Thursday, July 28, 2011

Say Cheese! More pics from Yellowstone

The Happy Campers had a slight bump in the road today.  Instead of being in Glacier Park, we're spending the day in Missoula, MT taking care of some mechanical issues.
  1. RV in the shop to fix an electrical issue with some reading lights
  2. Little Miss Jeep took a rock to the head and came up a bit "cracked" - so she had to be doctored up by Todd, the glass repairman. (super nice guy, btw!)
  3. Little Miss Jeep also decided she was in a disco mood and that all indicator lights should be intermittently blinking. Missoula dealership had all parts on hand, so she's almost as good as new!
With time to kill and so many more great pics and experiences from Yellowstone, we decided to take advantage of a rockin' workspace here at the dealership and make another picture post.

NOTE 1:  One blog update - we now have a working email notification system for the blog.  If you'd like to be notified via email when we make a new post, just put your email in to the right!

NOTE 2:  We also updated our comment section so anyone can comment - you don't have to have a special google account.  So peeps - comment away! 

Here are the pics....

Coyote looks for squirrels & mice!

This buffalo was in our camp - literally 25 yards from our camper

Yellow-bellied Marmot.  He was so cute just watching us as we hiked by!

Amy lives through a hike (no bears got her!)
Storm Point - it was so pretty out there!

Not very reassuring before you head out on a hike into the wilderness!!

 Left = Alaska.  Right = Maine.  Same car....weird!!
View of Upper Falls after a strenuous hike
via Uncle Tom's Trail

Female Big Horn sheep and babies on the mountain side.  So cute!
Petrified Tree....really?  We drove
40 miles round trip for THAT?!?!? 

Bear Jam - Grizzlies around the corner!
Next time we'll break out our guitars for the "Jam"
Grizzly Mama and her cub.  They were tough to photograph,
but really amazing to see in the wild!

Aren't these supposed to be in the air and not on a train track??
Saw this driving through needs some wings!
Our idea of lunch these days!  A whole new
meaning to lunch break.

Really great pic of a herd of Elk.  So graceful and pretty.

Bonus pic:  This is how the goose was introduced into our lives.
Tracy enjoying a beautiful view.
Goose rolls up in a pink carriage.
Tracy looks over and thinks:  WTF?
Amy - always ready with the camera gets the shot!

 Until the next exit...

Amy & Tracy

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!

We're in Yellowstone this week and we have no cell or internet service - so driving through Grand Tetons today, we came across a Discovery Center with wireless, so we're whipping out a quick blog that's all about the pictures!  Or as many as we can get loaded before it's time to hit the road!  Hope you enjoy!  The last week has been AMAZING on the are some pics to represent:

BEAR COUNTRY U.S.A - Rapid City, SD This was a drive through wild animal park with everything from Artic Wolves to Mountain Lions to yes, BEARS!  Really cool.

Baby Bear getting some lunch

Baby Bear climbs a tree!

Black Bear strikes a pose!

NEEDLES ROAD - Black Hills, SD.  Cool drive through rock formations that were literally just slits in the rocks. 

Great photo op - Tracy couldn't climb that high in her flip-flops!
Heading in - the Jeep fit!

BUFFALO HERD - Custer State Park.  This was so unbelievable!  Literally we drove right into a massive herd of buffalo that were all around the road!

Mama and Baby - 15 feet from car!
The were literally at a stand still

DEVIL'S TOWER - Middle of nowhere, Wyoming!!  This is where Close Encounters was filmed, and we must admit, it was pretty frickin' neat and worth the drive!  TRIVIA - Devil's Tower was actually underground millions of years ago, and erosion exposed it!  So bizarre!!

Aliens did not swoop down and take us away!

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK - Wyoming.  So many things to share about this place - on our first day we saw Geysers, Waterfalls, snow in the mountains, an Eagle, Elk, beautiful Yellowstone Lake (TRIVIA:  it was frozen until June 16!!) a Wolf pack with cubs, Bison - and the best of all...a pet Goose being strolled in a baby carriage!  OMG - we have never laughed so hard!  Luckily Amy snapped a photo b/c it's worth remembering (and sharing!)  For now, here are some of the highlights:

Beautiful Bubbling, Boiling Hot Geyser
Amy slides down the snow on the way into Yellowstone

Stop at a Waterfall

Amy soaks up the sun on the edge of a rock above the falls!

