy to imagine when you are at Yellowstone. I really don’t know what everyone’s problem is with it. It’s still happening now, why couldn’t it have happened then? Just bigger. I think perhaps the literal “7 Days Of Creation” that true creationists believe in just makes all the scientists ignore the Bible all together. Since obviously the universe wasn’t made in 6 24 hour time periods. But if you believe “day” means time period then actually the order in the Bible is the right order. So those were my ponderings while I sat there & waited. How did the earth get here? How were mountains created? How did the dinosaurs die? Ya know? Yellowstone just brings out way more questions than answers.

Anyway, right around 4:00 The Grand Fountain Geyser shot 100-150 feet straight up. After sitting there so long with such anticipation & all kinds of little spouts & gurgles, plus the fact that it was totally awesome & took my breath away, I missed taking a picture of that original spout. I guess it’s OK because it wouldn’t have fit in my camera lens anyway. I did get my senses after a bit & took some photos & video, as did Donald. We also got sprayed which interestingly wasn’t hot. I don’t know why. It seems like it should be hot, but it wasn’t.

What it looked like with no geyser shooting out:


My way too late photos:






It seemed difficult to top that, so we simply drove straight home after that. We were hungry & thirsty & of course, someone needed a potty. As usual. We did see animals on our way, but we just breezed by & shot photos out of the car. I got a pretty good one of two elk.

As noted above, I typed in my journal & Dad made us pasta & we took a silly drive to the main Canyon area.

Tomorrow we drive through the Grand Tetons & go Whitewater rafting. And the next day, we turn home. Hmm. Turn home. When I was ill, I so wanted to just go home, but after our great day today I have mixed feelings. There are still things to see! Things which won’t photograph well. Things that will amaze us. And truth be told, as we told Mulan when she asked when we were coming back here, we aren’t coming back here. There are simply too many other amazing things on this earth to see.
estherhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2008, 01:25 PM   #24
bethbuchall
Had to make sure she was in Disney World on her 40th
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,206

You have some beautiful photos there!

I am so sad that you are heading home soon, but I can't wait to read about the Tetons. We were in the Tetons first (and not for nearly long enough).

I started my TR today, and I am amazed by how long the whole process takes, especially with uploading and adding photos.

We were also disappointed not to see any moose in Yellowstone (or the Tetons). That is what my dd wanted to see the most. We did have a surprise sighting (no picture) on the way from Yellowstone to Mt. Rushmore, though.

Maybe Mulan will take her family back one day, and you will be "Mom and Dad" traveling along with them. Dh made a comment while we were on the trip that we'd probably never be back that way again. I told him that we'd be bringing the grandchildren (if there are any) to Yellowstone someday!
__________________

bethbuchall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2008, 02:48 PM   #25
estherhead
DIS Veteran
 
estherhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,296

Quote:
Originally Posted by bethbuchall View Post
You have some beautiful photos there!

I am so sad that you are heading home soon, but I can't wait to read about the Tetons. We were in the Tetons first (and not for nearly long enough).

I started my TR today, and I am amazed by how long the whole process takes, especially with uploading and adding photos.

We were also disappointed not to see any moose in Yellowstone (or the Tetons). That is what my dd wanted to see the most. We did have a surprise sighting (no picture) on the way from Yellowstone to Mt. Rushmore, though.

Maybe Mulan will take her family back one day, and you will be "Mom and Dad" traveling along with them. Dh made a comment while we were on the trip that we'd probably never be back that way again. I told him that we'd be bringing the grandchildren (if there are any) to Yellowstone someday!

Yes, grandkids. We'd definately do that. Surely with 3 girls I ought to have a least one grandkid, right?

I leave for WDW tomorrow so you'll have to stay in suspense for the end of our trip!
estherhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2008, 03:01 PM   #26
bethbuchall
Had to make sure she was in Disney World on her 40th
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,206

Have a terrific trip! I don't mind waiting for the final installments, especially since I'll get to read about your WDW trip soon, too!
__________________

bethbuchall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2008, 08:44 PM   #27
estherhead
DIS Veteran
 
estherhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,296

Back!

Hi all! We're back from our 4 day jaunt to WDW & I want to post a TR for that but I feel too guilty leaving this one open. I guess that's what happens when you travel so much! Not too bad of a problem, eh?

