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.

North America » United States » Colorado » Montrose July 18th 2021

Andrew's parents met us in Montrose this morning to drop off the kids, and they continued on to their home in Montana. We planned a night here so the kids could get a break from long trips on the road. Montrose isn't the nicest town, from what I can see. We're staying at the KOA here, which is very nice, but it's in the middle of a fairly sketchy area. We drove by some empty lots and storage units before our final turn. Usually when we stay at KOAs, we're just outside of town. So, being in town was a bit of a surprise! We're still enjoying our stay, though. Our lodging is spacious, comfortable, and clean. We've spent our time swimming and checking out Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. It's very hot and ... read more
Painted Wall View
Overlook at Painted Wall View
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

North America » United States » Colorado » Ridgway July 17th 2021

The kids are with their grandparents in Durango, and Andrew and I are staying in Ridgway for his best friend's wedding. The wedding party and some of the guests are camping at the wedding site all weekend. Andrew and I enjoy camping, but we worried there would be a lot of drinking and such going on all weekend. Andrew's sober, so we decided to stay at a hotel instead. It will allow us to have some couple time, which is a rare thing these days, while also avoiding the party scene. Many wedding guests are staying at VRBOs in the area or staying at the Ouray KOA. When we talked to Drew last year about the wedding, he mentioned one hotel in the area. It's a solar spa called Chipeta, and I booked a room. It's ... read more
Ouray, Colorado
Ready for the Wedding in Ridgway!
Andrew's in charge of the ring-bearer-dog

We had a very long drive yesterday. We enjoyed our drive through Yellowstone on the way out, and our drive through the southern part of Idaho was also gorgeous. Once we crossed into Utah, the scenery started to change from forested mountains to arid landscape. It got very hot. Surprisingly, the highways were extremely busy in Utah as well. There were many cars on the road with a high speed limit (80 mph). It felt a little dangerous driving through the state (especially through Salt Lake City), but we eventually made it to southern Utah and the town of Moab. It was evening, and the KOA office was closed. Thankfully, they had our keys waiting for us, so we were able to get to our cabin no problem. We also grabbed Paul & Colleen's key. They're ... read more
Oliver at Arches National Park
Arches National Park

After breakfast this morning, we decided to go see Grand Prismatic. This is Colleen's favorite sight to see at Yellowstone, and I think it's a must-see as well. For me personally, the most memorable things I've seen in Yellowstone during past trips were Artist Point, Grand Prismatic, Old Faithful, and the limestone walls in Mammoth. So, I wanted our kids to have the chance to see most of these things as well. It doesn't look like we'll get up to Mammoth during this trip, but I'm sure we'll be back to Yellowstone again in the future. Zach and his family were still in bed, so they told us to go on without them. The rest of us headed to see Grand Prismatic. Every other time I've seen Grand Prismatic, it has been from the boardwalk. This ... read more
Overlooking Grand Prismatic
The kids with their grandma and great-uncle at Grand Prismatic
Lily Pads

Once Andrew's parents made the decision to join us and learned my parents couldn't make it, they asked if it would be OK to invite Andrew's uncle and Andrew's brother's family to Yellowstone. We said yes, of course, and have been really excited to spend time with family. Andrew's parents and his Uncle Scott arrived to Lake Village last night in time to join us for dinner. We got to visit them at their cabin at the Lake Hotel. Their cabin is very cute, and I'd be happy staying there, but it's not as roomy as ours. We have a dining table in our Lake Lodge western cabin, whereas they have only a side table. However, theirs is a stand-alone cabin, whereas ours is connected to a few other units. So, there are advantages and disadvantages ... read more
Our Family at LeHady's Rapids
Bison Near the Mud Pots
Mud Pots

Last night, we stayed just west of Cody, Wyoming at a ranch called Bill Cody's. It was a good place to stay because it was just 30 minutes from the east entrance of Yellowstone. After staying there, we decided it would have been a good place to spend a few days! They offer half day trail rides that would have been fun to do. For us, though, it was just a quick overnight. We enjoyed breakfast in the morning out on their big patio, though! The breakfast was delicious, and the view was picturesque, as we were nestled in the mountains. After breakfast, we set out for Yellowstone. The drive was beautiful, and we had no line to get in. We're meeting Andrew's parents in Yellowstone. We'd invited both of our parents to meet us there, ... read more
Trail to Lone Star Geyser
Our Hikers
Old Faithful

North America » United States » South Dakota » Custer July 11th 2021

It feels fantastic to be on vacation! On Friday afternoon, Andrew, the kids, and I set out from Des Moines to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We did a brief overnight there and then headed to Rapid City, making progress towards our ultimate destination: Yellowstone National Park! We've driven through Rapid City before, about 5 years ago. We saw Mount Rushmore that trip but didn't have time to see the Crazy Horse memorial. So, this trip, we opted to see the Crazy Horse memorial and skipped Mount Rushmore. The memorial is a cultural site, and we walked through a museum with artifacts that honored Native American tribes from all over North America. We watched a video about the Crazy Horse monument and its current progress, and we also got to see a girl perform a hoop dance. ... read more
Crazy Horse Memorial
Custer KOA
Wind Cave National Park

North America » United States » Florida » Orlando » Disney World June 8th 2021

In Disney World lingo, "rope drop" is when you arrive at a park before opening. People do this to walk right onto a popular ride when the park opens and to go on other attractions while crowds are fairly low. Normally, rope-dropping doesn't interest me much, but I feel much differently during the pandemic. I wanted to prioritize getting on indoor rides early in the day before there was much wait, and that's exactly what we were able to do! Magic Kingdom was scheduled to open at 8am. I read that the best way to rope drop is to be at your bus station 90 minutes early. Joanna and I got there right at 6:33. Disney isn't filling buses to capacity right now, which is nice, but it means you wait longer for buses. We didn't ... read more
Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
Cinnamon rolls at Gaston's
Splash Mountain!

North America » United States » Florida » Orlando » Disney World June 7th 2021

Disney World offers such fabulous resorts. We've learned to always plan a "resort day" when we go to Disney World. This is a day where we get to recover a bit from all the walking (I hit over 28,000 steps yesterday!), and we can also enjoy our resort amenities. For Joanna, this meant we did a lot of swimming today! We're staying in the Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation, and this section has its own pool. It's smaller than The Big Blue Pool in the center of the resort. We've spent time swimming in the Little Mermaid pool already, so, this morning, after breakfast, we decided to check out The Big Blue Pool. It has a zero entry side, so it's probably a good choice for families with little kids. It also has a ... read more
The Big Blue Pool
The Floating Skyliner Station at Art of Animation Resort
Ice Cream at Beaches & Cream

North America » United States » Florida » Orlando » Disney World June 6th 2021

This morning, Joanna and I were up early. We mobile ordered breakfast at our resort. I thought we'd pick it up and bring it to our room, but it's quite the hike from our room in the Little Mermaid section to the main building at Art of Animation. So, when we arrived, we opted to eat there rather than carry a tray of food all the way back. There are tables set up outside, so it's really a nice and safe place to eat. As we ate, a squirrel came right up to us. Joanna was thrilled, but I was trying to scare it away. It took a long time to be deterred! Later, a bird flew right up to us and landed on the back of my chair. I jumped in surprise, and a woman ... read more
Checking for a Hook Hand
Living with the Land
Flower & Garden Topiaries

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