Yesterday we drove down a part of Route 66, to visit Lowell Observatory and learnt all about how and who found and named Pluto, and why it was then demoted as a planet.
Incase you were curious, for a planet to be recognised as one, it needs to fulfil 3 requirements. It needs to orbit the sun, be round and have nothing else inside it’s orbit. They thought Pluto met those requirements until with new technology, they discovered many objects inside its orbit. It was a cool tour.
We left Flagstaff and drove to Phoenix where we watched a Baseball game between Arizona Diamondbacks vs Chicago Cubs. It was our families first baseball game so we all jumped on the Diamondbacks bandwagon and bought the merchandise. It was a good game to watch. Many homeruns were hit and they won 9-0. Winners are grinners 😂
Today we drove around from the West rim of the Grand Canyon to the South rim and the landscape is completely different. A lot more trees and plants on this side.
We took a 3 hour bike tour which was really informative. We learnt heaps about the history of the Canyon, how it was formed and the animals who live there. It’s a really pretty place.
Did you know that after the movie Thelma and Louise, people thought it would be funny to roll their cars off the Canyon. They couldn’t remove all of them due to their location and so the cars wouldn’t be an eyesore, the rangers sprayed the cars the same colour as the rocks behind them. We couldn’t spot any of them.
Today I flew in my first helicopter and it was over the GRAND CANYON. Wow! What a view.
It’s hard to describe how amazing this place is and photos don’t do it justice.
One of the seven wonders of the world and we flew over the west rim and took a boat on the Colorado river through it.
As you are flying in the helicopter towards the Canyon, the landscape is quite flat then you reach the Canyon and the landscape drops miles down. It’s so awesome!!!
Afterwards we walked along the Skywalk for more amazing views.
Tonight we are staying on the South rim to go for a bike ride around the Canyon tomorrow.
We’ve been in Las Vegas for a couple of nights. It’s 40 degrees here!
The drive from Mammoth lakes was a long one but full of amazing landscape again. I’ll never get sick of these massive mountains.
We stopped at the Area 51 alien centre for lunch and watched 3 Blackhawk helicopters fly past doing their perimeter checks of the military base.
We also drove past the Nevada Nuclear test site where in the 50’s they tested Hydrogen and Nuclear bombs both above and below ground. There was also a random missile launcher sitting in a different paddock, as you do 😜
Las Vegas is a place to experience once I think. It’s completely over the top and doesn’t seem to have many rules.
The kids loved M&M world, the buildings and the lights. They also loved our very flash RV park as it had pools with sandy beaches, a golf course and security which they thought was really cool.
The big kids (Stewart and Mick) loved going to a shooting range to shoot guns we don’t have in our country. Em loved Bootbarn and I loved my massive frozen cocktail and the weather.
Onto the Hoover Dam which I recently learnt powers this crazy city.
Today we visited the Hoover Dam.
The history behind the building of it is really fascinating. It was built in the 1930’s and for it’s time, was an engineering masterpiece. Nearly 90 years later, it still is.
It provides clean hydroelectric power, irrigation water and flood control for many states.
We toured the power plant and went 500 feet underground to check out the original tunnels that were dug out to redirect the flow of the river. It was really fascinating and I really enjoyed it.
Tonight we spend the night in an RV park in the desert in the middle of nowhere. The views of the mountains are great and we were visited after dinner by a baby rattlesnake ❤️
Yosemite is so different to the other parks we’ve been to. It’s a lot drier at this time of year but it’s still spectacular.
I’ve never seen landscape like it. It has huge valleys, canyons and glaciers and as you drive in, all of a sudden the landscape changes and these enormous granite cliffs and rock formations greet you.
The cliffs are popular for rock climbers, especially El Captain. We saw over 20 climbers making their way up the cliff face today. The locals tell us it takes anywhere between 3-5 days to climb the 3,500 foot wall but 2 climbers have done it in just under 2 hours!
We hiked around Mirror Lake which is all dried up at this time of year but a nice walk none the less. We saw some deer and Angus spotted all the squirrels again.
September 12- California.
After visiting the Redwood forest, we spent the night in an interesting RV park (it was a bit of an eye opener for all the wrong reasons) and made our way to Fort Bragg in the morning to their famous Glass Beach.
I learnt that years and years ago, the shire thought the best way to get rid of glass bottles was to dump truck loads of them in the ocean. They eventually made their way back to shore where the waves broke them down in small smooth pebbles so instead of a sandy beach, it’s a glass beach. There is the remains of green, clear and amber glass bottles all throughout the beach.
From there we drove to Nice and spent the night right on the lake which was Nice 😜
September 12th- Oregon
It was unbelievable to see the massive Redwood trees up close. This old growth forest has the oldest and tallest trees in the world.
