Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer/Winter Vacation

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.

One of my very favorite states to drive through is Utah. The landscape is stunning with deep gorges, running streams and rivers and lovely red colors. The weather was great on the second day of driving. We pulled into Dillon, CO in a snowstorm that evening. We would normally enjoy a picnic by the lake, but it did not look too inviting this time.

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.


  1. Wow, what a nice trip! You will have memories (as well as national park passes) for a lifetime!

    Thanks so much for sharing your vacation with us.


  2. To say the least, you had a MEMORABLE trip in all facets of the word. This is truly gorgeous country out that way ... we love all our trips across country. Congrats to the grad. TTFN ~Marydon

  3. What a great trip to take but too bad the weather didn't cooperate. When we go on color tours we say, "Oh look, I'll bet that is beautiful when the sun shines"! Sounds like the kids really got to see country life. Imagine home looked mighty good after that long drive though.

    Congrats to your grandson.

    Hope your Mom is doing well.

  4. What a great trip and your photos were great.Thanks for taking us along.Glad that you are all home safe.
    Did you travel by cars or a big motor home?

  5. You know, I just LOVE reading about all the travels and adventures my friends go on! It is a window to a totally different world for me, and I just love it all. And that quilt of yours is absolutely stunning!

  6. We went to Yellowstone in June years ago and froze to death, almost. I am glad you guys made the best of it and had a great time anyway. The time in Iowa sounds wonderful.

    Your grandson's class is very small - what kind of school was it? Congratulations to him!

  7. Beautiful trip. That is somewhere I would love to visit. Congrats to your grandson. So glad to see a posts from you. I miss you when you are gone!

  8. What a great trip!!

    And the quilt... stunning.

  9. The part of your grandson that is showing is of one handsome guy.

    What an interesting adventure you've had--AND you finished your quilt! I call that a two-fer!

  10. what a trip!! I would never have thought you would have that nasty weather in June..oh well.. stopping by to say hi

  11. Oh my! What a trip! All that snow looks so familiar to me but not in June!! Glad you all had such a great time though, I would love to take a long driving trip like that with the grands some day. Glad you all made it home safe and sound.

    That quilt is just spectacular! WOW and double WOW! Did you hand piece each block and then put it all together? It really is beautiful!

    Congratulations to your grandson on his grauation. What a milestone in his life!

    It's beautiful here today after about a week of rain. I was in meetings most of the day but did get to enjoy the later part of the afternoon out with the horses. I need to put some plant food on my seedlings as they aren't doing much yet. Hopefully they will perk up.

    R has gone to a dinner meeting tonight so I guess I'll have a quick easy supper. Sometimes that is nice! No clean up!

    How is your Mom doing?

    Again, I am so glad you had a wonderful memorable trip with your family. xoxo

  12. wow! What a trip indeed! I enjoyed taking this tour, nice pics too! All sorts of weather but snow? brrr...I am so happy we are finally rid of that! we have been having much cooler temps which is why it has made it hard for us to go swimming! ugh! What a lovely vacation and lasting memories!

    Congrats to your grandson!

  13. What a wonderful trip. I hope the children keep these memories forever!

  14. Hello dear Mary:-)

    Oh my, what a shame the weather had to be so miserable throughout your trip but it sounds like you all still managed to have a fun time. Seems to me it used to be that if June was here, there was no fear of snow or it's a normal occurance! Sigh! I loved seeing the pictures, especially of all the kids on the buggy ride:-)

    I checked out the picture taken at the Corn Palace and omigosh, hard to believe it's all done with corn! Fabulous!!!

    So glad you're home safe and sound and think of all the memories your grandchildren will have of this wonderful trip:-) xoxo

  15. Thanks for the description of your great trip! I would love to go to some of those national parks, especially the ones in Utah! Maybe someday! I can't get over the snow at this time of year! Amazing!
    Hope this finds your dear Mother doing better.

  16. Oh, and I forgot to mention that spectacular quilt! Is that the nosegay pattern? Absolutely gorgeous! And all by hand! What a lady!

  17. Beautiful pics. ANd WOW at all your blogging awards.

  18. What a trip, would love to travel to all those places. The Amish stuff looked liked funa nd I am glad the kids got to enjoy a different way of life. Always an eye opener!