Vacation day… something

Featured photo: an outdoor outhouse

It’s Wednesday morning. We’re in Utah and I’m planning on being back in Michigan Saturday. But first one night in Rocky Mountain park. Then somewhere in Nebraska probably and a night at my friends house in Illinois.  

Last I mentioned we were in Denver for Avett brothers concerts at Red Rocks. That was pretty amazing. Since then we camped in a campsite in the valley of mountains. We hit the continental divide at 11,500 ft elevation, we made it to Arches National Park, explored a bit and now we’re on the Canyonlands Nat Park land just not in the park. 

This campsite is on top of a mountain, and with a tiny dirt road that runs along the cliff. There are fire rings and picnic tables but it’s rustic other than that. The outhouse is a pit toilet with no doors or roof. Just kind of a fence around it. When we first arrived it came with its own lizard. We’re not in Kansas anymore Dorthy. 

This trip has been awesome. I’ve seen so many mountains, desert landscapes, we drove through sleet in Wyoming, touched snow in Yellowstone and ranged in temps from 50-96. 

Can’t wait to see Rocky Mountain Park next, then in a few days I get to wash my clothes, take showers daily again, try a balanced diet and hit the gym. This has to be my wake up call. I’ve got pictures of me and I don’t like what I see. I think I’m 100 lbs lighter than what I am. It’s not preventing me from enjoying this trip but I’m going to work on getting to a healthier me again. That will be good. 

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Vacation day 8

Part of me can’t believe it’s only been 8 days with what we’ve seen and done. Part of me knows it’s flying by. Part of me what’s to shout, Get Up Get Up! To my friend and conquer the world. Part of me wishes my internal clock didn’t wake up so early!

I know I’ve done a poor job at keeping up to date with my travels but I’ve got a good excuse. I had no internet or reception throughout South Dakota. As in the entire state. Yellowstone only had reception on top of one Mountain. The past 3 nights we’ve been in hotels but I’ve been exhausted. So here I am. Finally getting a moment. 

I don’t know what I’ve said before so let me try to piece it together. 

We started 1/2 day late. Saturday we made it to the Field of Dreams movie site, then a random campsite in Minnesota. Tuesday we made it to the Badlands and got a campsite at an ok place just outside the park. Wednesday we camped directly below Devils Tower at a KOA. Talk about pricey and posh camping. Thursday we took a detour North to get to the Paradise Valley area. John Mayer lives near here and his snapchats were crazy beautiful of the area around his house. We found a random wildlife/fishing rustic campsite. It was so remote and amazing. All the other campsites were full and we were considering a cabin for nearly $80 at KOA until we found this gem. See featured photo for our scenery. This site was only $18. Nice. 

We drove an hour south into the North gate of Yellowstone. We drove 35 miles to the West Gate, which is midway down the park, in hopes of finding a campsite. By a miracle someone in the back said, we just got one site for 1 small tent, as we pleaded for anything in the park that might be open. We never actually expected to be able to camp in Yellowstone but we weren’t sure where to go if we didn’t. The site was small but perfect. We spent 1/2 day driving around the north loop and taking quick .25 – 1.5 mile paths to see the sites. Desert atmosphere with boiling water and mud pots to Mt. Washburn where we grabbed some snow! We saw wild Buffalo, Elk, Deer, and the top of one Black Bear. We didn’t get mauled by bears in our sleep as I feared and it was wonderful. The park is truly beautiful and a wonder. Thursday morning we headed to Old Faithful and arrived perfectly on time to see it shoot off! Ridiculously lucky, it only goes off every 2 hours! We saw a few more sites but needed to head south to the Grand Tetons. 

Now I thought Yellowstone was beautiful, the Grand Tetons were the most beautiful. I feel like the park is left in Yellowstones shadow but the views are awe inspiring. I must return and camp in this park. There is a section with swimming and the mountains are right there. We stuck our warm swollen bug bitten feet in the cold water and suddenly all was right with the world. If we hadn’t needed to get closer to Denver, if the time crunch wasn’t so big, we would have stayed and swam and slept and experienced more of the Grand Tetons. 

Jackson Hole Wy is a cute touristy BUSY town. A little too much for tired campers to deal with. The rest of Wy was natural gas fields. Uh what? I still haven’t researched it. I’ve been meaning to. The section was boring. Night fell, it was dark and we thought it would be best to drive further and get a motel if need be just to be closer to Denver. The motel was fine, we had BK for breakfast and hit the road by 7 am. We drove straight to our hotel in Denver. Checked in, got our concert tickets and VIP passes, then chilled in the hotel room until we boarded a shuttle to Red Rocks! Part of the VIP trip packaged included a pre-party dinner, first night taco bar, second night Pulled pork and BBQ beef sandwich bar, and I’m excited to see what’s in store this afternoon. 

The food is delish, the venue is incredible and I really enjoy the Avett Brothers, they are a really good band! And yea, if you hadn’t been following along… I didn’t know their music. My friend bought these tickets ages ago and I wanted to go on a vacation. So I said I’d go with IF we took a road trip to Yellowstone, and the rest happened. 

Now, today is the last night in Denver. We meant to explore more but the shuttle leaves at 4 pm and gets back at midnight. A long day at a concert and it makes a late morning. 

We still haven’t planned what to do after we leave the hotel tomorrow, or for the rest of the week for that matter. It’s like the trip is over but we could still do so much. 

I promise to update with some photos but the shower and breakfast are calling my name. 

Night 3

Featured photo: the Badlands

My phone didn’t work for almost all of South Dakota. We’re now in Wyoming at a KOA campground below Devils Tower. 

I haven’t had more than 7 hours of sleep in the last 2-3 weeks. Usually teetering between 4-5 hours per night and vacation has done nothing more for me. My internal clock goes off at 7 am EAstern time zone, but we’re now 2 hours earlier so I’m awake by 5 am while my road trip friend snores on beside me. 

Last night a storm came in. The wind almost blew the tent down. Like it actually bent the tent down and a corner pole hit me in the head a few times. Miracously the tent stakes held true and the rain fly never flew off. We stayed up for a few hours in the middle of the night. Me holding one corner of the tent up while watching the rain puddle inside of the tent. It was dramatic and the worst I’d ever experienced in a tent, but sogginess and all we slept for another few hours once the storm passed. 

Wall Drug is my least favorite place on earth… for touristy stuff. 

My travel buddy has decided to ignore lunch and instead “snack”. While on the road she refuses to stop to buy food but thus far I’m the only one cooking. Annoying to say the least. But last night I fell ill, and she did give me ice to put on my blazing hot head and allowed me to nap for an hour while my head tried to crack my skull open from the inside out. 

That’s about it for now. I’m still exhausted. But we’re one days worth of driving from Yellowstone. That’s exciting!