I can’t put into words how beautiful the trees and this forest is. I took so many pictures to capture a bit of its brilliance, but photos don’t do this place justice. I loved the feeling of calm walking through the forest. The outdoors really is my happy place.
During our walk through the forest, the kids completed a series of activities that qualified them to get their Redwood Junior rangers badge. They had to take an oath to be good kind people that ate their veggies 😂
September 9th- Oregon.
The past couple of days we have been making our way down the west coast of Oregon.
We visited the Astoria column. A tower with a 164 step spiral staircase overlooking the Columbia river. Once on top, the kids took turns throwing down their airplanes that we purchased at the bottom. It was a lot of fun watching them fly down, their pictures even made the local paper 😂
We had a walk around Cannon beach, saw some whales in Depoe Bay, visited Heceta head lighthouse (the brightest lighthouse on the Oregon coast) and said hi to the seals at Seal bay.
So far we’ve travelled over 3,000 miles
September 6th- Castle Rock, Washington
After leaving Radar lake, we made our way to Mt St Helens, an active volcano that is most known for its major eruption in 1980. It is the most destructive and deadliest eruption in the history of the USA. The whole side of the volcano blew off during the time it buried lakes, floored forests and completely changed the landscape. The before and after pics are cool.
This was another one of those views that didn’t look real. It was a hazy day again but you could still see the amazing landscape.
Tonight we are staying in Astoria and heading down the west Coast tomorrow.
September 4th- Washington
Today we boarded a ferry from Anacortes to San Juan to go kayaking in the ocean with the hope of seeing Killer whales.
It was a perfect day. The sun was out and there was barely a breath of wind. The tour went for 3 hours and although we didn’t see any wildlife except for a Bald Eagle, it was a great experience.
We spent a second night at Pioneer Trails campground which has been the best RV park to date. The kids made S’mores over the fire and we and had a few drinks and lots of laughs with our neighbours.
September 2nd- Seattle, Washington.
Yesterday we visited The Museum of flight in Seattle. The boys were in heaven.
We walked through one of the only Concords in the world that allows people through it. The Concord is the worlds fastest passenger plane, travelling from London to New York in less than 3 hours when it would normally take you 8-10 hours 😲
We then walked through Airforce one. This was President Kennedy’s, Johnson and Nixon’s plane. President Johnson flew with his 2 Beagles a lot so he installed a doggie door inside the plane so they had somewhere to chill. Legend! 😊
The boys talked the ear off a veteran from the Vietnam war and learnt all about the B-17F bomber which is still flight worthy today.
Later in the day day we made our way up the Space Needle. The 360 degrees views of Seattle were lovely. We could see Mt Rainer and the hospital Greys anatomy was filmed in!
August 31- Montana.
We’ve been in Glacier National Park for the past couple of days and it’s been AWESOME!! We’ve been on 2 long trail walks, 8km and 15km.
Our itinerary for driving along the “Going to the sun” road was hampered by the fact our RV’s are too big and the bush fires burning right through the middle of it.
So instead, yesterday we walked up Asters Peak mountain and we met a cheeky Chipmunk that had obviously been fed by people before as he was very friendly.
Today we hiked on the Grinnell lake trail and it was THE BEST DAY EVER!!!! Thanks to our personal ranger “Bear Mickey Blue Grylls” and his binoculars we saw a Grizzly Bear, a Black bear, a Moose with her Calf, Bighorn sheep and lamb and an Elk. It’s the best feeling watching wild animals just do their thing. It puts you on a high for the rest of the day.
I sound like a broken record but the scenery here is breath taking. It doesn’t look real, it’s unbelievably beautiful.
Did I mention we saw bears today 😜👌
August 28- Montana
In 9 days we have driven 1300 miles.
We spent the morning in Yellowstone Park, one of the worlds largest and most explosive volcanos. When it next erupts, it is suspected to be the cause of the next ice age.
I still haven’t seen a wild bear, a wolf, a moose or anything other than a Bison or deer for that matter. The animals I have seen are beautiful though.
We left Yellowstone today and drove to Old Faithful, the most predictable geyser in the area, erupting every 90mins to a height of around 55 metres. There are 900 geysers in the world, 500 of them are in Yellowstone and 150 of them are where we were today. Pretty cool.
We are now in Butte, Montana, the birth place of Evil Keinvel and heading to Glacier National Park to tire out these children 😊
We’ve had a couple of days off the grid but we’re back!
We found snow yesterday. Soft powdery snow. We were just over 1km higher than Australias highest peak of Mount Kosciuszko. So weird that the day before we were in Leed and the weather was in the high 20’s and the next drive we do takes us to the snow.
We all got out and had a play, quickly built a snowman and headed off to Yellowstone National Park.
The Rocky Mountains was a picturesque drive, the landscape here is something else.
