Trixie’s Travels: The final stretch

We are now in week seven of our nearly eight weeks away.  Tomorrow morning (early) we begin the final 2-day drive homeward.  It’s bittersweet.  We’ve been away for so very long that it will be nice to finally be home again.  However, the trip has been wonderful, and we’ve seen so many amazing things and beautiful scenery that it really will be sad to leave it all behind us.

Since my last travel post was devoid of photos, I’ll include a few extras to share what we’ve seen.

Great Falls of the Missouri River, Montana

Glacier National Park
Sierra was thrilled she got to throw snow in July!

Wildflowers on a hike to Ptarmigan Falls

St. Mary Lake

Rocky Mountain National Park
Deer outside our tent early in the morning. 

Denver
We met up with 4 ladies with whom I ran cross country in college.  All have had their first baby within 18 months of Kaia.

Kansas City
We spent one night with my cousin before heading on to St. Louis

St. Louis
We’ve really enjoyed spending time in Grandma and Grandpa’s pool in this hot, hot heat.  The night we arrived, two of Jason’s aunts and uncles and his grandmother came over to hang out and they brought dinner.  Hooray.  We’ve had some time to see friends, some time to see family, and some time just to lay low. 

And since this is a Trixie’s travels post, I’ll also let you know that she, too, has been enjoying some time relaxing by the pool.  Her mass and electrical components prevent her from swimming, but she likes to look on with a beverage.  She didn’t get much action while we were camping.  I had dreams of plugging into a power source in my parents’ camper and evening or two, but it just didn’t work out that way.  She’s done a great job of helping me keep up with my Road Trip Quilt Along, but I admit, I’ll be happy to get home and work with Tori, my Bernina, again.

Trixie’s Travels: Digitally Disconnected

aka: The last leg of the journey

aka: The one without any pictures

I am so sorry to inform you that there will not be any photos associated with this post.  They are currently all trapped in my camera, which is locked in the car, and it’s late and dark and I would have to go retrieve the camera and then convince my husband to give up his laptop for long enough for me to extract them from the camera and upload them to the internet.

The last travel update I gave you, we were in Bozeman, Montana.  We were very sad to leave; we love that town!

Here’s what we’ve been up to since then:

*Jason successfully defended his Master’s thesis after waiting all week since his presentation time was the second to the last, at 3:00 Saturday afternoon.  We went out for dinner and left early the next morning.
*We visited the Great Falls of the Missouri, which were a site to see.  We had been to the headwaters of the Missouri River two years ago, and Jason is from St. Louis, where the Missouri empties into the Mississippi, so we thought it fitting that we see this other significant part of that river.
*A campground just outside Glacier National Park was our home for most of a week.  We did quite a bit of hiking, including an impressive five miles on her own by my 4-year-old.  We saw elk, mountain goats, glaciers, snow, some amazing waterfalls, and two big horn sheep from very far away.  Kaia lost one of her tiny Keen sandals in the parking lot of a grocery store in Columbia Falls, Montana, but a very nice woman said she will mail it to Virginia for me.
*Next, we had a brief overnight in Billings, MT, followed by two nights in Rocky Mountain National Park.  We could have spent a lot more time in that park.  One day for exploring was just not enough!
*We are now in Denver, and will leave at way-too-early tomorrow morning for one night in Kansas City before moving on to St. Louis.  The first day here, we explored a local regional park, played in the lake, and spent some time in the visitors’ center.  After lunch, we swam in the hotel pool and then spent the evening with a dear friend who moved to Japan, and whom we haven’t seen in 10 years.  Today, we met up with 4 of my former college cross country teammates, all of whom had their first baby within the 18 months following Kaia’s birth.  It was happy and chaotic, and I miss those girls so very, very much.  It was great to see them, but definitely too brief!!

Road Trip Quilt Along Update: I had these grand intentions of sewing in my parents’ camper while were camping in Glacier, but it just didn’t happen.  Guess the intentions were a little too grand.  The Quilt Along portion of the road trip is moving on to Minnesota this week, but I won’t have the tutorial up by Friday.  I hope to have it up by Saturday afternoon, so look for it then!

