I originally created this blog as a travel journal for my backpacking trip in Europe in May of 2006. Using the blog was such a positive experience--it became a log of my itinerary and allowed friends and family to follow me on my travels--that I decided to keep it going. My vacationing experience has evolved from traveling with friends to traveling with my husband to traveling with our children. I hope you enjoy reading about my travels, and please feel free to email me with any questions.

It's mid-June at Lassen Volcanic National Park, and most of the trails are open. Unfortunately, Bumpass Hell Trail hasn't opened yet due to snow cover. That trail leads to Bumpass Hell, which, as I understand it, is an area with steam vents, hot springs, and mud pots. There is a boardwalk for people to walk over and see the features. To get there, you need to hike for about a mile on Bumpass Hell Trail. During our drive through the park yesterday, we stopped and checked out the trail head. It was still covered under a thick blanket of snow, so I think it will be a while before it opens. I believe there is another way there, through the Kings Creek Trail, but that route is much longer. We stopped and visited the rangers outside ... read more
Setting off on the Ridge Lakes Trail
The Drop-Off at Ridge Lakes Trail
Andrew on the Ridge Lakes Trail

This morning, we finished packing up and said goodbye to Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake is so beautiful, but I think we were ready to see and do something new! We drove back down to Fort Klamath and enjoyed some breakfast with Paul and Colleen. We planned on hitting the road at 9am and hoped to catch an outdoor train museum Paul was interested in. They were closed due to COVID19, so we set out to our next destination: Lassen. On the drive through northern California, I spotted a sign for Lava Beds National Monument. We decided to go check it out. We entered the park from the east side, as that's where we saw the road sign. The way we entered was by the petroglyphs. We drove through the park and marveled at the ... read more
Mount Shasta from Lava Beds National Monument
From inside Mushpot

North America » United States » Oregon » Klamath June 18th 2020

Colleen and Paul are staying at Fort Klamath. The campground at Crater Lake National Park, Mazama Campground, hasn't opened yet for the season. Unfortunately, that means the drive to see them (or their drive to see us) is a little over half an hour. Fortunately, they are staying at an adorable resort (Crater Lake Resort) with a lot of activities for families. It seemed like a great place to spend part of our day. The kids enjoyed a quiet morning with their grandparents. They ate breakfast, played Exploding Kittens, and had a bit of screen time. Andrew and I did a little laundry, and then we decided to check out the canoes with the kids. The canoe holds three people, so I bowed out at the last minute. Colleen and I watched from the shore as ... read more
Colleen is watch and cheering Andrew and the kids from the shore
Canoeing Back Through the Resort
Oliver on the Floating Bridge at Crater Lake Resort

North America » United States » Oregon » Crater Lake June 17th 2020

We woke up to a much more promising day at Crater Lake National Park. Now that the snow has stopped and the fog has lifted, the view from our lodge room is stunning. We can see Wizard Island from our window! Crater Lake used to be a large mountain. Actually, scratch that, it was (and is) a large volcano! After it erupted a few thousand years ago, it collapsed into a crater. It was still active, and one of the resulting cinder cones is what we now see as Wizard Island. The crater filled with fresh water from the rain and snow, and that water is actually extraordinarily deep. One of the signs we read said that Crater Lake is the deepest lake in all of North America! One of the cinder cones is tall enough ... read more
Sasquatch got Oliver!
From the patio at Crater Lake Lodge
Adding Yak Tracks to our Shoes

North America » United States » Oregon » Crater Lake June 16th 2020

We’re at Crater Lake! The national park greeted us with fog and snow. It’s cold (there is a high of 37 degrees), and the fog became so thick that we could only see about 30 feet in front of us while we drive. There’s no hope of seeing the lake today, I’m afraid! That said, the snow-covered trees are beautiful. We’re staying at Crater Lake Lodge, and it looks picturesque, like it belongs on a Christmas card. The problem with that is that it’s June, not December! When I read the forecast for the national park before we left, Crater Lake National Park was supposed to have highs in the 60s and low 70s. The nights looked cold, and I knew some of the park was still under snow, so I packed snow boots, snow pants, ... read more
Crater Lake National Park Lodge
Great Views of the Fog!
Our Family at (foggy) Crater Lake