So here is our next day:

Day Ten
August 4, 2008


Today we turned east. We’re 60 miles east of the Tetons now, in the sagebrush and cottonwood of Wyoming. Horse country. We just ate breakfast at the Cowboy Café in Dubois, Wy. I had found it on TripAdvisor and the reviews were dead on. Lots of food, yummy food, reasonable prices and a nice mix of tourists and locals. We asked the girls waiting on us the shortest way to Cheyenne and they asked the resident Wyoming expert and she said through Casper and that it should take 5 hours. That jives with Mapquest so we are on our way to Casper. It’s 10:20 am.

As I walked to the bear box this morning with my 3 loads of garbage I unexpectedly got tears in my eyes. I really do want to turn home, I’m ready to go home, and yet evidently my heart is not done with our journey yet. It has been a truly lovely journey. The right people, the right place, the right time, and very well planned. Yet another notch in my opinion that a meticulously planned vacation is a good vacation.

So yesterday was a good day. I don’t really feel that it started off too well as it was the only day we had an appointment, a 4:30 appointment in Jackson for Whitewater rafting. Being unaccustomed on this trip to having appointments and being really not sure how long certain mileages would take us, I was nervous. I felt like every little thing was taking forever and I really had trouble relaxing all the way until Jackson.

I also felt all day like I was trying to put Boo to sleep. Mom and I spent all day putting her to sleep only to have something 5 minutes later wake her up. Frustrating.

For everyone else, though, it was probably OK. We started with packing (as always) and that seemed daunting yesterday. When Donald & I awoke and looked around our room it was as if a tornado had gone off. “Don’t worry, it won’t be so bad,” I said. He sighed, “I know. It just looks so bad.”

Dad was making toad-in-a-holes for us all, though I just had coffee and a granola bar. I wasn’t hungry. Boo was merrily playing and pointing to the people and squirrels and birds. She stood on the porch and waved. “Hi!” she shouted over & over. Mom and Dad had had a lovely day with her the day before. Feeding her at regular intervals & putting her down for a real nap in a real bed. And then taking a walk through the woods to the gift shop. She loves gift shops almost as much as nature. She runs around frantically playing with this stuffed animal and that stuffed animal. Yanking out pencils from their holders and generally destroying any area into which she ventures. It takes one adult following her to keep the pandemonium to a minimum.

By the time we had eaten & packed, the ranger station was open & we went to get the girl’s ranger badges. They are cute with a little wolf paw on them. The ranger we got had braided pigtails and was very serious about the conditions under which one was allowed the privilege of being granted a badge. They had to answer all kinds of questions and prove their worth. She asked them, once she had deemed them worthy, if they wanted a quiet ceremony or if they wanted an announcement and clapping from everyone in the museum. They, naturally, both chose quiet. We took a photo to commemorate the great moment and we were on our way.



Dad hadn’t been with us at Artist’s Point before so we stopped to see the falls again. It was still breathtaking, of course, but it was smoky. Too smoky for a great photo op. We did follow a ranger for a bit and she pointed out animal footprints down the steep, dangerous face of the canyon. We looked through Mom’s binoculars and pondered that. It seemed so ill advised to wander down that wall, but many, many animal steps were there and no animal slidings so they must make it OK.

We hopped back in the car to continue our timed jaunt to Jackson.

We really wanted to see a moose. We were on a Moose Mission. But it was not to be. We did see lots more pelicans and a few trumpeter swans. We saw bison, of course, lots of elk, and a black bear. The black bear sighting was exciting to me as I had seen only grizzlies thus far. But no moose. We were hopeful the entire day and I believe I saw a girl moose at the edge of the woods eating grass. She had a long face and gangly legs but not beautiful antlers and I can’t be positive. But she defiantly didn’t have a white butt. Of that I’m sure. So maybe I saw a moose. But not the yippee skippee kind of moose sighting I was hoping for. We heard that a lot in the visitor centers. No moose sightings.


THe black bear (cooler in person, not a great shot)


We paused for a quick look at Mud Volcano which was much more interesting than I was thinking it would be. And then we drove along the coast of the Yellowstone Lake for awhile. Lots of birds and wildlife there. And lots of fishermen, but no boats. You can take boats onto the lake, but for some reason there weren’t any. We then went to another thermal feature area right on the shore of Lake Yellowstone. I meant to be there only a short time, but it was more interesting than I had accounted and we saw it thoroughly.

