Who: Me! (Camille), Mom, Natalie, Julia, Melanie
What: Road Trip!
Where: Across several different western states
Why: because Mom quit DL and we are doing homeschooling
Day 1 – Long Drive
Mom woke me up at around 5:30 AM, and we spent about an hour doing some last-minute preparations. Thank goodness we had already done most of it yesterday or it would have taken hours before we could have left. As it was we left at 6:30-40. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t go right back to sleep when we got into the car. I had woken up, and didn’t really need to go back to sleep. Turns out we started driving on the wrong highway. We were on 50 but needed to be on 80. We ended up seeing the Sacramento River, and it was really pretty! The sun was just rising too. Speaking of sunrise, we saw it and the sun was red and sort-of hidden behind some clouds. We also saw a super long train. Mom asked us about the scenery when we were in the mountains, and basically the answer was that it was mostly pine and a few oak trees. We have been playing a game on the trip where we get trucks to honk, and I got five trucks to honk while I was in the front seat. When we made a gas stop, Mom told Natalie to pass out some binders that we had made up before the trip, and it turned out that I had forgotten mine! I cried and cried, but Mom comforted me. She also had me teach my sisters about honor, a virtue that we are trying to bring back into our family. Basically, the gist of it is this, “Honor is putting others ahead of yourself.” As the scenery turned into bushes and scrub, we saw a bonfire which scared us! There are a lot of wild fires in California right now and we thought that this might be the start of one. Thankfully it wasn’t though. We reached Nevada at 9:53. And a way into the Silver State, we saw wild horses. They were absolutely beautiful. Long necks gracefully bent to graze in the wet-ish area where they were, they had slender bodies and long legs. They had a variety of colors ranging from gray to… well, gray was mostly what I remember because that was the main horse I saw. Farther into Nevada, Mom asked me to calculate how much longer until we got to the hotel if it was 38 miles away and we were going 85 miles per hour. I didn’t know how to solve a problem like this and attempted to use a ratio. It didn’t work. I was crying in frustration when Mom suggested I look up how to solve it on Google. I found a very helpful formula – distance=(rate)(time), or d=rt. We reached Idaho at 6:40, and Mom told us that it was a different time zone, one hour ahead of California. From there we didn’t see much until we reached the hotel. We had Mc-Donald’s for dinner, and went to sleep. Oh! one last thing I forgot to mention! Mom taught me to keep a budget, and so far I seem to be the secretary/treasurer for the trip. Secretary because I am taking notes on everything, and treasurer because I am keeping the budget for the trip as my math curriculum.
Honks: 14 (this is counting trucks that honked, not how many times the trucks honked.)
Day 2 – Craters of the Moon
We left the hotel at 9:48. Just out of the town we were staying in, there was a canyon! This was the first canyon I have ever seen in my life. It was so deep and steep! There were even parachuters! Outside town there was a lot of pretty green farmland. After that, there was a flat, long landscape with lots of shrubs. Not green-green shrubs, but sort of faded, dry looking shrubs. We reached Craters of the Moon National Preserve at around 11:20. We went to the gift shop and got some pins for our lanyards and souveniers, AKA postcards, then went and got a campsite. It was a really pretty place (I think #27) and had a great view of lava rocks. We set up camp which was good for as first effort, but took hours. After that, we went to the Devil’s Orchard Trail. Turns out that that was named that because some priest had come there one hundred years ago and thought it a garden fit for the devil. I thought that the signs along the path sort of said, “Humans are awful and they can’t save the environment to save their lives,” until the last sign. Mom also explained that it mostly meant humans in general, not specifically me. We hiked a cinder cone to see great views. We also hiked up some spatter cones. There were really deep holes inside them. They had fences around them. I was really glad about that because the first hole was so deep that falling would have meant death. The second one, probably meant serious injury and being trapped. When I ran down some of the side of the cinder cone it felt like if I put on the breaks, I would fall on my face. Before bed, we went to an amphitheater and had a fun science lesson. Then, after a trip back to our campsite, past our campsite, and up the hill to watch the sunset, we took a trip to the bathroom before stargazing and there were bats swooping around it catching bugs. A few even came so close I could nearly see their little batty faces. We saw the stars and they were amazing! You could even see the milky way. Twice, in the middle of the night, I woke up and the second time, I heard an owl! Craters of the Moon was really cool. I only wish that we also could have taken the Crater Flow trail or checked out the caves. Both were closed.