North America » United States » Oregon » Klamath Falls June 15th 2020

The travel and drive to Klamath Falls, Oregon felt long and tedious, even with stunning scenery. We’re used to taking our time when we travel, stopping and seeing road-side sights, and trying new places to eat. Instead, with COVID-19, we felt uncomfortable just stopping for the bathroom. So, we barely stopped. The kids normally love road trips, but they were feeling cranky and ready to be done with this trip. I felt the same way. Northern California and southern Oregon are scenic with the mountains, pines, sage, and small bodies of water. The homes and towns we passed were interesting. Some are eclectic or kitschy with roadside signs displayed on fences and numerous lawn ornaments, but most are mobile homes or pre-fab homes. Everything seems a little poor, but then I’d remember we were in California ... read more
Our Cabin in Klamath Falls
Not a bad setup!

North America » United States » Florida » Bay Lake August 12th 2019

Today was our longest stretch at the parks with my parents. We got to Epcot around 10:30. We go took the boat from our resort, and it docks at the International Gateway entrance. It's currently under construction, undergoing an expansion, but Disney has done a nice job making it look nice enough with rolling carts of shrubs that block the view of construction. We met my parents at Mouse Gear, a merchandise shop that's air conditioned, and then we walked over to ride on the The Seas with Nemo. Our FastPasses expired at 11:10am, but we made it in time. In this ride, my mom was seated on a wheel chair, pushed onto an accessible clam shell, and buckled in. It worked well. I'd argue this ride is the worst one we went on in all ... read more
Ice Cream in Norway
Frozen Ever After

North America » United States » Florida » Bay Lake August 11th 2019

We had an early morning planned today. Disney currently offers a special ticket called "Early Morning Magic." With this ticket, you get let into the park at 7:45am (before the 9am opening), and you can ride a selection of attractions in Fantasyland: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan's Flight, It's a Small World, Princess Fairytale Hall, Prince Charming's Carousel, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mad Tea Party, and Under the Sea. The ticket cost was pretty expensive at $79/adult and $69/child. You need an admission ticket to the park as well, so the $79 cost is on top of the regular ticket price. However, it also includes a breakfast that you can enjoy any time before 10am, so that made the ticket price slightly more palatable. I bought these tickets months ago when I ... read more
An Empty Fantasyland
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (for the third time!)
Prince Charming's Carousel

North America » United States » Florida » Bay Lake August 10th 2019

On Thursday, we hopped from the resort at Fort Wilderness to the Swan. We did this because we had points to stay for free at the Swan, and it worked out perfectly to be next to my parents, who were staying at the Boardwalk. We have had the most spectacular customer service ever at the Swan. I think the main level of the resort is also new, and the pools are amazing as well. From our resort, there is an ordinary pool followed by a playground followed by a white sand beach where you can rent swan paddle boats followed by a grotto pool with waterfalls. Apparently, there are 5 other pools at our resort, but we haven't explored any more after finding the grotto pool! It's lovely. We set aside today to rest and recover ... read more
The Grotto Pool at the Swan and Dolphin Resorts
Our Resort - The Swan
Beaches and Cream

North America » United States » Florida » Bay Lake August 9th 2019

My parents arrived at Disney World last night. They weren't sure if they'd make the trip, as my mom broke her foot a couple months ago. On Tuesday, she had a good appointment with the doctor, and he moved her from a regular cast to a walking cast. Unfortunately for my mom, the walk through the airport was too much for her in her new boot. At best, she injured her foot. At worst, she rebroke it. Either way, she can't walk at all, and now she's at Disney World! The good news is that the people at her resort helped her contact a company to rent a kick scooter like the one she used in Des Moines before she got the walking cast. Today, they decided to try to come to Animal Kingdom with us. ... read more
Us with "Everest" in the Background
Waiting to climb Expedition Everest
Expedition Everest

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