Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spokane, Washington (ana)

So, we decided we needed a break; cause we still had 5 more hours of driving to go.

My mom was trying to make Allana talk; we all were, but my mom especially. She was trying to make her pick a place where we could stop for dunch (a combo or lunch and dinner, for those who do not know. There is also linner, but we like dunch better). Allana loves green beans, so, after she couldn’t find, that is, decide, on a place, my mom just took the Iphone (it’s a lifesaver, my dad’s) and found this Chinese place that had green beans.

It is called Gordy’s Sichuan CafĂ©, which is not a very Chinese sounding name, and also there was the fact that no Chinese people worked at the place, but everyone said it was the best Chinese food they had ever had. Me? I thought it was pretty good, really good actually, but the best would be reserved for this random place in Bolivia. But I haven’t been to China yet, so…
Anyway, it’s really good food. If you’re ever in Spokane, go to Gordy’s.
to the left.

After, we got ice cream at a Baskin Robin’s, which was also yum.

we continued our way out to Snoqualmie, which is where the Uncle Matthew, Aunt Doe, Kaitryn, and Eamon live, a town about 15 minutes outside of Seattle. Another, 5, long hours from Spokane.

So, we felt like now would be a good chance to let Uncle Matthew know that we were coming a day early. He was cool with it, because that’s just how Uncle Matthew is.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bozeman, Montana (Ana)

la quinta

We had decided to skip out on one more night in Yellowstone after our little incident with the tent, and we had seen old faithful, so we decided just to sleep in a hotel in someplace in Montana. We had dinner at this really cool restaurant called The Garage. We sat outside, but with our great weather luck, it started raining. So we went inside to a booth, and the inside was even cooler than the exterior. The bathroom was a bit disconcerting, it being covered mirrors, even the ceiling, but even that was cool in an awkward way.
the garage
After our healthy dinner, we went to a La Quinta, where we had the best sleep because it was actually on a bed! Can you believe it?
In the morning, we woke up very happy, and had breakfast and whatever, and got on the road.
There had been a debate the night before whether we should just cannonball to Seattle, and arrive a day early, or go to our campground in Idaho. Allana and my mom were up for not driving for 10 hours, but the rest of us were fine with it, as long as we got to see our family sooner.
We decided to cannonball.

Yellowstone, Wyoming: Day 1 & Day 2 ( allana )

the sign that is everywhere. buffalo can run 3x faster than you. just so you know.
In Yellowstone Park we had a once in a life time experience. When arriving in Yellowstone on the first day, before entering the park we saw humongous canyons of colorful rocks surrounding us. Upon our entering we were given a map of the park and the animals that we will be able to see. While reading it aloud we noticed that there was a buffalo walking on the same road that we were driving on. Of course we weren’t going to wait for it to continue walking while we were behind it so we drove around it and we were about 4 inches away from its body. COOL ! We countiued to drive around on the road in seach of our campsite. About 10 minutes after leaving the buffalo we saw a amazing lake that flooded a lot of trees and on the hill above the road we could see trees that had been hit by the forest fire. (More than 1,000 trees had been dead ; Im just guessing)  After seeing the lake we continued to drive and then we spotted tons of bison, adults and children. But that’s not what everyone was looking at. It was bears!!!!! A mother and its 2 cubs walking in the field near the mountains. That got everybody in the van excited. For the rest of the way everyone was pointing out some sites they saw and then we finally arrived at our campsite. We had a lot of space and we automatically started to get our work done so we could see some stuff that was near by. When we got done we headed to the car and got back on the road. We went to a sight that had different colors of rocks everywhere we turned and when we walked up a few stairs we saw a water fall. It was amazing. From there on we got into the van and when we arrived at our site it was dinner time.  YAY! We went to a lodge that was right across the street from us and had a delicious dinner. (Ana and I had meatballs with tomato sauce and noodles, with a side of fruit and a vegetable platter; two thumbs up) After dinner Ms. Armstrong and Andrew went to bar and they left Mary in charge. She took us out for ice cream, that was a plus! Soon after sitting outside eating ice cream we waited for the adults to come back out and we went to our campsite. Mary and Mei really wanted braids so their hair could be curly when they took it out so we got their hair a little wet and I started to braid Mary`s hair, but I had to teach Ana how to make cornrows so I did one on Mei`s hair and told her to do her best with the others. After she was done with Mei`s hair it was . . . interesting. But we congratulated Ana for her hard work and a good job for the first time and Mei loved it. After I was done with Mary`s hair I started Ana`s and then we saw a huge flash of lightning, that’s when we knew it was time to go to bed. That night was the worst night, at least for Ana. There was a wild thunderstorm and during the night she got wet, I mean soaked and could barely sleep for the rest of the night. I on the other hand had a pleasant sleep and didn’t hear a thing J . In the morning, we all got out of the tent and ate breakfast. We got into the van and drove around; we visited Thermal Spring which is steam from boiling hot water that creates mist in the air. When we arrived at Old Faithful we had to wait about a hour to see it so we had lunch (meatball sandwiches) and then we went out on the lodges balcony and waited. We decided to get ice cream, since we all decided it is never cold to not get ice cream. While eating the ice cream we quickly got some rocking chairs in the front row of the balcony and about 15 minutes Old Faithful erupted. Water squirted out of the hole and went straight in the air. It was a great experience.  When we got to the campsite we pack up our things and depated Yellowstone a day early. We decided that one night in a wet tent was enough.
lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
sharing a rocking chair at the lodge

