Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 7

Our last full day Madden’s for 2021 was full of banana taxi, pool time and cramming in some final in person conversations with family we don’t see often enough. It was a continued mixture of old traditions and new activities. Tonight all the Adventurers and cousin Alan played several rounds of the online game AmongContinue reading “Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 7”

Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 6

Friday was bonus adventures for our crew in Baxter, Minnesota. We learned a few things about ourselves that were noteworthy. Tiffany learned that there IS a limit for the number of times the teenage cousins would ride in the go-karts. (The answer is three). Suaram learned how many consecutive backflips can be performed before dizzinessContinue reading “Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 6”

Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 5

Our day began with a small family celebration for our youngest member who celebrated his eighth trip around the sun today. Per tradition he first opened a birthday shirt (Minecraft-themed, glows in the dark, high marks from the sibs). Tiffany had an early adventure to finally visit the dentist. It turns out the Bit-O-Honey fromContinue reading “Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 5”

Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 4

It was a bit of a typical wash, rinse, repeat day for our 5 Adventurers at Madden’s Resort. The threat of afternoon showers wasn’t realized and we all had outdoor adventures today. Suaram spent about 2 hours on the inflatables in the lake. She has perfected the jump off the side of the slide inflatableContinue reading “Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 4”

Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 3

After dropping the kids off with their cousins for another hour or two of banana taxi rides, Tiffany and Brian headed to Baxter, Minnesota for another vaccination adventure. Once again, we were met with yet ANOTHER pharmacist who is kind, thoughtful and helpful to us in our quest of vaccinations for overseas travel. Some ofContinue reading “Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 3”

Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 2

When Tiffany describes Madden’s, her best frame of reference is the resort from the film Dirty Dancing. It has activities you can join to learn or hone skill (axe throwing this year along with the traditional tennis and a guided bike ride). A big dining room where everyone eats meals (the food is good butContinue reading “Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 2”

Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 1

We arrived this afternoon at Madden’s Resort in Gull Lake, Minnesota for a seven night stay. Brian’s family have been coming to this charming lakeside resort since the 80’s. More recently, his mom (Busha) and step-father (Mike) have convinced their kids to come back to Madden’s every other year for a reunion of siblings andContinue reading “Gull Lake, Minnesota; Day 1”

Car Adventure update…conclusion?

We’re really hoping not to jinx ourselves by calling this the end of our unexpected, unwanted and unenjoyable car adventure. We are keeping our fingers crossed. Our last task was to share the name of our new vehicle. Three of the adventurers were resolute and unified in their choice so that is what was picked.Continue reading “Car Adventure update…conclusion?”

Driving Day to Fargo, North Dakota

Today was a driving day with our “new” minivan demonstrating that cross-country travel doesn’t necessarily demand white knuckles on the steering wheel and perspiration on the forehead. We have come close to finalizing a name for the new car but will unveil that on another day (lobbying between the Adventurers continues). Most of the dayContinue reading “Driving Day to Fargo, North Dakota”

Wall & Badlands, South Dakota

Today was a bit unusual. After a stop-and-start in Rapid City, including a 3 hour detour to the Toyota dealership (see Car Adventure Update #3 for more) our 5 Adventurers hit the road. First, we went to Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota.  This is the original tourist “trap”. They have been serving free iceContinue reading “Wall & Badlands, South Dakota”

Car Adventure update…#3

Here’s hoping we’ve come to the end of our mini-adventure involving problems with our van. Things went from ‘annoying’ and ‘inconvenient’ to ‘impossible’. After some maintenance on the 22nd we thought we saw enough improvement to continue limping along east toward Minnesota. We hoped the lower grades of an interstate highway would be something OleContinue reading “Car Adventure update…#3”

Driving Day to Rapid City, South Dakota

Our 5 Adventurers experienced a very similar South Dakotan weather day as yesterday. The morning began in the tent at the Mt. Rushmore camp site quite chilly. Mom and Dad had more complaints about chilly feet than the kiddos who claimed themselves as snug as bugs in their sleeping bags. Once the sun came outContinue reading “Driving Day to Rapid City, South Dakota”

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Today was back to the National Park agenda. Specifically the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. This morning was camp stove pancakes and tie-dying shirts as souvenirs (another KOA activity). There had been a short but furious rainstorm while we were twisting rubber bands and choosing dye colors but the sky looked clear enough to proceed soContinue reading “Mount Rushmore, South Dakota”

Palmer Gulch, South Dakota

Neither Brian or Tiffany went camping that much as kids and most vacations involved staying with family/friends or some sort of motel. We also never really spent time in an RV. So we were a bit unaware of the camping resorts that pepper the country offering a fun spot for family reunions or just aContinue reading “Palmer Gulch, South Dakota”

Devil’s Tower, Wyoming

Today was Day 2 of a drive to the Black Hills area of South Dakota.  We have now reached 4,709 miles on our travels from San Clemente, California. Wyoming has a marvelous diversity of land.  One of the more unique places that we have visited thus far was Devil’s Tower.  This feature rises up overContinue reading “Devil’s Tower, Wyoming”

Driving to Buffalo, Wyoming

Today was the first of two driving days for the family. We expect to find ourselves in a campground outside of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota before nightfall on the 19th. Ole Wheezy has attracted several one-finger salutes from Montanans and Wyomingites during the day’s journey. Brian thinks that Wheezy’s limited top speed is theContinue reading “Driving to Buffalo, Wyoming”

