Posts Tagged With: junior ranger

Olympic National Park

After 10 wonderful weeks in Oregon we moved on to Washington where my parents would be joining us for a couple of weeks. Our first stop in WA was Port Angeles in the Olympic Peninsula. My parents flew into Seattle which was about 3 hours away but the closest airport for them to fly into. We had a fun day of planes, trains & automobiles (and ferries too!) when we went to pick them up. I will write a separate post about Seattle later.

While we were in Port Angeles we visited Olympic National Park. This park is huge and takes up most of the northwestern part of the state. It includes mountains, lakes, the ocean and even a rain forest!

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Port Angeles is near the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center so our first adventure at Olympic was hiking up to Hurricane Ridge. The views were spectacular! We were blessed with a beautiful, clear day and could see Victoria, British Columbia across the water where we went the next day. Stay tuned for a post about that amazing city.

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After the strenuous climb it was time for a snack break!

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Later that week we went to visit some other areas of Olympic that were close to Port Angeles including Marymere Falls and Lake Crescent.

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Marymere Falls

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Lake Crescent

It was quite smoky in the area that day due to wildfires in the northwest so it’s hard to get a good idea of just how clear this lake is. Standing over the edge of the dock the water was so clear you could see straight down to the bottom which was probably over 8 feet deep at that point, but it was really hard to tell.

We took an overnight trip over to the town of Forks, WA where the Twilight novels were based. This is the western side of Olympic but quite a drive from Port Angeles which is why we decided to spend the night instead of driving back and forth 2 days in a row.

Our first stop on this side of the park was the amazing Hoh Rain Forest. Near constant fog and mist in addition to 12 to 14 feet of rain each year result in this lush rain forest which has been designated one of the 7 wonders of Washington state.

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Hall of Mosses

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The boys earned their Junior Ranger badges at the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center.

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Next we headed over to Ruby Beach which was beautiful and so much fun!

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I love looking for colorful sea creatures in the tide pools, but I didn’t find any here, probably because the tide was coming back in.

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Jake decided to build a raft out of driftwood and float down the waterways. Jesse decided to join him. I nicknamed them Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. ūüôā

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Grampa liked skipping rocks.

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The next morning we woke up to a rainy day. I know that is not uncommon for the Pacific Northwest, but we had been very blessed with mostly beautiful days for the entire summer. Anyway, we weren’t going to let a little rain keep us from searching the early morning low tide pools at Rialto Beach.

At first it was just a little drizzle and fog, not too bad as we hiked to Hole-in-the-Wall and Split Rock.

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Split Rock

The rain picked up and we all got soaked, not to mention we were freezing! I don’t know about the rest of my people, but for me it was worth it. I saw the most beautiful and colorful starfish there. These were the best tide pools I saw in all of our time in the PNW!

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I had been searching for a purple sea urchin for weeks and never did find one, but I did see this beautiful purple starfish which was good enough for me.

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We saw lots of these green sea anemones everywhere!

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Chris and Jesse hung in there with me for a while longer after Gramma, Grampa and Jake decided they had enough of the cold and rain and headed back to the truck.

Jesse collected lots of rocks.

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We made it to Hole-in-the-Wall, looking just a little bit like drowned rats and feeling just a little bit cold!

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Hole-in-the-Wall

It was worth it to me at least. Look at this wonderland of tide pools just waiting to be explored! I could have stayed here all day if we weren’t wet and freezing.

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After this we walked/ran as quickly as we could back to some dry clothes and a warm truck. We had planned to go up to Cape Flattery next, the northwestern most point in the lower 48 states, but since the weather wasn’t cooperating we headed back to our cozy little home back in Port Angeles.

Up next… 2 beautiful days in Victoria, Canada.

Categories: National Parks, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Two Forts in Astoria, Oregon

We spent a total of 10 amazing weeks in my new favorite state of Oregon this summer, and we saved the best state park for last. Fort Stevens State Park is in the northwest corner of Oregon near the beautiful city of Astoria. This was my favorite state park we stayed at in Oregon. It was huge and so many of the sites have some trees and privacy. But the best part of the park was the miles of paved bike trails and historical places to visit.