Old Faithful

a river

setting up camp, again

us in the snow


buffalo about 10 ft away from parking lot


mei's new look, ugh

mary's cornrows

there's a plaque there that tells you not to walk near it, there is a thin crust

We were headed to Montana.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cody, Wyoming (allana)

After we deported the black hills in South Dakota we started out for Wyoming.
On the way to Wyoming there was tons of farmland and animals walking through empty fields. We took a detour to get a chance to see the Devils Tower (you might have seen it in a few movies before).  The shape and size of the sculpture is amazing and was a once in a life opportunity for us to see it up close.
devil's tower
On the way leaving the Devils tower we saw tons of mountains with big boulders surrounding it. When we arrived at our campsite, which was called Pondarosa, we were so excited to see that we were going to sleep in a teepee. We drove down a hill were we saw the teepee that we were going to stay in. Andrew pretended to have no brakes while going down the mountain which I found hilarious but everyone else was terrified. we put our stuff out of the teepee, and then we went out to have dinner at “Cassie’s”. ( the food was okay, wasn’t the best) They had live entertainment and it was also the first time I tasted Squid. (which was surprisingly tastey :)
"I'm a Cowgirl!!"
part time cowgirl, part time mother
After dinner we went to a rodeo.  It was known to be “ the longest  running rodeo in the world”. Before entering the rodeo mei decided to dress up in her homemade cowgirl coustume consisting of a bandana around her mouth  with a buffalo on it , a cowgirl hat,  and a bandana in her back pocket.   We took our seats and saw the cowboys riding horses and lassoing cattle.  We also saw girls around the ages of 7 – 12 attempt dangerous stunts while riding horses around the rodeo field.  Then, we saw young girls and  older women compete in how much time it took to go around 3 different barrels. By the time we left the rodeo we were all exhausted and when we arrived at the campsite we quickly brush our teeth and jumped in our sleeping bags in the teepee, read a little then went to bed.
us, asleep in our teepee. do you see the grass?
In the morning we woke up to toast and butter and the sound of the river that was behind us.  We walked down to see the river and it was beautiful. Ms. Armstrong says her favorite part of the campsite.

our protective door

We packed up, and started the drive to the great Yellowstone.

Black Hills, Day 4 (Ana)

We woke up, took down camp, said bye to Paul and Carrie (well, they actually said bye to us, but that’s not the point) and went to breakfast in Custer, to Baker’s Bakery. It was quite good, and our waitress was so sweet she could have diabetes, as my mom said.
mei next to Buffalo Bill, and what she calls a 'Beefalo'
So anyway, we left South Dakota with full stomachs, light hearts, and a lot of pictures.

Black Hills Day 3 (Ana)

We woke up, got dressed, you know, the usual morning routine with camping.
And had breakfast of course. After that we went to Sylvan Lake, where we just hung out all day. It wasn’t very exciting; we just went swimming and climbed on rocks. Where actually, I got a very bloody toe, and scraped the back of my leg trying to shimmy down a step rock that curved inn the middle and had a tree in front of it.

Falling off of that onto the ledge on the bottom also gave me a few cuts on my hands.
Not really a big deal.

Sylvan Lake
After we had been swimming for a while, I got my dad to go onto the rocks with us (allana, me, and Mary). He had heart attacks almost every other minute, which actually got really annoying after a while. We tried to get him to take off his flip-flops, which were not helping with climbing at all. He just freaked out a little more.

After swimming, we went back to the campsite to have these amazing hot dogs, that is if hot dogs can be amazing, but anyway these were, made of whatever animals I don’t even know. They were just really good. Then we roasted marshmellows, which are always good, with this guy named Paul who my dad asked to join us, who was yet another ‘interesting’ person, and Mei’s friend Carrie, who was just a flat out annoying kid. She woke me up one morning, which trust me, I do not like, at all, talking to my dad about her brother’s hair color. As I was saying, an annoying kid. Even her dad came down to talk to us when she came to yatter at us when we were setting up camp that we could just kick her out if she was being to annoying. I’m paraphrasing, but still… it says something that even her own father mentioned it.

