Day 1: Sunday September 7

What is it about our vacations where they must start off the first day being so extremely dramatic?!

Reed Driving

Things started out fairly well, albeit slightly late (about 30 minutes). We dropped off the dog and headed north up I-5. We made a quick stop in Salem for breakfast and to draw cash from the ATM. In Portland we got on I-84 and headed east.

Not far from Multnomah Falls a Police car came up upon us very fast (scaring Reed to death). But not to worry — he jumped in front of us and turned his lights on to pull the car ahead of us over. WHEW!

Restaurant Pendleton where we ate.

We arrived at Pendleton around 2pm. Reed’s friend/co-worker Tim is from Pendleton and was there on vacation. He told us to try and call him to meet for lunch but we were unable to reach him. So we drove around the town looking for a place to eat — and we drove and we drove. Let’s just say that at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon, the city of Pendleton shuts down. We passed restaurant after restaurant that was either closed or was closing as we pulled up.

We finally ended up at a place called Roosters — the Fried Chicken was yummy. I spent a good part of the time there trying to get the GPS to work again. It had decided to break that morning. In the end I got it to work — Reed was MOST pleased. We finally left Pendleton around 4:30 (later then expected).

Road Construction

Back on I-84 is where things began to go down hill — in every meaning of the word. The changes in altitude began to cause problems for my ears — nothing I did got them to pop — the problem seemed to be mostly in my left ear. We then got held up in road construction for over 30 minutes. When traffic was finally able to get moving again, the third vehicle ahead of us wasn’t moving. It seems they turned off their car and managed to drain their battery. With the narrow construction lanes, no one was going to be able to get around them. But along came some handy fellows who managed to get the stalled truck going again (they pulled their battery out, carried it with jumper cables and gave the stalled truck a jump from the battery). So after that 10-15 minute delay, we were once again on our way.

Angela with her hospital band on.

Things went pretty smoothly to the Idaho border — we crossed that about 9pm Mountain time. When we hit Boise my ear was still giving me trouble, but we needed to push on to Twin Falls. We got about 30 miles out from Boise and stopped at a little truck stop to get some gum hoping that might help to alleviate the building pressure in my ear which was quickly becoming more and more painful.

Angela’s Drugs!

An hour outside Twin Falls I was in a tremendous amount of pain — I knew this was no air pressure issue — I was sure I had an ear infection. Reed called the Hospital in Twin Falls to get directions. We arrived in Twin Falls about 11:45pm and headed straight for the emergency room. They took me in right away and sure enough I did in fact have a raging ear infection. They gave me some vicodin right away, along with some antibiotics. We took the prescriptions for vicodin, antibiotic and ear drops to a nearby 24 hour Walgreens and got them filled quickly.

It was after 1am when we finally checked into the Holiday Inn and it was after 3am when we finally got settled and were able to get to bed.

It’s 9am the next morning and Reed is still sleeping. I feel MUCH better. The ear pressure is gone and while it is still very sore the pain pills and drops are really helping.

Let’s hope Monday goes a lot smoother!!

Byers Avenue in Pendleton
Angela in the car

Day 2: Monday September 8

After a bunch of sleep and drugs I was feeling MUCH better! We slept in and didn’t get out of Twin Falls until about 2:30pm.

More Idaho

Things went pretty smoothly the entire drive to Yellowstone. We stopped at all the “Historical Markers”. We hit the Montana Border about 6pm and entered Yellowstone around 7pm — just before sunset, so we got a little taste of what was in store for us the next day. We saw (and heard!) a large herd of elk on an open meadow. We tried to take pictures, but most didn’t come out because it was just too dark.

Angela at the
Montana Border
Entering Yellowstone!

When we got to the Old Faithful village (where we were staying) we had a hard time finding our lodge — they really need to mark that place better! After a little adventure we found the place, checked in and had a lovely meal in their dining room. I wanted the lamb, but they were out — maybe tomorrow night!

Our first wildlife sighting!
Yellowstone Snow Lodge

Day 3: Tuesday September 9

Old Faithful!


Well the morning started off a little slow. It seems that going from sea level to near 8000 feet in a couple days had left me with a bit of a case of altitude sickness. (For those wondering my ear feels MUCH better!) None the less we managed to make it — just in time — to see Old Faithful going off. I mean what trip to Yellowstone is complete without seeing that?! It was really neat!