By that time, I was starving, as my coffee and granola bar were long gone. We pulled into Grant Village and headed to the little eating area. I was chasing Boo and Donald ordered and oddly, didn’t really order me anything. He order a cheeseburger (for him), chicken tenders, and a hotdog. I made Donald scrape some jalapenos from the burger & ate a bit of that and had some chicken tender and a bite of hotdog. But mostly, I ate french fries. It was good. And Boo made her yummy noises over the hotdog and ketchup. My word does that child love ketchup. The little sitting area in the cafeteria was beautiful and we filled up our refillable mugs twice with our last free pop before we headed to the Teton’s.



Into the van we all piled again, and headed out of Yellowstone. Goodbye, Yellowstone, with your strange thermal features and your huge herds of bison and your gorgeous canyon.

Next stop: Colter Village. We pulled in and went to check into our tent cabin (it was around 1:00) but the crowd in front of us was very curious and talkative and it seemed like forever before they finally headed out. OUR turn, finally. They had messed up our reservation a bit, but finally (again with the finally) we pulled into our little tent area. In retrospect, we should have set up camp at this point. But at the time we were too concerned with trying to find an empty bear box which never panned out.



Originally, I had Mom & Dad going with us to Jackson and entertaining themselves, but Boo, who of course wasn’t sleeping, was being a pill and they considered staying at Colter while we went on to Jackson. But you weren’t allowed to have any food, cosmetics, baby wipes, etc in the tent. And without the van or a bear box, they were basically stranded in the woods with a baby and no supplies. So they opted to go with us. I was happy with this as I always thought they would enjoy Jackson and that perhaps there time there would even being one of the best memories of the trip with Boo.

We took a detour past Jenny Lake and got some great photos of the Tetons.












The drive to Jackson was a beautiful drive.
And we arrived around 3:30 so we had plenty of time to spare. And we had cell service which was exciting. Donald & I checked into the Jackson Hole White Water place and then we drove around to show Mom & Dad there eating and shopping options. It’s a lovely town. Expensive, but nice.





Then it was time to check in and change. We actually left early for our trip since all the people going had arrived early. It was about a 25 minute drive on a school bus which felt like forever as I was getting nervous. I just knew the water would be freezing and I really, really didn’t want to fall in and be freezing. Mistakenly, I thought there would be some kind of safety program. But no, they just teach you to put on a life preserver and throw you in the boat. My intention was to sit in the middle (where it would be drier) with the girls, but again, it was not to be. There were 12 adults and you need 10 rowers. Looking around at our crew, it was pretty obvious I would be a rower. They put you in your seats & I got sat between the elderly couple & a prima donna and thereby found myself in a position near the front & sure to get absolutely soaked by even the smallest wave. And having to do most of the rowing on our side.

With that, we were off. We had three commands. Row forward. Row backward. Stop. We never used the row backward. Our guide was a very nice guy, about 25, who was a rapids guide May through October & then a skiing guide October through May. He loved his life and had found the perfect little niche. Personable and funny but not imposing, he was a great guide. Our group were fairly pitiful rowers but somehow we managed the river safely. The Snake River was about 55 degrees and 6-10 feet lower than it’s highest point of the year. It was level 3 rapids. In May, it is level 5 and they actually pull dead bodies out of the river. We saw people kayaking, and jumping off cliffs, and fishing. He also said they base jump, though it technically isn’t high enough.
It was a much more enjoyable experience than I thought it would be. The girls had a fabulous time and not even halfway through Mulan asked if there is any place to raft closer to our house. Donald and Ariel jumped in when there was a little spot for swimming but Ariel only lasted a few seconds and when he asked later if anyone wanted to swim even Donald declined. 55 is pretty cold.

We finished up, loaded up the boats, and drove back to town. The trip back home was much quicker. We changed back into dry clothes and had steak and garlic bread, which the rafting company provided. I had been looking forward to a potato with my steak, it made logical sense to me as that is what I would serve, but I guess Wyoming isn’t potato country and they weren’t going to ask Idaho to help them out. It’s steak country and you get steak. It was a giant & tasty steak. But no potato, really?

