Day 8: I have been to Kansas before


The last leg of the ride home is never fun. You are tired, dirty, restless, and missing your dogs (well, I was). You can’t get there soon enough. This trip was no exception.


We left the hotel after only 5 hours of sleep, anxious to get home. Dad started out driving, and it was the most boring ride. When we finally left Colorado I was so excited, even though we still had several hours of driving to go.


When we finally got into Kansas I would make a comment about the attractions as we passed them, and Dad would ask me if I wanted to stop. I wanted to get home so bad, and I also told him I had been to Kansas before, so it was not necessary.


Leaving Colorado

Leaving Colorado


The last stop on the way was in Topeka. When you are only an hour away from home the anticipation is horrible! I was antsy the whole way.


As we pulled into the yard I could hear the dogs barking. I jumped out of the truck before it had even stopped all the way. I was so happy to see my girls! However, instead of running up for love and hugs, Baby Girl brought me her ball and barked at me until I threw it. Troll just licked my arms like a weirdo. I was nice to be home.


Stay tuned for the trip to Europe with V in July.



Day 7: I can call you Betty…


Today started out much better than last night ended. I think we both got a decent night’s sleep, which makes a big difference. We hit the road and started looking for a place to visit The Great Salt Lake. We thought we found a place, and it turned out we could see it but not touch it. Finally we made a detour to The Great Salt Lake Marina. There we got a few pics, touched the water, and got bitten by a million little gnat things.


The Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake


Next we headed south to Salina, UT. On the way we stopped at a little diner that required you to order from a phone in the booth. The burgers were good, and we were happy to stretch our legs.


One Man Band Diner

One Man Band Diner


We got on I-70 in Salina, and started home. I miss my dogs terribly, and mom reports they have cabin fever. I am sure they are going wild after a week of not being walked. Plus, dad just doesn’t do what I tell him like the dogs do.


The mountains in southeastern Utah are desert like. We stopped at one lookout to see the landscape. Dad got way too close to the edge for my liking. I told him if he fell off I wasn’t going to send a search party for him. There was also a scary trucker eying me, which was creepy.


SisterV Bluff

SisterV Bluff


Tree

Tree


PapaV Cliff

PapaV Cliff


After awhile all the mountains get boring. I did have a tumbleweed blow into the side of the truck as I was driving down the interstate. Other than that it has not been very exciting for hundreds of miles. Then we hit Colorado and different mountains. I like the Colorado mountains better because they have trees and are green. But the roads at night are super scary. Several times I screamed at dad to slow down. I think he was just trying to make me cry.


Tunnel

Tunnel


We stopped in the Vail area and took advantage of the overpriced gas. That was enough of an experience in ski town for me. The ride has been long. Going home is not nearly as fun as getting to the vacation destinations. We have done a lot of radio station surfing and singing to keep our sanity (It is amazing how much a father and daughter can bond over Paul Simon). Plus, ever since we got into Utah my nose has been bleeding. I haven’t had any allergy problems for once, but the dryness is killing me.


We decided to make it past Denver tonight so we have a shorter trip home tomorrow. I suggested we drive all the way though hyped up on caffeine, but dad didn’t think that was a good idea. He is such a downer. So we stopped at a trucker hotel that cost a fortune. I told Dad we are failures at camping. We only spent one night in the tent, and one night in the cabin Frank has out in his pasture (no water or heat). To add icing to the cake I spilled my brand new iced tea all over the floor on the way in. Now I am sitting here all cranky (and you all know how bad it is when I am cranky) pouting about my tea and wishing I was in my own bed. Can’t wait to get home tomorrow!



Day 6: Didn’t want to fill up my suitcase


It was nice to sleep in a real bed again last night. I ate too much, and was super tired. I woke up at normal time today even though we didn’t go to bed until about 1 am. My body is still on Kansas time and I keep waking up super early.