Ranger Qs and As:
Q: Is the cinder cone all ash or just ash on top of a hill?
A: All ash
Q: Why are the flow trail and caves closed?
A: Flow trail: construction; caves: earthquakes
Q: Why are the lava rocks so light?
A: They blew up in the air long, long ago and cooled before they hit the ground, trapping gasses inside them.
Day 3 – Bear World
The next morning, Mom dragged everybody but me out of the tent in their sleeping bags. I really wanted to be dragged out too, so I decided to move up to the higher mattress incase she thought that I was asleep. I did. She still didn’t drag me out. Finally, I saw Melanie drinking her morning hot chocolate. Now she was just rubbing it in! Or at least, it felt like that. Then it was breakfast time. I got out of the tent crying just as Mom came to get me. When the girls asked what was wrong, I didn’t tell them. When Mom asked, I told her. She thought it was about the saddest story she had ever heard, and she cuddled me and got me my clothes to put on over my pajamas because it was very cold that morning. I felt better after a breakfast of pancakes and bacon. Then we took down the camp which took just about as long as setting it up. The fact that Julia didn’t want to put on the clothes that Mom had given her and was sitting in the car until she did didn’t help. I didn’t really help either when I told Julia that unless she got dressed, we would miss our morning math lesson. We missed our morning math lesson. When we were finally ready to leave, we got in the car and LEFT. It was a really pretty drive too. The scenery was such that I really wouldn’t have been surprised to see bison. Even though we didn’t see any bison. In the small town of Arco, where the atomic light was first used, we found one of those spinny thingys at a park. By spinny thingy I mean the round thing with all the handles on it that you have some people sit on while others run around it holding the handles and then jump on and it spins super fast. It was really fun. It almost felt like we would fly off at any moment, we were spinning so fast. After a long drive away from Arco, we reached Bear World. As we drove through the park we saw (in order) mountain goats, elk, bison, deer, black and brown bears, and some moose. One of the bison was even rubbing his nose on the post of a bridge and we couldn’t get past him until he stopped! Turns out that Bear World had a theme park where we went on the roller coaster, train, spinning bears (like spinning teacups), and bouncing huckleberry ride. We also had lunch there of hamburgers and hot dogs and got some souvenirs. As we were driving to Yellowstone, there were some absolutely gorgeous aspens in lovely fall color, their leaves fluttering in the breeze. It was now mostly forest, and as I was looking at the thick, thick trees, I saw some wild elk just sitting there grazing! It was amazing, and my first time ever seeing wild elk. We reached Montana at 4:02, checked in to the hotel, and went to an Imax to watch a movie on Yellowstone. We missed the first bit, but I think we got most of the movie after that. We had dinner at a restaurant, then went to bed.
Day 4 – Yellowstone
We woke up in our hotel, cleaned, and had breakfast. Then we went to the Grizzly and Wolf discovery center. It was basically a zoo with bears, wolves, raptors, fish, and otters. We found a grocery store and probably made a record low run. We only got chips, eggs, and cookies. then we went into Yellowstone. We played the license plate game and tried to find as many different out-of-state license plates as possible while we waited in line. Also while we waited in line, we saw something super funny: a lady carrying a turtle. We reached Wyoming at 11:52. We saw four wild bison on our drive to North Yellowstone. Normally we would have camped but all the campsites were full. So much for the off season. We also hiked through the porcelain basin which was really pretty! We saw steam vents, prismatic springs, and tiny little geysers. I think we might have even spotted some small mud pots! We saw five wild elk, counting one herd as one elk. Each herd had about five elk in it. One herd of elk we saw, we herd the bull elk (the one with antlers) bugling, or making his mating noise. Mom said he was saying, “I want a giirlfriiend!”. The best I can write the sound down, is a high pitched, “eeu!” We saw two elk herds, and the second one was on a soccer field with under-five soccer on the other end and we literally saw the bull mating with one of the cows (girl elk)! While we were taking a picture with an arch established by congress, an a sign that welcomed people into Yellowstone, we saw a young bull elk up close! Julia bought a face mask thingy for her souvenir and I was worried that that would make her cry in the future. It hasn’t yet though! We also saw four deer, two grown-ups and two babies.
Ranger Qs and As:
Q: What does pure sulfur smell like?
Q: Why are the prismatic springs different colors?