By this point Mom & Dad were back to pick us up and fill us in on their Jackson evening. They had eaten at the Bunnery (recommended by TripAdvisor) and looked at galleries and Coldwater Creek and other stores. Neither had really felt like shopping but they enjoyed watching Boo wave at the people. And they especially enjoyed watching her eat her grilled cheese dipped in ketchup with chocolate milk.



I had wanted to check out the Bunnery myself. Boo was attached to me, however, as she wanted to register all her complaints at being left behind while we obviously had gone and had fun. So I sent Mom & the girls in to find some pie. Apple crumb, I requested, but anything other than raspberry would do.

They were gone for a long time, which I didn’t mind as I was people watching, but Donald felt daylight burning away and he was going to miss his 9:00 pm astronomy appointment. When they did come back they had 3 boxes. Peanut Butter/Chocolate cheesecake. Regular Cheesecake. And a full ¼ of an apple crumb pie. It was like it’s own planet. We all munched happily as we drove back to Colter Village.

I told Donald to skip the Jenny Lake area and go the other way, but I wasn’t really paying attention as I was eating my pie. At some point he started freaking out that we weren’t going the right way because we had never entered the Teton park. It was the only time this whole trip where we all panicked and felt lost. We pulled quickly over & grabbed a map and lo & behold, we were just a few miles away from Colter, not at all lost, and it definitely had been shorter. We should have just trusted Sheila. We did enter the park and we almost made the 9:00 appointment. We dropped Donald & the girls, bug sprayed up with shoes, jackets, and blankets in place, at the amphitheater at about 9:05, give or take a minute.

The rest of us headed back to make camp & hopefully put Boo down. It didn’t take her long to realize that we were sleeping outside and she just couldn’t stop pointing out the little tent window & shouting, “Look!” even though it was nearly dark & there was nothing out there. What there was, however, was an entire family of squirrels living in our tent. That, combined with the other families laughing, playing guitar, and having fun, was enough for Boo to put in a full protest. So Mom & I headed over to the amphitheater too, Boo in her Ergo. Call us bad parents, to take a toddler out at 10:00 pm but there was no way I was staying in a tent with squirrels and a totally awake baby.

When we got there it was completely empty so we followed the sound of the voices to a field. I had little LED lamps on my ballcap and as I got to the field I shut them off. This was no place for lights. It was National Astronomy Day and it only happens once a year. And we were there. There were maybe 10? telescopes and a lot of knowledge people with laser pointers pointing out all kinds of interesting things. There is no way to explain exactly what this was like, and I’m definitely not capable of imparting all that knowledge in this trip report.

I’ll just tell you what I saw, my personal highlights. I learned that the North Star and Sagittarius are the axles of the sky and that the whole sky spins around them, thus the reason the North Star is so good for navigation. I also learned that many stars we see with our naked eye are actually 2 or 3 stars spinning around each other, including a three star cluster in the handle of the big dipper.

We looked at Jupiter & saw 2 defined bands as well as the spot on the lower band and the 4 moons. They were a lot brighter than I had been expecting. I saw 4 shooting stars. And a whole bunch of other stuff. It’s just too hard to describe. But it was cool. Truly super cool. TOTALLY SUPER COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After that we went back to our tent and hunkered down for the night. The squirrels settled and we were able to get some shut eye. Boo and I slept in one sleeping bag on the air mattress and the mattress was comfortable, but sharing the sleeping bag was not so great. It was hard to keep little Boo warm. It was about 45 degrees and her little arms kept getting cold. And the sleeping bag on the air mattress was slippery and we kept sliding all over. We did manage to get some sleep, I think she may even have slept well.

Donald:


Boo & I:


The light woke us, but really it was the squirrels that forced us out of bed. They simply were furious at us for existing and made all kinds of noise chattering & yelling & scurrying up & down the wall near Mulan’s head.

We didn't need this, thank goodness. Doesn't it look scary?



We cleaned the van & reconfigured the seats for our ride home. We packed & I fed Boo pie & water.



It didn’t take long & we were off. I had picked the Cowboy Café (mentioned earlier) and figured we’d be there around nine, or even earlier. But there was a LOT of road construction and it was closer to 9:30 10 o’clock before we got there. That was pretty rough to start our 26 hour (driving time only) journey home with delays from construction and with no coffee. But we did make it.

