Sunday, August 21, 2011

Almost There!

(August 18, 2011)

Today was another hot, hot, hot, driving, driving, driving day.

We left Tulsa, Oklahoma at about 9:30am and drove to Shreveport, Louisiana. We made it to the hotel at about 5:30pm.

It was so hot today. So. Hot. It hit 39 degrees on the way here. The heat would be ok, but it is so humid! It felt like 72,026 degrees! We are all sweaty and sticky and tired from the heat.

On our way down the highway we stopped at a Game Stop as Random wanted to take care of some of his spending money. It turned out, so did Nana. Random came out to the truck with the new Nintendo 3DS. He had the biggest smile on his face and was quiet for the next hour or two in the truck.

Random loved the buffet for dinner tonight! We are staying at Sam's Town Hotel and Casino tonight and the buffet is huge!

Now that we are done dinner, it's time for showers and bed for Random and I, and Casino time for Mom and Dad. Tomorrow is our last travelling day and we are all looking forward to not spending more days in the truck! I think I have underwear lines permanently etched into my butt from spending so many hours driving.

Once we arrive in New Orleans tomorrow, we will be having a quiet night, getting laundry done and getting ready to see everything we have planned.

Today we drove 578 km and I have updated the map here.

We didn't take any pictures today.

To Infinity, and Beyond!

(August 16, 2011)

That's how far I drove today.


We made it from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Goodland, Kansas. It's a 12 hour drive. That's just driving, not stopping for lunch, or the loo, or stretching. We made it in 16 hours including driving through a super-duper downpour and arrived at the hotel at 10pm.

One thing we wanted to do was go to Sam's No. 3 Restaraunt. Unfortunatly we didn't make it. Because of timing, rush hour, the storm, and a guy at a gas station that didn't know North from South. It would have added 2-3 more hours to our trip, and we all agreed that the day was long enough. We will have to come back to Denver for the BBQ-Ranch-Onion-Ring-Chicken-Fried-Chicken Salad, with Bacon, another time.

We have done some laundry, had showers and are heading off to bed. Here are some pics we took during the drive...

Here is Denver as we skirted the City after dinner.

Random catching some Zzzz. With his blanket on his head...

Oh, and it was a long day, with many pit stops. As well as three unauthorized stops, called by guess who...

In this heat you can't skimp on the water.

Tour Day!

(August 15, 2011)

5:30 am is early. Really early.

But we managed. We were up and out of the hotel by 6 and off we went to the Cafe we were told would be open. It wasn't. We were starting to panic a bit since we were being picked up at 7:30am and really needed to have breakfast first.

We asked a lady walking down the road and she told us about another place that was open. Breakfast was great, and we were back in time for the bus to pick us up. The hotel let us leave the truck there even though we had checked out already. They were awesome!

At 7:30am our bus arrived. We headed up to Mammoth, which is the town/resort within the park at the north end. We had time for coffee/tea to wake up a bit, then the tour started. Our guide was Tamarack, her knowledge of the park, the animals and the plants is amazing! She told us stories, and provided so much information that we were all blown away. Especially since she told us all this while driving, so she didn't look up the facts she gave us, she KNEW them! She made our tour.

Here are just a few highlights...

Random, being Random at Gibbon Falls.

Paint Pots bubbling away

Clepsydra Gyser

Black Sand Basin

Old Faithful

When Buffalo/Bison want to cross the road, they get the right of way.

Bigger than that grey car!

We were dropped back off at the hotel to pick up the truck at about 6pm. We then went down to a little place called Corall's to order dinner to take with us on the road. We all enjoyed our food, Dad even tried an Elk Burger.

Then we were off. We had a 4 1/2 hour drive to get to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We arrived just before 11pm. The drive was intense. Dark as dark can be, animals, traffic and tired-ness creeping in. Here's the map. We arrived to a big room, and pretty much all crawled into bed to be up bright and early for another busy day tomorrow.

Yellowstone Park

(August 14, 2011)

Tonight the odometer has 1823 km on it, so today we did 551 km.  About 200 km of that was getting us from Butte, which Random likes to call Butt, to Gardiner, Montana. Updated map here.

Once we checked in, we made reservations for a tour of Yellowstone Park tomorrow. We will be picked up at our hotel at 7:30am and they will drop us back off at 6:30 tomorrow night. It will mean an early morning, but it will be worth it!

The remaining 350-ish km were put on the truck in Yellowstone Park. We went for a drive and decided to do the figure 8 route, it took us about 6 hours, and was totally worth it! We saw lots of amazing things.

First we stopped at the Sulpher Springs to finish our ice cream. Maybe not a good combo, sulpher and ice cream... But the springs looked cool.

Sulpher Springs (don't mix with ice cream).

