Thursday, October 21, 2010

Driving to Seattle: Leg 2 | Yellowstone!

Jen here. After sleeping decently well in our tent, Roy cooked us eggs for breakfast over his little cook stove. It looked like rain and sprinkled off and on as we had breakfast, packed up and took showers. Speaking of the showers, how interesting. They were pay as you go showers, except we had no idea how long the water ran per 25 cents. So Roy went with $1.00 and had to dry off with conditioner in his hair. I went second, so Roy sent me with $1.50, which was great, but it felt like a car wash where you have just a tiny bit of money. Rush! :)

All squeaky clean, we headed off, destination: Yellowstone NP. Gorgeous views on the way--fields, valleys, farms, mountains, hills, badlands--God's creation is awesome! The drive with Roy was so much fun. We got to chat with one another and call family. We got to soak in our Maker's greatness. Wonderful.

We stopped at Buffalo Bill Dam and at the crest of a hill to shoot some photos of Lake Yellowstone (I think).

I'll let the pictures do most of the talking; there are so many I want to post!

Our lodging for the night was a campground in Yellowstone (Bridge Bay I believe). Yay! I LOVE camping with Roy. My family camped a few times in Yellowstone when I was a kid and a few times elsewhere, and I always had a blast. While we were setting up our site I kept looking around, waiting for a buffalo to graze into our campsite...I must admit, I was a little scared a bear would walk out of the woods and try to eat our food. Upon entry into the park and again when we entered our camp ground, we received MANY warnings and rules. No food outside or in your tent. No perfume in your tent. No anything that a bear might possibly want in your tent. Last time I went to Yellowstone, I never read these papers; my parents did! I kept thinking back to old trips there. I remember stories of buffalo goring people, and I vividly remember Dad warning us to stay away from wildlife. One day when my family returned to our campsite, there was a HUGE buffalo grazing in the grass. Needless to say, we turned around and went to a gift shop for a while. When we returned the buffalo was gone. Would that happen on this trip with Roy?
Roy and I gathered enough wood for that evening and the next morning. Mom Almasy told us it was supposed to get down to 25 degrees. Yikes! She was right. It was SO cold. Neither of us slept much that night, though Roy slept more than I did. Yes, I was afraid some bear would come and claw into our tent (though we had NO food or even deodorant with us!)...but more than that, I was shivering! I couldn't get warm. We had a tarp down, our tent (of course) a wool blanket, two single air mattresses, and a double sleeping bag. We had to cuddle for warmth! Roy got up at 4:30am and built a fire to warm himself by...and I soon followed him. Isn't fire great?
Check out these old-school tents in a neighboring site. Sweet! The campground atmosphere was fun. An extended family seemed to be having a reunion/vacation of sorts. They had three sites and were in RVs. There were grandparents, kids, grandkids and great-grandkids. It was cute to watch them. What a great idea to do a family vacation camping trip! I'd like to do that someday. :) More later!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Driving to Seattle: Leg 1

Jen here. Our time with family in the mid-west drew to a close and we loaded up our car and began our journey to Seattle, round 2. You may remember we drove to Seattle in August 2008. This time around (or across, ha) we planned 5 days driving and four nights stopping before arriving in Seattle. After camping together, we compiled Roy's camping gear from olden days and gifted gear from Roy's fam and prepared for a few days of camping during our travels. :)

We left early in the morning on July 21st from the Almasy home. Destination: St. Paul, Minnesota. Roy's best friend from childhood, Russel, and his wife live there. We arrived around 5pm and were able to take a small tour of the town and eat at a local restaurant. After dinner we strolled around Raspberry Island and over a bridge over the river and just chatted. We played games and had a great time together. The next morning we went to a Mom and Pop place for breakfast and said our goodbyes. :) This has become a sort of a tradition. I like it.

On day two our destination was Little Missouri National Grasslands on the western side of North Dakota. The directions for this day: Merge onto I-94 West. Drive 567 miles. Exit at Little Missouri National Grasslands. Roy was amazing and generous in time. He told me many times if there was anything we wanted to stop and see, or take photos of, we could make a stop. We wanted our trip to be a vacation...and it was!

We were blessed to see so much beautiful scenery. Unending plains, bluffs and random hills in the middle of nowhere--I LOVED it, especially after living in the city for a year. breath fresh air and see tons of God's creation. :) The farms always catch my attention, whether it's the hundreds of round hay bales that freckle the landscape or the irrigation patterns in the more dry regions of the US. I love the farms. :) (Can you tell I really enjoyed it?)

I drove the last leg of the day while Roy napped. Every so often I got a sneak peak at the beautiful badlands near Teddy Roosevelt National Park. Gorgeous, but no photos because I was driving! We had our pick of campsites and the cost was wonderful--$6. Working together, we set up camp, made some dinner over the fire and headed for bed. It was a nice evening, but Roy's Mom told us the weather forecast was rain over night and in the morning. The weather would get cooler as we headed west--in Yellowstone the predicted low was about 30 degrees. Yikes!