Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 6: Colorado Springs to Durango

Day 6 started out pretty well.  We got everything packed, threw the air dam in the dumpster and headed out.  We stopped at Garden of the Gods and drove through the park.  The color is just amazing.  We stopped to get a picture by the Kissing Camels.  As Dorothy was coming back to the car, she slipped, fell and hit her head.  But everything is okay, just a little sore.  Stopped at Balancing Rock and took a picture of the boys.  It was funny a couple came with their pug, carried the pug up the incline and underneath Balancing Rock to get a picture of the dog.  The funny part to me is that they carried the dog instead of letting the dog walk by itself.  The incline was a little steep and the man almost slipped and fell.  Drove along US 160 to Durango and made a few potty stops along the way.  Arrived in Durango and had a hard time finding the hotel.  Neverlost was wrong.  Ate some pizza at Farquaht's.  Great pizza.  Then of course the nightly ritual of the pool.  The boys never get tired of swimming.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 5: Cheyenne WY to Colorado Springs CO

Since this was going to be a short driving day, we slept in for a little while. Had an interesting breakfast.  Not sure if the waiter was on something or what.  He wouldn't hold still to take our orders.  Had to chase him down to order drinks for Dorothy and the boys.  Then when our order came it wasn't quite right.  The other table that he was attending too didn't even get their order.  Passed by Ft Collins and Loveland.  Brought back some memories for Laura, as that was where she went to junior high.  Stopped at Starbuck's (YEAH!).  You don't want to mess with Laura if she doesn't have her daily coffee.  She didn't have it yesterday and let's say it wasn't pleasant.  Finally arrived at the Air Force Academy.  We took the Chapel tour and watched the Freshman cadets on the parade field.  Again some nostalgia for Laura as her dad taught electrical engineering from 1976 - 1980 at the Academy.  Conner believes he would like to attend the Academy.  We noticed that they have a prep school here too. Maybe one of the boys may need some discipline later on in life.  I'm sure you can't guess who (Ryan).  We had dinner at Jake Quinn's Irish Pub and participated in Quiz Night.  When we left, we were tied for second.  Not bad.

Day 3 and 4 Top Ten Lists

Top Ten Things Daddy Hears from the 3RD Row in the YUKON.

  1. What time are we going to get to the hotel?
  2. How late is the pool open?
  3. I’ve got to go to the bathroom.
  4. STOP IT!
  5. I’m hungry.
  6. How much further?
  7. When is the next stop?
  8. Hun-terrrrrrrrrr!!!
  9. Ryan! Stop THAT!
  10. I know, but…

 Top Ten List from the middle row…
  1. Oh look, a deer!
  2. No, that’s an Antelope.
  3. Hunter Stop Yelling at Ryan.
  4. Are you sleepy? Do you need me to drive?
  5. But he is annoying me.
  6. Oh look, there is a house or something out there on the hill.
  7. Which hill?
  8. I think you were supposed to turn there.
  9. Daddy. The GPS said turn the other way.
  10. “Calc-cu-lat-ing new route. Make legal u-turn at next op-por-tun-i-ty.”

 Top Ten List from the Front Row…
  4. … why did I take that chair off the roof.
  8. Hey. I’ve got an idea. EVERYONE TAKE A NAP!

Day 4: Sturgis SD to Cheyenne WY

The Holiday Inn Express in Sturgis is popular. Took a little effort to get to breakfast. We left Sturgis and headed to Mt. Rushmore. Wow. I can’t even imagine the effort this took. Pretty amazing. I never realized how much there was to still do, but couldn’t happen because of lack of funding. From Mt. Rushmore we went to Crazy Horse. Okay, I thought Mt Rushmore was impressive, but once Crazy Horse is finished, nothing can top that. Crazy Horse is taller than Washington Monument. All four of Mt Rushmore’s head can fit into the head of Crazy Horse. We walked around the museum and craft area for a while too. Hunter and Conner each bought a bracelet and Ryan bought a marble turtle. Drove on to Custer to have lunch and continued into Cheyenne. We arrived at the hotel around 8:00pm, had dinner and the boys did some more swimming.

Day 3: Cody WY to Sturgis SD

The day started out around 8:00am with breakfast. The clouds started coming in. Originally we were going to stop at the William Cody Museum, but decided to get on the road. Thunder and lightening storms for quite a ways. We decided to go to Devils Tower. Some of you may remember “Close Encounters of a Third Kind”. The scene when the aliens land and the music plays. Classic. Pretty impressive. We continued on to Sturgis watching the thunder and lightening, going around twisty roads, seeing lots of bikers. Saw lots of antelope, one moose and many deer. We got into Sturgis around 5:50pm. Checked into the hotel and then went downtown to eat at Rozco’s Bar and Grill. Okay dinner, not anything to special. Then we went back to the hotel where the boys were able to swim to their hearts content.

