Westward Ho! – USA 1

Greetings from I-35 in Iowa heading home! This is the last day of our trip.  The last 600+ miles!  I think we’re all ready to sleep in our own beds.  But I thought I’d finish posting the adventures from our trip.  Yellowstone – We caught sunset at Old Faithful that first day.  The second day we hiked up to Mystic Falls and had a picnic lunch along the trail.  It was the least dangerous hike in terms of heights … you just had to watch out for bears!  We didn’t see any, and the thirteen of us were certainly loud enough not to sneak up on any animals.  After our lunch, we took our hiking boots off and waded in the Snake River (which was much warmer than the water in Zion … but not hot like the 200+ degree hot pots throughout the park) … perfect to cool the feet down.  We split up at that point and went off to explore various parts of the park.  We met back at the Falasco’s for a late dinner. The kids absolutely loved the “Seldom Inn” … the Falasco’s guest cottage.  Their hospitality was a blessing to us all.  The kids loved their dog, the amazing train set in their house, the treats (candy bars and pop) they shared and the smores they left out for us.  We woke each morning to a fire ready in the fire pit.  We all loved the campfire we had on our last night there.  We were unable to have a campfire when we were camping due to extreme fire restrictions, so the kids were happy to finally lead us in some Wakanda favorite camp songs.  The Cayo kids would have made their cousin James proud with their rendition of the “Hippo Song”!  Perhaps the best part of the campfire was the “magical flames” that Dennis shared with us.  Placing a little bit of magic (small copper tubing and garden hose) in the coals, produced a beautiful display of colorful flames.  It was a magical ending to a great day.  The stars at the Falasco’s were also the best we had seen … the moon rose later so we were able to see a darker sky. Dennis and Becky sent us off the next morning leading us in a beautiful prayer.  For the second time this trip, I wished that I had been able to write the words of prayer down to remember them better later … but the message was the hope that we see the love of God in the faces we meet, in the beauty of God’s creation that we experience on our journey, we remember these experiences when we return and reflect the love of Christ to others.  Dennis was much more eloquent than my memory.  However, his prayer struck me as exactly what I hope my children get out of their travels.  It was a perfect way to say goodbye to them. We left the Falascos and drove through Yellowstone on our way to Rapid City.  We stopped to see the “Grand Canyon of Yellowstone”, saw a large buffalo herd and stopped at Buffalo Bill Dam as we traveled across.  By the end of the day, both Allie and Billy were sick with the headache and fever that Sarah and Dan suffered. It was a long drive to Rapid City.  We didn’t get to the hotel until late in the evening.  It was the 4th of July and we were able to see fireworks all along the freeway as we traveled across country.  We were hoping to see fireworks at Mount Rushmore (what’s more patriotic than that”!), but they only have fireworks on July 3rd.  I made the group of kids driving in our car listen to the Gettysburg Address, “You’re a Grand Old Flag”, and the “National Anthem” to celebrate the holiday. Mount Rushmore was our group even on the 5th.  John finished his 4th Junior Ranger project and was sworn in again with a promise to protect our national parks.  He loves his hat with all the Junior Ranger pins he has collected.  We listened to a Lakota Indian band named Brule before we left.  The Cayo’s went back to the hotel to swim/sleep with the sick kids.  The Templin’s went to the Presidential Wax Museum (Larry had never been to a wax museum before!) and the Klein’s went to the “Beautiful Rushmore Cave”.  We met back at the hotel and went out for a great dinner (except for Billy and Allie who both slept through much of it).  Downtown Rapid City was very quaint and had beautiful statues on almost every corner.  Larry and I had buffalo brisket … seemed the thing to do in South Dakota! This brings us to Friday morning.  Allie woke up a little better … Billy was still feeling lousy … Sarah T joined the crew of sick kids.  We hit the road with two planned stops.  We went to the “Badlands National Park” and went through a few of the outlooks.  The Badlands were interesting in that you look one way and you saw beautiful prairies and the other desolate canyons and rock formations.  Ellen said that we had now been “From the Mountains, to the Prairies” … all we needed was the “Oceans white with foam”.  The Templin’s figured out the numbers of our trip: 3 cars 13 people 14 states 20 days 5500 miles (give or take) It was truly a whirlwind.  The days have become a blur.  I know for me it feels like we’ve been gone a long time.  This trip has been a gift, a blessing … one I know our family will always remember. Hope you all had fun joining us virtually. Home sweet home here we come … Maureen image159.jpg Ellie at one of the “paint pots” in Yellowstone.  Amazing signs of thermal activity! image160.jpg image161.jpg What would a hike be without some danger”! image162.jpg The boardwalks around the thermal features made the walks easy.  The steam from behind the group is close to a gyser. image163.jpg The girls in front of one of the lakes in Yellowstone. image165.jpg Our official Old Faithful photo. image166.jpg Another beautiful sunset.  This one from Old Faithful. image167.jpg You can see Mystic Falls in the background.  It was a gorgeous hike. image168.jpg We picniced on this log, in the shade in the middle of our hike.  We watched marmets (little prairie dog looking animals) playing on the hill below us. image169.jpg Their looking pretty good after this hike … perhaps one of the least strenuous of our trip. image170.jpg The animals in Yellowstone were a big hit.  Here’s a close up (thanks to the telephoto lens) of a bison.  We also saw a bald eagle, elk, deer, marmets, ravens, a coyote and lots of bison!

