brantswanderwest | tabrant
1
archive,author,author-tabrant,author-1,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode-theme-ver-9.1.3,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.11.2.1,vc_responsive
bww_california-1
Wine and Redwoods

[vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Win and Redwoods [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Written by Trae [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Our next destination was northern California, where we planned to visit with Jamie’s cousin Megan and her family in Arcata for a few days before heading a little farther south to visit my Aunt Judy & Uncle Jack in Sonoma.  From Crater Lake, we headed southwest towards the coast on the aptly named Redwood Highway through the Redwood National and State Parks. It was an incredible drive surrounded on all 4 sides by the tallest trees in the world.  We arrived in Arcata that afternoon just in time to celebrate the birthday of Megan & Urb’s 2-year-old daughter Ella - but first, we had to climb their very steep and windy driveway with Bob in tow.  We had already conquered a few crazy drives, and I figured if we could get up then we could get back down. So into 4-wheel drive we went, and after some nail-biting turns, we finally made it to their house. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16963" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16962" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16964" img_size="530x710" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] The next day we woke up and grabbed brunch at a local spot called T’s Cafe, followed by a walk around the downtown square.  Megan and Urb then took us south to get out and explore the Redwoods and drive the famous Avenue of the Giants.  It turned out to be one of the coolest natural playgrounds I have ever seen - we stopped at a place where a few of the giant trees had fallen, making sort of a natural jungle gym, and spent the afternoon climbing on, over and around the trees. After a delicious Vietnamese dinner, we headed back home and had a bit of a restless night sleep thinking about how we were going to get Bob back down the driveway in the morning. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16966" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16965" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16967" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16968" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] When morning came, we made a few attempts to turn the trailer around before descending the driveway, which sadly led to Bob’s first scratch since joining our family.  With hearts racing and our stomachs in knots, we then attempted to back the 8,000 lb beast part way down the hill down to the first curve, where we finally were able to turn and proceed downhill facing forward. In hindsight, we wish we had pictures of this ordeal, but this was easily one of the most stressful situations we found ourselves in over the course of the entire trip - pictures were the last thing on our minds.  We arrived at my Aunt Judy and Uncle Jack’s house in Sonoma that afternoon just in time to park Bob in the shade and head to the town square for a picnic at the Tuesday night farmer's market and live music. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16978" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] It was so great to spend the next few days in familiar places with my family.  We didn’t have any set plans, so each day was a great mix of quality time spent exploring and relaxing in the beautiful Bay Area.  We spent one morning exploring nearby Cornerstone Gardens, admiring the colorful landscapes and getting some gardening inspiration. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="27" gal_title="Sonoma"] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text]One morning, we took the ferry into San Francisco and enjoyed a walk around Chinatown, receiving a personal tour of the financial district and North Beach from my Uncle Jack who lived in the area for over 60 years. After a long day in the city and a delicious lunch at Rose Pistola, we headed home for a relaxing evening.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16979" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16980" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Jamie and I decided to take a day and head to one of our Sonoma County favorites - Russian River Brewing. We had gone there on our trip out to Sonoma last year and made the mistake of ordering a flight of beer for each of us, which turned out to include all 17 beers on tap!  Needless to say we didn’t leave the brewery for a few hours.  On this visit, we stuck to a beer or 2 each, some delicious pub grub, and a case of Pliny the Elder to take with us on the rest of our journey. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] On one of our last days in town, Aunt Judy & Uncle Jack were throwing a backyard bocce ball party. We invited one of my best friends from high school, Rachel Ebert, who only lives about an hour away, to come hang out and enjoy some time together.  We spent most of the morning prepping for the party, and the guests and family arrived in the afternoon.  We had a great time playing bocce and getting to know some of my Aunt and Uncle’s oldest friends, and then spent the evening swimming in the pool with family, followed by a cousins' sleepover.  The next morning we had a great brunch together and spent another great afternoon in the backyard and the pool, before prepping to get back on the road the next day.  We were so thankful for this quality time with family that we don’t get to see that often and spend time in a familiar, beautiful place, and we felt so refreshed to continue our travels. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16981" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16983" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16982" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#e26714" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text]   Trae and Jamie[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

bww_oregon-71
The Crater Lake Blues

[vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] The Crater Lake Blues [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Written by Jamie [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] The day we dropped my parents back off at the airport was one of the first days where we really weren’t sure what direction we were heading next.  We had to be in northern coastal California by the end of the weekend and knew we wanted to hit up Crater Lake National Park before then, but we really weren’t sure whether we wanted to head back to the Oregon coast for a few days or stay inland and go through Bend, OR.  I had travelled coastal Oregon previously, and it is, without a doubt, a gorgeous drive with adorable seaside towns and lots of outdoor activities (including some amazing sand dunes to explore near Florence, OR), but we had heard some pretty awesome things about Bend and all it had to offer.  We even heard it likened to Asheville, NC, one of our favorite cities back east.  So as we were pulling away from the Portland airport, we made the split second decision to continue SE to Bend and see what the fuss was all about. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16925" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Let’s just say we’re very glad we did, as Bend did not disappoint.  When we first rolled into town, we thought we may have had to continue on our merry way as none of the RV parks and campgrounds in the immediate area had any availability.  We got extremely lucky when we pulled up to the Crown Villa Resort (who had told us over the phone they had no availability) that offered an “overflow camping” gravel lot complete with electric and water hookups - perfect for our 2 night stay.  The even better part about this “overflow camping” lot is that we still had access to all the wonderful amenities of this high-end RV resort (I’m telling you, this place is like the Ritz Carlton of campgrounds).  One of the resort receptionists offered some delicious-sounding meal suggestions and also gave us a brewery tour map of Bend.  While there was no way we were going to be able to hit all 29 in the area, we chose to head first to the nearby Silver Moon Brewing followed by Bend Brewing Company in downtown Bend.  After our little “hoppy hour,” we walked around the downtown shops, grabbed some local veggies at the farmers market and headed back to the trailer for some dinner. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] The next two days were mostly filled with office work we needed to catch up on, but we made sure to switch up our workspaces throughout the city so we could get a feel for this cool town.  Bend has a great local feel to it and offers so many fun outdoor activities.  There are endless biking and hiking trails, the Deschutes River runs right through the center of the town, creating some great opportunities for paddleboarding, canoeing, and even whitewater kayaking, and then just 30 minutes east sits Mt. Bachelor, offering world-class skiing in the winter.  Bend appears to be perfectly located in proximity to anything you want (except a larger airport - it’s only downfall, in our opinion).  Our visit was short, but Bend definitely made the list of places to return to at some point. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16833" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16835" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] By Friday evening, we reached our campsite at Diamond Lake RV Park, located just north of the Crater Lake entrance, and sitting right along the shore of beautiful Diamond Lake in the Umpqua National Forest.  We chose to hit the sack early in an effort to maximize the next day at Crater Lake National Park.   [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16836" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We awoke to a crisp clear morning the next day, and set out on our drive through the park.  I was particularly excited about this park because I had seen such beautiful photos and could not wait to get my own.  It surely didn’t disappoint from the minute we entered the park! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16840" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Crater Lake was formed almost 8,000 years ago when the volcanic Mount Mazama collapsed.  The caldera lake is 1,949 feet deep, making it the deepest in the US and 3rd average deepest in the world!.  It has no inlets or tributaries, so the only way evaporated water gets replenished is through rain and snowfall.  This also makes the waters of Crater Lake some of the purest in the world because of the absence of pollutants. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16837" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text]We could not get over the color of the lake and how it seemed to perfectly reflect the sky.  Apparently the park had quite a lot of snowfall the previous winter, so some drifts still lined the sides of the Rim Drive that circumnavigates the caldera.  We decided to take a slow drive along the entire Rim Drive in a counterclockwise direction from the north entrance.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16851" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16936" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] There are lots of hiking opportunities within the park, not just near the caldera. One unique opportunity is to hike on Wizard Island, the cinder cone that erupted after Crater Lake formed, which is reached by a tour boat. Unfortunately for us, all the boat departures were completely booked for the day, so Wizard Island was out. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16843" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16852" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16847" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Instead, we opted to hike the Cleetwood Cove Trail at the end of our drive along the rim.  This trail is the only trail that provides access down into the caldera and to the shore of the lake.  From the rocky shore, swimming in the frigid water is allowed at your own risk.  Because of this, the trail is rather busy but absolutely worth it for the end result. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16853" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] When we reached the shoreline, I immediately noticed a group of people in one area and a lot of cheering - out on a rock outcropping was a perfect place to make a 20-foot plunge into the frigid 53-degree water.  