Guest Interview – Weston Liam Pickwell, Age 6

I’m interested to see how this interview goes.  If my hunch is correct, you’ll see a clear dichotomy between Wyatt, and my very verbose 6 year old.  Hope my fingers can keep up.

Weston, would you like to tell me a little bit about your trip?

Hmmmm….. well, I liked seeing the bears.  Um…. I liked seeing the sequoias, the tall trees, and the Grizzly Giant.  I liked Yellowstone because I liked the campground, and it was clean, and I liked the geysers, fumaroles, and mudpots.  Um…. I liked staying in a camper. Um… and…umm… well… I liked…. seeeeing the faces of Mt. Rushmore.

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What did you think about all of the driving we had to do?

Um…..  It was fun when we got to watch movies and play on our iPods.  And um… we liked um…. well I liked seeing a whole bunch of flags on Mount Rushmore.  About riding in the truck…  Oh yeah…. well I did like going to McDonalds one time, I think… and um… we got a toy Minion.

What was your least favorite part about riding in the truck?

I think it was waiting 15-20 minutes for iPods.  Why did you have to wait?  We were acting crazy.

Was there was there anything fun about driving that far?

I already told you!  The iPods!

Do you have any thoughts about the scenery you saw?

Um… it was pretty, but we have no idea if way out there there are more sequoias.  The scenery was high and pretty.  And um… I think I saw a canyon with a road in the middle with rocks in it that looked like they were from Lion King.  I think it was in Arches.

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What did you think about Yosemite?

It was interesting with all of the squirrels.  They wanted to get fed so they got just like one inch away.  Well, they walked up to a lady and she shot them with a water bottle.  Then another squirrel came.  We weren’t supposed to feed the squirrels or they could get relocated somewhere else or killed.  I think in the Badlands, what we saw was a chipmunk.

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Tell me about your experience in Zion NP.  How was that?

I think it was quite burning up in there but it was a little fun.  We stayed at Zion River Resort and it was clean and I think it had a pool.  We even had a ‘smores’agbord.  And we swam in the virgin river.  And we even hiked the narrows.  What was that like?  Well, it was a little tricky.  We went like 5 miles through water, like, kinda a current, like tiny water falls that made the current.  Well, there was patches of land that we could go on.  We ate cold pizza for lunch and cookies.

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What was your top 5 National Parks?

1. YosemiteIMG_5485

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2. YellowstoneFullSizeRender 124 FullSizeRender 104

3. ZionFullSizeRender 172 FullSizeRender 177

4. Rocky MountainIMG_6506 IMG_6508

5. SequoiaIMG_5541 IMG_5526

What were your 5 top experiences?

1. See the giant sequoias and the Grizzly Giant

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2. Seeing the geysers and hot springs

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3. Swimming in the Virgin River

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4. The Jeep Ride in Moab

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5. The ATV in the hail storm

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Why don’t you tell everyone what it is like to live in a camper for 6 weeks.

Well, when you live it in theres not much room.  For the kids, they can play in their beds with stuffed animals and they can come to life.  When you live in a camper on a trip, you have to drive like 100 miles or something to get to your campground.  And it is like 50 miles to get to a state.  And if you are going to skip a state, you have to drive 1000 miles, maybe.  I liked playing the Ranger game with Wyatt.

What was your favorite state?

Wyoming because we got to go to a cowboy thing.

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Anything you would like to add?

Yeah, there was this Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone and the highest it exploded was like 300 feet.  We didn’t get to see it, but it was the highest.  That’s all!

It’s Only a 5% Chance

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. – John Muir

What I learned, day 5.

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Sometimes things don’t go as planned.  Where do I start?  First, I was planning on doing Iron mountain highway because it has several amazing tunnels that frame up the faces of Mount Rushmore.  But they closed part of the road and cut off 2 of the 3 tunnels.  At least we got the first one in.  Then, we were going to do the needles highway on the way back.  Road construction prevented us from following our schedule and made us push it to the evening.  We did the Wildlife Loop.  Most of the wildlife was on a coffee break.  The biggest unforeseen was, well read on.

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Mount Rushmore really is remarkable.  However, we felt it was ‘take a picture and go.’  We did watch a 15 minute film on how it was made.  But that was just to beat the heat.  It was so hot today!  We got our pictures and got back into the A/C.

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Pictures are deceiving.  We may look like we are having fun.  But I think at this point we were all spent.  Too much in one day.  The ATV seemed like a good idea.  But after about 15 minutes, 20% of your hearing gone, and your face windburned, you realize you’d rather be in the air conditioned truck.  Great picture though.

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5% chance of rain means that there could be rain, not there’s a 95% chance it won’t rain. After driving in the ATV through the Wildlife Loop, we headed into Custer to top off the tank and get a blizzard from the DQ.  I just happened to look out the window as I was throwing away some trash and said “We got’s to go now!”  There were dark clouds on the horizon.  Keep in mind, we have no windshield.  We have no doors.  We have no windows.  We only have a fabric roof.  And we are about 10 minutes from our campground.  About half way back it started hailing – little pea size hail.  Not that bad if you were looking out the window.  But not too pleasant if it is hitting you while you are doing 30 mph.  Ouch!  At least the kids had helmets.  The wind kicked up.  The rain started.  And I am sure the temp dropped from 85 to 65 in a hurry.  It was cold!  We could not stop laughing the entire way back.  Soaked to the bone we turned the heat on and let the kids eat dinner in their underwear.  Of course, none of this was in my spreadsheet.

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Needles highway is a must see.  I’m so glad we made ourselves go back out and see it.  The rock formations are unreal.  I have just too many pictures to post!  At one point I thought I was Matthew Mcconaugheyn a Lincoln commercial because we had a buffalo staring us down.

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You can’t take a picture of smell.  Pine.  Mist.  Streams.  Wildflowers.  Clean.  When we went through needles it had just rained.  It smelled amazing.  Too bad I can’t share that with you.

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Route/Itinerary: Custer State Park – Iron Mountain Hwy to Mt. Rushmore.  Wildlife Loop.  Needles Highway.