A herd of Buffalo!
Elk Grazing

Next we started our trip around the loop. In case you don’t know, Yellowstone is divided into a set of roads that looks like a figure 8. It was our goal to cover the entire thing, but alas part of one loop was closed so we could only do a figure 6. Despite this we got to see LOTS and LOTS of WONDERFUL things. I never expected it to be so beautiful — it was a sight to see and I am SO glad I got to do it! The day could not have been more perfect! It was clear and sunny with just a few fluffy clouds. PERFECT!

Angela at the
Continental Divide
Reed by waterfall

There was wildlife, geysers, mineral formations, waterfalls, lakes, rivers and more! We even crossed the Continental Divide!

We spent the entire day in the park and made it back to the hotel just after sunset. We were exhausted and hungry. So we ordered room service and this time I got lucky — I got an order of the lamb! It was DELICIOUS!

Orange Spring Mound
Cascading Waterfall
The “Yellowstone” Canyon

Day 4: Wednesday September 10

Today weather wasn’t nearly as nice as yesterday’s. It was darn right miserable. Wet, soggy, snowy and stormy. Which is why there isn’t any pictures on this page. We were SO glad the weather waited until today to turn bad!!

We left Yellowstone and headed south through the Grand Tetons. We couldn’t see a thing due to the weather. In Jackson hole we met up with Reed’s Aunt Betty and her husband Raymond for lunch. That was a lot of fun — I had never met them before.

We’d spent more time than expected in Jackson Hole and decided there was no way we were going to make it to Rawlins that evening, so we canceled our reservations and decided to stay in Rock Springs. Once we were on the road and out of Yellowstone I thought we would have some cellular phone coverage — but the company we use doesn’t have any coverage in Wyoming! So there was no way to make reservations — but how difficult could it be to find a hotel room in a small Wyoming town? VERY difficult it turns out!

We arrived and on the advice of Reed’s aunt we stopped at the Travel Lodge — they told us they had no room, and neither did any other hotel in the city! It seems that the area was experiencing a mining boom and every miner within hundreds of miles had been shipped in and put up at the local motels. Reed spent over 45 mins on the McDonalds pay phone calling around for ANY room. He finally found one in a town 12 miles away. It was the only room and we were glad to get it!

Day 5: Thursday September 11

Our Aunt referred to this area as the “Arm Pit of Wyoming”, and boy was she ever right! No hotel rooms except for ones on the funky side. No regular sit down American food restaurants. We drove around looking for a place to have breakfast (I really wanted some eggs) but the only places we could find were either closed, fast food with no eggs or other ethnic places — Chinese, Mongolian, Mexican, etc. So we stopped at a Burger King where I got a large Coke and Reed got a Fish sandwich. We got an hour down the road and discovered the cup had leaked all over the cup holder. We also noticed that a lot of the roads were closed but there didn’t seem to be any work being done on them. Let’s just say we don’t plan on visiting there for a VERY long time!

Roadside Windbreaker
Roadside Windbreaker

The drive west towards Denver was fairly uneventful. The weather was nice. We came across a large windmill farm along the freeway — that was kind of neat. I’d never seen one before. The night before I was listening to Wyoming NPR (National Public Radio) and there was a report about plans to open what would be the largest windmill farm in Wyoming in the next couple years. I can see why this would be so appealing — it is VERY windy in Wyoming. The wind speeds across the plains so fast that they have “wind breakers” along some of the more windy parts of the freeways.

Around Cheyenne we FINALLY got cel phone signal back! It was about time!

I’m afraid the rest of this entry must be censored.

Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble….. Grumble…..

If you’re wondering what the above is all about — ask us in person. We’d be MOST happy to tell you! :) Let’s just say we made it to Denver and checked into our hotel just fine.

Windmill Farm
Entering Colorado!

Day 6: Friday September 12

We arrived at Rachel’s (Reed’s sister) house around noon and we, along with a couple of her friends, all went out to a local Italian restaurant. The food was pretty good. Afterwards we went back to Rachel’s and visited with Reed’s mom while Rachel and Jesse ran some errands.

Lunch at the Italian Place
Reed & Angela with
Jesse’s Daughter Tala

It turns out that the happy couple had been having a rotten run of luck this past week. The Best Man (Jesse’s brother Jeff) had an emergency appendectomy just a week before — luckily he was feeling better. And then, just the evening before, a member of he wedding party’s father-in-law had a heart attack and they had to make an emergency trip to Dallas, Texas to be with him.