While Trae opted for a slow immersion from the rocky shoreline into the chilly water, I knew jumping was likely the only way I would get myself in that cold water, so I took the jump.  It was beautiful and freezing and took my breath away quite literally. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7q032XNclI"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We laid out on the rocks, drying out and warming back up for another 30 minutes before starting the steep 700-foot, half-mile climb back out to the rim. Once we reached the car, we were totally wiped and called it a night, feeling very fulfilled with our visit to (and freezing swim in) Crater Lake.  Just like so many other places we visited on this trip, a picture cannot do Crater Lake National Park any justice - you just have to go see it for yourself! [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16846" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16855" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#e26714" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text]   Trae and Jamie[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

bww_oregon-31
A Special Visit from the McCluskeys

[vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] A Special Visit From the McCluskeys [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Written by Jamie [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] A few weeks before Dan & Chelsea planned to fly in, my parents called asking if they could book a flight to fly into Portland right after Dan & Chelsea were leaving – of course we said yes!  So after dropping our friends off at PDX, doing a quick clean of Bob and throwing the sheets in the wash, we headed back to PDX that night to pick up Cheryl & Jim.  They planned to be with us for 6 days and then to fly back out of PDX, but we had no specific plans while they visited.  Thankfully, there were a number of areas within a 2 hour drive from Portland that we wanted to explore while they were with us.  We spent our first full day together exploring downtown Portland some more, grabbing a delicious lunch at Deschutes Brewery and a classic pizza dinner at the highly rated Apizza Scholls. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16870" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16873" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] On day 2, we arose early and headed out on a slow drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway, America’s first scenic byway.  We grabbed some gorgeous views early on in the drive from the Vista House site.  The winding roads are speckled with absolutely gorgeous waterfalls and hikes of varying lengths. We stopped to hike around Shepherds Dell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and the very popular Multnomah Falls, followed by a stop at the Bonneville Dam where we watched a number of different fish species (salmon, lamprey, steelhead, sturgeon) climb a fish ladder up the Columbia River. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="21" gal_title="Columbia River"] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] While the scenic byway continues on to The Dalles, we hopped off at Hood River and headed to Marchesi Vineyards for a wine tasting, followed by a beer flight at pFreim Family Brewers.  We continued on our day tip to visit Mt. Hood and famous Timberline Lodge, the exterior of which was used to portray The Overlook Hotel in one of my all-time favorites, The Shining! [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16887" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16888" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16896" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16856" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] The next day we decided to head the opposite direction to the northern Oregon coast.  We first stopped in Astoria, a town located near the mouth of the Columbia River, where they had a Sunday farmers market that we walked around.  Once we reached the Pacific, we headed south and grabbed an awesome seafood lunch at Bell Buoy of Seaside.  We continued on to the beautiful Ecola State Park, which features awesome overlooks onto Cannon Beach and the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.  We finally wrapped up our day on the coast with beers at the local Pelican Brewing Company. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="22" gal_title="cannon beach"] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] We packed up camp the next morning and actually backtracked to Washington where we got a beautiful campsite at Ike Kinswa State Park conveniently located between our next two destinations: Mount St. Helens and Mt. Rainier National Park.  Once we set up camp, we went right back out and followed the twists and bends of Route 504 towards the Johnston Ridge Observatory overlooking Mount St. Helens.  Along the route are a number of visitors centers, each detailing different aspects of the active volcano, the region, and the magnitude 5.1 earthquake of 1980 that triggered one of the world’s largest recorded landslides, followed by one of the most powerful volcanic blasts in the history of North America.  The Johnston Ridge Observatory gives a beautiful video presentation and offers amazing views of the volcano (it’s the closest you can get by car).  We also really enjoyed the Forest Learning Center which detailed the effects of the landslide and blast on the flora and fauna of the area, and what steps have been taken since then to bring about regrowth and rebirth. Instead of grilling that night, we opted for some take-out chinese by the fire and enjoyed a beautiful night under the stars. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16829" img_size="1200x800" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16907" img_size="1200x800" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] We headed out early the next morning for Mount Rainier National Park.  When I had previously visited the Pacific Northwest, hiking Mt. Rainier was the highlight of my trip, so I was so excited to share the experience with Trae and my parents this time.  Unfortunately, the weather this time was quite wet with very dense fog, but the experience wasn’t any less enjoyable.  By the time we parked at Paradise and the visitors center, the temperature had dropped significantly, so we bundled up for our hike.  