Amy's an expert at teetering the camera on a rock to get our picture!

Old Faithful erupts!

Grandma, Mom and Baby Elk graze by the water!

Raging Waters of Upper Falls

Grand Teton and the Snake River
(TRIVIA:  Grand Teton is 13,770 feet tall)

Oh yes, this lady was dead serious about her pet Goose. 
Please note:  pink carriage, leash, and she's toting a GUN!
Best of all, she told her husband while trying to take the photo,
they could photo shop out her hands later for the perfect picture!!
It truly does take all kinds!!!

Ok peeps, that's all us Happy Campers have for now!  Needless to say, we've got TONS of photos and good memories and we're only 30 days in!  Next up - a quick trip to Glacier National Park, and then it's off to the Northwest where we are so anxious to see out best friend....the OCEAN!!

Until the next exit...

Amy & Tracy

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

South Dakota - who knew??

Wow, a lot has transpired with us Happy Campers since last we blogged.  Now that we're out on the open road with no family visits planned for a while, we've realized we'll have a LOT more pictures to share (we took 175 just yesterday!!).  Since blogs have a limited loading capacity - we'll figure out a way to share more pics via shutterfly or flickr or something like that very soon! 

In the meantime - here's what's been happening with us.  We hope you enjoy....

First, we visited T's brother, sister-in-law and nephew in Minnesota.  We had a great family visit and got to see Devin in a swim meet and play lots of baseball.  Also got to see them awarded the first place trophy for Edina little league.  Great job Coach Palm (T's brother) and Devin

Next, a stop at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota on our way to the Badlands.  Ok, we stopped here b/c we thought it would be a kooky place to see, but it ended up being very cool and we were fascinated that the outside is completely covered in corn!

For you trivia buffs:  This place was constructed in 1892 and is re-done each year to the tune of $130k in corn cobs which make these amazing murals!  Craziness!   And we couldn't resist a picture with our faces in the corn tourists, or what?!?!?!

There are many more amazing pics of the corn palace - so we'll be sure to let you know when we find a place to post them if you're interested in taking a look!

Then it was The Badlands

Yes, they were in bad-ass!  All we saw was corn, moo-moo's and hay (or as Amy likes to say...haaaaay) for endless miles in South Dakota.  Then you head into the Badlands and you can't believe you're in the same country, let alone the same state.  Unfortunately it was 108 degrees the day we drove through, so we didn't get to do much except stop and take pics, but it was an amazing drive!  And yes, Amy did get out of the car despite the Rattlesnake warnings!  Pics do not do this place justice!

Then we drove up to Black Hills National Forest where we're staying for 3 nights, and it's like a whole OTHER world in South Dakota.  It's so weird how many different looks this state has!  It's beautiful in the Hills - here are a few pics pieced together of us at Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Prairie Dog Nation, and hitting the Alpine Slide:

And last, but definitely not least for tonight, was our drive through Custer State Park.  Ok, all I (Tracy) wanted was to see a heard of buffalo, but instead, we had the best time of all feeding wild (not sure on the "wild" part!!) jackasses on the side of the road.  It was totally cool, and we were glad we had a half eaten apple and a box of crackers in the car.  So much fun, and something we'll always remember - and probably laugh about.  By the buffalo!  But here we are, feeding our "asses".   And yes, Amy and I have not officially converted to "campers"....we're still wearing skirts and taking showers!!

There's so much more to see here, and we're going to try to cram it all in today.  We leave the Black Hills tomorrow and head towards Wyoming where we'll be visiting Devil's Tower (Close Encounters was filmed there) and Yellowstone National Park for 4 days.  Tracy wants to see every animal species known to man - including bears, wolf packs, buffalo, etc.  Amy's interested, but is still not convinced that a bear can't open our camper door.  I told her they would at least knock first.  It is Yellowstone National Park - I would expect the wildlife to be polite!  LOL!

Until the next exit....