We’re now out of the mountains, but still hours from being out of Wyoming. Boring, boring scenery is ahead of us today. There are currently antelope & cattle & lots of horses on rocky, sagebrush covered ground out my window. But within the next 5 hour it will give way to corn.

Donald & the girls are watching the Backyardigans and Mom is listening to magazines. Dad is driving. We’ll probably stop for lunch in the next two hours. Nebraska here we come.
estherhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2008, 09:03 PM   #28
estherhead
DIS Veteran
 
estherhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,296

Day Eleven & Twelve

Day Eleven
August 5, 2008

We’re in a kind of yucky Super 8 right now. We lost an hour somewhere along the drive & my family is really feeling it. I’ve got the “going home adrenaline” so I woke at 6:30 am despite that hour. But I’ve been up, showered, packed, & breakfasted now for over an hour & the fam is still sleeping. I’ve tried to make as much noise as possible but to no avail. Donald is at least up & watching TV & Mulan is stirring now as I type this. Come on, guys! Get up!

We still have 16 hours of driving till home & yesterday felt pretty intense so we’re going to stay over another night, even though Dad doesn’t want to. We’re forcing him by pulling the baby card as Boo is sincerely not going to make it that whole way in one day. She is a good traveler, but she doesn’t sleep well in the car & we’re not really eating consistently.

We’re in Lexington, Nebraska. There is not a lot to recommend Lexington, only that it is on the interstate. I’ve found the state of Nebraska rather scary. It is super poor, but the scary part is how far apart the towns are. There just aren’t people who live here. It makes me want to escape. Kansas is flat & boring, which I won’t say about Nebraska. The scenery is fairly interesting. Antelope, deer, interesting rock formations.

Day Twelve
August 6, 2008

We’re HOME!!!!! Home, home, home! Today was our hardest day. It was only 7.5 hours worth of driving, but it seemed so hard because we were done with vacation & just wanted to be at our house. It was so funny, this morning in the van, even before the being in the van, the entire mood of the van was different. It went from laughter & vacation to serious & quiet & well, perhaps even a bit cranky.

Yesterday I didn’t finish my journal. But I feel it is super important to this trip report. We had planned on going to St. Louis to the Arch but we realized it was faster to go to Hannibal. It was scarier as the road didn’t look as nice as the interstate, but it would cut an hour off our trip. So we decided to tour Mark Twain’s hometown instead of St. Louis. Off we went.

The day went well and the highway ended up being a genuine shortcut, a nice 4 lane highway (mostly) with little traffic and perfectly straight with a nice, high speed limit. I was driving. We stopped to go potty and I said I was done driving. It was a sunny day and we were roughly a half hour away from our destination. Donald took over.

Within 5 minutes it had started to rain. Within 15 minutes, it was pouring. We had a powwow and decided to just drive to our hotel in Springfield, Il and have a nice dinner & go shopping. Hannibal wouldn’t be very fun in the driving rain. Within 30 minutes after that, we were in strange clouds & started to see twisters come out of the clouds to the south. Not being from the wide, open spaces of the Midwest, I’d never seen a tornado before, or even these kinds of clouds. It was so weird and scary. People were under the overpasses waiting it out. And there were rainbows under the clouds, which was also a strange phenomenon. Donald driving. Instead of 75 mph, we were going about 35 & even that felt terrifying. Thank God, Boo was asleep.







Finally the tornado clouds stopped & we thought we were a bit out of danger. But instead we found ourselves in a lightening storm like I’ve never been in. The lightening would hit the ground and the thunder was simultaneous, no delay at all. It would strike on the right, then the left, and then right in front of us. Adding this to not being able to see anything it made for a very, very frightening drive to Springfield. Mulan & Ariel were on my lap, wrapped around me. Ariel started crying & said she just wanted to be home. I tried to read them a story, but the noises outside were deafening & the fear in the adults was palpable. Children are no fools.

We finally got to our hotel & checked in. We only had a king bed in our room & they were completely full so we couldn’t move. The girls were going to have to sleep on the floor. Donald was so frazzled he couldn’t talk & was a mess. I told him he needed a nice dinner but he didn’t want to go to a restaurant with Boo. We sat in the room a little while as I couldn’t really think of a solution & he was not fit to make decisions or talk, really.

