Cross Country Road Trip – Rocky Mountain National Park

We started our road trip by picking up my mom. With my husband overseas I needed another driver and another adult to keep the other kids in line 🙂 My mom was a true hero on the journey, she bought individual DVD players for the kids (in different colors so they didn’t fight over who’s was who’s) and we brought a huge bunch of movies, mostly from the cheap bin at Wal-mart and a few copies of what we had from home. I liked doing it this way because then I didn’t worry about them getting lost or scratched, but it still entertained the kids on the long stretches of highway each day.

The first day we took a straight shot down to Ogden, Utah. This day was one of our longest in terms of driving without stopping. We have been through this area plenty of times, so we just wanted to get in the miles and not really stop much. We did stay at a nice hotel, with a swimming pool, so my kids were happy.

After resting for the night we left bright an early the next day to head into Colorado. We left Ogden and went through Echo Canyon, along I-80 into Wyoming. There was some construction which slowed us down, but what do you expect in the middle of summer. About halfway through the state, we turned down into Colorado. We were going to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, and wanted to drive along the Trail Ridge Road.

Red rock in the canyons in Utah

Talk about a Scenic Byway! The road was breathtaking. It starts low in the mountains with lush forests and lakes, then takes you up into the top of the Rockies with gorgeous vistas (and lots of switchbacks). We stopped along the way for a quick 1-mile hike on the Coyote Valley Trail. It was super easy, totally accessible and, of course, beautiful. The kids liked the break from the car, and it wasn’t so long of a hike that they got overly tired or cranky.

We then continued on the road to the tops of the mountain and stopped at the Alpine Visitors center. We got there just before it closed, and I got another stamp in my National Park Passport Book. After that quick break (and bathroom usage), we headed back down the mountains and into Estes Park for the night. And that was the end of our first leg of the journey.

Click on this panoramic to view it bigger, trust me it’s worth it!

 

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8,500 Mile Cross-Country Road Trip

My oldest is spending the summer in Florida with the Joffrey Ballet School summer intensive. I think she may have chosen it because it was the furthest from us she could possibly get 😉

Seeing as how I love road trips, and we all wanted to watch her end-of-the-course performance, we decided to take a cross-country road trip to see her (well, mostly I decided). We went from Seattle to Miami and back again in 3 weeks. It was a whirlwind trip, but we managed to see and do some amazing things along the way.

Seattle to Miami and back road trip map

I plan all my roadtrips with Roadtrippers. It is seriously the best website. You can put in your starting place and destination and it gives you the route, then you can add things to do/see along the way, and it automatically updates the route. It also syncs with the app, so you can have the plan on the go. It may not have every attraction/place you want to stop, but it’s close and seriously, it’s the best.

Follow our journey in the upcoming blog posts (I’ll update with a list of all the posts here at the end)

Victoria BC

My husband works overseas and can only come home every 4 months or so for a quick visit. This time he came home right around spring break. With our anniversary being at the end of April, just days after his birthday, we decided to get away for a quick trip without the kids. We haven’t gone away without the kids, like, ever, so this was special. We live not too far from the Canadian border, but hardly ever go there. So for our anniversary/birthday trip we settled on visiting Victoria BC. Here are some of the things we did, and recommend to others.

What trip to to Victoria would be complete without a visit to The Butchart Gardens. Sure, it’s not technically in the city of Victoria, but it’s gorgeous and worth the visit. We went before most of the flowers were in bloom, and it was still amazing. Some day I hope we can go back when everything is in bloom.

Craigdarroch Castle is beautiful. Not a huge castle like you usually think of, but still stunning. We loved the self-guided tour. I kind of wanted to move in by the time we were done.

Speaking of castles, Hatley Castle is another gem. It’s part of a school, so you can’t usually go inside, but there is a ‘museum’ in the basement and you can walk the grounds. It’s beautiful and worth the visit. My friend, the amazing composer Jennifer Thomas, filmed part of her Beauty and Beast music video there (see it here!). Amazing.

Victoria is on a bay, so you should definitely check out the Fisherman’s Wharf. There are some cute shops, great fish and chips places to eat, and house boats you can look at.

Around the bay are the Parliament Building, some monuments, and of course the Empress hotel. We did not stay there, and I’m not much for afternoon tea, so we walked through but didn’t really stop. There was construction/restoration going on, which I’m sure will make it all the better in the near future.

For dinner we did visit a small local pub (even though we don’t drink). They had good food and a warm atmosphere. And who can resist a good English Pub.

The ferry ride to and from was beautiful.

I highly recommend visiting Victoria if you are ever in the area!

 

 

LDS Mutual Theme 2017

LDS Mutual Theme 2017

The LDS mutual theme for 2017 is James 1:5-6. I haven’t made any printables in a while, so when my own young woman asked about something for the theme I made this. It’s just a quick basic (read: little ink used) sign with the scripture on it in a kinda cute way. I’m putting it here for free, because I love to share printables.

Ask of God - Free LDS 2017 Mutual Theme Printable

Click here to download the 8×10 jpg

Roadtrip – Glacier and Cascades

Roadtrip – Glacier and Cascades

The last leg (leg 6 for those you keeping track) of our roadtrip took us to Glacier National Park, before heading home to the Cascades.
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After our day at Yellowstone we headed north through Montana. It was a long day of driving, ending with a drive up to Many Glacier and Swiftcurrent Lake (in the park) before going to our campsite at Saint Mary Campground.

After a good nights rest we took the Going-To-The-Sun Road across Glacier National Park. I’m pretty sure we were actually going away from the sun though, because the day started out kind of sunny, and ended pretty cloudy. The road is pretty narrow and goes along cliffs in parts, but the views were amazing. We made sure to stop at all the viewpoints and pull-outs.
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At the top of Logan Pass we stopped at the visitor center and walked around a little. There was still a good amount of snow on the ground, so we didn’t venture too far. Coming down the other side we stopped to play a little in Lake McDonald. The photo below does not do it justice, it was so pretty there. The sun even peeked out for us a little.

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After Glacier National Park we headed through Idaho and ended up in Spokane for the night. From there we took the northern-most route home, highway 20 (which we’d never done before). This route took us right through North Cascades National Park, and the Ross Lake National Recreation Area. They shut this road down in the winter because of the snow and avalanches. But in the summer it’s a beautiful drive.

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Back on the east side of the Cascades it was a nice sunny day. Perfect for our last viewpoint, Diablo Lake. From there is was all downhill to home.
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