This morning we gave ourselves plenty of time to get ready and get to campus on time. The waiter last night at the restaurant showed us what buildings we needed to go to for commencement, so we didn’t feel the need to make a special trip to campus to find out. So, we were just hanging out, me writing my paper, and dad playing on his computer. Then he turns to me worried about his wardrobe. The conversation went something like this:

  • PapaV: I didn’t bring enough pairs of jeans so I am going to have to wear these grubby ones to your graduation. Is that okay?
  • SisterV: What do you mean you didn’t bring enough pairs? How many pairs do you own?
  • PapaV: I have seven, but only brought four because the others were dirty.
  • SisterV: I asked you the night before we left if you had any laundry you wanted me to wash. I even washed one pair of jeans for you. Why didn’t you ask me to wash the rest?
  • PapaV: I didn’t want to fill up my suitcase…


I almost punched him in the face right there. However, the truth is I don’t care what he wears. I told him he could wear his fluorescent work shirt if he wanted to. No one knows us nor cares.


Graduation was fun! Four of us graduated with a Master’s of Science in English. Every other schmuck had a Master’s of Arts in English. Anyway, the only upsetting thing was that dad had a hard time getting down to the front to take pics, and there is not a single pic that is not blurry of me graduating. To punish him I yelled then made him take pics of me on campus. I know it was not his fault, but it really upset me. I know he tried to get some, but it just didn’t work out.


SisterV Diploma

SisterV Diploma


SisterV USU Sign

SisterV USU Sign


SisterV Bull

SisterV Bull


SisterV PapaV Campus

SisterV PapaV Campus


Although I didn’t get any good pics at graduation, I did get to visit the bookstore and buy myself a sweatshirt! Yay! All my college sweatshirts are getting so worn out. My KSU one looks like I ran it through a shredder. So, that was a nice treat. After that we ate and then hit the road to Salt Lake.


I decided to edit my paper one last time and make sure all my citations were correct. I told Dad that I wanted to stop at The Great Salt Lake to see it on our way home. This turned into a fight about where to stay tonight. I wanted to stop, see the lake, and keep heading down the road to a camp ground. He wanted to stay at a motel. I told him I was not paying for another, and then we both blew up. I think we are both ready to be done with this trip.


Needless to say I am sitting in the truck at a Sleep Inn in Ogden, UT finishing up my paper and playing on the internet. Dad is talking to someone on the phone, probably complaining about me.


Anyway, tomorrow we head home. I miss my dogs and my bed.



Day 5: If you’ve seen one geyser you have seen them all


Day 5 started out cold. Cold and dirty. I was so cold I didn’t want to get out of the bags. And it was the start of a third day since a shower. The last time I showered was Monday night, and it is now Thursday. Ew. Because of the ew factor I decided to try to wash my hair in the cold water only sinks. A girl came into the campground bathroom and exclaimed “where did you find a shower?!” I had to explain that it was day three of filth and I washed my hair in the sink. She sighed and told me it was day three for her, too. Ah camping, how much fun.


After we packed everything up we hit the road to Old Faithful. Along the way we saw a canine of some sort (can anyone identify), and a few hot springs. Old Faithful was not anything to get excited about. And since we found out it was not going to erupt for another hour, we hit the road instead of waiting.


Canine

Canine


PapaV & SisterV at Old Faithful

PapaV & SisterV at Old Faithful


Not much else happened today. We both were pretty pissy. Not sure if it was the cold night in the tent, or the not showering for three days, or the irregular meals, but we fought all day.


To get to Utah we had to go through Idaho. Half of Yellowstone Park is closed during the winter and doesn’t open until May 6th. Always off by a day; my life story. So, we had to take this big detour back out through West Yellowstone and down through Idaho Falls.


Utah

Utah


Logan looks like a college town so far. We immediately went to our hotel, which is super nice, and dropped off our luggage. PapaV was craving a big steak so we went to a local joint down the street. We were both underdressed in our smelly camping clothes, but the food was great.


Now I am working on my paper that is due tomorrow at midnight, and PapaV is messing with his pictures and texting V. I have finally showered and feel WAY better. Tomorrow I will walk across the stage and accept my fake diploma (the real one was mailed to me months ago).



