We returned home from our wonderful driving trip last Thursday and it has been a weekend of catching up. I must add that it was the most interesting trip weatherwise that we have ever taken. We hit every type of weather imaginable -- rain, hail, sleet, snow, fog and record breaking low temps. It made for a very challenging experience since we were traveling with ten children.
Leaving L.A. we were in such dense fog that we actually missed our first offramp and had to backtrack in the desert. We NEVER see fog out there. That should have been our first clue. We hit torrential rain and hail as we toured Bryce and Zion National Parks. The scenery which is normally so stunning was hidden from our eyes. The good part - we received a "Senior Pass" which allows us free lifetime passes to all of the national parks for the rest of our lives. I guess they figure that we will not be able to drive much longer!!!!! Sigh!!!!!
A little break in Zion when the clouds momentarily cleared. I love the red rocks of the area.
We drove through rain from Dillon all the way across Nebraska and Iowa and it stopped as we were about 50 miles from our destination. Our three days on the farm were absolutely perfect with cool temperatures and sunshine.
My cousins farm is in the center of an Amish community and the next door farm neighbors showed the children their way of living. They brought their buggy down and took the children for rides through the corn and bean fields. As well one of the children came down with their miniature horse and cart and let them drive it all around. They were even riding this little horse bareback and having a blast. Later that evening our children were able to help with the Amish milking chores and were fascinated to be able to milk the cows. There was never a dull moment on the farm with livestock to tend to and chores to be done. They loved the big tractors and accompanied my cousin as he sprayed a field of beans with the new sprayer. There was also a quad that the children had a blast riding. For city kids all of this was such a novelty.
The evenings were pleasant and we roasted marshmallows by a campfire in the yard and actually spotted two fireflys. I have such fond memories of catching them as a child, but we do not have them in our area. The children were fascinated as they flitted about.
The real thing.
Isn't Snoopy precious?
Son and DIL having fun on the quad.
Leaving Iowa we headed to South Dakota and visited the Corn Palace in Mitchell. Each year the Corn Palace is decorated with a different facade and done all in corn. One family grows all of the different colors of corn for the decorating and it is done from springtime through August when there is a huge festival. A different theme is chosen each year. Since it was pouring when we arrived, you will have to check out these photos on the internet to see a few of this years designs. The theme this year is America's Destinations and includes the Statue of Liberty and Mt. Rushmore. Next years theme was announced as we were there and it has to do with modes of transportation.
Leaving that morning and heading for the Black Hills we encountered our worst weather yet with fog, sleet and snow. This was our view heading into the Badlands National Park -- another free visit. The fog was so thick that our speed was drastically reduced. It would lift periodically so you could catch a small glimpse of the scenery, but nothing as stunning as what it is. The fog continued and Mt. Rushmore was not visible as we pulled into Rapid City. It lifted a little later so the kids jumped in the car and headed up to see it. I stayed at the hotel with the littlest ones and they did get a 10 minute window frame of the beauty of the work that was done in stone.
Can you see the Badlands?
The next day was record cold and snow as we headed to Cody, Wyoming. The problem with all the bad weather was that we have always managed to get the children out of the car and run around for car breaks and lunches. There was just no place to have that picnic with such dreadful weather. We were lucky enough to have stayed in Cody that evening because Yellowstone was closed the previous day due to the snow. We were able to get into it the next morning but, again, it was driving through the snow.
Should be a clue as to what we will be approaching.
A place where we would normally have a picnic lunch. A little chilly for me.
How about a little swim in the lake?
The 37* temps don't seem to bother these big guys.
All in all it was a fabulous trip but made me make a mental note to never attempt a trip like this in early June. The children were incredible travelers and we eagerly awaited the end of the day when they could get some energy out in the hotel pools. We would jump at the opportunity to do it all over again.
I did manage to finally finish my traveling quilt top. This is a piece that I work on when we take our long drives. It is all hand pieced and now I need to quilt it.
And a last photo of our grandson's graduation. Since my computer was ill the last time that I posted, I will add the picture this time. The class had eight graduates but one of them was studying in Germany and could not make it home for graduation ceremonies. Our grandson is the one in the back - the tallest one. Congratulations Mr. N. and now you are off to bigger adventures in college.