Road Trip 2011


This year's road trip is taking us out the west coast to visit my daughter, Meaghan (and her husband Adam and their son Cole), and my son Joshua.  Along the way, we're going to stop at my sister's place in Chicago for the weekend.


Wendy carving a fiddle at the London KOA

Thu. Aug.11/11 - Day 1 got us into south western Ontario in the London ON area.  We got started a lot earlier than we'd been planning to due to our nephew being quite ill, but that's a whole 'nuther long story.  Anyhow, we got to the London KOA in the early afternoon and just relaxed the afternoon away.  This is Wendy at the picnic table working on the neck of her next fiddle.


Tomorrow, we head across the border and up through Chicago.



Fri. Aug.12/11 - Day 2 saw us leaving the London ON area early and headed for the U.S. crossing at Sarnia / Port Huron.  There was no backup at the bridge and the wait on the U.S. side was only about 30 minutes.  The Customs & Border Patrol people were great - friendly, polite and relaxed.  Unfortunately, after they completed their inspection inside the RV, there was a bit of a scramble about them handing back all the keys, and in the confusion the CBP guy in the booth forget to give us back our passports, and my brain was already a few miles down the highway thinking about getting on to the right road.  We were about 20 minutes down the road when I realized we didn't have our passports, so we had to find the next exit and head back to the border.  Kudos to the CBP folks - they were helpful, apologetic, and very well organized.  We were back on the road in less than 10 minutes.

After a short grocery / fuel stop in Lansing MI, we got to Chicago - right at afternoon rush hour on a summer Friday afternoon.  Fortunately, the traffic through the city was a non-event and we got to Janet & Paul's place just in time for cocktail hour.  Looking forward to a fun, relaxing weekend with J&P.


Wendy and Muggins

Sat. Aug.13/11 - Day 3 started off slow - for me anyway - guess it was the long day of driving yesterday.  Paul had a early tee-off time for the club championship (in which he only finished third), so Janet & Wendy & I went for long walk around their community.  Barrington Shores is a beautiful place !  Then it was off to one of J&P's favourite watering holes for lunch. 






Sun. Aug.15/11 - Day 4 - J&P took us on a tour of the city of Chicago today.  Wendy said it was nothing like what she expected.  We started by wandering into the city down the "Gold Coast" of spiffy residences right on Lake Michigan in the north end. We did a quick stop at the Baha'i Temple -- what a magnificent building !  Then, after lunch, we went on an architectural tour of the city from a tour boat on the Chicago river.  What a great way to see a good portion of the downtown on a nice blustery summer afternoon.




Mon. Aug.16/11 - Day 5 - Early start today. We hooked up with Tom & Thelma near LaSalle MI and headed west on I80.  We drove all day and stopped in a small place named Avoca IA where we camped at the town's fairgrounds.


Tue. Aug.17/11 - Day 6 - We were on the road by 8:00 am and stopped in a rest area a couple of hours down I80.  When we went to leave we found that our truck just wasn't running right.  Tom was guessing it was one of the injectors.  We limped a couple of miles into York NE where we found James who runs the Diesel Pickup Shop.  Sure enough it was injectors - not one but all of them !  The parts had to come from Omaha, so we set up camp in the back 40 of the shop and tried to make the best of our time there.





Wed. Aug.18/11 - Day 7 - The truck parts arrived on time and James got them installed right away.  We bid our farewells to York NE and resumed the drive west on I80 to Ogallala NE.  Along the way, we stopped at the Archway Museum near Kearney NE.  It details the role of the Platte River valley in the expansion of the west.





Thu. Aug.19/11 - Day 8 - Today was a long day of driving - from the western edge of Nebraska, down I76 into Colorado, through Denver at noon, up and down some wicked steep hills on I70, through the Vail pass (note to self: don't take the RV to Vail CO during ski season … I don't think it would handle the roads well), all the way to Fruita CO.  Now we're where we want to be so we can start doing to tourist thing !




Fri. Aug.19/11 - Day 9 - Today was a blast !  T&T took us on a tour of the Colorado Monument.  Now for you Canucks, in the U.S. a "monument" is the designation given to a national treasure one step down from a national park.  The place is amazing.  Everywhere you look there's a picture worthy of a full page National Geographic page.  Just incredible.  The elevation of the RV park where we're staying is 4,500 ft asl and it just goes up from there.  The high point in the park is about 6,600 ft.  And for the last few days, the temperature has been significantly north of 100 F.  As anyone who knows me well knows, heights are not my thing.  So you might be surprised to know that several times today I was within 10 feet of 1,000+ ft drop offs ...  very few of which are protected by Ontario's ya-gotta-protect-people-from-killing-themselves twelve-foot high chain link fences !  But this one place kinda' got me.



Sat.Aug.20/11 - Day 10 - Today was a moving day - we moved from Fruita CO to Torrey UT.  A lot of the drive was across the Utah desert.  There was lots to see including some amazing rock formations off in the distance.  We arrived in the early afternoon in the small town of Torrey UT, just outside of the Capital Reef National Park.