Amy & Tracy  

ps: We also made a guest intern appearance at Jelly Shot Test Kitchen while in Minnesota.  As many of you know, Tracy's sister-in-law, Michelle, is the creator of the delightful treats that we've shared with many of you.  She's the master, and we learned a lot.  We'll keep you posted if our variation of a Rum Punch makes her blog.  Here we are at JSTK

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Surprise - Splash - Boom

 SURPRISE!! Yes, somehow, we managed to pull off a surprise b-day party for Sandie (T's mom) on Saturday night! 

We had lots of fun planning it and we're still surprised ourselves that we actually pulled it off! 

I think it was determined that she was either legitimately surprised, or scared sh*tless!  Regarless, it was a great night, and here are some pics of the festivities...Happy B-Day Mom!


Then it was off to the Wisconsin Dells to pay a visit to the largest Water Park in America for a couple of days - Noah's Ark!  Some of the highlights:

1) Yes, when they say heavier person in the back of the 2-person raft, there IS a reason!   We decided to test the rule.....and Tracy actually BEAT the raft down the slide - ass over tea kettle - which made for a memorable moment! 

2) We loved the Black Anaconda - the longest watercoaster in the US!!  Just like a regular rollercoaster, this water ride had exciting climbs, dips, twists & turns!  After the first plunge and mouthful of water, we quickly learned to keep our mouths closed!

3) Thunder & Lightning storms LOVE us!  The very first night we ever slept in camper #1, we experienced one hell of a Maine light show!  While boondocking at Ho Chunk Casino Sunday, we rung in night 1 in camper #2 with another humdinger of a storm!  Amy almost made us run 200 yards inside in the pouring rain & hail at 3:30am b/c she was convinced a tornado was coming!

4) The whistle to signify that the waves are starting in the Wave pool was pretty much like a cattle call for every child in the park to come running...they ran in....we ran to our chairs!

5) We came upon a mini zip-line that brings you out over a pool to drop into.  Looked like fun!!  We quickly realized why there was no one over the age of 12 in line...carrying your own weight 30 feet down a zip-line is much harder than it looks!

6) Marley's restaurant was a bonus find with a Key West vibe....we enjoyed a nice night on the patio under a cabana eating good food and listening to acoustic music - right up our alley!

Basically, the Wisconsin Dells was a big hit....we loved it, and with all the great activities, there's a good chance we might be back!

We're in Minnesota visiting Tracy's brother, sister-in-law and nephew for a few days.  Looks like there's a lot of baseball, baseball, and more baseball on the agenda....GO DEVIN!   We just got done practicing our rendition of Sweet Caroline for the 4th inning stretch during Devin's games....he sang along with us, right up to the point he realized we may actually do this at his games this week!!!

Off to South Dakota and the Badlands in a few days.

Until the next exit...

Amy & Tracy

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chicago...and all that Jazz

Chicago - one of my favorite musicals and now one of my favorite cities!  Beautiful architecture, theater, countless restaurants & bars, wonderful parks with fountains/outdoor art & amphitheaters, a fun pier, beach with soft white sand, aquarium/planetarium/zoo/museums and a great walking/biking path along Lake Michigan.....this city has everything you could want! 

After arriving by train, we checked into our amazing hotel room....BIG thanks go out to T's cousin, Sarah, who extended her friends & family discount!!  Our top (32nd) floor, corner room charmed us with heated bathroom floors (personal fave!), a bed I never wanted to leave & a shower larger than our entire camper! Just a couple pics to share our amazing views....that's Lake Michigan in the background of the pic on the right.

Embracing our tight "nomad" travel budget, we walked....and walked.....and walked for a full day of sight-seeing!  Some highlights:

Ever stood 103 floors up on just a piece of glass with the city below you?  A pretty wild experience!  The Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) now has glass boxes that protrude from the side of the tower to allure guests to the top!


A shout out to Renee....our fantastic server at Weber's Grill....who promised to come up with a creative name for our little home on wheels :)

We're back on the road tomorrow - off to tempt our youthful sides at Noah's Ark Water Park in Wisconsin Dells, WI.   Please note:  We will NOT be posting any bathing suit pictures considering all the amazing food we've consumed on this leg of the adventure!

Until the next exit....

A & T