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Awesome paved bike trails!

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Roadschooling one day consisted of touring the fort and a shipwreck on the beach. Fort Stevens was in service from the Civil War to World War II and guarded the mouth of the Columbia River.

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The Peter Iredale ship ran ashore in 1906 and the wreckage is now a tourist attraction on the beach at Fort Stevens. The boys loved climbing on this shipwreck.

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Peter Iredale shipwreck

The northern tip of the state park has beautiful views of the Pacific and the mouth of the Columbia River. You can also see the state of Washington across the river as well as the city of Astoria.

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One of the lookout points at Fort Stevens

Early in our Oregon travels we met a family back in Chiloquin that we have met up with at a couple of different places since then, one of them was Fort Stevens. We had a great time with them touring another fort (Fort Clatsop) and Astoria.

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The Lewis and Clark Expedition camped at Fort Clatsop during the winter of 1805-1806.

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The boys earned new Junior Ranger badges with their friends.

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After touring Fort Clatsop we explored the beautiful city of Astoria and had lunch at Mo’s. How is it we did not eat at Mo’s until the day before we left Oregon? There are several of them along the Oregon coast and they have the best clam chowder. Next time we’re in Oregon we’ll have to go there again.

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We climbed the 164 steps to the top of the Astoria Column where we were rewarded with gorgeous view of the Columbia River and the Astoria-Megler Bridge that goes to Washington.

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Astoria Column

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The kids enjoyed running and rolling down the hill outside of the column.

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It was a bittersweet day knowing it was our last day on the Oregon Coast. I thoroughly enjoyed our time exploring that part of this amazing country. I really hope to return again someday.

Categories: National Parks, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Yaquina and Heceta Head Lighthouses

Oregon Coast lighthouses are incredible! Just before we came to Oregon I heard from the Road Trip Teacher about a lapbook/notebook study she has available about the Oregon Coast lighthouses. My kids did the entire study on all of the lighthouses in Oregon. We learned so much about the history of these lighthouses before even visiting them which made our visits that much more interesting.

This post covers 2 of the lighthouses we visited while in the Newport area.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse was our favorite and it is also the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. We were able to tour the inside which made it even better.

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The tours are free, but if you go on a weekend (or possibly even a weekday in the summer) it’s not likely you’ll get a spot. We reserved a tour ahead of time online and when we showed up on a Saturday they did not have any spots left for anyone that had not reserved online. It costs $1.50/person to reserve online and I thought that was reasonable since we were planning to visit on a Saturday in the summer and it was nice to know we had a spot.

Anyway, the lighthouse tour was great! The tour guide explained the history of the lighthouse and its keepers. She explained about the oil they used and how much they needed at various times of the year depending on how much daylight there was at that time of the year. We were able to walk up to the top of the lighthouse and see the light going on and off.

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It was incredible!

Outside of the lighthouse the views were gorgeous!

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Just outside the lighthouse was a fabulous place for tide pools during low tide!

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Yaquina Head is part of the National Park service so the kids were able to earn another Junior Ranger badge there.

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After the lighthouse we drove up the coast a little further to Otter Crest Loop in Depoe Bay. We saw whales in Depoe Bay, but unfortunately no pictures of them.

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Otter Crest

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Dungeness crab trying to survive in the tide pool until the tide comes back in.

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Otter Crest

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Depoe Bay, Oregon

At Otter Crest we checked out the devil’s punchbowl which is a large rock hole that water from the Pacific fills in at high tide and goes out at low tide. It was really cool! We were there at low tide when it was nearly empty, but went back again on a different day at high tide.

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Devil’s Punchbowl at low tide.

I was expecting to see it full at high tide, but it was not much higher than what we saw at low tide.

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Devil’s Punchbowl at high tide.

We went to visit Heceta Head lighthouse on a different weekend. Like all Oregon lighthouses it was quite beautiful also.

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These are some pictures of the surrounding ocean views from the lighthouse.

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Oh my goodness, I could never get enough of the beauty of the Oregon coast! We visited some other lighthouses along the way, so stay tuned.