Day 2: Bozeman MT to Cody WY via Yellowstone

A little late start after limping in at 12:30am the night before. We were able to visit with Cassie for a little bit during breakfast. The drive from Bozeman to West Yellowstone was incredible. The scenery was beautiful. Conner was the first to spot wildlife. Dan said he’s going to rent him out in the fall during hunting season. We were traveling 55mph and he spotted a huge elk buck, minimum of 2000 yards, 700 feet up on a ridgeline above a meadow. We pulled over got out the binoculars and sure enough there were two, a male and female. We watched them as they disappeared into the trees. The picture is zoomed in 10x optical, looking closely in the middle, you can see two white dots right by all the trees in the back.  I tried to edit the picture and zoom in but wasn't able to on this laptop.

We stopped in West Yellowstone so that the boys could buy some souvenirs. They picked rocks. We visited the Grizzly and Wolf Center at West Yellowstone. Highly recommend. There are 8 grizzlies and 8 grey wolves. They only show 2 bears at time. I overheard one of the guides saying that they have to be careful which two go in the pen at the same time as one of the females is very particular. The wolves were split into 2 packs, highland and lowland. It was fun watching a couple of them play. We entered Yellowstone at the West entrance. A friend recommended that we stop at Firehole and go swimming. We asked the park ranger about it, but it was closed because of high water levels. The boys were a little disappointed. Again, eagle eyes Conner was the first to spot a lone bison. Laura spotted a bald eagle and a nest. Then Dorothy saw a herd of elk. There were at least 10 of them. Amazing. We stopped at Paint Pot and saw all of the various types of geysers. The colors are amazing. It was incredible watching them. Next stop was Old Faithful. We got there just in time to pay an exorbitant price for a hot dog. We walked over to the old lodge. It’s 3 stories tall and made of logs. Old Faithful was worth the wait. At 5:24pm it started and lasted about 3 minutes. Then it was time to finish the drive to Cody.

 As we were leaving the park, cars were stopped along the road. It was a baby grizzly and two extremely stupid people out of their car. Out of country tourists trying to get a close up picture. They were only about 30 feet from the bear. They are lucky that momma bear didn’t come out from where ever she was. Dan yelled at them to get in their car, the park ranger was yelling at them too. We almost got to see Darwinism in play. After that excitement, we continued along our way and saw some of the most incredible nature: Yellowstone lake, the rocks, canyons, etc. What a beautiful country we live in. We arrived in Cody around 8:30pm. Ate another late dinner at the Ilma hotel. The hotel William Cody built. The original cherry wood bar is still there. It’s gorgeous. And then bed, another late night.

Friday, June 25, 2010

First Day


Used Thursday morning to get everything into the rented Yukon.  Of course we had to pay homage to "Family Vacation" and the Griswolds.  As you know the title of the blog is Whitluck and we experienced a little bit of that Thursday morning.  Laura had to run to the store and big up a few things and as luck would have it, she ended up in the slowest possible check out line.  So in turn we were a few minutes late to pick up the boys.  But, we were well on our way by 11:00am.  We stopped in Ellensburg for lunch and then Couer d'Alene for some ice cream and to stretch our legs.  Dinner in Missoula at Iron Horse.  One of the best meals we've ever had.  And finally we limped into Bozeman at 12:30am.  Cassie came to meet us at the hotel and give the boys hugs and kisses. LW

Mapquest lies.  10 Hours turned into 12 and a half, plus the time change. They must assume that you have the bladder of a camel and can goes days without relief.  After a traditional 'must stop' at Ellensburg, it was straight thru to Missoula.  Nope.  Ryan started first, "when are we going to get there?" It was somewhere between Vantage and Moses Lake.  Near Cheney, he needed to stretch his legs.  He was tired of sitting.  Get used to it kid...  By the Idaho line he was working up excuses one after the other.  The best one was... "I need to get out of the car so I can rest my legs. We got him to hold off for a bit when he realized that he could stand up in the Yukon.  Of course getting him to stay in the seat became the ultimate challeng,e so we stopped at Couer d'Alene. Couer d'Alene which turned into a ice cream stop vs just a leg stretch for Ryan.

Yahoo-oooo!  Idaho and Montana Speed Limit 75!!!

Gassed up in the little town of Alberton.  Had a new experience there.  Found out that you can only get $74 of gas out of a pump before it stops.  Reloaded the pump with the debit card and the Yukon took another $20.01.  Damn.  (Gotta check the gallons/mile meter when I get back on the road...)  Averaged 15.8... er... uh... well... there were a lot of mountain passes.  Yeah that's the reason. DW

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Why Whitluck?

So we decided to try out the whole blogging thing. I know, we are a little late to the game. Why is the site called "Whitluck". Well if any of you know Dan, he always refers to Murphy's Law as "Whitluck". Whatever can go wrong usually will for us. Though sometimes it can be good "Whitluck".
Also the other reason for this blog is that on the 24th, we are starting our first long family vacation. In the traditional of the Griswolds, we are driving and visiting Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Vegas and everything in between. This will be a two week road trip. Yes, we are driving with the 3 boys and Dorothy (Dan's mom).
When Dan was back east last week at Ft Dix, he was visiting his Aunt, Grandmother and cousins in Philadelphia. He was telling them about the trip. The idea came up to start the blog to keep family and friends in touch on our trip around the Western US a la the Griswolds. So the countdown begins. We will keep you posted.