Sun.Aug.21/11 - Day 11 - We went touring today in the Capital Reef National Park.  There have been several flash floods over the past couple of days so some of the roads are closed, but we drove up to what's called the Grand Wash and walked in about 4 km.  This area's claim-to-fame is that it includes Cassidy's Arch - named after Butch Cassidy (Robert L Parker).  According to legend, Butch Cassidy and his Hole-In-The-Wall gang had a secret place here where they hung out in between robbing banks and trains.





Mon.Aug.22/11 - Day 12 -   Today, we moved from Capital Reef National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park in the southern area of Utah.  Absolutely stunning natural rock formations.  It took my breath away.







Tue.Aug.23/11 - Day 13 - We spent more time touring the Bryce Canyon Nation Park today.  I continue to be awestruck.







Wed.Aug.24/11 - Day 14 - Today was another moving day.  We moved from Bryce Canyon City in Utah to Brigham City, Utah.  We met some nice people at the pool in the camp ground who were from Greely Colorado.  When I mentioned that we'd just come from Colorado, the lady asked me where we'd been.   I said we'd been to the Colorado National Monument (see above).  She said she'd never heard of it.  I should probably be included as one of the natural wonders of the world -- and she'd never heard of it !


Thu.Aug.25/11 - Day 15 - Another moving day.  Today, we did the six hour drive from Brigham City UT to Fruitland ID.  You wouldn't believe the changes in scenery over the course of one day's drive.  From mountains, to desert, to high country scrubland, back to desert, and then to this valley that looked like a green oasis in the middle of the desert.  Amazing.  Another long drive tomorrow.


Fri.Aug.26/11 - Day 16 - Today we did the trip from Fruitland ID to Portland OR.  We came by way of Portland because some old friends of Wendy's family (the Carlson's) from California were going to be up in Portland for a granddaughter's wedding, so we made arrangements for all of us to stay in the same campground. It was good to see them all again after so long.  Tomorrow, we're going up to Marysville WA (a little north of Seattle) to meet our new grandson, Cole.  Can't wait !



Sat.Aug.27/11 - Day 17 - We arrived in Marysville today after a four-hour drive from Portland. After we got set up and had dinner we went over to Meaghan & Adam's place and (finally) met Cole Patrick Rideout, our new grandson.  What a delightful little guy !






Sun.Aug.28/11 - Day 18 - Today, Adam took us on a tour of the frigate, the USS Ingraham, to which he's assigned.  After the tour, we went back to the house and Adam did his BBQ thing - and trust me, he's GOOD at it !  He made us some of the best ribs and fahitas I've ever had !  GREAT day !






Mon.Aug.29/11 - Day - 19 - Today, the whole gang of us (Tom, Thelma, Meg, Adam, Cole, Josh, Wendy & I) went to Seattle and went on the "Underground Tour".  It's fascinating !  If you're ever in Seattle with a couple of hours to kill, I highly recommend it.  Lots of real interesting history of the city and a real different peek at a part of the city most people never see.  After the tour,  Wendy & I took Tom & Thelma to see "Pike's Market". The bouquets of fresh flowers are astounding and watching the fish mongers throw huge fish back and forth is terribly entertaining.


Tue.Aug.30/11 - Day 20 - Today was a down day.  We had some errands to, some minor repairs on the RV's, and some groceries to get.  In the afternoon, Meg & Cole & Josh came up to the RV park and we just hung out for a while.  Adam had duty today.  Meg & Josh stayed for dinner and it was great just chatting and catching up.






Wed.Aug.31/11 - Day 21 - Today, Meg took us through the lab at the Providence Medical Center where she works.  Adam had to study for a promotional exam that he has to write tomorrow so he stayed home with Cole.  






In the afternoon, Wendy & I took Tom & Thelma to Lighthouse Park down in Mulkiteo for couple of hours.  Then we met everyone else at the Diamond Knot Brewery restaurant for dinner.  What a great way to end a great visit.  But now I'm feeling a little down.  I never want to leave when I've been visiting the kids.






Thu.Sep.1/11 - Day 22 - Today was a driving day.  We left Marysville WA mid-morning and did a six-hour drive to Spokane WA.  There was no particular reason to pick Spokane as our destination, other than it's about halfway to Yellowstone National Park which we hope to get to tomorrow.


Fri.Sep.2/11 - Day 23 - Another long drive today - from Spokane WA through northern Idaho to Gardiner MT, just outside of Yellowstone National Park.  Ten-hour drives wouldn't be nearly so bad if it weren't for the fact that I've only got a nine-hour butt !


Sat.Sep.3/11 - Day 24 - We toured Yellowstone National Park today.  Nobody named Yogi swiped our picinic basket, in fact, we noticed a distinct lack of wildlife in the park.  During past visits, T&T remember seeing lots of bears, and bison, and elk but they must have been hiding today, because we didn't see many.  However, we did see some amazing scenery.  And, of course, we hung around to see Old Faithful blow its top -- ten minutes late.