 

Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Redwood National and State Parks

Northern California and the Redwoods are incredible! It seems the further north we went in the state of CA the more we liked it. Sorry SoCal folks, don’t hate us but we’re just not fans of traffic and crowds. Once we got up near the Redwoods it was like we arrived in a different state. It was so much less crowded and busy, and people on the roads no longer seemed like they were in such a hurry. Suddenly life slowed down and became more peaceful and relaxed, just the way we like it.

I wasn’t sure if we would like going to the Redwoods so soon after visiting Sequoia, but we really loved it! Even though they are both about big trees, they are so different.

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We spent 2 days exploring this park and the surrounding area. On day 1 we hiked the Big Tree and Lady Bird Johnson Grove trails. When we were in Texas we visited the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park. We learned a little bit about his wife Lady Bird Johnson, and it was fun to see a trail named after her at this park. She loved the Redwoods and was at the dedication of the national park in 1968.

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Hiking among ancient giants

It’s humbling to see how small we are compared to these giant trees.

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Can you see Jesse in this picture?

The next day we drove up to Crescent City to visit the Battery Point Lighthouse. I loved all the purple flowers in bloom… so pretty!

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Next we did another Redwoods hike called Damnation Creek Trail. I’m not sure where they got that name, but it was our favorite hike that we did at this park.

Most of the hike was among the enormous trees. The sun shining down through the trees looked so majestic!

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Banana slug we found along the trail.

After what seemed like a long time of hiking through the woods, we suddenly came to a clearing with this breathtaking view!

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It was so beautiful here! I took way too many pictures and we stayed for a long time. It was very hard to leave this spot!

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Jake loves looking at all the sea life in the tide pools.

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Jake’s collection of snails and mussels.

As much as I hated to leave this place it was time to head back. I still had one more hike for us to do before the end of the day. The hike out of here was tough! The entire hike getting to this point was downhill which means the hike back out was a very hard climb. I wasn’t sure I could convince my people to go on just one more hike after this one, but thankfully they went along with me. ūüôā

This was the Yurok Loop Trail which was a short trail with stunning Pacific views.

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By the time we finished all of our fun that day it was too late to get back to the Visitor Center in time to get the kids’ Junior Ranger badges. We went the next morning just before we left the campground to head to Oregon.

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32nd Junior Ranger badges

While visiting the Redwoods we stayed at the Klamath River RV Park. This was a very pretty park right on the river. I loved this view right in front of our camper with the mysterious looking fog.

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I think of all the places we have visited in California, Yosemite and the Redwoods have been my favorite. I can’t say I was sad to leave the state though; I sure don’t miss that traffic! We moved on and headed up to Oregon which is quickly becoming my new favorite state. More on that later.

Categories: California, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Visiting Friends in CA Wine Country

My friend Holly flew out from Florida to spend a few days with us in California Wine Country. We stayed in Napa Valley, but didn’t actually go to any wineries there. Instead we visited some amazing wineries in Sonoma thanks to my friend Sue. More on that later.

First we picked up Holly at the Oakland airport and since San Francisco was “sort of” on the way back to our campground in Napa I thought we should really go see the Golden Gate Bridge. If you know us, we avoid large cities like the plague! Since our mode of transportation is a large dually truck we prefer wide open spaces and San Francisco would be the exact opposite of that. I would love to visit that city, but until we are traveling in a smaller car I’m not sure how that’s going to happen.

Anyway, San Francisco being “sort of” on our way back to the campground means about a 2 hour detour if you are at all familiar with California traffic. ūüôā

I think it was worth it to see this awesome bridge!

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The next day it was time to visit some wineries! My friend Sue who used to live in Fernandina Beach now lives in CA. I kept telling her we would meet up with her eventually in our travels and it finally happened. She knew I wanted to visit some wineries and she knew of some great ones to take us to in Sonoma. What a blessing Sue was to us that day! I like wine, but I’m not at all familiar with what is good. I mean I typically have wine out of a box in my RV fridge if that tells you anything. Sue took us to 3 great wineries and I have never tasted wine so good before. What a great day we had with her and her daughter and grandson! My kids enjoyed playing with her grandson all day which made it not so boring for them to spend the day visiting wineries. ūüėČ

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Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards

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Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

The next day the kids got to have their fun. We participated in the Six Flags Read-to-Succeed program this year and got free tickets for the kids to go to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vellajo, CA. Strangely I realized I hardly took any pictures and I have no pictures of the kids! I guess that’s what happens when I’m hanging out with my friend.

