Thursday, July 31, 2008

Trail Ridge Road leads to the top of the park at the Alpine Visitor Center.

Within minutes of setting up camp, we put on our boots and hiked about 3 miles up to Cub Lake. It felt so good to hike again!

We woke to look out our bedroom window at this deer having breakfast.

Thursday, July 24 - Rocky Mountain National Park

We had one night in this campsite in Moraine campground within the park. It was beautiful.....unfortunately, everything was reserved, and we moved into an Estes Park rv park for the remainder of our stay.

The bikers have arrived for the festivities.

Steam engine #1242 sits in a park across from the rodeo stadium.

We hopped on a trolley that took us all around town, while the driver told us about its history. This statue sits in front of the Wild West Museum, which we visited.

When the transcontinental railroad was completed, Cheyenne Depot was the finest on the line.

Tuesday, July 22

Our next stop was Cheyenne, Wyoming, so Darrell could visit the historic Cheyenne Depot and museum. We had been choosing our campsites day to day, since we didn't have a set schedule....little did we know that we landed in Cheyenne in the middle of Frontier Days. Almost no campgrounds had any openings. Their claim is that it's the biggest rodeo in the world. We did finally get a campsite, and were glad to have it.

Here's where they work on the big diesel locomotives.

North Platte switching yard. A docent at the museum told us that all trains west of here are dispatched at the main center in St Louis, MO.

Just finished in June, this is the Gold Spike railroad museum. It's eight stories high, and you can see the entire switching yard from the observation tower.

We had a nice quiet night's sleep, first ones there to be serviced.

Monday, July 21

Well, we had to leave was hard saying goodbye to the kids, but leave we must. We headed West with the intention of making it to Kearney, Nebraska that day. By 3pm, we still had energy, so we kept on going to North Platte.
Just as we pulled off the interstate, and 3 miles from our next campsite, an idler pulley froze, breaking the serpentine belt, taking out the steering and brakes. Luckily, we were able to pull over, called Good Sam (our towing insurance), and they towed us to a nearby GMC dealer. At this point it was 6 pm, so the dealer was closed. So, we spent the night in the parking lot....our cheapest campsite yet!
We got to talking to the tow truck driver who rescued us, and he used to work for the railroad. He also told us that North Platte has the biggest rail yard in the world, and they just built the Gold Spike (a rr museum). Serendipity! Darrell and I got to see more trains than we ever thought of.

Eric and Tyler whiz by.

Wayne is an expert at this.

Jeannie is winning!

Grandma looks worried.

The go-karts are next on the list of things to do...April and Will are having fun.

As we came to the end of our visit, we decided to go miniature golfing. Here Eric, April, Will and Tyler tee off.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saturday, July 19 - Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Regional Park, Centerville

No sooner did we arrive from the North Shore at this campground, than the tornado siren went off! All campers were herded to the shelter (the restrooms). Here you see people milling, Darrell chilling, and the guy in the background praying.

Friday, July 18, 2008

We hiked around Gooseberry Falls.

Ore tankers go by our campground frequently. At night, they light up and look like a floating casino.

A step back in time, to the mailcar where they sorted things the old fashioned way.

We visited the train museum in Duluth, where Darrell got his fill of locomotives and memorabilia.

Don't know what flower this is, but it looked pretty growing along the trail near the lake.

We hiked up to the top of Day Hill, where we had a good view of Split Rock Lighthouse. It no longer operates, but is lit once a year in November to commemorate the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

July 16 - The North Shore

This is the water of Lake Superior - clear, cold, and always moving, leaving the rocks polished smooth.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Darrell took this with his phone to remind us of why we left Minnesota.

After a day on the river, we enjoyed our anniversary dinner together at the nearby Depot Grill.

Oops! The long arm of the law caught up with us...we were going too fast in the slow-no wake zone. Linda sweet-talked them into a warning.

The beautiful river town of Stillwater.

Darrell does his usual self-portrait.

Linda and Melinda relax. The old Stillwater lift bridge is in the background.

Saturday, July 12 - On the St Croix River with Johnnie and Linda Johnsen-we share the same wedding anniversary-time to celebrate!

Cap'n Johnnie....he rented us a pontoon boat, and we cruised up and down the St Croix river all day.

Tyler checks out C3PO and R2D2.

Friday, July 11 - MN Science Museum

Will and Tyler build a magnetic hover car like the ones used in Star Wars.

After rides and food, we took the boys to the "Build a Bear" store, where you can design your own bear, and, of course, there are accessories of all kinds. Will holds his bear while trying to decide which outfit he should wear.

They really enjoyed this ride, it surprised them.

Will and Tyler have a "meet and greet" with Sponge Bob Squarepants.

Monday, July 7 - Mall of America

The boys get ready on the "SPLAT" ride.

This is Will, 4, our other grandson. He has more energy than all of us put together.

One of the reasons we came all the way to MN....Tyler, 5, our grandson. Lake Elmo Park has lots of jungle gyms, and a swimming pond. The kids joined us for a cook-out on a hot, humid day.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

We're staying at Lake Elmo regional park this week. I got the bright idea of putting bird feeders onto the windows of the trailer....lo and behold.....feed them and they will come!

One of the grand finales of the day. Everyone pooled their fireworks and we had a great show for all. Darrell finished off with the saturn launcher (a questionable purchase he made in Missouri on the way up).

Tyler likes to play bocci ball.

We got the kids to sit still for a moment...from l-r they are Haley, Will, Chris, Tyler, and Bristal.

After the parade, we headed back to Penny's house for a bbq and fireworks later on. Tyler and Will are non-stop as they ride bikes.

Will in the middle and 5-yr old Tyler in red get ready for candy to be thrown. Better than Halloween!

Vintage airplanes do a fly-over at the beginning of the parade.

April, our daughter-in-law (r) and her sister Penny, get the kids organized before the parade starts. (Much candy is thrown at these events)

Our 4-year old grandson, Will, waits patiently for the Forest Lake 4th of July parade to begin.