West Yellowstone, Montana; Day 4

We checked out of our high-cost/ low-amenity motel in West Yellowstone and drove straight to Mammoth Hot Springs in the northern part of the Park. Yellowstone was established in 1872 as the first national park. There was no precedent for the idea of reserving land to remain wild so the first park superintendents had seriousContinue reading “West Yellowstone, Montana; Day 4”

West Yellowstone, Montana; Day 3

Our aspirations for the day took us into Yellowstone National Park to visit several key spots. Our first stop was at the Norris Geyser Basin which produces some of the oldest and hottest springs in the Park. Steamboat Geyser shoots spray up to 300 feet into the air and had a significant eruption just 8Continue reading “West Yellowstone, Montana; Day 3”

Jackson, Wyoming

The Adventurers began the day early and left West Yellowstone for Jackson, Wyoming. We had been forewarned that Jackson was going to be super busy during this high season so we were glad to get there mid-morning. The family walked around a bit, had a snack, and shopped. The kids discovered a park at theContinue reading “Jackson, Wyoming”

West Yellowstone, Montana; Day 2

Our first day in Yellowstone started out comfortably cool, sunny and…crowded and it pretty much stayed that way. It’s not a big surprise there are crowds, it’s the busiest time of the year at Yellowstone and outdoor vacations are especially popular in our almost post-COVID world. Plus the park is amazing! Once we settled inContinue reading “West Yellowstone, Montana; Day 2”

West Yellowstone, Montana

Today, we have embarked on the Yellowstone leg of the journey.  We are going to spend four nights in and around this majestic area. Our first order of business was to swap Ole Wheezy with some wheels that could take us up and down the mountains in Northwest Wyoming. The kids were somewhat chagrined toContinue reading “West Yellowstone, Montana”

Bozeman, Montana

We made our way over the Continental Divide this morning and found ourselves in Bozeman, Montana for lunch and a visit to a wonderful museum. The Museum of the Rockies is a terrific place for anyone that has an interest in dinosaurs. Montana is a primary location for dinosaur fossil hunting and paleontology. The MORContinue reading “Bozeman, Montana”

Butte, Montana; Day 5

Today was our last full day in Butte and we resolved to do some of our favorite things. The kids played at Stodden Park once again and then spent some time in the pool practicing their underwater handstands and somersaults. Tiffany finished the puzzle with one missing piece and oddly a duplicate one as well.Continue reading “Butte, Montana; Day 5”

Butte, Montana; Day 2

The intrepid travellers remained in Butte for their adventures today. We plan to stay here until Monday the 12th before moving on to Billings, Montana. There is a very pleasant spot in Butte named Stodden Park where the kids played on large mining-themed playground equipment. It’s an homage to the copper mining that made thisContinue reading “Butte, Montana; Day 2”

Butte, Montana; Day 1

The kids and Mom went to the pool at the Copper King Hotel in Butte, Montana this morning while Dad dropped off the car at the Toyota dealership to look into a check engine light which came up during yesterday’s drive into town. Tiffany and Brian have been well prepared to expect the unexpected duringContinue reading “Butte, Montana; Day 1”

Glacier National Park, Montana; Day 5

We were able to make one final visit to Glacier National Park in the morning after packing up and clearing out the camp site. Our target today was Two Medicine Lake in the Southeastern area of the Park. The kids continued to refine their rock skipping technique and discovered many skipping stones among the sedimentaryContinue reading “Glacier National Park, Montana; Day 5”

Glacier National Park, Montana; Day 4

Today was our last full day at Glacier National Park. We would like to visit tomorrow morning prior to leaving for Butte, Montana but we will need to pack up and assess our driving day. Once again we saw some new wildlife today in the Park.  Uncle Jeff did not get to see the BighornContinue reading “Glacier National Park, Montana; Day 4”

Glacier National Park, Montana; Day 3

Day 2 at Glacier National Park.  Yesterday, we traversed the Park from one end to the other by car (with a boat ride in between).  Today was a hiking day as we marched over four miles across a few trails with the 5 Adventurers and 6 Stewarts. We saw a number of amazing waterfalls andContinue reading “Glacier National Park, Montana; Day 3”

Glacier National Park, Montana; Day 2

We awoke in the tent at our campground just outside of Glacier National Park after a comfortable night with minimal wind. Mom got the camp stove running before Dad was out of his camp cot.  The kids tried to be helpful for breakfast prep but mostly stayed out of the way. Dad seemed most excitedContinue reading “Glacier National Park, Montana; Day 2”

Just A Little (Fiction) Story from Suaram

It had been a long drive, and it was 10:00, though it didn’t look like it. The sun had gone down over the mountains, but the sky was still the color of burning flames. The rest of the sky was indigo. Tall trees and leafy bushes looked flammable enough to immediately catch fire if aContinue reading “Just A Little (Fiction) Story from Suaram”

Driving to Glacier National Park, Montana

Today, we leave Tanya & Jeff’s house in Eastern Washington for a 5 hour drive to Glacier National Park in Montana.  We are all very excited to see the park and camp out for 4 nights.  If you notice some missing updates in this travel blog this weekend, it will be due to cellular serviceContinue reading “Driving to Glacier National Park, Montana”

Spokane, Washington; Day 2

We had a fantastic day in Liberty Lake with Brian’s sister Tanya and her family. Liberty Lake is just east of Spokane in Eastern Washington. All four of Tanya’s kids were home to see their cousins. We started the day with a board game, which is a treat for the 5 Adventurers. We learned thatContinue reading “Spokane, Washington; Day 2”