A: Blue because the center is so hot nothing can grow there and water is blue, orange/yellow/brown because of bacteria like cyanobacteria growing there, and green because of heat-loving algae.
Q: Why do the colors stay separated?
A: Because of different heat throughout the spring. The hot water comes out in the middle and cools a little as it moves farther out making it possible for different things to grow.
*one herd counts as one
Day 5 – Yellowstone
Sadly enough, I lost my notes for day 5. Thankfully this was a memorable day in Yellowstone, so I hope I can relate it to you well. So. We started out by waking up around… eh, 5:10 I think. We hadn’t been able to find a campsite the day before so we were getting up in a hotel. It was still dark outside when we got into the car. We drove to meet our guide for the day, and when we thought we saw him, Mom double checked by texting him. As we got out of the car, we heard the elk bugling. Again, the best way I can write the sound is as a high pitched, “eeu!”. Our guide was really nice and he pointed out the elk to us, even though we had noticed. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of his other guests (that’s what we felt like, guests or friends) didn’t know what the bugling was though. We drove into a valley with a name I can’t quite remember and a little ways in, we saw a bunch of people on the side of the road. Pulling over and taking out some telescopes that Mr. Chris (the guide) had, we discovered that a bear was eating a carcass on the side of the river with about three wolves waiting for it to finish. Julia and I even saw the bear lunge at the wolves, but everybody else missed it. Finally, the bear moved away and the rest of what was left of the carcass was for the wolves. We headed on up the road where we discovered a huge-looking pack of wolves, mostly black. There, Mr. Chris’ friend, a wolf-watcher, was watching the pack. When I say wolf-watcher, I mean that that was actually his job. He watched, collared, and tracked wolves. And got payed for it. No joke. He told us that one wolf only ate five pounds less than a bear in one sitting. A bear eats 30 pounds in one sitting. You do the math for how much a wolf eats. Soon, the wolves trotted into the forest for their mid-day nap, which is why we had gotten up early in the morning. Further down the road, we found a big moose with horns… right on the side of the road! We even got to see him walking into the woods! We went on, made a rest stop to stretch our legs (we were starting to fight), then headed up the valley, most of us with wet shoes. We stopped for lunch near a short hike, which Mr. Chris took us on, to a great view of a canyon with a river flowing through it. It was beautiful. Later, we also visited a place with some white rock deposits and hot springs. Finally we headed back to our car, Mr. Chris had been taking us around in his.
Day 6 – Yellowstone
We woke up around 7:00 in our hotel room (we still hadn’t been able to find a campsite as planned) and Mom was working on the blog. I fake slept and enjoyed being in bed. Then, Mom, Natalie, and Melanie went down for breakfast and left me with Julia in the room. I worked on the blog while Julia slept. I also discovered that I had lost my notes on day 5, which I mentioned on day 5. It took me a long time to brush my hair before we left. It was really tangled and messy from the night before. Then, hoping to find a camsite because of the 60% forecast of rain, we set out as quickly as we could, Julia and I grabbing breakfast bags while the others prepared the room for departure. We met at the car, grabbed our cups for tea, and raided the hot beverages bar (as is becoming our custom for hotels), and were off, Julia and I eating breakfast in the car. We went into Yellowstone listening to country music, and I played the license plate game with myself. We passed the continental divide at 10:12, and took pictures inside the partially hollow slide. After a while browsing a campground, some people offered to share a spot with us, so we set up camp. We saw Old Faithful and went on some more random hikes around other thermally active spots, one of which we saw a more spontaneous geyser at! We went on a hike to see the Grand Prismatic Spring which got a good reaction from me, but seemed sort-of meh to the girls. That night, as we camped, I woke up twice in the middle of the night to the thunderous wind and rain. The first time, I was partially greatful because I had been having a bad dream. The second time though, I thought a bunch of boxes that had been stacked on top of eachother had fallen over. That was what the wind sounded like.