Posted from USA:

Comments for mikeandmo:you have 28 comments

Sally
I shared your last blog with Don. He was stationed in Rapid City…here is his additional trivia reply.I am still trying to figure out how the UP is geographically on the the way home from the West….love it!Sally
Its called Wind Cave. Sort of like the Mystery Spot in St. Ignace.The best part of the Black Hills, or PaHa Sapa, for us Sioux, is the “Needles” an area of tall slender rocks and almost perfect silence. The Sioux Nation considered the hills sacred ground and that is why Custer had a problem at the Little Big Horn.

10 Jul 2007
Garth Jones
I hope you made it home safe and had a great vacation. We really enjoyed your short visit. We hope you know you are welcome to come back any time. Garth Jones

09 Jul 2007
Ellen
Hi people of the Grand Canyon. I STILL wish i were there to see it all in person, but these last days I was packing for Wakanda.I miss ya’ll. Bye!!

07 Jul 2007
Regina
Ellen said it all – we still wish we were there with you but this is the next best thing. Looks like an awesome time! I looked back through some of the pics and I love the moose picture! How cool.Can’t wait to see you and all the other pictures when you return!Peace and love, Regina

05 Jul 2007
Courtney
how fun!! great pictures 🙂

05 Jul 2007
Ellen
The swimming looked really fun!! I still wish I was there. Those muscle cars were sweet!!! All i can think about right now is being there and seeing all the cool stuff.Bye!!

05 Jul 2007
Kristin
We’ve really enjoyed the blog, gotta love the technology! How did you celebrate the fourth (other than getting to visit so much of the fabulous west)” Thanks for letting us “virtually” come along!

05 Jul 2007
Sally
What a great trip! I was there in 1975!!! Brings back great memories. Wish I was there now!
Enjoy!

05 Jul 2007
Joanie
Hi – Paula forwarded your travel blog on to me…thank goodness! I am so thrilled that you are having such a great time! We love it out there so much…it’s absolutely breathtaking, isn’t it! These memories will last your children a lifetime…all of you adults should be very proud! You are wonderful parents! Keep smiling! Love, Aunt Joanie

04 Jul 2007
Regina
Sorry to hear about Mo and Sarah not feeling so well, but glad it passed quickly. It is great that you are all together and enjoy such a wonderful experience. The pictures are truly stunning, I can only imagine what it is like to see it in person (when you can look Mo!) heehee. I too, will sit through all the pictures you have to offer up. Can’t wait to see you all – continue to be safe, send our love to every one!Peace!