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Chris likes to call everyone a “joker” so this was perfect for him. It happened to be one of our favorite rides that day too!

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The next day we went to the Jelly Belly Factory Tour which was so cool! This was on my bucket list of things to do in CA.

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It’s a self-guided free tour that is very informative. You walk around the entire factory viewing the different stages in the process of creating a Jelly Belly jellybean. At each area there are videos and information plaques to explain what is going on.

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Look at all those jellybeans resting!

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This is where they made assorted bags.

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The pictures in the background are made of Jelly Bellies.

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Sue and her grandson joined us for this also.

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In the gift shop you can sample as many different flavors as you want. They also have really gross flavors like rotten eggs, dirty socks, vomit and some others. Eww! You can buy a game with those flavors mixed in with normal “good” flavors and dare people to try one and they hope they try the right one. This game is called “Bean Boozled” and you just have to hope you’re not the one to pick the wrong flavor. My kids bought a bag of those and have been having fun with it, but I refuse to participate. I do not want to take a chance on eating a jelly bean that tastes like boogers, gross!

On our last day with Holly we went to Point Reyes National Seashore. We didn’t get to explore much of the park because we didn’t realize it would take so long to get there. Again… California! I should know it takes a long time to get anywhere in that state.

There is a lighthouse there that I really wanted to see, but they told us at the Visitor Center that it was a 45 minute drive to get there, which would mean another 45 minutes back to the entrance afterward. Nobody felt like driving that far after the drive we just had so we ended up just going to one of the beach accesses which was beautiful!

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And we got Junior Ranger badges while we were there! The Junior Ranger book is quite long and we didn’t finish it while we were there, but the rangers were kind enough to swear them in as new junior rangers on the honor system that we would complete the book on our own which we did.

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We had so much fun hanging out with Holly and Sue that week! As with all visits with friends, the time went by way too quickly. It was time for Holly to head back home and we moved on to the Redwoods in Northern California. Stay tuned for a post about that later.

Categories: California | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Texas State Parks Part 1

We recently stayed at 3 Texas State Parks and visited one other. This post will cover 2 of those parks.

Mustang Island State Park

Mustang Island near Corpus Christi was a great place to stay to visit both Port Aransas and Padre Island National Seashore on the Gulf Coast of Texas because the park was located halfway between each location. The park itself is just okay as it is basically a parking lot and the sites are very close together. We were blessed with the best site in the park though on the end so we did not have anyone camped on our outdoor living side.

We spent one day at Padre Island National Seashore which was beautiful. This park was about 15 miles south of our campground.

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At the visitor center we learned about sea turtles and why there is so much trash on the beach. Because of where this beach is located within the Gulf of Mexico, trash washes up on the beach constantly. The boys earned their Junior Ranger badges here and one of the activities was to pick up trash on the beach. This ranger was really nice and helpful as the kids filled out their booklets.

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Vehicles are allowed on a long stretch of this beach so we drove out onto a section and enjoyed a beautiful afternoon relaxing on the beach. Unfortunately some vehicles drive way too fast down this beach though, so you have to be really careful not to get run over!

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We spent some time on the beach behind the campsites where we stayed on Mustang Island also.

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Port Aransas is a cute beach town about 15 miles north of the campground. We spent the afternoon at Roberts Point Park which has a couple of playgrounds, picnic areas and lots of areas for fishing.

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I loved watching this huge ship sail by as dolphins jumped and played in the waves made by the ship.

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Two other Fulltime Families joined us at this campground which made it even more fun. We enjoyed a pot luck dinner, an afternoon at the movies to see Moana, a birthday celebration and more. The other 2 families each have 5 kids so with our 2 we had a total of 12 kids playing in the cul-de-sac at the end of the campground road. They had foot races and bicycle races and played games at the picnic table.