Day 7 – Yellowstone
Our last day in Yellowstone was cold and rainy. I wore so many clothes I thought it might be kind of interesting to put them in my notes before I put them on the blog. I wore… 1 beanie, 2 long sleeve shirts (one of which was my pajama shirt), 2 pairs of pants (again, one was from my PJs), 3 sweatshirts, 1 neck gator, 1 pair of socks, 2 shoes. I think that gives you an idea of how cold it was. While the girls helped pack up camp (and I did do some of that too!) I cleaned out the car so that muddy feet wouldn’t make too much of a problem on stuff like binders that had been dropped on the floor and forgotten. When we finally left, we saw two wild black bears along the side of the river. One was black and asleep, while the other was a sort of cinnamon and was actually moving! The black one started to move as well, but we didn’t see him move as much. We saw the Upper Falls which was amazing. We also took a small but steep hike down to the top of the Lower Falls. It was spectacular. I could see the water falling as if in slow motion, hitting rocks and jumping off them, dissolving into mist. And to think that the God who made this made me and loves me, is amazing. We then headed to the Morning Glory Pool on a quest from my grandma. We made a stop between where we the lower falls and there though to watch some swans. Finally, we found a trail leading to the Morning Glory Pool, and started on it but before we could see so much as a steam vent along it, it started to hail and we had to turn back. Mom decided that we didn’t want to stay another night so we went back and packed up camp. Soon, we were on the road. I can’t really find a better way to put this then it was in my notes. So, here is what my notes said, “Reading, Reading, Reading, Wait we’re in the Tetons?”. We stopped at a beautiful lake. It was almost surrounded by fall colored willow bushes and had a back drop of tall mountains. They were steep looking and capped with snow. They were beautiful. We even found a path through a tunnel in the willows down to the lake shore where we could see the mountains even better. After leaving the lake, we saw some beautiful scenery as we drove. It consisted of mountains, rivers, meadows, and forests. We were going to stay in a hotel in Jackson, but they were all full so we had to sleep in the car. Like all our camping trips, I woke up twice in the middle of the night.
Day 8 – Middle of Nowhere in Wyoming
When I woke up, I knew that we were in the car but I couldn’t figure out where the car was. I finally figured out that we were in the MacDonald’s drive through. After breakfast (guess where we got that!) we played at a park where we tried to climb things with no hands and slide down the top of the slide. Everyone knows that playgrounds are more fun if you play on them the wrong way. We started driving and it was still lovely. We saw some free-range cows on the side of the road, and ended up seeing tons of herds of pronghorn antelope. One huge herd was even in a fenced in field with some horses. We arrived in Colorado at 12:12. As we drove through along a dirt road through a canyon, we took a rest stop in which Julia and I climbed up the side of the canyon. We finally came to Hotel Glenwood Springs. We had pizza for dinner and played on the water slide in the hotel after getting Melanie, Julia, and Natalie new swimsuits. For our last thing, we managed to perfect a hand to foot chain in which we all laid on our bellies and held each other’s ankles and slid down in a chain. Oh! One more thing! Mom managed to get us a suite instead of a normal Hotel Room.
Day 9 – Glenwood Springs
Julia wouldn’t put on her pants in the morning so she didn’t get breakfast which was a delicious affair in the Bluebird café. It was a cool place to play I Spy and had some great blueberry scones. We played at the theme park for most of the day. We went on the…
– Alpine Coaster
– Giant swing
– Canyon Soarer
– Haunted mine drop (that was scary!), and the…
– Soaring Eagle.
We ended up getting to be the last people in the park because while Mom, Julia, and I went on the Giant Swing, we had Natalie and Melanie save us a spot on the Alpine Coaster. And got two last rides. We had some rice for dinner, then went down to the Pool where I invented the Transitioning Chain with Julia. It was just like the train I described in the last post, but we changed from on our bellies, face first, to on our backs, feet first. We went to bed, and slept well. Tonight, unlike last night (when I had slept with Mom), I slept with Melanie.
Questions that I thought might be asked
Why aren’t posts coming frequently?
That is a simple enough question to answer. Sometimes it is because we are camping so we can’t get to the laptop. When we do stay in a hotel, sometimes Mom doesn’t trust the wifi so we can’t use the computer to write blog posts. Other times, I forget my notes. I take notes on everywhere we go, and sometimes I forget them in the car so I can’t do a blog post when we’re in a hotel with wifi Mom trusts. That’s how it is as I’m typing this. I forgot my notes but I wanted to write on the blog so I’m typing this right now.
Why am I doing this all on one post?
That is slightly harder to answer. Mom is posting different posts of just the interesting parts of our trip. I, on the other hand, am logging everything on just one post. I want to keep it easy to find. It is also easier to write that way. If it’s all on one post, I can find everything much easier, and I hope that is how it is for people reading my writing too.