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Monday, June 30, 2008

Here is a little shout out to Micah! The girls were delighted that he was asking about them. We had such a fun time with him.
Dave has changed the GPS to Dr. Lucy. (D.R.= Divorce Remedy and Lucy for losing us) This is the new start up screen for the Garmin.


We stopped in at the museum with the two-headed calf. It was quite interesting and memorable. The museum was small and had two older ladies running it. It was a stop that we programmed in from Road Side America’s website. We were greeted at the door with two barking dogs…..allowed to run amuck in the museum with the two “museum dog ladies.” We moved on to the grocery store and were stared at. There was no need to paint a sign on us stating that we were from out of town. I think they were amused with us. Dave tried to run our credit card through the WIC machine and we witnessed an elderly man buying 50 Banquet dinners and nothing else. I wanted to invite him for dinner, but unfortunately we were not having dinner close.

Big Horn Canyon

I’d like to hear a rant from Dave about flat land drivers. It is almost poetic. It is quite interesting to ride with Dave through the mountains. I’m thanking God that we didn’t have the opportunity to tow a vehicle like we did the last time that we drove across country. Pulling a car up to the top of Yosemite was not fun. Big Horn Summit is a similar climb going up to Yellowstone. If you ever have a chance, take the drive from the East end of Yellowstone to Cody Wyoming. By far, it is the best scenic drive that we have ever had. The pictures do not do it justice.



Mt Rushmore









Mt Rushmore was such a nice time. This is the whole reason I wanted to take this road trip. Last time it was Grand Canyon and this time it was Rushmore. We got up early and headed out through the Black Hills to the mountain. We took a little hike and moved on to Crazy Horse. I was thinking that a little more of it was completed than was, but it was FREE for military. I love those sites! Later this evening we headed back up to Mt Rushmore for the night lights. I was really hoping for fireworks, as this was on our “must see” list. They didn’t have real fireworks, but there was a projection screen with fireworks in the video. I have heard that the Fourth of July at Rushmore is one of the best. Maybe when we are stationed at Ellsworth someday we will go see it. The timing just didn’t work out this time.

Crazy Horse. Mt Rushmore could fit in the head of the indian and it is a full head and not just a face. When it is done, it will have the full body and the horse.
Last night we met some AF friends at Chuck E. Cheese. We haven’t met the littlest one yet. It was such a fun time. The highlight was watching their littlest girl (K), who is almost Nathan’s age and weighed the same as he does. We could kind of imagine how big he is. Their dad is currently deployed and I think it was a nice detour for Mom (K) to have adult company. Dave and (J) went to Chaplain school together. The last time that we saw the older daughter (L), she was at our house and barely walking. McKenzie was 8 and Miranda was 4!


Back at the hotel and the girls shared an MRE for lunch. They have waited for months to open that package! We rested and played at the pool and then off to Chuck E. Cheese.


After dinner we went shopping for some Black Hills Gold. This has always been a favorite of mine, and Dave wasn’t going to let us leave without a little souvenier. I ended up with a pair of earrings and Miranda and McKenzie picked out their purity rings. They were disappointed to have to wait to get their rings, but they will be memorable. Later on down the road today we found another gold shop that Dave wanted to stop at (I lost a ring a while ago and was trying to find a replica to replace it with). No such luck on the replacement, but he did find a dragonfly necklace for me. The dragonfly is a symbol of freedom for Vietnam.

The Grand Tetons were wonderful. If you have read here much, you know that I LOVE mountains! I think that Dave has a new place to put on his list for a retirement home. He enjoyed the scenery at Cody, Wyoming. We’ll see how that goes. I like the scenery, but family is more important to me right now…it is to him too.

This is a little photo journal of the highest gas price so far....just outside of Yellowstone.

Yellowstone has been a lot of fun. Boy, it is so much bigger than it looks on a map. We went from our camp, just outside the gate to Old Faithful and around the large loop. We have seen moose, buffalo, 3 grizzly bear, elk, deer and two little coyote pups. I didn’t get pictures of the pups because they were behind the bush, but we were all able to see them before they ran back to their hole. There was a Grizzly bear that walked through our camp last night. I didn’t know that he was there, until I talked to the guy at the camp store. I asked how often bears came through and he said quite often, but he hadn’t seen any this year. I can’t say enough that I was so happy to be in a trailer and not in a tent. You couldn’t have paid me to camp in a tent at Yellowstone. (probably anywhere for that matter) I need my creature comforts. Have you ever experienced a high off of Deep Woods OFF? I have! We went through a full can in 1 ½ days. Not more than 5 minutes out of the car, Miranda had it in her eyes. I have never seen so many pesky little mosquitoes in one place until there. They just hovered at the camp trailer door. I can’t wait to have mosquitos pestering me again in Vietnam. From Miranda’s little escapade with OFF in her eyes, we learned to use a paper towel to apply it to our face and neck.