29 Jun 2007
Jen Miller
Hello everyone!We love the stories! Glad to hear the Cayo’s made it safely. We saw Nancy off yesterday and told her say hello from all us. Things are moving along here. The moving company was here on Wednesday and looks like they will be packing and moving us sometime between July 16-18. Then we will drive up to Wakanda and not have unpacked a thing!!! Believe it or not Kirk is almost done with his sermon. He is hoping to have it done before dinner tonight. No last all-nighter!!!! We miss you all and can’t wait to hear all your stories in person.love,
jen

29 Jun 2007
Pearson
Hey!I just have one important thing to say…hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!! love,
P

29 Jun 2007
Emery
Hi!It is 12:53pm on Friday. Your stories were great. I can’t wait to see you again. I can’t wait to hear the rest of your stories! I am doing good.

29 Jun 2007
Jane S.
I’m loving all the wonderful pictures and the narrative. The trip looks like great fun.

28 Jun 2007
Ellen
Hello people of the Grand Canyon! I wish I was there with ya’ll.I looked at the pictures, they’er so awsome! James says Sarah must be really big to fit in 4 states:] I miss you people. THings here are good to though. Have a good 2 more weeks! BBBBBBBBYYYYYYYYEEEEEEE

26 Jun 2007
Regina
Boy, the pictures are just beautiful. I can tell I never would have been able to manage with all four kids by myself and with Samuel in a back pack I don’t think I could have kept up even if I had the ability to hike like that! Even though I am very sad we are not with you I am glad we are not holding you up either 🙂 Truly a family vacation you won’t soon forget!

25 Jun 2007
Courtney
Sounds like you guys are having a great time!! All the awesome hiking and beautiful sights make me wish I was there! love and miss you all!!

24 Jun 2007
sheri keys
Cautious Sheri just wanted to make sure that before the kids play in the rocks PLEASE check for snakes!!!! I am sure you are I just had to stay something about it. Be safe, drink lots of water and keep the pictures coming.
Sheri

24 Jun 2007
Jen Miller
Hi all!Love that picture of John all worn out! That’s what Em looked like yesterday after walking 23 MILES! at the Relay for Life. I had to drag him off the track! He was shooting for the marathon but was just too worn out! Your pictures are truly amazing and I will gladly sit through as many hours as it takes to see them all! It makes me want to plan a trip out west for us in the near future.

24 Jun 2007
Dawn
I love these updates…this is so cool! Absolutely beautiful. I’m tired just reading about hiking in 100 degree heat! Please keep sending the blog.

24 Jun 2007
Cindy Lieto
I love the pictures with the waterfall. Ellie, I look forward to reading your comments about your trip everyday. Are you camping out @ night or staying in a hotel?Love,
Grandma Cindy

23 Jun 2007
sheri keys
Great Job Driving!!!! I would have parked the car. The pictures are fantastic. (of course). Let us know when the cayo’s arrive so we know they are safe and you are all together.
Sheri

22 Jun 2007
Dawn
Soooo beautiful! Looks like you’re all having a blast. Keep the e-mails and pictures coming.Thanks for sharing!
Dawn

22 Jun 2007
Ms. Regina
Looks like it is totally beautiful! Great bubble Sarah T! Fear is okay…..would not want to lose a child over any large rocks or cliffs on this trip (or any trip).

22 Jun 2007
Jen Miller
Hey Kleins!Your messages are coming through just fine! Love the pictures! Hope that bubble didn’t get stuck in your hair Sarah!! We are off to Relay for Life today. See you all when you return! love,
jen

22 Jun 2007
Cindy Lieto
The pictures are awesome! Keep them coming. Enjoy yourselves and be safe!
Grandma Cindy

22 Jun 2007
Auntie
Great pics!!! Yes, you can see the ‘fear’ in your eyes Mimi! What a fun way to keep everyone updated on your trip.

22 Jun 2007
Mo
How does this work”!!!

22 Jun 2007
18 Oct 2011 – start of travelblog

posted Saturday July 2007

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