Mach 3 with your hair on fire! That's how fast this trip is moving! We manage to cram so much into our day that we can barely recall what we had for breakfast. Along the way, we're learning a lot - about each other, ourselves, Harvey and of course, our great country.
After logging more than 2000 miles, we decided to institute a "One Complaint a Day Rule". The kids use up their rule before they even get out of bed. Generally, their one complaint is that this is a stupid rule. Jason hasn't complained a bit. I, however, abide by no such rule and shall not for the remainder of the trip. I'm the Mommy!
On to our travels! Yellowstone is now behind us and what a crazy 3 days THAT was! We drove through more than one snowstorm and woke up our first morning with more than an inch of the white stuff on the ground. I gave Jason a hard time for packing 5 sweaters/sweatshirts, but we all ended up wearing them. I don't think it ever got above 40 degrees until the day we left. We were so anxious to de-layer but after not showering for 3 days, it wasn't exactly a sweet smelling activity.
And, speaking of being cold, we weren't really worried about it since Harvey has a generator and a cabin battery to run the furnace. That's all good and fine as long as your battery is actually CHARGING. The heat would kick in for all of 30 minutes before conking out for the night. So, the clothing layers stayed on, the snuggling was extra good and we somehow survived. I, however, started losing it that first night, waking up freezing, with a dandy headache, and the knowledge we were going to be here for a couple of days.
The next morning, I figured I better suck it up. After discovering that a bison had done a "#2" three feet from our door, we added another layer, tied on our hiking boots and headed out to find a fun little hike. The park ranger (who I will forever call "The Sadist") convinced us that a hike along Yellowstone Canyon would be great. Two hours tops, 5-1/2 miles and "it's only a small rise" in elevation. YEAH, RIGHT!! We were sucking wind 30 minutes into it and all we could see were stairs. I was losing it. We just kept going higher and higher. Don't get me wrong, the views were spectacular, but there were zero guard rails and the trail was literally 12 inches from the edge of the canyon. I spent most of my time yelling "BACK UP! YOU'RE TOO CLOSE TO THE EDGE", which resulted in a lot of "Oh Mom!" and Jason rolling his eyes. Am reasonably confident that the other hikers high-tailed it away from us. I wasn't pleasant.
3-1/2 hours later, we were high-fiving and celebrated our victory by actually going out for lunch. A real treat. I apologized for being obnoxious and a chicken, and we all went back to Harvey for naps (again, with 4 layers on). That night, however, was the highlight of the Yellowstone experience for me. A kinder, gentler Park Ranger gave us some hints on when and where to find the most wildlife. On our jaunt, we saw a moose, four bears (one grizzly and 3 cinnamon black bears), over a dozen elk, and more bison than I could count. The bison are really hilarious. It never failed - when a whole herd would get ready to cross the road (like 5 feet in front of us), the biggest ones would turn, look at us, pose, make a little noise, pose again, and then slowly, VERY SLOWLY, finish crossing. Jason took some great video which we hope to post when we figure out how to. Another job for Jack.
We hit all of the major sights in Yellowstone too. Old Faithful was right on time, but when we went back to watch it again, it never erupted. Turned out, Old Faithful is now taking 94 minutes between eruptions instead of 80-90 minutes. A lovely Park Ranger told us about this, and we were excited because we were actually there to experience it. Mammoth Springs was wicked cool because you can almost watch the rock being formed - the landscape changes so fast. We don't have to discuss the 436 stairs you have to climb to get to the highest terrace. I didn't lose it this time. Yeah me.
A few random things we've learned this week:
Jack is not allergic to Katie despite his frequent assertions to the contrary.
Jason has the patience of a saint.
8 days without Wi-Fi makes for cranky kids, resulting in a crankier mother.
We're still doing ok having ham and turkey wraps for lunch almost everyday, but man, nachos today never tasted so good.
A 3-hour UNO game is not out of the realm of possibility.
Despite being cautioned not to use the oven, we tried it anyway and it worked! Burned the garlic bread, but it worked!
Katie's chief goal is to find campgrounds with swimming pools. Nothing else matters.
Jack has accused Katie of cheating at the license plate game enough times that I'm about ready to keep the shades down and their eyes blindfolded.
I forgot to pack the ketchup.
A quick shout-out to our great waitress in Cody, Wyoming. We purposely went to that restaurant to have Buffalo burgers but didn't see them on the menu. She made sure we all had fabulous buffalo burgers anyway. YELP and I were both going to be in trouble and she saved us.
Thanks for following us. The best is yet to come! Kids hope to blog tomorrow. I may or may not edit!!!