Day 4: I Yak-cidentally scared April


I couldn’t post yesterday because Yellowstone doesn’t have WiFi. What kind of establishment are they running here?


Anyway, Day 4 started out great. We got dressed, had breakfast, and visited all the animals. Diana has to milk her goats twice a day, so we hung out while she worked. I was trying to help move one out of the way, and she stepped on me. But then she snuggled up to me and made friends. I got to scratch the yak, April, who did not like it when I patted her like a dog. I also scratched Pete again. The 800lb pig hid from me out of fear. I am quite scary. After messing with the animals we hit the road.


April Sarah

April Sarah


We made a quick run back into Missoula to say goodbye to Frank who was already at the clinic. Then we made a short detour to the University of Montana. I bought a T-Shirt, cause I am cool like that. In case you are wondering, it looks like a university.


Frank PapaV

Frank & PapaV


The next few hours were spent driving to Yellowstone. We took some back highways and stopped at a gas station in a little town called Norris. In Norris a couple in a VW approached and asked where we were from. I was wearing a KSU T-Shirt and he said he noticed it. They are from North of Frankfurt, KS, and were really excited to see other Kansans. Small world.


As we were about an hour from Yellowstone we started seeing signs like “Big Horn Sheep Crossing,” and “Buffalo Ahead.” It was pretty cool to drive up upon several big horn sheep grazing along the highway, not giving a second glance to us when we slowed down and took pics. And I loved the buffalo! They were hilarious standing in the middle of the highway. We finally made it to West Yellowstone about 5:30.
The only campground in Yellowstone open before May 6 is Mammoth, which is at the North entrance. Therefore we had to drive through the park about 50 miles to get there. That was okay with us, because we got to see a lot more buffalo and some elk. We also saw some hot springs.


Buffalo Ahead

Buffalo Ahead


Buffalo Truck

Buffalo Truck


Big Horn Sheep

Big Horn Sheep


When we finally got there we found the second to last open site and set up the tent. Elk apparently hang out in the tiny campground and the one at our site did not pay any attention to us. Afterward I headed into town to find something to eat (and WiFi, which did not happen). I stopped at Subway and picked up some sandwiches and started back. Oh my god it is frightening to drive through Yellowstone in the dark! Elk and buffalo are everywhere, and I was so afraid I would hit one! I made I back and headed to bed.


Sarah Tent

Sarah Tent


We brought air mattresses and two sleeping bags each. I also brought a comforter in case. Thank goodness! I used two sleeping bags, the comforter, a sweatshirt and my coat. After I finally settled in that way I was nice and warm and things were fine. Although, I swear dad’s snoring was attracting elk outside the tent. His snoring was so bad, and I couldn’t reach him to tell him to roll over since I was bundled in my sleeping bags. So, I threw his shoes at him a couple times. Well, until I ran out of shoes. Then I just yelled at him. Needless to say I didn’t sleep the best.



Day 3: Hay in my wine


Well, here we are in day 3, and still have not camped one night in the tent. Last night was the Rainbow Motel, which was cheap but old, and tonight we will be in this great cabin at Franks! No heat or running water, but it is not a tent!


Today was a leisurely day. We slept until 7am. Then while dad was in the shower I locked myself out of the room and had to have the manager let me back in. I did find out that dad brought two suitcases, but they are only half full. Who does that? Now we know why the back of the truck was so full! After we left the Rainbow Hotel we ate at IHOP. Mmmm. Then we hit the road.


SisterV & PapaV

SisterV & PapaV


Mountains

Mountains


about 20 minutes down the road from Bozeman is Manhattan. We stopped at Manhattan to compare with Manhattan, KS. Cute town. Then we hit the road to Butte.


Manhattan, MT

Manhattan, MT


Not much to report on the way, except when I was trying to help dad out with his directions he was not receptive. I told him “You wouldn’t know help if it punched you in the face.” Then I punched him in the face.


