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Our Summer Vacation  2010

What doesn't happen on a vacation trip  It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful Gods nature is.  Our vacation started on a Sunday and returned the following Monday night at midnight.

Maybe I should say our trip started Saturday night because it took us 4 hours just to load the SUV with all our stuff.   We are tent campers and need to not only bring along clothing but cooking, tent, and bedding stuff.     This took up allot of room, but we took this into account and ensured that the SUV we reserved had a luggage rack on it.    When it came time to pick the rental up, it was not available.   First the rental company attempted to ask if we wanted to pay more for a SUV that was larger and available right then.   We told them no we would wait for the other one to be ready.    A few moments later we are given the upgrade of a larger SUV for free.   There was only one drawback..   No luggage rack!   But it's larger no problem...

As we started to pack up the SUV we realized that there would be no way we could get it all in the back.   So we did what any other country folk would do and got a Clampett luggage rack.   This included several items to work correctly.    Rop, rope, rope and well more rope.    Once we put it together (the Clampett luggage rack did not come with a manual), we started loading it up with several items.   I wonder what everyone thought of this monasteries two foot tall three foot long green thing  on top of a 2010 Ford Flex.    Now that's class...

We got all packed up and ready to go the next morning.

The first days ride went very well.   We stopped about 3 hours outside of Mt. Rushmore and spent the night at a super 8 motel.   Not that bad of a stay.   In and out the next morning we got back on the road.

We where then greeted by  one of our ancestors walking his pet by interstate 90 towards Mt. Rushmore.


We started to come upon all these little signs on the side of the road.   Stating about Prairie dog and "the largest Prairie dog ever"   something like 80 tons.    Man we had to see this...    

They had several little ones (about a hundred) running all over the place.   They sold food for us to feed them with.









After all our other stops we finally got to Mt. Rushmore and it was fantastic!   There is allot to learn there and several things to see.   

As you can tell it was very bright that day.   We went on a nice hike up near the base of the mount .     If you are traveling thru the area defiantly drop by and see!

As we were heading out for Yellowstone we came by this little town that had a sign on one of the buildings that stated they were in the world records for having the most Teddy Bars.    And they had allot of bears!   Over 6 thousand bars.  WOW!

Around 3:00 we moved on for Yellowstone.   

Stopped at another Super 8 motel for the night and then drove over the Rockies Tuesday morning. We found many beautiful places to stop and look around.   We got to Yellowstone around 7:00pm and set up camp.

We were told about Bears over and over and not to leave any food out and don't keep anything in the tent (food that is).   More about that later..   

We spent a 5 days there and saw old faithful, hot springs, and many other items of interest.     Here are just some of the things we enjoyed


           ( Behive Guiser)                                                                   (Old Faithful Guiser)


One interesting thing about Yellowstone is the Camp Rangers are so nice.  So nice that they place Very Large signs explaining how every year so many people are gored by Bison.   And how we need to make sure we stay away from them.    Well there is this one walk that we went on.  It was a paved path, and a bridge/walkway across some water.   We noticed up ahead there where allot of people on this walkway stopped.   In Yellowstone whenever you see people stopped it's because there is some  wild animal there.   Guess what!  It was a large Bison taking his time eating grass and walking across the path.    If you notice in this picture there is NO one else on the path.

After waiting some time and everyone moving back he made his way closer and closer to the walkway.


Now you see he is on the other side of the trail.   Trust me Katrina and myself where a ways back when we took this picture.  Not only that there was a hot spring right between us and the bison.   






Looks like the last person didn't do so well.   :-)      (see the bones in the lower left side of this picture) Well finally the Bison moved on and we could all go past without any fear.

We also saw a mother grizzly Bear and her cubs in some water eating a carcass.    I'm very glad for zoom on cameras.   I would not want to be this close to them.   If you look close you will see three cubs.   Two in front and are behind the cub that is closest to the mom.

During our stay we had to move camp sites from one camp ground to another.    The morning after our first night at our new camp ground we hard a story from one of the rangers about our old camp site and how someone had pored left over grease on the ground.    I guess they did not believe in the Bear stories and did not read the sign that was on the picnic table, bar box, rest room, receipt for the campground, 5 minuet lecture the camp ground staff gave everyone, or the 6 x 6 foot sign at the entrance to the camp ground that (all) stated there are bears in the area and don't leave any trash, food, or toiletry items laying round.   I feel really bad for the all the campers that where there because all tent campers had to sleep in there cars that night and where evacuated the next morning for two days it was closed to tent campers.

Over all the weather was nice.   It did rain the first two nights and was a bit of a mess but the last few nights where dry but cold.   It got down into the 30s at night.    And highs where in the  70s.    The high altitude got to us after awhile and we both got sick, but we enjoyed the trip anyway.

We decided to pack up the Clampett-mobile and head on out.    We headed out Sunday morning around 10:00.   We grabbed some more pictures on the way out, on the left is Andrew my wife's younger brother.   And Gene my father-in-law.   

We drove through the Grand Teton national forest on the way out and saw some wonderful views of the moutons.


After leaving the park the first stop was taco bell.   Finally a change from camp food.   After a quick bite to eat we drove and drove on highway 80 onward to home.   Knowing we could not make it home in one day we got out the next best thing to a GPS system and that's a MAP system.   Looked it all over and found where we needed to spend the night.   Then I had to get technical.   I got out my laptop, and cell phone in hand and connected cables here and there.   Got on the internet and hotel sites over and over.   Finally found a place to stay that was low price (stay within our budget) to spend the night.   The drawback was we never heard of the place.    And a word from the now wise...  Don't stay in a hotel unless you recognize the name of the place!

See we were looking for another Super 8 but the one I found was sold out.    So I found some place called America's Best something....    Anyway it was far from it.    Keep in mind this Sunday night  is the 4th of July.  And we saw fireworks for miles as we had been driving.    We were getting in late around 11:00pm and noticed as we were getting off the highway that there were fireworks everywhere in people's back yards and, in fields.    Well not thinking much about it we pulled into the parking lot of the hotel and low and behold the place was covered with fireworks.   Everyone and there brother was there shooting off fireworks and having a party.   My hart sunk...   Hoping and praying the room and hotel staff was better.   Walked in and found no one at the counter of the hotel.  Looking around I see this guy from outside (who was shooting off fireworks) came in and went behind the counter to set us up with our room.   Man this can't get worse...   Well after a bit of credit card swiping and signing papers he handed me the room key card and told me down the hall and to the left.    

On we went to check out our room in this America's Best hotel place.    Opened the door and walked in..   Flipped on the light switch and nothing happened. Looked around and there was nothing on the bed.   No lights no nothing.    O man this is really getting bad now.   Back to the front.   Get the guy to come back in from his firework party and correct the problem.    "O sorry, sorry I must have given you the wrong room" he told us as he quickly made new room keys and told us to go to another room.

Well we went this time and it wasn't all that bad.   (I guess)   We had a good sleep and woke up in the morning ready to hit the road for a long drive home.

That next day we headed out and dropped by to eat lunch with some of my relatives in Lincoln Nebraska.   After this stop we kept on rolling to our house in Oblong Illinois.   We got back home at midnight Monday night.  Our Clampett mobile amazingly made it safely only suffering a broken windshield.  After all I'm sure glad we didn't take our own car.  

Hope you all enjoyed reading about our summer vacation.

Bobby and Katrina Gage