mary sporting her cowboy hat, me sporting pajamas, and mei just being, well, mei

the pretty view at sunset
So marshmellows was annoying. But then my dad ordered Allana and me to go to the top of the hill near our campsite to find whatever was there. He was practically begging us when we finally agreed. So when we got to the top of the hill, there was more hill, this time only made of rocks, which we climbed and explored. There was this sort of path on the top, where we stumbled along, trying not to fall off the edge, which of course would just ruin the entire trip. Even though I almost pushed allana down this slit in the rock, where she almost fell, and then got really mad at me about it when she didn’t. Anyway, I went out onto this random ledge, where I found the most gorgeous view so the whole trip of tromping through tick filled grass and the bordered poison ivy path was worth it. The great thing was, we had to make that trip 4 or 5 more times to show everyone else. Yay. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Black Hills, Day 2

the next day, we woke up, and had our daily dose of Captin' Crunch, and got ready for the day.
we started out with going to Crazy Horse, where we went to the top of the arm, thanks to my Uncle Harlan (thank you Coben Family!), who got us a special private tour. it was incredible. a spectacular view.
aren't we so attractive in our hard hats?
Crazy Horse
"i'm ready for my close up"
after Crazy Horse, we went to the Purple Pie Place, which had really, really good Mac & Cheese, and where you can get top-notch pie. seriously, that pie is some good stuff. ana got Bumbleberry(an assortment of berries) and allana got peach (just peach).
after Purple Pie Place, we went on a drive in Custer to see buffalo!!
lets just say, man, those things are big. and there's lots of them. we also had some donkeys come up to our window.
we are in our car, btw
after that, we went to a lake, sat for a while and read, all of us chilln' like a villans.
then, we went to our Chuckwagon Dinner!!!!!!!!!
if you've never been to a chuckwagon, you should go. it's tons of fun, and you get nice cowboy hats.
us in our stylish hats
what you do: sit in a wagon that is pulled by a pickup truck, and two guys are in the front, and they sing cowboy songs and play the guitar and ukulele and we all have to join in. the best part was, when the guy asked to stop the wagon, so he could go into the woods and go to the bathroom.
Neal and Curtis, our chuckwagon cowboys
when we got to the valley, where we were to have dinner, some of the other musicians from different wagons played more cowboy songs when we eat our dinner. the cookies were huge.
dinner. allana refused to wear the hat the entire time.
then it was time for the dancing. we are not proud of these pictures. but, seriously, it was the hokey-pokey and the chicken dance. you can't really look good while doing those dances.
 we took a "shortcut"back to where the cars were, went back, read a bit, and zonked out.

Black Hills, Day 1

after that dreaded day at Jellystone, we headed off for the fantastico Black Hills.
we got there, and went to our campsite.
see the tent? ana was sleeping on the edge (ugh)
our site was up 20 small steps made out wood. so, what we had to do was lug everything up the hill to the actual campsite. it took a long time.
our tent didn't really fit into the designated box where the tent was supposed to go, so we lost space because the ends were hanging off the edges.
then we went to Mount Rushmore, which was really beautiful. we listened to a park ranger tell us a little bit about the sculpture, and then we walked up closer to the sculpture.
us and the presidents
is it a thumb or a head????? (answer-head)
Ana, Mei, Eliza, and Mary (or at least part of her)
the steps
after Mount Rushmore, we took a nice, scenic drive around Custer State Park, where we were staying.
it is a beautiful place. if you ever visit South Dakota, i think you should definitely go to Custer. it's right around all the landmarks, and you can see a lot of wildlife there too. it's great there.
after the view, we went to the campsite,  had dinner, and went to our sleeping bags.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

when we arrived in Sioux Falls, we were all surprised to see that we were staying in a Jellystone. you know, Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo or whatever?
and when say surprised, we don't really mean it in a good way.
i would just say, you should try to never stay there in your life.
it's very... cramped.
our tent, and our neighbors. btw, there was a campsite between us too.
mei met Yogi Bear though, so it was fine.
mei and mary with yogi bear
we went for a swim, and then roasted marshmellows.
but the jumping pillow was fun. we met a dude named Albert there. he was very... interesting, to put it nicely.
random kids off the internet on a jumping pillow
and we had the beautiful sounds of Route 90 going past us all night.
we're never going back there.


we drove through the entire bottom half of the state in a few hours.
like Indiana, we saw a lot of the highway and farms.
it was very beautiful though.
and it was also very tiring.

La Crosse, Wisoconsin

after the Dells, we needed a place to stay before we headed to South Dakota.
we decided on La Crosse, a small college town right on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
we stayed in a Marriott, where there was a jacuzzi in our room, and we were actually comfortable.
we went to dinner at Buzzard Billy's, which had such good bbq food, it was awesome. the place is decorated really well too. after dinner, we decided we all deserved ice cream, for almost being halfway there, and we went to this cute little ice cream shop across the street called the Pearl Ice Cream Parlor, where we had delicious ice cream.
mei, allana, and ana, freezing our butts off at Buzzard Billy's
we got a good nights sleep, and in the morning we went to Fayze's. we all had amazing food there (best breakfast yet), and our waitress was so nice it was scary. we also ordered from their bakery to go.

we left La Crosse with full, satisfied, stomachs, destination Sioux Falls, South Dakota.