We finally made it to Frank’s veterinary clinic in Missoula, MT. I got to watch him neuter a cat. Really. Then we headed out to their 40 acres in the country, where I met 5 dogs that each weigh more than me (I miss my dogs), an emu, a bull, several emu like birds, several sheep, a yak, a horse named Pete, and HUGE pig that ran from me, several chickens, geese, bunnies, a cat, and 4 teenagers. Why didn’t I grow up in a place like this? Oh yeah, my parents don’t love me and there are a lot of chores. I got to watch Diana rob a poor rhea of his eggs (the males sit on the eggs), and she offered to let me milk the goats at midnight (why midnight? Is this really a sacrifice?). She just warned me that if we go out we should poor my wine into an insulated bottle so I don’t get any hay into it. How much better can life get?


Tomorrow we explore Missoula and then head to Yellowstone. Should be the first night of camping.



Day 2: Rainbow Motel


Okay, so the choice was made to go 30 more miles and then sleep in a local motel. It was cold, dark, windy, and expecting snow/rain. We chickened out. So, 0 for camping, 2 for hotel/motel. However, I claim that we are staying in only one more and that is in Utah for graduation…


Rainbow Motel

Rainbow Motel



Day 2: Keep Me Locked in a Cage…


Today started out great! Had an okay nights sleep in a warm hotel. Took a shower. Played on the computer. Got a free breakfast. I was optimistic. It seemed only to get better when we loaded in the truck and headed to Mt. Rushmore. We paid $11 to park, and only stayed about 30 minutes. But I got a few cool pictures and they had a decent bathroom.


Mt Rushmore

Mt Rushmore


Mt Rushmore SisterV

Mt Rushmore SisterV


Then after that, it all went down hill. PapaV has decided to hijack the vacation. He wants to go see Frank in Montana, so he decided we were going to drive over 700 miles to Frank’s today instead of stopping at Yellowstone for the night like I expected. Needless to say, I am angry. I wanted to stop at Sturgis. No, because he wanted to keep going. I wanted to stop at some small towns on the way. But no, he wanted to keep going. Needless to say I got very angry. And very cramped. And I just want to take a walk!


Finally when he drove straight through Billings, MT when I specifically asked to stop there, I snapped. I yelled at him for taking over MY vacation (yes, it is my vacation, I planned it and invited him), and he stopped and let me out. I vented for awhile and took a walk, and felt much better. Then I said “that is what happens when you keep me cooped up in a cage. I get bitchy.” He had to add “-er. You get bitchier.” Funny dad.


Now we are sitting in the McDonald’s parking lot using the free WiFi, discussing what options we have. Camp here, keep going to Frank’s, go to Yellowstone…


WiFi Break

WiFi Break



Day 1: In the Car All Day


Ugh, traveling with a short amount of time, and PapaV, can be very painful. We had a slow start because someone needed to buy lottery tickets (not me). Therefore we did not start out very early or very happy. We left town about 11am, with about 722 miles to go.


We stopped only for gas, and traded drivers every time. Our goal was Rapid City, South Dakota so we can see Mt. Rushmore this morning and make it to Montana before bed. So, we drove through without stopping at any historical sites or even to eat, and made it to Rapid City at about 11pm Central time. It was sleeting, windy, and cold. So…. we stayed in a hotel. Thank you Rapid City for having 50 million hotels and no guests this time of year. We scored a La Quinta for $39. Woo hoo! Needless to say, we were happy to sleep in beds at least one more night, because we will probably be camping until Thursday.


Lessons Learned

  • Missouri, Iowa, and South Dakota look very similar to Kansas
  • PapaV likes to talk on the phone only when he drives
  • Writing a paper in the car is really, really hard
  • Truck stops have better coffee than hole in the wall gas stations and McDonalds
  • Hotels are better than tents


Here I come Mt. Rushmore!


Dad Driving

Dad Driving



Day 1: I think we are moving to Utah…


I am not completely sure, but according to this picture I think we are moving to Utah…


Okay, folks. It is day one of camping with PapaV! Wish us luck!



Full Truck

Full Truck