July 27, 2017

On the road: Wyoming to California

This is how an adult road trip works. I worked on my edTPA (a NY teacher's certification exam) for the first week of the trip. It was not much fun. But I did learn how to make my cellphone a hotspot to provide my computer with wi-fi (thank you, Fiona!) so that was exciting. (I know I should have known how to do this before, but I never needed to.) 

Anyway, working on a stressful assignment while trying to enjoy a road trip is not much fun. However, I don't think working in the edTPA would be fun any which where, so it wasn't the road trip's fault! 

As the co-captain, this is also what a road trip looks like. A lap full of things. Mostly to have on hand to pass back to kids to prevent a stop. I dream of one day taking a road trip with nothing at my feet or on my lap. 

However, Justin drove the whole way. All 7,500 miles. (Or almost all. I did pitch in twice I think so he could have a nap on the way back home.) So I don't really have any room to complain. 

Really, I didn't have any room for anything with that lapful. 

Leaving Jackson

An arch made of antlers with some Elk fighting. In Afton, WY

All that yellow and green! 

This farm was on the border of Wyoming and Idaho. It was a gorgeous farm. All those round bales and red roof against the hills.

 The road we were driving went in and out of Idaho and Wyoming about three times. 

While we drove, we were listening to the Ramona Quimby Audio Collection. Mostly for the kids enjoyment, but... to be honest, Justin and I thoroughly enjoyed it to. 

Beverly Cleary was a genius. 

Cloud shadows!

Plains of the valley. This was just inside Utah. (I think.)

So green and blue!

This is the Utah I know and love! Weird red rocks.

Coming in to Heber City.

My cousin Wayne met us and escorted us up to his cabin

A giant pine cone and Orianna.

The Wayne-ster. Unfortunately, Wayne's wife and kids were away. His wife and kids are definitely the more interesting part of Wayne (Har har har!) but we had a great time having late night chit chats about everything and anything. Wayne and I were born three weeks apart and went to school together and hung out together until we were tragically separated when we were 13. We never bother to keep in touch, but still have a marvelous time talking and making fun of each other when we get together. You never have to explain your viewpoints to someone who was with  you when you formed those viewpoints.

So good to see him! Next time we will hopefully see the whole family! 

Heading out of Heber City the next morning. 

At fifteen hours of driving, from Heber City, UT to Santa Monica, CA this day was one of our longest stretches of road tripping. 

Wildfire in Utah

A cave!

Round about afternoon, Elsie and Gilbert started tearing apart our styrofoam cooler. We were sitting directly in front of them and the cooler, but somehow didn't notice this was happening until we heard them saying "It's snowing!" and Orianna saying "Mom! The kids are throwing white stuff around!" At this point, it seems a little pointless to freak out, so I gave them a talking to and moved the cooler away from them. To my lap. Seriously. My poor lap. 


Crossing the Mojave Desert. All I can think is that the pioneers crossed this in the dead of winter. Otherwise it would have had them  scuttling back to the tolerable Rocky Mountains. 

SO HOT. We got out at a gas station where the temperature was 115 with a 20 MPH wind. If felt like a brick oven. Everything in my head was telling me to get back in the Suburban and drive away as fast as possible. This human being is pretty sure it is uninhabitable. 

It was also the most expensive place we bought gas. But then, I would probably charge people a lot for having to stay in the desert keeping a gas station open. 

Our GPS played a good joke on us--dragging us through Los Angeles rush hour traffic for no good reason at all. The day before, I had meticulously compared our two gps to make sure we were going the best route, but since both were identical, I realized I was being a little OCD and stopped obsessively checking it. Ha. Just shows how valid my OCD is. 

Free license to obsess!!

An In and Out Burger. We weren't that impressed. The fries were lame-o. However, they were obviously old, so maybe they are better when fresh.

The upside of this situation was that we drove up the California coast on Route 101. So I forgave the GPS.

Leaving the coast and climbing up to Santa Monica.

The bur oak

Fog rolling in

Seriously, after being traumatized in real life oven that is the Mojave Desert, fog was such a welcome sight. We were actually cold in Santa Monica. Imagine! The delight!!


Our enthusiastic welcoming crew shooting us with nerf guns!

We were so glad to get out of the car and see these shining faces! 

July 19, 2017

Yellowstone National Park

I have now mixed up the timeline of our trip on here. We went to Yellowstone BEFORE Jackson. Sigh. But somehow I did the Jackson post first. You just never can tell. 

After leaving convention, we headed west to Yellowstone. 

Can you imagine haying in this setting? I would stare at the scenery and mess my rows all up. 

East Yellowstone

A lovely fluffy flower I forget the name of. But it does have a name, never you fear. 

Isn't it sweet? 

So many waterfalls!

This was right outside the car. As in I rolled down the window and got damp from the spray. 

East Yellowstone is not looking it's very best these days. It looks a lot like this. Apparently a wildfire went through and changed the look of things. 

Sort of desolate in spots.

But it is nicely green and blue!

Shimmery, shining Yellowstone Lake

At the entrance to the park, they gave the kids checklists so they could cross out the wildlife as they saw them. The kids took this very seriously. 

We crossed out Bison about 369 times, but didn't see anything else. 

Quintessential Yellowstone--steamy hot springs, buffalo grazing, and people.

Going to see a biffalo-buffalo-bison. 

(We listened to that AA Milne poem about the zoo too much.)

We watched closely to see if this would develop into an interesting situation, but apparently the buffalo decided to ignore the stupid tourists. 

So we decided to see if we could provoke it to wrath. 

Uhhhhh.... can we back up a little here, kids? 

Whatever, peeps. I will just keeping chomping on the grass.

A family self portrait--the shadow part is Justin taking the picture.

All so nice and wild

A lovely old ugly tree

Grassy plains. 

River valleys

Buffalo wallows

Artist's Point

Fiona had a National Geographic issue about Yellowstone and I decided I needed to see this place.

Mossy branches

I lament, I mourn, I weep over my lack of adequate photographic skills that could balance the light.

So washed out. 

But it was cool!!


Old Faithful was very obliging. We walked up to just as it was beginning to erupt.

And bingo! Front row seats and all. 

And then it died back down.

After Old Faithful, we headed to the South entrance, bound for Jackson. Yellowstone is pretty big. I was amazingly sleepy before we got out of that place. 

As we drove along, we listened to a Phil Coulter CD I got from goodwill a few years ago. It is all instrumentals, so the kids entertained themselves by deciding what sort of songs they were--"This one is like getting lost. Lost in Yellowstone!" or "This is like the end of a good day, like today was." or Gilbert's "I think someone died in this song." (That is invariably his declaration about any song with a minor key or slow tempo.) 

This was so amazingly awesome! Too bad I can't take a decent picture of it. BUT the moon, the water, the moon reflection on the water, the trees, the stillness of the night.....

Doesn't the pine part look completely and utterly fake? 

It isn't.