travel tales for family and friends. . .

wild horses. . .Theodore Roosevelt NP - North Dakota

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas 2010 with the Family

We missed Christmas 2009 with the family, because we were the Activities Directors at an RV Park in San Antonio.  We didn't really think it would be that big of a deal. . .but boy were we wrong.  We really missed all the family get togethers, watching the kiddos open gifts, and having Christmas Eve with all the brothers and sisters. . .so this year, we headed home to Houston in time for the holidays.

The grandaughters spent part of their Christmas Break with us camped out on air mattresses in the middle of the living room floor. . .we entertained ourselves during the day by going shopping.  

Here are Emily and Morgan at the shopping mall. . .they could not resist doing this game called "Walking on Water."  They looked like little hamsters running around in their exercise ball.



Dave and I did our shopping at the Credit Union. . .since all our Grands are almost teenagers. . .they appreciate the cash. . .and we appreciate not having to wrap presents!

Because I goofed on Jordan's birthday gift, and accidentally put $5 into his birthday card instead of the normal $50 bill. . .I couldn't resist taping a $1 bill inside his Christmas card.

This is the look I got for my effort. . .

Back in the olden days, on Christmas Eve there were seventeen nieces and nephews ripping into presents at the same time. . .these days, we are down to only two under the age of ten.  
Daniel was raking in the cash. . .

and here is Sam. . .she hasn't gotten started on her gifts yet. . .

Even though it's a lot quieter, we still enjoy getting together with everyone over David's signature pot of seafood gumbo. . .and all the other goodies that everyone else brings. . .sure wish I had a bowl of those dumplings right now. . .they were great. . .and my brother in law managed to jazz up the green bean casserole. . .I had two helpings of that. . .

Here he is with his new bride, Patty.  We are so happy to welcome her to the family. . .and of course, everyone's favorite sister. . .not to mention that she's the only sister!


and here's the favorite sister, with her four gorgeous daughters . . .

Our beautiful niece Cherish, who is a senior this year. . .how could that be possible?

Kristina and her friend Aaron, along with Kody, and their Mom and Dad were wonderful hosts for our Christmas Eve get together.  Not sure how we missed getting pics of Mom and Dad, although I am sure they ducked everytime they saw the camera. . .hmmmm. . .next time I will work on that.


Here is my first born, Jon, along with his friend Shauna, and my oldest Grandaughter, Breaunna.  I am so annoyed that I had both my sons, and all four of my Grands under one roof, and did NOT manage to get a group picture. . .it may be a long time before I have that opportunity again. . .what was I thinking?

Here's Miss Morgan, my middle grandaughter. . .she acts so much like me it's frightening. . .Lord, help us all!, but she is a doll, and the light of my life. . .




Here are the three of them together. . .it doesn't get much better than this. . .my youngest grandaughter Emily in the middle is a wonder to behold.  She is the boss of them all. . .and they all do as she says. . .including her older brother.  I can't wait to watch her grow up and see what she becomes. . .she is going to be a force to be reckoned with. . .in the best possible way!

As you can tell, we had a wonderful Christmas.  We've now arrived back at Dad's place in East Texas. . .Dad had his cataract surgery early this morning. . .so we are anticipating great results from that.  Dad is excited that he will be able to see again.  Since he is blind in his left eye, this cataract on his right eye has really put a kink in his plans, so he is raring to go.  I'm sure once the eye doctor gives the okay, that we will go spend a couple of nights at the fish camp.

We are headed to the Rio Grand Valley mid January. . .stay tuned for more updates. . .

Janice and Dave
email us at: RTGMarketing@rtgmarketing.net







Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas



   
IF  A FAT  GUY GRABS  YOU AND  PUTS YOU  IN  BAG,   
DON'T  WORRY, 
 TOLD SANTA  I WANTED  A GOOD FRIEND  FORCHRISTMAS! 

cid:image001.jpg@01CB96EE.13CA9EE0
   
MERRY CHRISTMAS 
and 

HAPPY NEW Year !
 

Monday, November 15, 2010

So Happy to Be Back in TEXAS!

We enjoyed every moment we spent in Montana this summer. . .but when it was time to come home, we couldn't get back to our home country of Texas fast enough.

Coming home through Salt Lake City meant we could add one more picture of a State Capital Building to our collection:


 and also required stopping to see the beautiful Mormon Tabernacle. . .

We didn't arrive in time to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, but there was an organ practice going on, so we did get to hear the pipe organ being played.  It was magnificent.


The gardens were beautiful.




and of course the Great Salt Lake is a can't miss. . .