Trixie’s Travels: Bozeman and Beyond

Trixie is the Janome Sew Mini I purchased to take on our road trip this summer so that I can still do some sewing away from home. With Trixie along for the ride, I’ll take you along on our summer road trip from Virginia to Illinois, then westward to Bozeman, Montana. From there, we head to Glacier National Park, and then Rocky Mountain National Park. We’ll finish our trip with some friends in Denver and then finally a stop in St. Louis before heading home to Virginia the end of July.

I wasn’t able to update you on our travels last week, but we’re (mostly) stationary in Bozeman, Montana for a couple of weeks.  This week, Jason’s back in class, his last one before earning his Master’s degree.  Last week, though, we were able to do quite a bit of hiking and exploring as a family. 

We’ve been to Yellowstone National Park twice.  The first we went to the tourist trap but must see Midway Geyser Basin, home of Old Faithful and Morning Glory Pool.  Here we are in front of Morning Glory. 

We got back from visiting Morning Glory just in time to see Old Faithful erupting. 

Then we strolled through part of the boardwalk in that area to see some of the other thermal features before heading north to see Grand Prismatic, the largest hot spring in the park.  We got stuck in no less than three bison jams (think traffic jam caused by a bison on the edge of the road, or in the road).  While expected, it’s still annoying, as bison are not all the impressive to me. 

There is a giant “M” on the side of a mountain, for MSU, and we did a strenuous uphill hike to that view.  We visited Hyalite Canyon, which is a gem of a place, just outside Bozeman and hiked a trail where we saw 4 waterfalls.  Beautiful. 

And then there was our second visit to Yellowstone.  Oh, Yellowstone!  How I love thee.  Jason and I got up at 4am and got both the girls in the car on the way to the park in hopes we would see some wildlife.  And did we ever!!  A wolf, very close, and very early in the morning.  Also: elk, a marmot, a black bear with 2 cubs, and plenty of bison. 

Trixie thought I should get a photo of her in front of the bison.  As I walked back to the car with a sewing machine, a man who had pulled up behind us with a group of people said, “That is one of the more interesting things I’ve seen here.”  Ha!

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is amazing and I was happy we got to show the girls (Kaia for the first time). 

And finally, last weekend, we went to the wedding of a friend from Connecticut who happened to be getting married in Bozeman. 

Trixie’s Travels: Westbound

Trixie is the Janome Sew Mini I purchased to take on our road trip this summer so that I can still do some sewing away from home.  With Trixie along for the ride, I’ll take you along on our summer road trip from Virginia to Illinois, then westward to Bozeman, Montana. From there, we head to Glacier National Park, and then Rocky Mountain National Park. We’ll finish our trip with some friends in Denver and then finally a stop in St. Louis before heading home to Virginia the end of July.

I’ve been posting Trixie’s Travels on Tuesdays (the alliteration is a nice bonus), but this Tuesday, I was disconnected at a campground in South Dakota, so you get to see what we’ve been up to for the last 10 days.  I’m still camping.  In fact, as I write this, I’m sitting in a camp chair at a KOA campground in Wyoming starring at Devil’s Tower National Monument.  It’s amazing.  Here’s my view as of 30 minutes ago:

We spent the rest of last week at my parents’, basically just relaxing and recovering from the wedding craziness.  Sierra had her second and final week of swimming lessons each morning, and I got to spend some time with some good friends that week.

We headed west on Sunday, and the first day was a long-ish day in the car.  When I had used up all of my tricks for entertaining the girls, I amused them for awhile by taking pictures of funny faces and then showing them the pictures, which would result in laughter all around.

We stayed in a cabin in a KOA campground in Mitchell, South Dakota (home of the Corn Palace, which we did not visit!) and then headed the next day to Badlands National Park.  Trixie enjoyed the scenery immensely.  We did not, however, enjoy the heavy sustained winds which blew our tent sideways and resulted in a broken tent pole the next morning.

We spent the next two nights camping at Custer State Park.  When we drove the Wildlife Loop Road, we saw bison, elk, pronghorn antelope, a number of birds, including a mother duck with 14 DUCKLINGS, as well as burrows and prairie dogs.

While there, we visited Wind Cave, which is drier than most caves and supposedly has over 90% of the world’s boxwork, which is a formation resulting from mineral deposits in the cracks of the cave.

We took a trip to Mount Rushmore and walked the very easy 1/2 mile Presidential Trail.

Before moving on to Devil’s Tower yesterday, we went to a Ranger Program about how people in the area used to pan for gold.  Now, we are here, with unbeatable views!