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After leaving Mustang Island we headed up to Kerrville near San Antonio and stayed at Jellystone Park of the Guadalupe River. This was one of the nicest Jellystone Parks we have been to. We had a beautiful site backed up to the river with a jump pad right behind us. Of course the boys loved that!

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Jesse and Chris playing catch

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Jake walking Fat Cat

This park also had a brand new mini golf course that was beautifully landscaped and an indoor pool with a hot tub. They are in the process of building a new water park with water slides and splash pads. It was not open yet when we were there, but it looks like it will be really fun once it opens in time for this summer.

Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and National Historic Site

While we were in Kerrville we spent a day in historic Fredericksburg and visited the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park which was fantastic.

At this park  you can tour the ranch where President Lyndon B. Johnson was born and raised. He and his family are also buried there.

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One room school house where President Johnson attended school.

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There was a hangar and landing strip right on the ranch property.

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Connected to the ranch is the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. Here you can tour the farm house and property where costumed interpreters carry out daily chores as if they were living here in the early 1900s. We learned about what life was like there on the farm over a century ago. One of the Sauer children served as midwife at President Johnson’s birth.

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These ladies taught us about the farm and kitchen, as well as duties that kids would have had in those days like collecting eggs. They sent us out on assignment to collect some eggs, but we didn’t find any.

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Jake busy working on his Junior Ranger book

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Earning some more Junior Ranger badges:

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Posing with a picture of the former president and first lady

On our way back to the campground we passed by the town of Luckenbach and since we’re country music fans and love Waylon Jennings’ song “Let’s Go To Luckenbach Texas” we had to stop in for a couple of pictures.

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This post has gotten quite long so I’ll stop now and write about the next 2 Texas state parks we visited in the next post. Stay tuned…

 

 

Categories: Texas | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Badlands National Park

While in South Dakota we visited Badlands National Park. ¬†I have to admit I did not have very high expectations for this park. ¬†I mean after we just spent the past month or two visiting the Tetons, Yellowstone & Glacier, I wasn’t sure anything could measure up. ¬†I am happy to report I was wrong. ¬†The Badlands are amazing! ¬†It was so beautiful and so other-worldly. ¬†I mean it seriously looked like we had landed on another planet. ¬†Hey, that’s not such a bad idea! ¬†If space travel ever becomes a “thing”, we might have to change our names from RoadSchoolers to GalaxySchoolers! ūüôā

Anyway back on earth, here we are at the Badlands.

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Beautiful hills that remind me of the painted desert in Arizona with wildflowers everywhere.

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Oops, a little traffic jam caused by some pronghorn sheep that decided to walk in the middle of the road instead of on the endless miles of prairies off to the side.

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This was after they decided to get off the road and let us drive by, thank you very much!

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We started our hike at the Door Trail.  This is where it especially felt like or looked like walking on another planet.

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Oh no, it seems we have left bear country, but we’re back in the land of rattlesnakes. ¬†Yuck! ¬†I’m not sure which is worse. ¬†At least bears are cuter.

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Next was the Window Trail.

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And then the Notch Trail which had a fun ladder to climb.

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The Notch Trail was my favorite.  Not only was the trail itself really fun with so many cool rocks to climb, but the end of the trail had a really amazing view.

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Climbing back down the ladder was a little harder than climbing up, but Jesse makes it look so easy.

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Afterward he wanted to sing a song on top of a rock. ūüėČ

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The last trail we hiked was the Saddle Pass trail which was a short but steep climb.  You see that pointed peak in the background?  Jesse and I climbed to the top of that!

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When we reached the end of the Saddle Pass Trail, Jesse and I wanted to climb to the top of that peak, so there we are — those two little dots almost to the top.

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We made it!  Now we look like one little dot at the top.

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Climbing back down Saddle Pass was a lot harder than going up. ¬†It’s like trying to walk down a dusty slide. ¬†You might as well just sit on your butt and slide down because that’s basically how you’ll end up going down anyway. ūüôā

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At the end of the day, we stopped at the Visitor Center so the boys could earn their Junior Ranger badges.

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On our way out of the park we passed by one of many prairie dog towns.  They are so cute!