Yellowstone Falls
You can't see it here, but they are playing in the SNOW!
MMMMM S'Mores


Welcome to Idaho!
Potato Fields
Spud Cellars

Sunday, June 29, 2008

We are in Boise!

Sorry the updates aren't as exciting as I hope previous ones are. We have arrived in Boise and it is SO good to be with family. The trip was great, but we are ready to have a little space to ourselves. I hope to post pictures of Big Horn Canyon, Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons soon.

Oh, we were at dinner tonight(being the nosey PAP that I am)I met another adoptive family of a little guy just coming home from Vietnam. I was so excited and shared my info with them and invited Dave over to meet them.....He already knew them. He went to church with them several years ago and I worked with their bio daughter when I was pregnant with McKenzie! What a small little world it is. Welcome home Jonathan. We will be meeting another PAP family later this week. We can't wait!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

This is our "Chaplain" loaded down.




Dave's morning stop for Starbucks. Can I say again that we LOVE our GPS? We stop at Starbucks each morning and then we are off. We don't have to get lost finding Starbucks before we start our day!

A picture of the Monkey Wrench Cycle shop...it reminds me of our little monkey in Vietnam.





Dave's Dad made the girls doll houses. McKenzie pointed out the doll house shop named "Leonard's" How appropriate!




Husking corn in Nebraska



Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Badlands

videoHere is Dave at his finest with the girls. He was stopping every little bit in the Badlands shouting that he saw a Jackalope and the girls were frustrated that they couldn't see it. I caught on and here is what we have.....poor girls :)

Here is what the girls were looking for:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Leonard (Grizzwald) Family Vacation

Let me catch you up on our adventure. Our first stop out of Montgomery was the Ave Maria Grotto. We were planning on seeing the World’s Largest Chair until we realized it was 100 miles out of the way. We then decided to stop at the Grotto. We wish that we would have been able to take Dave’s parents while they were here. It is something that Dave’s mom has really wanted to see for many years. Here are a few pics. It reminds me a lot of Peterson’s Rock Garden in Redmond. Dave at the Chipmunk Crossing.
The Tower of Babel.

I almost forgot about Shiloh. I know it is a Civil War site that Dave has wanted to stop at for several years. We couldn’t leave the South without stopping in there. The chapel was one of the highlights and Dave has posted pictures of that below. We have stamped more cancellations in our National Park Passport too.

Our next stop was Memphis. The first night we walked Beale Street. McKenzie and Miranda joined in on the dancing. We ate at Pig’s BBQ and watched the “Elvis” singer. Pig’s was the only place that was child friendly.
We then headed back to the hotel to crash. Next stop…Graceland. On our way to the mansion, I plugged in the address and we were directed to a warehouse. We all have nicknamed the GPS: Dave’s is “Dr.” (Divorce Remedy) McKenzie has named it “Lu Lu.” I like “Lu Loser.” Miranda calls it “Dumb Dumb.” This trip is a whole lot less stressful than the last time. Dave and I have never done well together navigating. I LOVE having the GPS. It relieves the accusations of insufficient navigation skills (that’s me.) We are all wearing a little thin on patience among ourselves. As seen in the past, it gets better as the trip goes on. It is a great family bonding time. We took the Graceland mansion tour. One of my favorite stops was the gift shop. It cracked me up. It was fun to say that we have seen Elvis’ house, but I don’t really get too excited about seeing “famous” people’s stuff. As my 7th grade teacher always told us, “We all put our pants on one leg at a time.” We then headed to St. Louis. We made it to the Arch and I was thankful that McKenzie got a new camera for the trip. She has quite the eye for photography. These photos were from her. After riding up to the top of the 660 foot arch (taller than the Space Needle, Statue of Liberty, or the Washington Monument) Miranda pointed out the shadow and Dave took this. We watched the film on how the Arch was built and brought us back to the memories of grade school films. It was funny. We also toured the Westward Expansion museum located below the arch. We aren’t quite following the same route, but we will end up in the same spot as Lewis & Clark. It is kind of fun. McKenzie was intrigued with the covered wagon and wanted to know more about my fourth grade wagon train field trip. (I was one of those kids that would have died on the trip) But fun to remember anyway. I wish we were able to give my girls the same experience. Thanks Mrs. Condron for the experience. We don’t have and exciting stops planned today. We’ll see how it goes. Just driving and meeting up with new friends. The highlight so far is McDonald’s for lunch. We have been picnic-ing each lunch and they were delighted with Happy Meals and Kung Fu Panda toys. More to come…..Mt. Rushmore soon! Here we are with our new Holt friends. We were able to meet D&S and little M. He was so charming...not so excited about new friends/strangers, but cute none the less.