Once in Yellowstone we saw our first wild Bison. There were heaps of them. The Yellowstone Bison are special because they are pure descendants of early Bison (no cow genes) and it’s the only place in the US they have continuously lived since prehistoric times.
We then stopped at Mammoth hot springs. That was a pretty place and I saw my first Elk.
Norris was the next stop where there were more hot springs and a Geyser. Finally spent the night at Fishing bridge where the weather is so cold it snowed, thankfully the heater in the RV is awesome.
They were so concerned about bears coming into camp that you can only stay here in RV’s and can’t light fires so it was an earlier than usual night for us.
My Canadian countdown is on and all I can think about is Canadian noms! I always snap my first Tim Horton's back home. But, what should I add to my list of 'must eats'? We'll be visiting Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Ontario 🍁
Catching up on Insta posts
August 26th- Montana.
We drove a lot today.
Our first stop was in Lead to check out the Homestake mine/Stanford Lab. It was really cool, especially listening to what they are now doing in the Lab.
The mine is the second deepest and second largest gold producing mine in the world. Only 30% of the gold was removed from the mine before it was closed in 2001. The mine shafts are 1 mile deep and it only took the workers 3 minutes to get to the bottom, that’s an insanely quick ride down to work. The technology they used in this mine was before it’s time as they had the money to fund it.
The mine now holds the worlds largest underground lab and they are researching a particle called Nutrino, otherwise known as dark matter. They believe this particle will be responsible for the new latest technologies and the research has funding from many government departments. I love that stuff, it was really interesting.
The kids got to hit golf balls into the open cut mine which guaranteed them a hole in one 😊
We then drove for a REALLY long time and ended up in Crow Agency in Montana which is the town of Custers last stand. The battle of Little Bighorn was the most successful action fought by the American Indians against the United States Army. The site of the battle is littered with gravestones, places in the spots the men died. Even the horses whose lives were sacrificed are acknowledged there.
I learnt that once the men from the United States Army were surrounded by the Indians, they shot their own horses and used them as shields 😞
The landscape from the pictures still looks exactly the same today which I find incredible as Custers last stand was in 1876.
Catching up on Insta posts
August 25th- Deadwood South Dakota.
Today was an interesting day.
We visited the famous Wall drug store because the signs from the previous 200+ miles brainwashed us to do so.
Next was Minuteman missile centre and we learnt about how many 100’s of missiles are still underground ready to be launched at a moments notice.
We drove through the Badlands which was so impressive. The landscape didn’t look real.
We then drove to Deadwood, an old mining town that had a classic car show on. We all signed a charity car and met the Blues brothers 😂
Here are a few things I have learnt today:
1: Cabs carry eskis with beer and fireball shots and the cab driver had a chemical engineering degree and took cash only, hmmmmm 😂
2: You can walk around he streets drinking alcohol as long as Deadwood was on the sides of the cups.
3: ATV’s can be driven on the road without helmets and are a common form of transport to take your family for a pub meal.
4: The locals are really friendly and love our accents.
The night ended sitting by a creek in the forest, drinking vegan Baileys by an open fire listening to howling wolves. Bliss!
Catching up on Insta posts
24th August- South Dakota
It was another jam packed day today.
We started at the a Mammoth fossil centre in South Dakota which is still an active palaeontological site and excavations still continue to this day.
We saw fossils from over 100,000 year old Mammoths who slipped into a hot spring and couldn’t get out, eventually drowning and leaving behind a graveyard of bones. Amazing to see such ancient history.
Next we visited the Crazy Horse memorial. A man who was involved in carving Mount Rushmore was approached by an Indian elder to carve Crazy horse into a mountain so white people knew that Indians had great heros too. They’ve been carving this monument since 1948, the grandchildren of the original carver have now taken over but it they won’t see it finished in their lifetime.
We then drove to Mount Rushmore which was really cool to see in real life.
Last stop of the day was Bear Country USA and saw an assortment of native animals.
Catching up on Insta posts
August 23rd- Lusk Wyoming.
Massive day today but we finally have our RV’s are now in Wyoming. The landscape here is really baron, barely a tree or wildlife to be seen. It made the 4 hour drive here very long. Off to Mount Rushmore tomorrow. Yay!
#altasandblacksdomerica#familyholiday#holidayroad#roadtrip @emaltas81 @mickeyblue80
Stayed in the mountains in Italy with beautiful views. There was a Batman logo shaped bat flapping about but then I thought maybe they are all Batman logo shaped...? We collected some conkers for the purposes of conker fights and keeping away spiders, and saw a man climbing. I was concerned for his welfare as he was alone and I thought probably climbing should be done in pairs.
We drove to Innsbruck which was FAR. We were knackered so pulled into a biker stop for coffee. Unfortunately they couldn't accept card but we were saved from washing up and they let us have coffee for free with a smile 😊 ☕