Monday, June 29, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Thursday we headed into Madison for a trip to the zoo. I was excited to get out of the house for the day, but not really excited for the zoo. All I had heard was that it was a free zoo and I kept thinking about the one that is in the next town over from us. That is also a free zoo and it has some ducks, deer, llamas, a bear and a couple of wolves. It was fun for us, but I thought if Madison is like that will it be worth the drive into town. Boy was I mistaken. This zoo fits the saying of Dorthy in the Wizard of Oz, "Lions and Tigers and Bears, OH MY!" The first animals we saw were two big shaggy buffalo. Connor thought they were great, but Angela thought they were stinky. She said that they need to shower every day. Then we saw a black bear, a grizzly bear and a polar bear. The black bear and the grizzly bear did not stay visible very long, but the polar bear seemed to want to sit and pose for the camera. After that we got to see some river otters, exotic birds, flamingos and a giraffe. Then there was the tiger! He kept pacing in front of the glass and the kids thought he was great. Every time he'd walk away I would try to move us along, but then he'd come back and they would both go rushing back to the glass to watch him. It took us quite a while to leave him. And I do mean a him. Angela says to me, "I can tell Mom, he's a boy!" She was right, it was quite obvious that he was. Next we went and looked at the rhinoceros. There were two of them and they both seemed a bit worn out. They were laying in the dirt sort of lethargic like. Every once and a while one would lift his head as if to say "What, we're taking a break here, okay?" Connor kept yelling "Hello" to them, but to his disappointment they didn't do anything. Next was a pot bellied pig (that the kids talked to with great snorts), a foreign type of cow, some camels, monkeys, two alligators and some prairie dogs. We enjoyed a picnic lunch and then spent some time playing in the large play toy for the kids. We did not get the chance to use the carousel or the train because the kids wanted to spend their money on ice cream instead of the rides. I also understand that we missed seeing the lions, penguins and a few other animals. This was due to the fact that we had already been there a couple of hours and we were all quite tired. At least it is a free zoo, that is worth the drive, so we will be back again.
Monday, June 15, 2009
We arrived at the Budget truck rental office in Spokane at 8:30 AM (PST). After filling out paperwork and topping off gas we headed up to Colville. Brian, his brother and my brother worked extra hard and got the truck loaded in just over two hours. We then stopped to say goodbye to my parents and head out of town. We stopped in Post Falls, ID for dinner about 6:30 PM (PST). Our next stop was the junk store, also know as the 50,000 Silver Dollar Bar in Haugan, MT. I don't think any trip into MT would be complete without stopping there. We finally arrived in Missoula, MT at about 12:00 PM (MST). The next 30 minutes were spent getting hotel rates, the cheapest we could find was $99. So at about 12:30 we ended up at the KOA setting up our tent. Now imagine this: we are sleeping in a four person dome tent on a full size air mattress. We have opened two sleeping bags and zipped them together for the four of us to snuggle into. I want to know what the tent companies base the "four person" status on, because there were four of us and oh my. That night, Brian said he ended up sleeping more on the floor than on the mattress. Due to the fact that we didn't get to sleep until about 1:00 AM (MST) we didn't get on the road quite as quickly as we had hopped. We learned last time that MT is a huge state and we had hopped to get out of there that day. The more and more we drove the less likely that seemed. Finally about 10:00 PM we crossed the border into North Dakota. We thought we could make it a little further into the state, but after about 20 miles I was beat and so we pulled off to find a hotel for the night. Brian went to check prices at a couple of different hotels. Now here we are in the middle of nowhere, ND and the cheapest hotel he could find was $159, are you joking me, no way! We found another campground to stay at. While I was checking us in the man says to me, "Ya see, there are tourist destinations and tourists traps. Now, this here, this is a tourist trap." All I could say is, "I guess we fell into it." Oh well, back to the tent we go. At least Brian was able to sleep on the air mattress this time. That next morning we got up bright and early and were on the road by 7:30 AM. We were so excited, until a couple of miles down the road I pick up my phone and realize that we had already crossed the time zone and it was actually 8:30 AM (CST). Darn it, so much for our good intentions of getting on the road early. Most of that day passed pretty uneventfully. For about the 20 minutes before crossing into Minnesota I felt like I couldn't keep my eyes open, I was so tired. I didn't understand how Brian could have done this drive so quickly. I was so happy to stop, get out and walk around. About 30 minutes later I was back in the same position, trying to keep my eyes open. So Angela and I stop at a rest stop so that I can take a ten minute nap. I gave her the walkie talkie and told her to get a hold of Brian and let him know what we were doing. I also asked her to wake me up in ten minutes since my phone was dead and charging in the truck with Brian; 15 minutes later she wakes me up. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, it was enough sleep to get me to bedtime, the problem was Brian. I asked Angela if she had gotten a hold of him and she says "sort of". I realized that he didn't know we had stopped and he was now 15 minutes ahead of us on the road, also I didn't have my phone to call him. I got back onto the freeway and pushed my speed as fast as the speed limit would allow. My hope was that since he couldn't go that fast in the truck that we'd catch him. After about 40 minutes of trying him on the walkie talkie, I realized that we have OnStar hands free calling in the car for a month, so I called him. It worked out great, we were able to meet up in the next town for gas and nobody was any worse for the wear. That night (at about 8:30 PM (CST)) we got to Minneapolis, MN and stayed with some extended family. It was sort of a unique situation as none of us had ever meet the other, but it worked out well. This was a great spot to stay for a couple of reasons. First, there were lots and lots of toys inside and outside for the kids to play with. They stayed up a bit later than normal playing, since they had been sitting for so long. Secondly, we only had four hours to drive the next day to get home. Sunday morning we were able to relax and not feel too rushed to get on the road. We made on stop for gas and then like a horse returning to the barn was rushed on for home. It was about 1:30 pm (CST) when we pulled up to home. It is a good thing we have two bathrooms as we all were running in to use them. We had a few people off and on over the afternoon stop to help us unload. It took a little longer than we thought, but we got it all unload by dinner time and the truck returned by bedtime. The house is packed full of boxes. It is quite funny seeing all the little paths that have been made around them. I have definitely got my work cut out for me unpacking them all. Brian should have a three day weekend and then we can get some big work done.