Once we left Salt Lake City, we discovered that Utah is very, very brown in October. . .


and here we are at a truck stop somewhere in Utah, having a yummy DQ meal


We made a quick one day stop at Zion National Park. . .so worth it



After leaving Zion, we made about a two hour detour to go through Las Vegas, (trust me, this was my idea, not Dave's.)  A one night stay at the KOA RV Park behind the Circus Circus Complex just off the strip was $57. . .and we were literally parked on a paved parking lot.  We had contemplated staying two nights, but once we got there, and discovered the crowds, we quickly decideded to just do a quick tour, and be on our way.  We went down to Fremont Street, and took some really good pics, but I can't seem to find them.  . .so I guess I will share them later.

Our intention was to stop in Albuquerque, and see the balloon festival, but the weather was sort of iffy, so we chose to go on through to Santa Fe NM, and meet up with friends for a couple of days, and then on to Texas.

And that was literally the end of our summer break. . .no sooner did we arrive back in Texas, than we got a call from my brother and sis in law, to say that my Dad had been involved in a very serious vehicle accident.

As I have found so many times in my life, God's timing is absolutely perfect.  We had arrived back home at just the moment we would be needed, and were able to arrive at my Dad's place within four hours.  Thank you God for your faithfulness.  Had the accident happened while we were still in Montana, I would have been beside myself trying to get home.  October has been a crazy, busy month.  Dad required an extensive hospital stay due to being on a blood thinner, and suffering numerous fractured ribs.  It took about ten days to get his bloodwork stableized enough to do the knee surgery he required, and then he need another 10 day stay in a rehabilitation hospital for physical therapy.  He has now arrived home, and is getting around very well with a walker.  We anticipate being here a while longer, until he is up and about.  


Although Dad and Mom have this beautiful place, thirteen acres is a little too much for them to keep up with at this stage of their lives.  My four brothers and I are strongly encouraging them to downsize to a smaller place.  They have agreed in theory. . .getting them moving is another matter.


Continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers!









Sunday, September 12, 2010

Photography Tips and Tricks

I must say there are some awesome tips and tricks for great photo shoots in my latest article at ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing.com

Check it out here: Full Time RV Living: A Photography Tip Everyone Can Use

Be sure to let me know what you think. . .thanks, Janice

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hit The Road JACK...: RV Parking Review Website

Hit The Road JACK...: RV Parking Review Website

Sometimes it's nice to have a little preview before you arrive at an RV Park. . .here's a link to check out. . .and while you are at it. . .check out how we save money on RV Parking across the country. . .here:


Be sure to leave a comment, and tell us what you think!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Another Yellowstone Adventure | the Roosevelt Arch | Yellowstone's North Entrance



Friends had told us that Yellowstone was really brown, and that we would enjoy Grand Teton National Park so much more because it was a beautiful green. We simply had not found that to be true until we decided to drive over to Gardiner MT, and view the Roosevelt arch.

Lo and behold, that is where we found the brown of Yellowstone. . .it really looked like the desert, and although the Northern Entrance of Yellowstone is called America's Serengeti, we weren't buying it.


 We didn't see a single one of these wildlife anywhere. However, fall is only a few weeks away. . .perhaps when the snow starts falling in the mountains, the animals will show up.  We will go back to check it out, and give you an update.
Because we are spending the summer in West Yellowstone MT, the easiest way to get to Gardiner MT is to drive the Madison to Norris Bypass (which is under construction,) and then drive the Norris to Mammoth Springs Bypass.  As you can see, this is a beautiful drive.  That is why we were so shocked when we arrived on the Gardiner side of the mountains to find the desert.  Heretofore, everything we had seen had been lush, green and beautiful.

Just another example of the beautiful scenery that we passed on the way. . .

and this is Yellowstone's very own "Golden Gate Bridge"

If you can imagine, before this first trestle bridge was built, you had to go up and over that layer of rock to the left of the bridge. . .that is called the plateau. . .I was very thankful to drive around the rock!
 
and here is Mammoth Springs. . .this pic does not even begin to do it justice.  It is one of those things in life that you must experience first hand. . .up close and personal.  Mammoth Spring is an awesome, massive, layer upon layer of solid rock, upon which and within which are numerous bubbling boiling ponds, and puddles, and waterfalls of water.  It is just an amazing place.

Now we drove to Mammoth Springs, because there are always tons of elk everywhere, and we wanted to see if they had their antlers yet.  Well, there was not a single elk to be found anywhere.  I have no idea where they were hiding them all, but since we also wanted to see the Roosevelt Arch, and it was time for lunch, we headed on into Gardiner MT. 