Random loved this sign. Something about molesting the animals...

This Mule Deer came so close to the truck that he could have turned his head and kissed Mom.

Nice helmets guys! There is no helmet law in Montana. Also Wyoming and Colorado.

Forest Fire damage, fairly recent.

These Pronghorn Deer were hanging out just before the North Enterance to the park.

The Roosevelt Arch.
Buffalo or Bison, depending which side of the Canada/US Border you are on. Seriously huge.

We also saw a Grizzley mama and her cub, Eagles, Hawks, Chipmunks and other assorted creatures. We weren't able to get decent pictures of everything...

Once we did the look in the park we went for dinner and then to the hotel for bed. It was a long day and our alarms were set for 5:30am. Our hotel was great, it would have been a nice place to stay for a few days. Here is the view from our deck...

Oh! Also today we had no unscheduled bathroom breaks! It's a benifit of having a short drive with a couple stops.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

B.C., Washington, Idaho, Montana

We made it from Grand Forks B.C. to Butte Montana today.

The day started early with a Continental Brekkie courtesy of the Hotel and then we hit the road. We drove through to the Border and did not take any pictures. We were warned not to take any pictures at the Border as friends of ours got in big trouble for taking a picture of the 'Welcome to the USA' sign.

We carried on to Spokane where we found gas, lunch and some of those seat-belt-neck-protector thingies. Apparently the back seatbelts were bothering the boys. They are so sensitive... The rest of the day was spent in the car, getting as far as we wanted, which happened to be here in Butte.

When we got into town we saw a group of people talking at the side of the road and asked them where a good place to eat is. They suggested a place called 4B`s which turned out to be pretty good. They also let us know that there is a festival in town this weekend and we may not get a hotel room. We were lucky and got a room at the Comfort Inn right behind the restaraunt. Ahhh.

Today we had only 2 unauthorized rest stops!

And yes, that last picture says `Testicle Festival`! I have no idea what it is, we just needed the loo. I did notice that Dad had the munchies when he got back to the car after walking through the crowd...

We spent the hours in the car looking for licence plates from States that we were not currently in, and waving at anyone else we saw from Canada. We also watched for white horses and made sure to spit over our pinkies when we saw one. It`s good luck.

We got to see this really cool sunset over our hotel on our walk back from dinner...

We are just waiting for the storm to start so we can watch it out our window.

So far we have put 1272.3 km on the truck, 513.3 yesterday and 759 km today. I have updated my map here.

We also got to see a bunch of animals! Yesterday we saw Eagles, Hawks, Deer, Elk, and a Bear!

Today we saw lots and lots of deer. Lets just say the deer today weren`t the happy-eating-on-the-side-of-the-road kind of deer. And now the truck needs a wash.

Today we watched the temperature go up to 36 degrees. We had the sunroof open in the truck and I managed to get half a sunburn, the right half. I guess I will have to drive west to even it out with a left side sunburn... Maybe next road trip.

Here are a few shots of montana we got while we were on the road...

Welcome to Idaho!

Random stretching his legs just past the IdahoéMontana border.

They think this M is for Missoula. Really it`s for Michelle!

So, we are settled for the night and will be getting an early start to tomorrow.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sammiches, Death Valley and lots of driving...

Well, today is the big day.

We were all up at 5am, dressed, cats fed, final panic packing and on the road at 6am. We got to see this awesome sunrise over the misty valley on the way to the ferry.

Once we got off the ferry we headed up to IHOP in Richmond for breakfast and then hit the road.

One of the rules we have is that if you call an unplanned rest stop, you get you picture taken. So lets get these out of the way...

Notice it's the same person each time... just sayin' you may want to cut down on the coffee intake a bit there pops...

We drove through to Hope, where they have decided not to provide any signage to help you find the slide. Considering there are 3 highways that leave Hope, they should consider letting people know, just for kicks... We stopped off to check out the slide, have a snack and strech our legs.

 It was pretty neat, I haven't been here since 2000, and then I just drove through. It's amazing to see the size of the slide. We also ran into this guy...

By the power of Grey-Skull, I have the power!

It's He-Man!! We have no idea what they were doing, but they were playing the theme song and having fun.

Back on the road again we headed into what I would like to refer to as Death Valley. Otherwise known as Osoyoos. Holy crap. It was 34 degrees! We stopped at a park on the water, in the shade, and made our egg salad sandwich picnic lunch. 

And I took this picture from the lookout as we were leaving Death Valley. It was still hot. See all the boats on the water? I can't blame them.

Once we left Osoyoos we pushed through to Grand Forks. Our goal for the day. We are in the Ramada tonight and will be heading for the border in the morning.