What you may or may not know is the wedding was a “theme” or “costume” event based on the Lord of the Rings. As it turns out the wedding party member who was now in Dallas was supposed to play the role of Gandalf at the wedding. After trying to find someone to play the role of Gandalf they finally had to ask Reed. He said that since they were in a bind he could help out.

We went to the rehearsal and Reed learned what he was supposed to do for tomorrow. Now that Reed had to be on stage I was then recruited to take pictures as here was no professional photographer for the ceremony. I took lots of pics a the rehearsal trying to get an idea of good pics for the wedding.

After the rehearsal we went to a Greek restaurant. Very yummy food there. Let’s hope tomorrow goes well!

Reed’s Aunt Betty & Uncle Raymond
with Reed’s mom and Tala
The Rehearsal

Day 7: Saturday September 13

The wedding went well. I spent the entire time taking pictures so I’m afraid I didn’t get to pay much attention to what was going on. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Afterwards we went back to the happy couple’s house and visited with the family.

The Happy Couple!
The Wedding Party
Rachel & Jesse with
Louise & Reed

Reed & Angela at the Wedding

Day 8: Sunday September 14

We slept in a bit this morning and then ordered a big breakfast from room service. After we showered we noticed the floor beside he bed was soaked — there was a leak somewhere. So we had to get everything packed up and change rooms.

Once we left the hotel we headed to downtown Denver to find the Hard Rock Cafe. A friend of mine collects Hard Rock Cafe Bears and I wanted to get he one for Denver. That turned out to be a little bit of an adventure that we expected, but in the end we accomplished our mission!

Everyone watches as
Rachels opens the presents.

Tala helps out!

Jesse reads a card
Angela holds one of the gifts –
a fossil!

After that we went back to Reed’s sisters place and watched them open the presents. Then we all went out to the Outback for steaks — yummy!

Earlier that day we were talking about bad movies and it turns out that Jesse had a copy of one (if not the) worst movies ever made — Manos: The hands of Fate. Jesse has the MSTK version — which is MUCH easier to watch than the original. We went back to their place and had a many good laughs watching that show.

Tomorrow it’s GRANDMA TIME!!

Day 9: Monday September 15

We left Denver and headed South East towards Lamar Colorado where my Great Grandma lives. Just last week she turned 95!!

On the way we HAD to stop by a little town — no more than a bump on the road — called Byers, Colorado. We saw LOTS of “Byers” things. As we drove down the street I noticed they had a Post Office and thought that it would be neat to send ourselves a card with the local postmark — that way I can have it for my Vacation Scrapbook. After that it was off to Grandmas!

Welcome to Byers Colorado!
Our Favorite Food!

It took only about 4 hours to get to Lamar. We checked into our hotel and went to Grandma’s house. Was she ever happy to see us!! I was so excited I hugged and hugged her! She is just one of the sweetest ladies you will ever find. She spends most of her time crocheting. I told her several months ago about our plans to come see her and she made both Reed and I afghans! One thing is for sure — you don’t leave her house empty handed!

The three of us we out to her favorite restaurant and we treated her to dinner. Afterward, we went back to her place where she called one of my cousins and told her to come over and join in on the fun. I hadn’t seen my cousin Karen since I was a little girl — I am so glad she got to come over.

We visited and visited until it was nearly midnight and every was tired. I hated saying goodbye, but was so glad I’d gotten to spent time with them. It was the highlight of my trip!

Angela with her Great Grandma
Grandma with Karen

Day 10: Tuesday September 16

Not much to tell today. Mostly driving across really boring parts of Colorado and Wyoming — most of it was backtracking down roads we came on. Once we got to Cheyenne Wyoming we started to see some new things. Our goal was to get as far north towards Mount Rushmore as we could. We ended up in Torington Wyoming — just a few miles from the Nebraska border. Half of the town was taken up by huge sugar processing plants.

The ride was so dull that we made up a new state song for Wyoming — based on all the exciting things we saw. It is sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells”.


Cow Cow Cow
Cow Cow Cow
Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow
Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow Cow … COW!

Whew! Wasn’t that FUN!!

We saw lots of this stuff…
and more of this stuff…
and more…
and more…

Day 11: Wednesday September 17

We stopped updating the vacation blog.

Day 12: Thursday September 18

We stopped updating the vacation blog.

Day 13: Friday September 19

We stopped updating the vacation blog.

Day 14: Saturday September 20

We stopped updating the vacation blog.

We arrived home.

Permanent link to this article: