Monday, January 3, 2011

Oh Canada!

Well, we are gearing up for another fantastic trip (albeit whirlwind) to the great snowy north...yes, Canada! Although, I hear there ain't so much snow...more like cold and rainy, but we'll take it!

A huge thank you and BlogHug to Dad. He dreamt up the wonderful idea of flying Juliane, Sydney and I up for a long weekend. The three of us are thrilled. Thank you! Thank you! Paul hit the stores to buy me some winter boots today. I am very thankful. Most people would think that I would already own winter/snow boots, but alas, I do not. Haven't since I was 15! I am looking forward to toasty warm feet on this trip thanks to my new Columbia Omni~Heat stompers. Don't ask me what "Omni~Heat" is...all I care about is they promise to keep my feet warm down to -25F!
You might be wondering why I had not blogged in so long. I have been wondering that myself, but things have been so crazy around here, more than usual I suppose. We had an amazing trip home from BC. Mom and Dad travelled with us through Washington, Idaho, Montana, where we spent the night in Bozeman. Then we meandered across the gorgeous, green rolling Montana countryside (stopping at bubbling rivers to watch the fly fishermen along the way...imagine 'A River Runs Through It')  through the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park and into Wyoming. There were the obligatory herds of Elk and Bison and now the park was much greener than it had been in May. This time we hit all the amazing thermal spots such as The Painted Pots and The Boiling River.

We all checked Old Faithful off our Bucket Lists and continued down through the Tetons (where we saw Grizzlies!!) to Jackson Hole, WY. It is hard to describe in words how astonishingly beautiful the Grand Teton Mountain Range is. There was complete silence in our car once they came into our sights. While in Jackson, we stayed at the Painted Buffalo Inn. It was a small, cute  two-story motel, but for the price was not cute enough. At one point we all got locked in my parents room and had to wait for a maintenance man to come let us out! The town is adorable and has lots of lovely shops. I wish we had more time to browse. We rode the Gondola to the top of Rendezvous Mountain and took in the breathtaking views. Breathtaking in more than one way...the air was super thin and we were all left a little breathless after walking around and playing in the snow. 

We parted ways with Mom and Dad in Jackson and continued to make our way south. We love the wide open spaces and views in Wyoming so the drive to Denver would have been one of the best of our trip had it not been for a flat in the middle of nowhere. I had read in a guide book before taking our long trip that this stretch of Wyoming interstate was the worst for getting a flat tire. The towns are few and far between, that is IF the town even has a service station! Paul and I have had our fair share of flats in the past and consider ourselves our own pit crew. So, out we hop from the car, unload the girls and unload the back of the Pilot. A little adrenaline pumpin'...a little adventure in our adventure, right? The girls explored the tall grass at the side of the road while Paul and I tried to locate our spare tire. wonderfully located under the car. Cool, good. Now, how do we get it out? It's in its own cage under there. No worries! I am prepared for everything. Let me get the manual. Nope, that didn't help.
No worries! How about the Internet? So while I try to get a signal on my phone, Paul figures out that you can use the tire iron on this little hole in the back and voila! it lowers like magic. Ahh...we still got it. So with the tire changed and the girls safely back in the car (I am still thanking God there were no snakes in that tall grass) we head to the next town to see if we can get the tire either fixed or purchase a new one. The GPS said there was a Firestone in this little town up ahead. Good...accept it is lunchtime and businesses in this little town close at lunchtime. No worries, right? This little town happens to have a McDonald's! So, we hit Micky D's to kill time and eat. Paul heads out to the Firestone (which looked more like a tire junkyard) and they tell him, oh sorry we don't fix tires or sell them! worries...There is another Mom and Pop place up the road. HOORAY FOR MOM & POP SHOPS! Tire gets repaired while the girls and I play in the playground. They must have done a good job as we have been driving on that same plug ever since!

We pulled into Denver, Colorado at dinnertime and stayed in the posh Curtis Hotel downtown. We rolled in there all sweaty, and dirty with our day packs on and car-crabby kids in tow. They were SO happy to send us right up to our room and out of the swanky lobby. I loved this hotel...only wished it had a pool! Because of this it was probably the worst hotel for the girls. The hotel pool was our dangling carrot in the car. Be good little children and we will go to the pool.

The last day on the road we drove through some interesting parts of New Mexico and Texas. Parts I had never seen and am happy to have. Did you know New Mexico has a volcano? We were just driving along when I spotted a weird small mountain up ahead. Is that a volcano? It was! Capulin Volcano is located in northeastern New Mexico. If you are ever there, you should check it out. We just saw it from the road. By the time we were approaching it we were all SO ready to get to Amarillo so we skipped the tour and the delay of arriving at our hotel (and some good Texas BBQ). Next time we will have to check it out. I have heard that it is extremely interesting to walk through the crater. Another sight on our way to Amarillo that I had NO idea was located in Texas was the Route 66 Cadillac Ranch! How cool is that? Yet another spot we will have to explore on our next trip across the nation. They still encourage vandalism of the cars...kind of like an ever changing piece of art. Between Amarillo and Houston we just drove. Like barn sour horses we were so excited to get home, sleep in our own beds, play in our backyard and go to our neighborhood pool. The adventure of travel is a wonderful experience, but after awhile it is nice to come home.

So, back to the reason I think that blogging took a backseat. I believe it started when I broke my phone. I stupidly dropped it and cracked the glass thus distorting the screen image so badly that I could hardly type. Those iPhones are kinda fragile and as self punishment for being careless I didn't get another phone until........NOW! Ah Ha! Just in time for blogging our next trip! I know it wont be the last. We have big plans this year, so keep checking up and I will keep the posts coming.