Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Blog-travels from June 9 to June 26-with pictures

We left Moab and traveled to Holbrook, Arizona. We met Emma and her family from Oklahoma. During the day we drove 27 miles from Petrified Forest to The Painted Desert. We saw lots of ravens. I named them all – Horace, Thunder, Shadow, Sassy, and Jerry. One even flew next to the truck at our window. The Petrified Forest has trees of stone that are millions of years old. That afternoon we went downtown to the Courthouse where we saw the Navajo dancers. I met two Navajo children, one boy and one girl. We played on a jungle gym that looked like a jail. Emma and her family were there too. Nanny and Gaggy ate a frye bread Indian taco. I ate a sandwich when we got home.

Petrified Tree

Painted Desert:

THURSDAY and FRIDAY, JUNE 10 & 11, 2010

This is Nanny reporting . . .This blogging is ending up being very difficult. We get in late from either a long day’s drive or a full day of sightseeing, and blogging is the last thing on our mind. I’m going to catch Max up and keep everyone informed, but I’ll stop at key points and let Max report also. He really wants to do it himself, but there just aren’t enough hours in each day.
The Grand Canyon was one of Max’s favorite places. We traveled there today and toured it the next day.

Magnificent Grand Canyon:

Grand Canyon-another view

Grand Canyon a panoramic view:

Hoover Dam was 280 miles from the Grand Canyon. We only drove around the dam awhile and got out places to take pictures. They are building a new bridge at the dam, and that was really impressive to Max. At each new spot, we stop and pick out post cards for Maxwell’s scrapbook, and we look for a souvenir penny press. He’s enjoying adding to his penny passport collection.

After 2 days of driving (421 miles), we arrived at Sequoia National Forest in Southern California. We were in the South portion of the forest and chose to tour the area called The Land of 100 Giants. The sequoia trees in this part are as large and impressive as the ones 4-1/2 hours away in the Sequoia Park, but they are not all named. Walking thru this part was not as crowded with tourists, and we found it very enjoyable because it was more natural and rustic. Max enjoyed exploring holes thru the some of the trees and climbing uprooted trees for pictures. The Sequoias are the largest trees in volume. They are biggest in their diameter and only grow in Southern California where the climate is more stable,less changing year round. We picnicked in the forest.

A Giant Sequoia Tree:

Yosemite National Park still in Southern California was next. It was a day’s drive of 231 miles. We actually toured Yosemite on 3 different days. A couple of the days were spent driving around and going to the different vista points where we would see beautiful water falls and giant granite mountains. One of the days we took a tour on an open shuttle (cars pulled by a big vehicle). The Ranger guide told us that between 30 and 40,000 people toured Yosemite weekly. He pointed out several teeny specks on the mountainsides that were climbers. It seems there is a subculture of climbers that come continuously to Yosemite. Our guide impressed Max by telling him the youngest climber on one of the summits was 11 yrs. old, and the oldest was a lady of 81 yrs. She, of course, had been climbing for over 30 yrs. The mountain they were climbing (El Capitain)was as tall as 3 Eifel Towers put end on end. Max really liked the Half Dome mountain. Driving into the park was mountainous, curvy, and very slow, and this wasn’t the peak season yet. We also visited an Indian museum and small replica village as well as the village at the floor of the mountain. The floor area had a lodge, an artist’s studio, eating places, and a small post office. Free shuttles took us from spot to spot because a parking spot was hard to come by.

Water Falls at Yosemite National Park:

Many Climbers brave these peaks called "El Capitan" at Yosemite:

Two days driving (589 miles), and we arrived at Redwood National Park in Northern California. Where we spent one of the nights was so funny. Max said it was a Wal-Mart shopping lot without the Wal-Mart. We had water, electricity, and sewer, but it literally was a giant parking lot owned by a Mexican. No one was there to check us in, and Julio told us to choose a spot & he’d come by that night or the next morning. We explained that we’d be gone the next day so he might want to come get our money before we departed. It ended up being one of our most enjoyable evenings for Maxwell. Our couple friends, Marge & Keith, played Mexican train dominoes until very late that night. We laughed and laughed.
Driving thru California has been a real experience in itself. Grape vines, almond groves, avocados, and olive trees are everywhere for as far as you can see. We were driving thru Napa Valley and Senoma Valley – both wine country.
The Redwood National Park and the drive to the park was full of more sequoias (redwoods). The difference between the trees of the Sequoia National Park and those of the Redwood NP is the size. Trees in Sequoia NP are the largest in volume, but the trees in the Redwood NP are the tallest. Gene, Max, and I hiked a trail and took Paco with us. We couldn’t have asked for better weather during our adventures .
Nearby we stopped at a very interesting spot called Trees of Mystery where we saw the Family Tree (one sequoia with about 6 or 7 other sequoias growing upward on the main tree’s branches). Even a fallen sequoia had others growing up from it. These trees, by the way, are over 350 to 400 feet tall and are around 1500 yrs. old. A local artist had carvings throughout the Mystery Trees, and the carvings told the story of Paul Bunyan. Max enjoyed climbing on a huge, talking Paul Bunyan in the parking lot. Paul’s ax was 14 ft. tall, so you can imagine how big he actually was, and a man spends all day answering questions and talking with the kids thru some very sensitive sound system in Paul. He can hear even the small children, and comments on everything they say.
Heading to the Redwoods, we took the scenic Hwy. 101 along the coastal route and stopped to play in the Pacific Ocean. Max was amazed at the huge waves and the dark, volcanic sand. In fact, California has a lot of volcanic land – black/gray sand and molten rock of black, gray, red, orange, and white.

A 250-300 foot Giant Redwood Tree probably 2500 to 3000 years old:

WEDNESDAY thru THURSDAY, JUNE 23 and 24, 2010
One day of traveling and we hit the Crater Lake area – 4 to 6 ft. of packed snow. It’s wild to drive from sunny California into Oregon to find snow 26 miles from our campsite. We had an extremely nice campground, and I would have wanted to stay an extra day, but the mosquitos were terrible! Oregon has had a very cold, snowy winter, and the land is wetter longer than usual, breeding mucho mosquitos.
The Crater Lake rivaled the Grand Canyon, our previous favorite. We drove 7 or 8 miles up the mountainside to the first vista point, got out, and all 3 stood speechless. W-O-W was about all we could say repeatedly. The lake, mountains, islands, and clouds, looked like a painted picture. They didn’t look real to any of us. Crater Lake is the bluest that you have ever seen. It’s a bright, light blue to a vibrant turquoise blue. Wizard Island and Pirate’s Ship are snowcapped islands that sit in the middle of this 5 miles wide, over a mile deep lake. About 7,000 yrs. ago a volcano Mt. Mazama erupted, spewing ash 10 feet deep in the area and as much as 6 inches over 400 miles away. The results of the volcano was an enormous whole that filled up with rain and snow years later, thur beautiful Crater Lake. We drove The Rim about halfway. Not all of the rim was open because of recent snow fall. Lunch was great at the Crater Lake Lodge, and the observation deck at the lodge gave us another breathtaking view. The lodge itself was very interesting. It had Ponderosa Pine trees growing thru the floor and up thru the roof in the dining hall and the front foyer. Max & I decided we’d really like to stay at the lodge for awhile, but the camper called, and we eventually had to leave. Max enjoyed some male pre-teen companionship at the campground that night, and we planned to leave for Shoshone Falls in Idaho the following day.

Crater Lake is one beautiful sight:

Another Veiw of this beautiful lake which the writer Jack London said it was the most beautiful site he had ever seen:

A Panoramic View of the Crater Lake:

FRIDAY and SATURDAY, JUNE 25 – 26, 2010
Last night we made the decision to have Maxwell’s tooth checked out. He’s been having some problems and a little pain on and off for a couple of weeks. He told us he had a hole in his took, but we didn’t see the hole until last night. The owner of the campground here in Burns, Oregon, told us about a dental group in town, and I called last night to see if one of them would see us on Saturday morning. We didn’t want to get to Yellowstone in the “boonies” and not be able to find a dentist. Dr. Jack Bauer met us at 10 A.M. in his office and had the tooth extracted in only a few minutes. The doc was about Gene’s and my age & had years of experience with fearful children. It was a baby molar & was easily removed. The hole was a filling that had fallen out because the new tooth was pushing the baby tooth out. It wasn’t a bad experience for Max at all. He didn’t have time to dread it, and Dr. Bauer knew just how to work with Max. We’re off now for Idaho and the Falls. After that we’ll head North to Glacier Natinal Park, Gene’s favorite spot.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

New Travels from Sunday May 30 to Monday June 8

SUNDAY, MAY 30, 2010

Today we had a rest day at the campsite. I went to play pool at the arcade room with my new friend Joshua from Kansas. After that me and Gaggy played 4 games of pool. A little while after that, we played the tie-breaker game. Then Gaggy sunk the 8-ball into the hole and I WON! Also, me and Joshua went to the pool to go swimming. He got a torpedo sinker that you throw into the pool, and we made up a new game where you throw the sinker like a football and try to hit one another while the sinker’s going under water. I won.

MONDAY, MAY 31, 2010
Today we drove to North Colorado to Rocky Mountain National Park. When we got there we hiked thru a walking trail and saw a jack rabbit. I got up close to it. Then we went back to the campsite.


The first thing we did today was to go to Bear Lake. Bear Lake was frozen and we walked all around it. I saw at least 6 chipmunks. By the way, I was in my flip-flops the whole time, and there was ice everywhere. After Bear Lake we went to the Albert Falls, and I almost climbed to the top of the rocks. On the way back to the truck, we saw Western terrestrial garter snakes, at least 4 clumped up on one another. Luckily they aren’t poisonous. Also, we got up close to 5 elk and took pictures of them. Next we went back to the campgrounds to rest a little while. Then we went to Estes town. I bought some candy and ice cream; Gaggy got some chocolate; and Nanny did too. We also saw this big dinosaur skull in a shop there. It was worth $7500.


Today we drove the Trail Ridge Road up to the top of Rocky Mountains to the Alpine Tundra. The elevation there was 11,760 ft. above sea level. We were above the tree lines and in the clouds. We stood in front of the Continental Divide which divides the East and West. On the way back we saw a gopher on a rock covered with ice. To make things even better, I got my Jr. Ranger badge when we got back to the campsite. I learned how to protect the forest and the animals.


Today we traveled from Rocky Mountain National Park to Vernal, Utah, to our campsite Fossil Valley V Park. We rented Star Trek at McDonalds and watched it that night.

FRIDAY, JUNE 4, 2010

Today we went to Dinosaur National Monument to look at the bones on the side of the mountain. We saw a big leg bone, a smaller leg bone that belonged to a juvenile dinosaur, and a bunch of fossilized clams. Also, we saw our first petrified stump. The bones here were from the Trassic time period. At that point Utah was covered in water. The dinosaurs would try to find water during droughts and died near the Green River.

After that we went to Utah Field House of Natural History Museum. I signed up for the Jr. Scientist program and worked thru 11 sites to get my Jr. Scientist patch. We saw a lot of petrified wood and petrified animals, replicas of dinosaurs placed outside the museum, fossilized dinosaurs, and dinosaur skeletons. Five minutes before the museum closed, Nanny, Gaggy, and I were racing around, trying to finish the last site activity. I got my Jr. Scientist patch just in time.

FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2010
Today we traveled to Moab, Utah. We drove thru Arches National Park to see the delicate, red, rock formations. One of the big arches had broken in 2008. The arches were formed by erosion millions of years ago. We left Moab, Utah and traveled to Monument Valley which is on the Utah, Arizona border.


Today we toured Monument Valley to see where John Wayne made his movies. There we saw John Wayne’s office. It was made smaller to make John Wayne look bigger in his movies. In the John Wayne museum, we got our picture taken with an Indian lady that worked there. In the gift shop we met Gloria Chee. She’s an Indian lady that works at Monument Valley Gift Shop. She gave us directions to a Navajo marketplace owned by her family. There we met a man named Stephen Goodman who made and gave me an arrowhead necklace. It took hours to get out of there because Nanny bought a ton of jewelry. I played with their dog named Nachos. When we got back to the campsite, we went swimming in the pool. There were a lot of people who spoke different languages there.

SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 2010

Today we went to the Navajo Visitors Center. We found my brothers a birthday present in the gift shop and me a pressed penny for my collection. Nanny and Gaggy got some pottery. Our campsite and the whole area was owned the Gouldings who talked to the director of John Wayne’s movies and brought him to Utah to see the red rock formations.

MONDAY, JUNE 8, 2010

We left Monument Valley and traveled to Holbrook, Arizona. We met Emma and her family from Oklahoma. That afternoon we went downtown to the Courthouse where we saw the Navajo dancers. I met two Navajo children, one boy and one girl. We played on a jungle gym that looked like a jail. Emma and her family were there too. Nanny and Gaggy ate a frye bread Indian taco. I ate a sandwich when we got home.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

FRIDAY, MAY 28, 2010

Today we had a resting day, but we did play putt-putt golf. Marge won one, and I tied with her on the next game. Also we went to Flying W. Ranch where we watched people sing and tell jokes. They played guitars, a bass, a fiddle, and a mandoline. There was this one cowboy song called "I'm My Own Granpa" and let me tell you that guy had a messed up family. We ate supper and watched the show.

Friday, May 28, 2010

TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2010

Today we made it into Canon City, Colorado plus we made it through New Mexico. We went up to the top of a big hill to at our campground to spot the Royal Gorge. Now I see why they call it Colorful Colorado. I found different colors of sand: red, green, yellow, blue.


Today we went to the Royal Gorge. okay, so cool!! Plus there is this little western town with a petting zoo, a carriage ride, a cable car, and so much more.

THURSDAY, MAY 27, 2010

We went to Pikes Peak, but they won't let us go up to the top because of the wind speed 64 mph. when we got to the top, I played in the snow and got it all in my boots. We also went to the Garden of the Gods. It's a big maze of rocks that were formed millions of years ago. Our last stop was the Indian Cliff Dwelling. That was cool too. It showed you the tools they used and things like that. Then it showed you the actual cliff dwelling that you can go inside and see the rooms and things like that.

NOTE FROM NANNY WHO IS TYPING THIS: Sorry you are missing all the drawings. They add a lot to the journal entries. Maxwell loves to draw and adds several pictures per day's entry. One of the ones for today had a little boys standing on a snow hill. He has black boots on; his tongue is sticking out; and the words "chatter chatter" are written above the drawing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

First 3 days of Western trip

Saturday, May 22, 2010
Today we are going to cross Alabama and stay for one night at Tupelo, Mississippi. We stayed at Tombigbe State Park.
Today I went to the playground and played on the merry-go-round. It was surrounded by a mud puddle, and well, you get the rest . . . . :>}
Also today I caught some fireflies while Nanny, Ms. Marge, and Paco walked around the parking lot.

Sunday, May 23, 2010
Today we passed through Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, and we passed over the Mississippi River on our way into Arkansas.
It was really cool because we saw all sorts of cool things like the Mississippi River. Plus I saw a little baby bird that fell out of a tree trying to learn to fly.
When we got to the place where we were going to stay (a WalMart parking lot) we went to eat at Arby’s and went to look for some sealer for the camper a toy for me.
We had a break outside in the grass and played a new game called Scoopball in my underwear at a WalMart parking lot at 11:00 P.M. :>}

Monday, May 24, 2010
Today we went 430 miles across Oklahoma and into Amarillo, Texas, or as we like to call it, Armadillo.
On our way into Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, we saw some electric producing windmills out the truck. Plus we went to a steakhouse called The Country Barn. They had a cool looking bar with a real car on it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Getting Ready to Start a Great Summer

Summer 2010 is going to be a memorable experience for several reasons... it is the end of elementary school and it is the summer that I travel across the country with my grandparents and experience all kinds of adventures. My mama helped me set up this blog so that I can journal about my summer travels out west and so that my family and friends can read all about it.

Hope you will join me on my summer adventures.