Between Mammoth Spring and the Yellowstone North Entrance is the 45th parellel

and just outside the North Entrance of the park is the little tourist town of Gardiner MT

Gardiner is actually a lot bigger than it looks, with several nice hotels right on the Yellowstone River, and a few RV Parks, several restaurants.  I didn't see a grocery store, or pharmacy, but I am sure they were available, and Livingston MT, which is a fair size town, is only about 30 minutes away.

Had we known the roads inside the park were as great as they are, we probably would have come in this way instead of going all the way around through Bozeman.  The only portions of the park that we would not want to pull our RV are over the Dunraven Pass.  There are just too many switchbacks, and steep grades, and then of course, we would not choose to come in the Northeast Entrance of Yellowstone with our RV, because that would mean pulling it over the Beartooth Scenic Bypass. . .not a good idea!
So, now that we had a great lunch in Gardiner, we can go explore the Roosevelt Arch

It truly is a beautiful masterpiece, and I am glad we took the time to go and see it.

 A closer look at the inscriptions. . .although Yellowstone was created as a National Park in 1872, the arch wasn't built until 1903.  President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the arch while he was vacationing in Yellowstone, and thus, it is named the Roosevelt arch!

Coming back through Mammoth Springs, we took the Mammoth Springs to Tower Falls Bypass, which took us right by Fort Yellowstone.  The army was actually stationed at Yellowstone, and maintained a presence in this fort to protect the park from vandalism.

Another reason for spending the day in the park was to drive over to Lamar Valley to look for grizzly bears and wolves.  Lamar Valley is the most active wildlife area that we have found, and I am sure we will make several more trips over there before we leave in October.

This black bear was in a meadow right by the road between Mammoth Springs and Tower Falls.  There was nowhere to pull over, and the park ranger was out directing traffic, but I was able to get this awesome shot as we drove very slowly past him.

We saw a second black bear a little further down the road, but he was much further away, and our pics of him are not so great.
ahhh. . .now on to Lamar Valley and the wolves.
They were so far away, you can just see them in the center of the photo.
There are two of them in this shot, and they kept going in and out of that gully.
We wondered if perhaps they had a den there?  Not sure.
We could see them really well with the binoculars, but alas, the telephoto on the camera was just not quite powerful enough.  We watched them for two hours. . .and shared our binoculars with several families.  The kids were just amazed that they had actually gotten to see real wolves.  And even those from other countries, with whom we communicated with hand signals were thrilled. 
 

and finally. ..our last shot of the day. . .a lone wolf just left center in the photo.

We had such a great day, and truly look forward to our next adventure out to Yellowstone. . .

Until then!  Hope you enjoyed!

See the rest of our Yellowstone pics here:



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Driving the Beartooth Scenic Byway in Montana

Leaving Yellowstone's Northeast Entrance



As we began our drive from Yellowstone's Northeast Entrance, on our way to where the Beartooth Scenic Byway actually starts, we began questioning Charles Kuralt's assertion that this was the "most beautiful drive in America."  Yes, what we were seeing was beautiful, and gorgeous, but not any more beautiful than what we had witnessed inside Yellowstone.  

As we came to the Chief Joseph Highway, which would have been a shortcut to Cody WY, we questioned whether to go ahead and take the shortcut, or continue on the scenic drive.




We are so thankful we decided to continue.  As we began to climb into the Rocky Mountains, it became more and more evident that Mr Kuralt knew what he was talking about.
 As we began driving a series of switchbacks, it soon became evident that this is not a road I would want to pull our RV over, but it was an excellent highway, and we enjoyed each new vista that presented itself.
 Here we are at the Summit, 10,978 feet in elevation, we could see for miles, and miles, and felt like we were on top of the world.  We can always find someone willing to take a picture of us. . .and of course we are always willing to reciprocate.  Tourists are just the friendliest folks, and I always think that surely they will appreciate that one shot of their entire group on vacation, instead of always having the person with the camera missing from all the vacation pics.
At a rest stop near the summit, we convinced ourselves that we had gotten a shot of a baby badger. . .now it's probably really only a marmot, since they inhabit the area, but it was so different looking, that Dave even looked it up online once we got home. . .whatever it was, we thought it was adorable.

and of course, the chipmunks were everywhere.

We had a great day trip, driving the Beartooth Scenic Byway, and would recommend, that if you are anywhere near, that you should add it to your itinerary.

The rest of our pics: Beartooth Scenic Byway Photo Album

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