Wednesday, October 29, 2014

PCS'ing part 5: Mount Rushmore & the South

let's just get right to it....

Driving out of Wyoming and into South Dakota. Wide open views. 

great faces. great places. south dakota
 On our way to Mount Rushmore we stopped at Devil's Tower. I had never heard of it before but it came highly recommended and it was a nice little pit stop. We had lunch in the little park and took a few pictures before scaling the top. j/ rock climbing for us!
One of my favorite pictures. Looks like we were photoshopped in!

proof harley didn't stay locked in the hotel or car the entire time!

We arrived at our campsite in the afternoon and quickly unpacked. We stayed at the awesome Mount Rushmore KOA. I have never seen such a cool campsite before! They had two pools, playgrounds, bounce houses, restaurants. All the basics plus more. We got a modest little cabin overlooking a large open field and the RV's. 

super excited to be out of the car!

front room with a great view

harley relaxing on the bed and checking everything out
 After grabbing some dinner at the on site Mexican restaurant (decent), we headed over to Mount Rushmore to see the night show. There was a presentation, a movie and a lighting ceremony. It was a USA prep rally! It was so moving...definitely a place that all Americans should see.
walking in at sunset

all lit up! 
I really wanted to "kill it", so we went back the next day to see it during the day. We saw all the exhibits and walked around the path in front of the monument. It was so hot out but a lot of fun. We got some great family pictures and a Christmas ornament for our tree.

see any family resemblance with the man on the far right?!  :)

Then it was back to the room to change and head over to the pool before nap time! Charlotte was super excited. 
off we go

playing in the splash park with Daddy
 We ate at an amazing steak restaurant, Alpine Inn, in Hill City that night. Sooo good!! Then it was s'mores time!! Charlotte enjoyed her very first s'more over the campfire :)

 After two fun days we were off to the south to continue our adventure. A pit stop at the Badlands...

Matt made a friend in Sioux Falls, SD
Proof that Matt didn't drive the entire time

Family shot with the arch. It was so hot!!

had to lay on the ground to get this picture


enjoying some BBQ in Missouri. Mmmm

cuddles with H
 We eventually made it to Tennessee where we got to spend some time with our friends Josh and Francis and their girls. So glad we were able to see them on our trip! I know Charlotte loved having some playmates for a few days too.
going for a walk

playing outside with Miss Francis

splash park time!

having a blast!

two beauties :)
up next: never before seen photos: Florida and our cruise!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

PCS'ing part 4: Yellowstone

Only an hour drive away from the Tetons was the amazing Yellowstone park. I never thought we would be able to see this park, it is a little out of the way, as far as National Parks go, but totally worth it. It is massive!! We only saw a quarter to half of it. We tried to see some of the big attractions, but there is so much more to explore. Another place we hope to return to someday.

had to shove our way in to get this photo....there was quite a line!

welcome to yellowstone
As you drive through these parks, all of a sudden you will see a large number of cars and RVs pulled off on the side of the road. That is a sign of wildlife is nearby. Our drives always took longer than planned because we had to stop for some photo ops. So cool!
why hello there Mr Elk!

so close!
 After driving into the park we checked into our cabin at the Lake Lodge, right on Lake Yellowstone. It was really nice, and a short walk to the famous Lake Yellowstone Hotel.  We dropped off our gear (and Harley), changed clothes and headed out to do some touristy stuff. First up were the Prismatic Springs. Wow. Just wow.

Charlotte looks asleep but she was just annoyed to be in the pack and not walking on her own.

check out those colors!!

yep it was crowded!
 Then we headed over to the Old Faithful Inn where we had reservations for dinner....special for my birthday!! The Lodge was amazing!! Check out the lobby....

Dinner was delicious. We had Bison and Elk. Mmmm. Followed by huckleberry ice cream!! Might be the best birthday dinner I have ever had. 
birthday song

Charlotte making funny faces

cheers to mommy's birthday!

my two loves

so happy!!
 After dinner we got a seat outside and waited for Old Faithful to erupt. They don't call it Old Faithful for nothing, it was right on time :)
waiting patiently

bored...time for a nap

it doesn't seem nearly as awesome in this video, but trust me, it was :)

 The next day we spent our time exploring the park and all we could squeeze into one day. First up was a drive through Hayden Valley. It was so open and expansive and full for Bison! We got some amazing photos of them in their habitat. 

checking out some Elk in the distance
 Our main event of the day was the hike of the Upper and Lower Falls. Upper Falls..
easy peasy flat hike
 Then off to Lower Falls. Now THAT was a hike! We took Uncle Tom's trail which consisted of over 300 steps down. Not so bad....except having to go back up!!! And poor Matt had an extra 30lbs to haul up too. A nice little workout with one kick ass view. 

we made it! 
 I could have sat out here all day and listened to the falls and just relaxed. 
our beautiful girl

soaking it all in
 Our hike wore everyone out so it was back to the cabin for a nap (for Charlotte) and some beers on the deck for Mommy and Daddy. I think Charlotte had a good nap!

the video of us finding her 

After cleaning up all the chocolate and doing a quick load of laundry, we were off to dinner at Lake Yellowstone hotel. It had been recently remodeled, and kept perfectly with the time period. Had a very 1920's vibe which I loved. 

waiting for our table

listening to music while we waited

family pic time

the view on our walk back. breathtaking (arm being outstretched to showcase the landscape)

After not even two full days we had to leave :( but a local bison came by to see us off. Goodbye Yellowstone!!!

our drive out of the park.
up next: Mount Rushmore!