Taking a Break

Wednesday – June 24

Day 20:

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Sometimes kids just need a break.  We told the boys that they could plan the day however they’d like.  They chose swimming practically all day and building legos.  There was an amazing swimming hole at our campground in Three Rivers.  HUGE bullfrog tadpoles made the site home.  The boys spent all day splashing each other and trying to catch tadpoles.  It took me and my hat to get it accomplished.

Day 21:

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Hills don’t bother me, hills and heat do.  Leaving California, South of Bakersfield, you still have to cross the very bottom of the Sierras.  It doesn’t look like the Sierras.  There’s no snow covered mountain tops or alpine meadows.  It’s lower.  And it’s hotter.  We left really early to beat as much of the heat as we could.  It felt like we climbed all day.  Slow stead hills were always ahead of us.  And the Arizona roads felt like moon craters.  Fortunately I have a temp gauge on my transmission and a tire pressure monitor system that also measures my tire temperature.  The good news is we are now heading east!

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Birthdays happen regardless of where you are.  Wyatt turned 8.  I remember the day he was born.  He has grown so much, changed so much, learned so much, and has is becoming a little man.  I am so proud of him.  I hope he remembers this trip forever.

Route: Three Rivers, CA to Williams, AZ

CampgroundGrand Canyon Railway RV Park

Time: Left 6:30AM PT.  Arrived 4:30PM Standard MT.  10 Hrs.  This is really confusing because we thought we’d lose an hour going East.  Not so.  Arizona doesn’t practice day light savings time.

Bad ain’t so bad

What I learned:

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Sleeping in isn’t what it used to be. Last night I was tired. Jennifer was tired. The boys were tired. We hosed them down, put them to bed, and set no alarms. I mean, come on! Just the other morning we couldn’t get them up! Surely they’ll sleep in?  Nope. 6:30 rolled around and you could feel the camper moving. Its like a jungle gym to them. Another thing I learned is the tooth fairy visits you no matter where you are. We’ve told Weston there isn’t such a person, but he doesn’t care. He still pretends.

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The National Parks system is such a gem.  Jennifer wondered allowed if people drive by what we are seeing everyday without thinking about it.  I’m sure they do because we do the same.  But if you have a chance, get to a National Park.  Go visit a memorial in DC.  Go to Shenandoah.  Go somewhere!  There is a National Park or Monument close to you. I’m sure of it.  And they are there for you to enjoy!  I think that is why I love Teddy Roosevelt so much.

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The Badlands aren’t so bad. It was really remarkable to be driving in such flat country, and to top a horizon with these formations in your view. I truly felt I was riding through an attraction created by Disney, but so much better. You could spend a day in there letting your kids climb everything in site.

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Rattlesnakes are shy.  I was hoping to snap a picture of a rattlesnake, but they resisted. I did get a prairie dog. They were running around everywhere!

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Everywhere is God’s country. I used to say Tennessee was God’s country because it is so beautiful. Everywhere I have driven has been just as beautiful. The Badlands? Their own unique beauty. Then drive into the Black Hills. They are simply breathtaking. Tomorrow is Mount Rushmore, Iron Mountain Highway, Needles Highway, and Wildlife Loop.

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Chevy makes a mean truck. Everyone thinks my truck is new. “Is that a 2013?” “Nice truck! Is it new?” Um…. No. Its not new. I bought it with 113,000 miles on it and it’s a 2008 Silverado 2500HD with a Duramax Diesel and Allison transmission. I put on some airbags myself for added support, brake controller, and the fifth wheel hitch. Today we crossed the 1700 mile mark for our trip and we did some serious climbing. Up, down, around, up again, turn the corner, transmission brake going down. The truck just kept taking it. My transmission got hotter than I’ve seen it at 195. But according Allison I have till 270 to get worried.

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Boys will look at anything you ask them to and then some if you give them a pair of binoculars. They look at the hills. They turn around and look at the truck. The turn and look at each other. You want to keep your kids entertained, give them some binoculars.

Route: Kennebec, SD to Custer, SD via Badlands Loop Road

CampgroundCusters Gulch RV Park (Spotty website)

Time: Left 9:18AM CT.  Arrived 2:30PM MT 6Hrs 12 Mins