Hey! Were you wondering what happened to me? Well, I left the grid for a bit (not completely). I mostly became a voyeur on Facebook, WordPress, Blogspot, and Twitter. By that, I mean that I didn’t comment/participate much, but stayed current on what was happening with my peeps.
I have kind of been on vacation since mid-June. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
My oldest daughter will be a senior this year and we wanted to take a “big” vacation this summer. We won’t be able to afford any big vacations next summer because of looming college expenses (we found out that book rental for one semester can be $700!!).
So, on June 22nd we loaded the family truckster with our luggage and began our 11-day trek across the West.
On the first day of trip we stopped in middle of Minnesota and encountered a 60-foot Jolly Green Giant in this small town, Blue Earth. By the way, the Engledows are not highbrow travelers. Bring on the cheese – the cheesier the better. So, you can imagine our excitement when this discovery was made!
On the second day of trip we reached our first destination – Hill City, South Dakota. We stayed there for 3 nights and visited the usual sites in that area: the Corn Palace, Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, Badlands National Park, Mt. Rushmore, Chief Crazy Horse Monument, Custer State Park and Bear Country USA.
Here is a montage the South Dakota part of our trip (we have 1000 pictures between 4 cameras so these are just a sample):
South Dakota was beautiful. I didn’t expect it to be as gorgeous and green as it was. What was I expecting? A lot of brown, dusty looking panoramas. This was just not so!
Day 5 was the transition day from South Dakota to Colorado. This required us to drive through Wyoming and was the eeriest part of our trip. Why? There were rarely any other cars and we had no cell signal – we could have disappeared without a trace! But, we didn’t. Wyoming had wonderful, interesting panoramic views that you just don’t encounter in the Midwest and I would have enjoyed the drive more if we had had cell coverage.
Our second major destination was Estes Park, Colorado. OMG! I love this place. I could move there. Seriously.
We stayed 4 nights and had a wonderful time. We saw Elk wandering the downtown sidewalks, went rafting down the Colorado River, toured the Stanley Hotel (inspiration for The Shining), drove over the Rocky Mountains (we reached 12,000 ft above sea level!), went hiking in the Rockies, saw wildlife galore (wolves, elk, moose, marmots, bald eagles, pronghorns, mule deer), etc.
Pictures from the Colorado Part of our trip:
We rounded out our trip with a hellish drive through the entire state of Kansas (talk about desolate!) and then spent our last two days in St. Louis, Missouri. We toured the Arch and the St. Louis Zoo. Their zoo is fantastic and it’s free!
What a great trip!! It was definitely my favorite of all of our family vacations. We had been saving money for this trip for two years (we had a trip jar) and it was worth every penny.
Our kids are the best travelers and made the whole experience absolutely wonderful! I hope this trip will remain in their memories as something really cool from their childhoods.
What about the rest of the summer? Well, we got back from our trip on Saturday, July 2nd and left again for another family vacation on July 9th (No, that’s not stressful at all. Yeah, right!).
We were not on the go during this vacation so it was very relaxing. I read three books and started a fourth (in one week) – I did pay some attention to my family, but not much! 🙂 That’s okay – they were busy swiming in the lake, going tubing, fishing, etc.
Now I’m back in the real world (hiss, boo) and ready to get back to it!
It would be a lot easier if I wasn’t still daydreaming about being back in Colorado. These intrusive thoughts are seriously hampering my ability to get back into my real life. Hopefully, these daydreams will eventually go away and quit taunting me!