We had a good day, and are now arm wrestling for sleeping arrangements. Soon we will be heading for dinner somewhere and then back to the room to crash. Today was sunny, hot and tiring.

Here is the route we took.

Tomorrow we are going to get as close to Missoula Montana as we can. So it will be an early start.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

always carry protection...

just sayin...

because this...

without this...

can be unsafe.

when jenn was in the hospital (for both her, and my birthdays, might i add) she decided that she wanted to get me an ereader for my birthday, and as a thank-you for helping with the boys while she was on bedrest (8 weeks = lots of bedrest).

i borrowed jenn's ereader when i went to europe and sort of fell in love. there is nothing better than holding a real book, and i will always like reading a real book. and there is nothing worse than moving and having to haul boxes and boxes of books. i didn't think i would like reading on the ereader, but i really, really do. and being on a bike, it's nice to be able to take a book, or 10, with me.

brian met me after work one day for the 'kid trade off' and pretty much hauled me into best buy. i got to pick which reader i wanted.

thanks jenn and brian! thank you, thank you, thank you!!

i picked pink! and little.

off i went home to add some books and play with my new toy. i chose the little one for a couple of reasons.

1. it's pink!

2. it fits in the pocket of my bike jacket.

3. did i mention... it's pink!

after a couple months of being really careful i decided it was time to get a cover so i didn't scratch the screen. off to future shop i went. it was meant to be. the first case i saw was also pink! it was also almost $15 less than the black one! so, pink it is.

always practice safe reading.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


A couple weeks ago I had a really early morning. Really, really early.

I left the house at just after 5am and rode up to Naniamo for the 7:40am ferry to Horseshoe Bay.

My bike's first ferry ride!

Then on the highway up to Squamish. I had never been to Squamish before, so I had my fingers crossed that the signs were right. Fortunatly, the signs were good.

This trip was a really, really long overdue visit to see Marilyn and Wayne, Joey and Trevor. It's only been about 3 years since I have been over to see them. Last time I was there, they lived in Surrey and Trevor had just been born. So, about 3 years...

Joey shooting me, Trevor being a gardener.

I arrved shortly before lunch.

Once I had changed, Marilyn and I, and the boys headed up to Alice Lake to meet Liz, Chloe and Olivia. Wayne got to stay home and sleep since he was a lucky boy and had worked the night shift.

Joey, Trevor and Olivia playing in Alice Lake.

I find it slightly amusing that I have two sets of friends that have lived in the same small city for over a year, that live less than 5 minutes apart, that had never met! Well, now they have met.

We spent a couple hours at the beach with the kids and then we headed home. There was enough time before dinner to sit outside to watch the kids play, and be bitten by light-aircraft-sized mosquitoes. Holy cow, those things are big, I think they have teeth...

The next morning we needed to let Wayne sleep again, so we headed off to Whistler. I had never been to Whislter either.

Crankworx was on. One of the sponsers is Jeep and they had a test track where you got to try out different vehicles. Joey and I went for a ride through the track 3 times, usually you only get to go once, but it was slow and we were both having fun.

Joey and I on the Jeep Track. Joey is in the backseat...

Next up, wandering around. We searched for a bathroom, watched some crazy downhill biking, found some lunch at Earls, and the boys got to have a picture taken with one of the Kokanee Girls!

The downhill bike course. Wow!

Daddy might be jealous...

Marilyn was attacked by the Sasquatch! Aaaarrgh!

Marilyn and the boys in Whistler.

Then we made our way back to Squamish. There were kids to chase around the neighbourhood and mosquitos waiting to be fed. After dinner I headed to the pub to meet up with Mark and Liz. After a nice chat it was certainly bedtime.

Oh, and check this out...

See the tree chunks on the power lines?

Apparently in Squamish, when trees are not kept out of the power lines, and they eventually have to cut down the tree, they don't take the 'chunks' off the lines, they just hang there forever.

After 2 nights it was time to head home. The trip down to Horseshoe Bay was windy and I just made the ferry. Just. Like they stopped loading cars to let me on to park with the other bikes. There were lots of other bikes. About 50. They had all been up at the Great Canadian Bike Rally and were heading home. So, I was the last bike in a line of alot of bikes. There were so many bikes that there weren't enough blocks on the ferry for everyone. I made darned sure that I had a block for my bike! The last thing I wanted was to be the first bike in the worst and most expensive game of dominoes ever.

Once I was off the ferry, I just had to make it home. And it was windy. Really, really windy. By the time I got home, I was tired. My body did not want to unpack and do laundry. I made it. Then I fell asleep in my chair. I only slept untill it was time to get up and go to bed.

Awesome trip, awesome friends, and awesome-ly tiring ride home. It was a great three days. Lets not wait three more years to do it again.