Saturday, May 31, 2008

Yellowstone National Park, WY (Wed.5/28)

The Buffalo Bill scenic highway, the drive west from Cody to Yellowstone, was fantastic! I think it was Teddy Roosevelt that said this was the most scenic 50 mile drive in America. I don't know that I'd put it number one, but it's up there.

The Visitor center video, showing bison attacking people and elk ramming vehicles, is a great place to start. It should keep some of the overly ambitious in check.

Beautifully icy Lake Yellowstone

~8000 feet above sea level at Yellowstone, driving through the park you cross the continental divide several times.

Old Faithful – Entering the area looks like the entrance to Disney World (they are setup for mass numbers of people), but it's still pre-season so it wasn't too crowded.

The water spouting out started seeping in the ground hundreds of years ago – maybe that's what puts the “old” in Old Faithful?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Old Trail Town, Cody, WY (Tue.5/27)

Old Trail Town has authentic buildings (moved here from around the extended Cody area) and many materials of the Old West. We came kind of on the later side of the day so they gave us free admission. It's worth the regular admission ($8 adults, $4 kids).

Things were going well at the saloon... Until one brother lipped off...

Nice collection

Orphans preferred – you don't see that everywhere

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Buffalo Bill, Cody, WY (Sun.5/25-Mon.5/26)

We bought a 2 day pass to five museums in one. Buffalo Bill Museum, The Whitney Gallery of Western Art, The Plains Indian Museum, The Cody Firearms Museum, The Draper Museum of Natural History, The Harold McCracken Research Library.

We spent most of our time in the Buffalo Bill Museum.

another picture substitute as I didn't get a good picture of Buffalo Bill

The Firearms were very interesting as well – covering the history of firearms, about 2700 firearms on display. They had a great video showing how modern firearms are made. After a while they started to look all the same – but I'm sure a trained eye can identify the nuances.

The Big highlight of Cody, Wyoming was meeting Bobo and Grandpa. A special grandparent treat – the boys take turns choosing where they want to eat for supper.

Levi's choice of Dairy Queen

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sierra Trading Post, Cheyenne, WY (Thur.5/22)

On our way to Cody, WY we stopped in Cheyenne. Cheyenne has the big Sierra Trading Post warehouse and outlet store and 2nds (returned) and 3rds (slightly used or defective and returned). We spent a couple hours browsing the store for some deals while the boys watched Emperor's New Groove (one of the best movies ever) on a centrally located TV. We were watching the weather a bit and saw some video of a tornado about 50 miles south of us. Fine for now, but the storm was more or less heading our way. Not much later we heard the tornado sirens and the store manager called us all to the middle of the first floor into the employees' work area.

The manager came out and declared he would give us 20% off everything in the store for the next hour. They already had a 20% sale going so he called it 40%. The good news is they added percents when you're not supposed to (I didn't tell them). The bad news, as with any sale, is that we spent a bunch of extra money. Three pair of shoes and a couple back packs later we stumbled out.

Since the additional sale was for only one hour, it had kind of a game show quality to it - people hurriedly running around and such. No trampling though.

The paper house (our RV) was still standing and we didn't have any hail damage – more good news.

Our home for 5 hrs. - - - - - The snow / hail on the truck

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Dotts, Loveland, CO (Sat.5/17-Wed.5/21)

Our St. Paul midway friends – the Dotts!

We had the Dotts over for pizza, a bit of baseball, flag football. We didn't have to coerce the boys much to get them to spend the night, but it left Kim on the short side of an 8 to 1 ratio, but no problem, the boys did great.

The next day the Dotts took us on a family favorite hike - Round Mountain on the way toward Rocky Mountain National park. We had to fight off the snipers catching us in the cross fire (boys throwing pine cones).

We had a grill-out at the Dotts where Elan demonstrated his strawberry short cake expertise.

Another full evening of the boys whipping each other with noodles.

It was great to spend some time with this family again. Loveland is a better town for gaining the Dotts' (though at the expense of St. Paul).

hey Dave, Boulder, CO (Mon.5/19)

I made a solo trip to Boulder to see my friend Dave. I took the tour of his work area, we got some grub, walked down Pearl street and saw his pad.

Dave is as modern as the next guy (hey, he lives in Boulder) but still plays vinyl records. We listened to some 80's New Order - very cool. I forgot how vinyl records, especially 45's kept you involved with the music - flipping it over grabbing a new disc, thinking about your next musical preference...

Great to see an almost-as-old-as-me high school friend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rocky Mountain National Park (Tue.5/20)

Goof balls at the visitors center

We loved watching this twisty river from the different views we had as we made our way up the mountain.

Note the “Oxbow” (lower left) created from a flood where the water cuts across a sharp turn in the river – making essentially an outside and inside track for the water.

Shae lost his shoe deep in the snow here.

Note from author – while my pictures are appreciated by my wife, husband gets minus one point for photographing the shoe rescue operation rather than performing said rescue operation.

The boys enjoyed getting snow balls thrown at them...

We were ringing out Kobe's socks after this hike.

At some 12,000 + feet up, there's a lot of snow. They expect to have the road opened all the way through by this Friday (5/23).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Twins/Rockies, Denver, CO (Fri.5/16)

The light rail got us from close to our camp site to a block from the stadium. As expected, it wasn't too busy on the way to the game and can't-take-a-full-inhale, standing room only after the game.

From the outside Coors Field looked a bit busy / confusing, but on the inside, the stadium was excellent.

There were tons of Twins fans there – I even heard Rockies fans remarking how many there were.

I love watching Gomez run the bases and it's fun rooting for the visitors – especially when they win. This was the first time the Twins have played at Coors Field – so maybe they were brought out of hiding for this.

There was a 2% chance of rain in the afternoon moving to 0% chance by game time.

The Colorado weather predictors were wrong again. We didn't get a lot of rain, but enough to remind us that we were enjoying an outdoor game. It was an exciting game with a 4-2 win for the good guys.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Downtown Denver, CO (Thur.5/15)

The best library that I've been to...

It was designed by Michael Graves – pretty artsy, has plenty of study nooks and coves for kids, but my favorite part is that it has lots of books – actually unusual for libraries that typically have banks of computers. And that's from the guy who doesn't read except with a computer.

Elan got to read and Alijah beat Kim in a game of checkers

waiting for the free downtown bus

The original REI is in Denver, but this is not the original building. Shae got to climb. It was legal. I didn't have to tell him to get down from the giant broom. A park ranger didn't have to tell him to get down. The kid loves to climb. Kobe wasn't tall enough, Shae just barely was. Did I mention he loves to climb?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Family & Red Rocks, CO (Wed.5/14)

It's been hard going from seeing Amy several times a week in St. Paul to a couple times this year. So we imported her and Alijah to Denver.

Holding less than 10,000 in the amphitheater, but getting the biggest names around it has the appeals of great acoustics and a great view

Denver hiding in the background

Adding more family, we met cousin Karin at Red Rocks. She's planning on coming back to the Midwest soon, so we figured she should just finish out the trip with us (we haven't quite talked her into that yet).

the trio at Red Rocks

Some of the famous artists and concerts at Red Rocks

the good news is that I got Kim front row seats at Red Rocks (you'd think she would be happier)

Our 45 minute hike was too short, put it on the list of places to come back and hike around more

Close by is Morrison, CO for some ice cream