The Beartooth Parkway to Billings

Posted by Van on Friday Aug 19, 2011

July 31st, we took the Beartooth Parkway out of the Rocky Mountains and into the prairies of Montana. The Beartooth is basically a 60-mile two-lane road that winds up and over a mountain ridge. It is steep on both sides, the drop-offs are spectacular, and the views of the surrounding mountains and plateaus are stunning.

Looking down the beartooth parkway

Atop the Beartooth Parkway on the Wyoming/Montana border

We stopped overnight in Billings, where we replaced some well-used front tires on the RV. Those tires covered more than 20,000 miles, traveling over several mountain ranges and riding many miles on dirt and gravel roads.

Hanging out at the campground in Billings, Montana

Having fun on a simple, old swing set

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Goodbye Yellowstone

Posted by Van on Wednesday Aug 17, 2011

July 31 was our last day in Yellowstone National Park. We made our way toward the northeast exit and our next adventure, which was waiting just outside the gates.

But before moving on, Yellowstone deserves a few more words. At this point in our trip, we have been traveling for six months, and we have seen some incredible things: the highest mountains, the biggest parks, the tallest trees; oceans and canyons; volcanos and lava fields; seemingly unending forests; amazing animals and, as Ellie would say, a ton of deer.

Leaving Seattle, we knew we were beginning our journey back east and we were already feeling the strong pull of family and friends. One might say we were in go-home mode, big time. But, with a couple thousand miles to cover, we picked some parks along the way to break up the journey. Yellowstone was an obvious, almost obligatory choice, partly because we had never been there, but also because it is the iconic Yellowstone, the first and largest national park in the lower 48. We were excited about it, but also weary and ready to move on.

Yellowstone was simply incredible. After all we have seen, Yellowstone still had us gasping in delight and wonder, over and over. The geysers, the springs, the formations, the rivers, the canyons, the animals,… the fact that almost the entire park sits atop a massive, living, breathing volcano. Even with the crowds and crowds of people pouring through every corner of the park, Yellowstone was one of the most impressive places we visited on this trip, if not the most impressive.

So, goodbye Yellowstone. You are worthy of many return trips, and we hope to return again soon.

Goodbye Yellowstone! We will miss you!

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Bison in Yellowstone

Posted by Ana on Wednesday Aug 17, 2011

July 31 2011 we were driving alon a road were we could see some wild life. We saw some bufalo. And we saw hered of bofalo. I think there were a hundred million. So nsate and looked for a wile. We look in the benokel. There were alote of caves which are babbyes. Seeing all the bison made me feel happy.

See all the brown dots near the trees? Those are lots and lots of bison.

[Editor’s translation:]
July 31, 2011 we were driving along a road where we could see some wild life. We saw some buffalo. And we saw herd of buffalo. I think there were a hundred million. So we sat and looked for a while. We looked in the binoculars. There were a lot of calves which are babies. Seeing all the bison made me feel happy.

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The Terraces

Posted by Ellie on Wednesday Aug 17, 2011

July 31. After driving for a long time we came to a stop. It was so hot. Daddy said we were going on a hike!!!!!! POOH!!!! When we got out my ankle hurt and we had to walk up hundreds of stories!!! We saw the terist [terraces] and they looked like waterfalls. I could not tell the difference. We left Greta and Stella and me and the rest of the family went to the top. When we got to the top it was so pretty. I saw elk and the hills and just everything. We would have to take breaks because my ankle still hurt. Now it was even hotter. We also saw I forgot to say this we saw animal scat and tracks. We went down and got Greta and Stella and went back. I was so grumpy because it was so hot. When we reached the RV I drank almost a whole bottle of water.

On top of the terraces at Yellowstone

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Yellowstone Canyon

Posted by Ana on Tuesday Aug 16, 2011

july 31 me and daddy got out of the rv and we dide are junior ranger. We saw all the coleres in the cayen. The coleres were budufole. I saw a brown thing i thot it was a bufuloe. we were in yioming. i loved yeloston.

Wild flowers along Yellowstone River Canyon

[Editor’s translation:]
July 31, me and Daddy got out of the rv and we did our junior ranger packets. We saw all the colors [of the wildflowers] in the canyon. The colors were beautiful. I saw a brown thing, i thought it was a buffalo. We were in Wyoming. I loved yellowstone.

