Sunday, June 20, 2010

A not-so-messy vacation

Day 1: We started off on the open road at 4 a.m. (Arizona time)....we were off to a great start!  Had everything a person could use on a road trip.  Baby wipes, snacks, cooler of drinks, road maps, great music and a notepad for road trip games.  But then it happened....kerplunk!  Our newish vehicle made some funny noises, there was no acceleration and some feelings of unease.  Thankfully we were in Albuquerque N.M. and were able to get our vehicle in to a Ford dealership.  They squeezed us in and told us the bad news....on the low end $1,00 up to $6,000 and they couldn't get it fixed for another 3 days.  Great!!!  So, we left our baby behind, rented a vehicle and were off on the road again.  This ordeal put us back about 3 hours.  We had prepaid reservations in North Platte, we had to get there.  We pulled in at 4 a.m.  LONG DAY!

Day 2: Up @ 8 a.m., had a bit of breakfast and were on the road again.  We pulled into our destination around midnight.  Bemidji, Mn here we are!  

Day 3-6: Along with my brother and my parents we hauled their 5th wheel trailer to a bible camp that our entire family rented for a 4 day family reunion.  Rainy, cold-ish weather, but lots of fun playing outside, eating yummy comfort foods, laughter as we talked about the past and late nights playing board games/cards.  Here are a few pictures to give you a slight idea of our fun:

Paddle boating on the lake

Different groups had to prepare the food.  This is the "Young Men"...playing, not cooking. :)
A family tradition: BINGO!  Everyone brings a few wrapped gifts for prizes.  My dad is the caller....every year.
One of the outdoor games we love to play, Ladder ball. Or some classy people I know like to call it Hillbilly Golf.  This one was made by my dad.  With just a few pvc pipes, golf balls and rope you can make one, too!
Day 6: We said our good-byes and I towed my husband to the town my dad grew up in and where my grandparents owned a lake resort, Walker, Mn.  On our way we stopped in Itasca State Park.  The headwaters to the Mississippi River begin there.  The tradition is to walk across the rocks, but my husband's warm blooded body couldn't handle the freezing waters, so we walked across the bridge.  
Here is my grandparents old lake resort on Lake Benedict.  My wonderful aunt who lives a few houses down took us out on the boat.
Later that night, my parents had us out on the land they just bought.  My dad had been cleaning it up and had a HUGE pile of brush, logs, and branches to burn.  So, here we was cold, but if you stood about 6 feet from the fire you got toasty warm. :)  Unfortunately, the fire was to big and hot to roast marshmallows.

Day 7: I dragged my husband once again to visit my hometown, Bemidji, Mn.  We walked the downtown area, hung out with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox and had some of Dave's Pizza (a favorite and something I always look forward to on our trip up).  

The downtown area had all these great statues painted by local artists.  This was my favorite.  Is it a lady or a beaver???

Later that evening we joined my uncles "jam" group at a local coffee shop called "The Cabin". They play different instruments and sing old gospel, bluegrass, and old country rock.
My mom is the lady with the funky hair on the left. :)

Day 8: Time to get on the road again....left Bemidji,Mn. @ 6a.m. and pulled into Rapid City, S.D. around 7 p.m. 
Day 9: Time to get on the road and hit the Black Hills. My husband is an animal fanatic, so we went to Bear Country, U.S.A. a drive thru wilderness park.  Wolves, Reindeer, Bighorn Sheep, Black Bears and Buffalo were roaming around.  The rules were NOT to get out or even to open your windows.We also went to see the awesome Mt. Rushmore.  What a sight to see.  

Couldn't resist showing the bear cubs.  This one looks just like "Little Bear". 

I forgot to mention we had a traveling mascot, Curious George.  He really enjoyed looking at all the sights, too. 

Day 9 con't.: After driving thru the beautiful Custer State Park (Black Hills) we traveled on down to Colorado Springs.  We stayed here for 2 nights. Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs (the mineral water was unsafe for me to drink, but my hubby tried it and then gave it right back.) 
 Above and below are pictures of Garden of the Gods.  George is looking out from the visitor center, and below is the hike we took.  Kissing Camels and all.
 Day 11: Long drive home.  Pit stop in Albuquerque to retrieve our fixed vehicle and found out it was $600 less than expected (phew!), returned our rental and made our trek back to our own bed, own shower, own set of house rules. But, I wouldn't trade the blood-shot eyes, sore rear-ends, vehicle break downs for anything.  My travel buddy and I had the best time together!  We plan on making family road trips a tradition...but maybe with less driving and more playing. :)


  1. Looks like you guys had a blast!

  2. You are so funny! Love Curious George! I feel really inspired after a vacation! You visited some great places. That reminds me....I'm about do for one!
    Thanks for sharing!


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