Finally he said, “Where are we going?” I just hate that. Telling me my solutions are terrible & then dumping the problem on my anyway, after telling me I wouldn’t be able to solve it! Grrr….

Anyway, there was a Joann’s Fabric right next to our hotel & I wanted to pick up some fabric for a wedding I was helping friends with so I dropped Donald & the girls off at Smokey Bones & took Boo to Joann’s where she merrily ran around like a fool. I got the fabric & some scrapbooking stuff & we headed over the restaurant. Donald had ordered a drink & appetizers & was watching baseball. I chased Boo around as we were in our own little corner so I knew it wouldn’t bother anyone. By the end of the meal, he was calmer.

But this morning he was cranky again. It’s 8:25 pm now, we got home at 5:00 pm & he is just now settling & being calm & happy & ready to live again.

Did I mention it was a scary storm?

The van is empty & clean. Tomorrow I’ll need to do laundry & grocery shop & prepare for the week. And clean up the rest of the stuff. We can’t find our cat. The house has some fleas. And I have lots of work piled up. But we’re HOME!!!! And home feels great.

My conclusions to the whole thing are:

Our family was amazing at cross country travel. It went smoothly, we didn’t lose any cameras & even my keys are being sent home to me from the Rockbottom Brewery: at no expense to me, may I add. Having Mom & Dad with us was very nice & helpful. I wish Dad felt better & I hope he really does work at the treadmill thing. I think he should just bite the bullet & buy one. They could take the bed out of the toy room & put a TV on the wall with a treadmill and he could just make it part of his daily regime. Just like taking a pill.

Planning, as always, is key for our family’s enjoyment. Even beach vacations go better, hitting the road goes better, Disney goes better. Planning, planning, planning. I wish it weren’t true, but it simply is. There were so few arguments; I mean really, really few. Almost none. A lack of impromptu decisions, and everyone knowing what is going to happen actually allows us more freedom as if someone doesn’t want to do the plan, they don’t have to but they know what the plan is, they know what they are turning down before it ever happens. To me, this is valuable beyond belief.

This was a cheap vacation. Just over $2000.00. Half what our Disney vacation will be this year. And still fabulous. So before this trip, I was thinking we wouldn’t take many vacations after this year, especially since Boo will move from babyhood to being in the terrible twos within the next few months. But I think we’ll be able to take vacations, just closer to home & cheaper. Not spending lots of money didn’t take away from our enjoyment & I feel like we really spent it on the things that gave us the most bang for our buck: like the whitewater rafting & the Watiki park.

OK. That’s it. This was a great trip. With great people.

I'll tell you my post-post trip thoughts next.
estherhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2008, 09:12 PM   #29
estherhead
DIS Veteran
 
estherhead's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,296

Post thoughts:

First, our cat never did make an appearance. She was very ill before we left but still nursing a baby so she couldn't take medicine. I'm pretty sure she's dead. Fortunately she left us her baby who we love. Otherwise it would have been too sad.

OK, as for the trip. In retrospect I absolutely loved this trip. Next year we won't be taking a Disney trip as we want to spend our time & money exploring the world. I think my girls are old enough to handle it, obviously, and Donald and I both had a great time.

My dad is feeling a lot better. A lot of his issues were because of the flu. But he still is the slowest walker on earth. We will be taking trips with him & Mom but we'll also have to do trips without him if they are heavy on walking. It's a bummer as we blend beautifully together and as I pointed out, didn't have a negative word to say. It's hard to find people that travel that well together. I wish he'd ride a scooter, but there is no stinkin' way he ever would.

So that's it. It was amazing. I love my hubbie, love my parents, and love my adorable girls.
estherhead is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2008, 06:46 AM   #30
bethbuchall
Had to make sure she was in Disney World on her 40th
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 9,206

What a great TR! I am so glad that you had such a wonderful trip. Now I want to go back and experience some of the things that you did. Except for that horrible storm. I am so glad that I didn't have to drive through anything like that. You also made me even happier that we scrapped the Nebraska route and went through Colorado Springs.

I can't wait to read about your WDW trip, too! And then wherever you take us next year.
__________________

bethbuchall is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:31 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.