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We visited the Badlands in September, and it was a very nice day (about 80ish), but it felt really hot on some of those hikes.  I have heard that in the summer it gets well over 100 there.  So if you plan to visit, keep in mind that the middle of summer is probably not the best time to go.  I think September was great, but even October is probably very nice.

If you have ever traveled down I-90 in South Dakota, you would see many billboards advertising a tourist trap called Wall Drug. ¬†Wall Drug is close to the Badlands so we went there after the park to check it out. ¬†It’s basically just a bunch of shops and some restaurants, and you can buy any kind of SD souvenirs that you can imagine. ¬†There are also lots of fun statues for the kids to play on.

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That wraps up the highlights of our time in the Black Hills of South Dakota. ¬†Next up — Minnesota!

Categories: National Parks, South Dakota | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Custer State Park and Mt. Rushmore

After leaving Montana and Wyoming we headed east to South Dakota and stayed at Custer State Park. ¬†This park was amazing! ¬†We all agree it should be a national park. ¬†It’s a very big park with several different areas and campgrounds. ¬†It’s definitely one of the coolest state parks we have been to. ¬†I was very thankful to get a campsite there as they start taking reservations a year in advance, but I didn’t know we would be going there until about 3 months in advance.

We had lots of excitement at our campsite every day as bison came walking through. ¬†We’re always told to never approach or go near the wildlife, but we couldn’t really help the fact that these bison were always grazing¬†right in our campsite. ¬†Sometimes we would be sitting outside and look up to find a bison just a few feet away!

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Fat Cat was pretty scared of these things.  She wanted to run back in the house anytime she saw one.  I think she realized this animal was much too large for her to mess with.  She liked to watch from the safety of indoors.

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We visited 3 different areas of this park.  First was a driving tour of the Wildlife Loop.  We saw some pronghorn sheep and bison on this loop, but honestly we thought the wildlife sightings back at our campsite were a lot more interesting.

The next evening we drove the Needles Highway. ¬†This was an amazing drive with spectacular scenery of these tall rock formations. ¬†I had read about this highway beforehand that mentioned 3 tunnels we would have to drive through. ¬†The tunnels are very narrow and only one vehicle can fit through at a time. ¬†As you know, our vehicle is rather large and we weren’t sure if we should do this drive. ¬†The Needles Eye Tunnel is only 8’4″ wide and our truck is about 7’10” wide. ¬†But we did it! ¬†Chris is such a good driver. ūüôā

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Needles Eye Tunnel – I can’t believe we drove through this!

We hiked to the Cathedral Spires which was a beautiful hike.

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Then we drove to Sylvan Lake and walked the 1 mile loop around the lake.  This was a such a fun hike because there are so many rocks to climb on!

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There were also a couple of narrow passageways to walk through.

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I really loved how the rocks reflected in the water like a mirror.

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The next evening we drove the scenic Iron Mountain Road to go visit Mt. Rushmore. ¬†This road also had some tunnels, but not nearly as narrow as the Needles Highway. ¬†As we¬†drove through the last tunnel, we could¬†see the president’s heads in the distance.

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Mt. Rushmore is one of those iconic landmarks that is a “must see” on any American road trip.

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All 50 state flags are on this walkway.

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The boys earned their Mt. Rushmore Junior Ranger badges.

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Before we started traveling like this, I had never really given the state of South Dakota much thought.  I had no idea it is such a beautiful state with so many awesome things to do.  We visited Badlands National Park next, but I will save that for my next post.  Cheers!

Categories: National Parks, South Dakota | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

More Random Pictures from Glacier

This post is basically just some more pictures of things we did at Glacier that don’t really seem to fit into a blog post all by themselves. ¬†There is so much to do at Glacier, we didn’t even get to it all so I hope to return there someday.

These first few pictures are from Avalanche Lake.  The lake was beautiful, but the water level seemed really low.

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Avalanche Lake

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Avalanche Lake

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Avalanche Lake

One evening we brought a picnic dinner to Lake McDonald.  We even met another Fulltime Family there!

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Lake McDonald

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Lake McDonald

Then one day we went to Two Medicine Lake.  This lake was good for skipping rocks.