Working hard on the junior ranger book for Yellowstone

Yellowstone has its own little grand canyon.

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Making (And Eating!) Guacamole

Posted by Greta on Tuesday Aug 16, 2011

On July 31st, after everyone went on the hike to go see the mud pots and Dragon’s Mouth Spring, they went on another hike while I went back to the camper to make guacamole. I had gotten the ingredients at Trader Joe’s a few days before, and I was itching to make it, so… I did! They were gone for about twenty minutes, so I had that time to get everything set up and get started before they got back and we would have to drive. So by the time they were back, I had mixed all the avocado and tomato up in a bowl, and I was cutting onion. Everyone said it smelled great. I have to admit, my guacamole is pretty good. I made up the recipe in sixth grade when I had to make something for Spanish Food Day. We started to drive, and before we got to Mammoth Hot Springs, I was done with my delicious masterpiece.

… Three hours later…

We got back from the visitor center, and we were all really hungry. The solution? Guac and chips! We pulled the guacamole out of the fridge and the chips out of the cabinet, and we dug in! It was super delicious. We ate it all in under an hour. It was a great, yummy day!!! 😉

My guacamole didn't last long

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Dragon’s Mouth Spring

Posted by Greta on Tuesday Aug 16, 2011

On the morning of July 31st, Dad, Stella, Ellie, Ana, and I went on a quick walk in Yellowstone. It was on a boardwalk, and the first thing we saw was a boiling mud pot. It stunk like rotten eggs from all the sulfur, and it was murky and gray. It was pretty cool.

On the Mud Volcano Trail at Yellowstone, near Dragon's Mouth Spring

Then we saw something AMAZINGLY cool. It was a hot spring called Dragon’s Mouth Spring. It was JUST like a dragon’s mouth; it bubbled and foamed, and it made this heavy breathing sound. It was red and blue and brown and orange, and there was a bunch of steam coming up from it. We stood and admired it for minutes, and we were all amazed at how alike it was to a real dragon’s mouth. Then we finally left the spring, and Dad, Stella, Ellie and Ana went on another short hike while I went back to the camper to made guacamole.

Dragon’s Mouth Spring was SO cool!!! 😉

In a sulfer steam cloud at the Churning Cauldron spring

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The Cutest Buffalo

Posted by Ana on Monday Aug 15, 2011

July 30. We were driving along then we stopped there was a big buffalo in the road. I could hear its hoves going click click click click click clonck clonck clonck clonck clonck while he walked by. He looked like a big elphant with big horns and he had a long beard the looked like a goat. He was bigger than me and I wanted to marry him. And then I saw that there was a car behind him and he just walked like a king to his throne and taking his time. He was close very close and I could of reached out and kissed it but he would not like it though.

The bison don't seem to notice the cars too much in Yellowstone

[Editor’s note: Ellie helped out Luciana with the typing on this post.]

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Buffalo In the Road!

Posted by Stella on Monday Aug 15, 2011

July 30th, we were driving through Yellowstone and we had just pulled off on the side of the road to see a wolf pack and a grizzly bear. But the thing that was next was what I liked the most.

The sun was just starting to go down and we were going to eat dinner when I saw a huge, chunky, brown thing walking down the middle of the road. Buffalo alert! We stopped and let it pass. It was so close that we could hear the clops of its hooves, and it was so close that when I tried to take a picture, I was too close so I had to move back. It was so close that I could’ve reached out the window and petted it! That was an awesome experience!


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The Cutest Baby Wolf In The World

Posted by Ellie on Monday Aug 15, 2011

After driving for what seemed like forever we saw a ton I mean a ton. There were like 50 people or more. Mommy told us to go and see what was going on. When we got out I heard a girl say there’s wolf’s with there baby’s. I ran and told Stella and Greta, Ana, and Daddy. Where they all asked?!? I don’t know! We all went trying to see them when he let us look though his telescope. Then I saw the baby. It was so so so cute. It was black and was lying in the grass. Ana keep saying hurry up Ellie!! After a few minutes I let her see in. Then Daddy let me see though binoculars. I kept trying to see them when they rested on a herd of bison. I told Daddy about it and then left to go see what the other people were looking at. A grizzly bear!!! When we got there it was gone so we went and started looking for kooky. We meet her and went to go start dinner. We were having Indian food!! Yummy!!!

We couldn't get a picture so I drew the wolves

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