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Two Medicine Lake

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Two Medicine Lake

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Two Medicine Lake

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Two Medicine Lake

While visiting Glacier we spent most of the time on the west side in Hungry Horse, MT at Mountain Meadow RV Park. ¬†This park is a very nice park, but unfortunately we didn’t have a great campsite. ¬†Our site was really small and un-level, and they didn’t have any other sites we could move to. ¬†What I liked about the park is it had more of a state park feel. ¬†The sites were spread out with some trees and privacy between each one rather than all lined up together like most RV parks. ¬†Many of the sites were large and very nice, so if we ever return there I hope to get a better site. ¬†And they had a really nice common area to hang out and play games or sit by the pond.

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Mountain Meadow RV Park

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Mountain Meadow RV Park

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Mountain Meadow RV Park

Finally, the boys earned their Junior Ranger badges.

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Glacier National Park is definitely one of the most beautiful places we have ever been. ¬†I really hope we can go back there again someday. ¬†Coming up next I have one last post about Glacier, or I should say it’s¬†about Glacier’s¬†sister park up in Alberta, Canada: Waterton Lakes.

Categories: Montana, National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grand Teton National Park

We spent a week at Grand Teton National Park and it is definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. ¬†It seems I say that about every place we go, but seriously my pictures do NOT¬†do it justice. ¬†If possible, please come and see this place in person. ¬†It’s amazing!

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Jenny Lake

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String Lake

The first hike we did was along String Lake to Leigh Lake.  The water is so clear and blue!

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Another day¬†we did an awesome 6 mile hike halfway around Jenny Lake and then up to Inspiration Point. ¬†It’s 6 miles out and back, but if you don’t want to hike the whole 6 miles, you can take a shuttle boat across the lake that drops you off where you can hike just to Inspiration Point which is 2 miles round trip. ¬†If you’re up for it though, I would highly recommend the entire 6 miles because the Jenny Lake portion of the hike was the best part and the least crowded. ¬†We saw a moose and a bear on this hike. ¬†Neither one were very close to us so I didn’t get any good pictures, but it was really cool to see those animals in the wild.

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Jenny Lake

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Inspiration Point

Chris was so excited about seeing a bear that he decided to go for an early morning hike the next day with Jake to see if they could find any more bears. ¬†And they did! ¬†They saw a huge grizzly bear that stood up on his hind legs and then started walking towards them. ¬†They were a little too scared to take any pictures and just slowly backed away. ¬†We had just gone to a bear safety ranger program the previous day and purchased some bear spray, but thankfully they didn’t need to use it. ¬†Jake was pretty scared by that bear and didn’t want to go on any more foolish bear hunting expeditions, but I’m not so sure that Chris learned that lesson yet. ¬†I told him I didn’t want him to spend the rest of our trip dead, so hopefully he’ll stay away from the bears. ūüôā

This trip was made extra special because my parents were able to join us later in the week. After picking them up from the airport we went to visit the cute little town of Jackson Hole.  Those are real antlers in that arch!

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This looks like it would be a fun place to come back for some winter time snow skiing!

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Then we headed back into the park and went to see the Chapel of the Transfiguration which was so beautiful!

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Chapel of the Transfiguration Picture Window

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We camped at the Colter Bay RV Park inside the Grand Tetons which was really nice and woodsy.  Colter Bay Village has lots of facilities available like a grocery store, gas station, restaurants, a marina and a visitor center.  We did some hiking around there and also went to the Visitor Center so the kids could get their Junior Ranger badges.

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We also went to the Jackson Lake Lodge which was a fun place to visit.  They have a playground and pool that the kids enjoyed.  The Jackson Lake dam was also a very nice stop.

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On our last day there we hiked the 4 mile loop around String Lake.

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If you plan to visit there in the busy summer months and want to hike, I would recommend getting to the trailhead parking lots early.  They fill up fast!

We had such a great time showing Gramma and Grampa around the Grand Tetons!  From there we all went up to West Yellowstone, Montana to begin exploring Yellowstone National Park. Stay tuned for posts about that.

Categories: National Parks, Wyoming | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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