A few backcountry skiiers passed us as we started our ascent to Panorama Point, which surprised us a bit at first, but it soon became clear that the conditions here were still quite wintery.   [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="25" gal_title="panorama point"] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] We realized the conditions were so wintery, they were too treacherous for us to ascend all the way to Panorama Point, where we were hoping to break through the the cloud line and catch a glimpse of the beautiful mountain scenery that I knew was around us.  Slightly disheartened, we started to turn around at what would normally be a beautiful overlook but was shrouded by clouds.  Just as we started our descent, the clouds broke for a few brief moments and revealed the seemingly endless mountains beyond. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="26" gal_title="mount rainier"] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We were so excited to see our beautiful surroundings!  It was the perfect way to finish our day at Mt. Rainier and was arguably the crown jewel of our time with my parents while they visited us.  The nasty weather persisted through the rest of the night, but we managed to grill a yummy meal and enjoy our last evening together.  We were so thankful to have this special visit from my parents on this incredible journey.  They were part of our inspiration for taking this trip (my dad proposed to my mom on a cross-country trip they took way back when), and it was so cool to share the experience with them now. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16911" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="5"][vc_single_image image="16913" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="5"][vc_single_image image="16912" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#e26714" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text]   Trae and Jamie[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

epic_4th_of_july_week-18
AMERICA’S STILL PRETTY FREAKIN’ GREAT

[vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] AMERICA’S STILL PRETTY FREAKIN’ GREAT [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Written by Jamie [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Washington state was our next destination, and over the week of 4th of July, we were hosting some special visitors, our good friends Dan and Chelsea Downes.  We were super excited to have friends flying out to visit, camp and explore with us!  Dan and Chelsea were flying into Seattle a few days before the 4th, and we originally planned to arrive a couple days before they got in.  However, when the weather wasn’t really cooperating in Montana, we decided to leave a day early and head into Washington sooner.  We contacted Walter’s Fruit Ranch, a Harvest Host just outside Spokane, to see if we could come stay a night on our way to Seattle, and they happily obliged.  After a longer drive day, we rolled up to Walter’s in the late afternoon and set up camp.  Walter’s Fruit Ranch is perched on top of rolling hills, surrounded by other neighboring farms that specialize in a number of crops. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16758" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16759" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Their on-site store features delicious jams, jarred goods, pies, and some adorable gifts.   They had just picked the Rainier cherries that morning, so we grabbed a giant bag to enjoy over the next few days.  Just down the street was another farm that also had an on-site brewery and tap room, the Big Barn Brewing Company.  We stopped in and enjoyed a flight of their beers and great conversation with the owners, then headed back to the trailer to enjoy some leftovers for dinner.  When we got back to the trailer, we had some fellow Airstreamers and Harvest Hosters that had setup camp next to us.  Shaun and Jenn were on their maiden voyage with their new-to-them Airstream.  They had just recently sold their home and were planning to hit the road and enjoy full-time Airstream living by the end of the summer.  We shared stories with each other and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over some craft beers.  It was so nice meeting fellow young travelers who have found a way to merge their desire to explore with the ability to work remotely.  You can follow along with their adventures at LivingDriven.com as they embark on full-time life on the road. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16761" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] After an early breakfast at the farm café the next morning, we started the journey to Seattle and reached our campsite by early afternoon.  Trailer Inns - Seattle is perfectly located in Belleview within a 10-15 drive to downtown Seattle.  While it’s more of a parking lot with electrical boxes than a campground or rv park, it provides full hook-ups, clean facilities, and an unbeatable location.  We lucked out with a spot right in front of the office at the end of a row, which gave us a ton of extra room on one side.  It served as a perfect home base over the next few days as we worked some on the trailer, doing a deep clean inside, and getting Bob ready to accommodate 4 adults over the next week.  We made an Ikea trip and even found an amazing architectural salvage place, Second Use, where we got the last few items to finish decorating inside.  Our last night before our friends flew in, we made an impromptu decision to catch a Mariners game at Safeco Field. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16763" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16764" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Thursday morning, we picked up Dan and Chelsea from the airport and went downtown to explore Pike Place Public Market and the surrounding areas, hit up the giant REI co-op, and grab a delicious seafood dinner, where they shared some exciting news with us that a new little Downes was on its way! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] The next morning, we woke up early and headed up to the suburb of Kirkland to catch a beautiful morning cruise along Lake Washington.  It was a great way to get out on the water and see another side of the area – including a cruise by Bill & Melinda Gates compound. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16766" img_size="1067 × 800" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16767" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Next, we headed to Schooner Exact Brewery for some lunch, followed by a couple beers at Seapine Brewing and a whiskey tasting at Westland Distillery. We walked a couple miles north to hit up the Seattle Art Museum, but arrived to find that they were closed.  We settled for a pic out in front and then headed back to the campsite for some dinner. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16771" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16772" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] We hit the road early the next morning headed to Olympic National Park , but 4th of July weekend traffic proved to be a force to reckon with.  Eventually we reached Sequim, WA where we planned to stay 2 nights at another wonderful Harvest Host called Purple Haze Lavender Farm.  Purple Haze offers acres of beautiful lavender fields to walk through and even cut your own bunches.  There’s also an amazing gift shop on site that offers anything lavender you could possibly think of, including delicious lavender-infused ice creams (the lemon-lavender sorbet was our favorite!).  It was truly a perfect place to stay – can’t beat waking up to the sight and smell of fresh lavender all around. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="18" gal_title="Lavender Farm"] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] That evening we headed to downtown Port Angeles so the boys could rent some fly fishing gear from Waters West Fly Shop.  The people there provided super helpful information for us fly fishing newbies and even suggested that we grab a cheap crab pot from Walmart to toss off the pier down the street.  We heeded their suggestion and spent a few hours out on the pier.  However, with no luck crabbing, we opted for burgers at Frugals and sunset up on Hurricane Ridge. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="19" gal_title="Crabbing"] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16774" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16775" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="15"][vc_single_image image="16776" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] The next morning was full of fly fishing at Lake Crescent and a hike up to Marymere Falls. We headed back to the pier to try our luck at crabbing again, but only caught little ones that were below regulation size for harvesting.  Instead, we opted for a yummy seafood dinner at Kokopelli’s right off the waterfront. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16782" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] We wanted to spend July 4th on the coast of Washington and were able to find a great spot at the Quileute Oceanside Resort on First Beach in La Push. By the time we pulled into the resort in the early afternoon, the campground was packed full of people grilling, throwing frisbees and footballs, and hanging out on the beach.  Our campsite was no more than 50 yards off the beach, so we quickly setup camp and walked over to the shore.  There was a cool breeze coming off the coast, and we went for a walk along the beautiful driftwood-covered shoreline. Just a few hundred yards down the shoreline was a giant tree that had at some point fallen into the ocean and washed up on shore.  We were able to climb up it and spend some time sitting, watching the rolling tides and the surfers attempt to ride them in. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="20" gal_title="washington coast"] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] We decided to drive into the nearby town of Forks, Washington (yes, THE Forks, WA of Twilight fame). Although we didn’t see any vampires, we did make our way over to the town’s July 4th celebration that featured an epic demolition derby. It looked like the whole town had turned out for this automotive battle royale. We “accidentally” walked in through the pit crew entrance, which gave us perfect seats for one of the rounds. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16783" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16784" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpzLaM3hVnk"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Once the derby was finished, we headed back to camp for some fireside shrimp and grits and fireworks.  As we started gearing up for the fireworks, a bald eagle flew right over our campsite!  We started to walk down the beach and quickly realized we were in for a show - up and down the shoreline, people had drilled mortar canisters into the bigger pieces of driftwood.  It turns out that because First beach is on the Quileute reservation land and not the national park land, there are basically no fire or fireworks restrictions.  Everyone appeared to be starting little bonfires and circling their camp chairs around to wait for the impending show.  Just as it started to get dark, the first mortars started to fly into the air.  When one group of people finished off their mortar supply, the next one down the beach would pick up - it was an incredible show that lasted well over 2 hours.  We all agreed that all the elements of that day came together to make one of the more memorable 4th of Julys any one of us could remember. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16785" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16786" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16787" img_size="533x800" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16788" img_size="1200x800" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] The next morning we woke up slow and drove into Forks for some lunch.  We got a pizza to-go and headed out to explore the Hoh Rain Forest portion of Olympic National park, where we hiked the short 1.2 mile Spruce Nature Trail and .8 mile Hall of Mosses Trail loops just outside the visitors center.  We finished our last night on the Olympic Peninsula with a nice campfire and a couple rounds of Hearts.  Every other night had been overcast, but skies opened up this last night to reveal a beautiful blanket of stars above us. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16793" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16794" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16798" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] In the morning, we packed up the campsite and headed south to Portland where the Downes’ were flying out the next day.  We had a great site at Columbia River RV Park just on the outskirts of town, which allowed us to quickly get into downtown Portland after we parked and unhitched.  We spent the afternoon doing some brewery hopping from 10 Barrel Brewing to Rogue Distillery & Public House and ending at Back Pedal Brewing Co. They were all very tasty, but we all wanted to finish the night off with something sweet. The original location of the famed Voodoo Doughnut is located in Portland so we decided to get a sushi dinner across the street and grab a box of doughnuts to-go for dessert, ending our last night together with another round of Hearts. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] The following morning, we had to say goodbye after an incredible week of memorable times with dear friends. Thank you Dan and Chelsea for flying out and cramming in our camper for an amazing week together in the Pacific Northwest - we can’t wait for more awesome vacations together! [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]   Trae and Jamie[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#e26714" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16814" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

BWW_MT&Glacier-19
Going to the Sun

[vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Going to the Sun [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Written by Jamie [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] After a week in Yellowstone, we were eager to get out of the park and continue exploring and were especially excited to enter Montana. This state is called Big Sky Country for a reason - rolling hills give way to lakes, which give way to giant rocky mountains! [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16707" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16708" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16692" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We headed northwest from Yellowstone, towards the city of Bozeman, but there is some background information for this choice. One of our all-time favorite restaurants is a place called Ted’s Montana Grill.  It is a chain/franchise restaurant, but they specialize in fresh, never frozen ingredients, including offering bison as another option for all their beef menu items.  Our first experience at Ted’s was back in Tallahassee, FL, and we’ve since dined at a number of their other locations in the US.  Since this was going to be our first time in Montana,  we figured it would only be right to grab a bite at the restaurant's namesake. Interestingly, the only TMG in all of Montana is located in Bozeman - so to Bozeman we went and had a delicious lunch at Ted’s!  After lunch, we got back on the road headed for Missoula, where we planned to stop for the night and stay at Big Sky Brewing (another Harvest Host!).  We got in around 3pm and parked in the big gravel lot behind the brewery next to another fellow Harvest Hoster, then headed in for some delicious beer sampling in their tasting room.  After a few hours of work, we headed back out to Tamarack Brewing Company to grab a bite to eat, sip on some more beer, and watch the NBA finals. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We headed out early the next morning and enjoyed a beautiful drive around Flathead Lake, arriving at Glacier Campground in West Glacier by lunch.  We planned to use the tiny little gateway town as a launch point to explore Glacier National Park over the next few days.  West Glacier wound up being just a bit tinier than we expected (basically it’s just the park entrance); campground location was perfect though (just outside the park entrance) so we used the nearby town of Columbia Falls for our grocery shopping,  gas, and even found a great little coffee shop, Montana Coffee Traders, to use as our office a few mornings :) [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t as cooperative as we had hoped during our stay.  While this took away from our time exploring and hiking in the park, it did allow us the opportunity to get some work done and explore the surrounding areas.  We spent one rainy afternoon walking around the quaint downtown of nearby Whitefish, MT, popping in and out of the many shops and grabbing a delicious lunch at The Craggy Range.  Another rainy morning was spent working at Montana Coffee Traders, but the rain gave way to a beautiful late afternoon, and we opted to hit up the local farmer's market.  After getting our fill of local beer, food trucks and farm stands, we headed just down the street where the Blue Moon bar hosts a rodeo!  A $12 ticket buys you 2+ hours of awesome Montana rodeo entertainment, including tie-down roping, team roping, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, bull riding and barrel racing!  This was a first-time experience for me, and it did not disappoint.  Boots on and Bud Light in hand, we couldn’t imagine a better way to spend a beautiful evening in the heart of Montana’s Glacier Country. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16712" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_video link="https://youtu.be/X2mwb8Wpui8"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Thankfully, we had one full day of absolutely gorgeous weather and took full advantage of it.  Glacier National Park is completely bisected by a monstrous portion of the Rockies, making for incredible scenery but difficult access.  There is exactly 1 park route that weaves up over the mountain cliffs and connects the eastern and western sides of the park - the Going To The Sun Road.   This road is a huge engineering feat and is the first to be registered as a National Historic Place, a National Historic Landmark and a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.  There are strict vehicle size restrictions (21’ long  x 8’ wide) and 45 mph max speed, but between the hairpin turns, gazing at the beauty around you, and sharing the road with bikers, no one is going much above 25 mph at any given point, so it takes at least 2 hours to drive the full 50 miles from one side of the park to the other.  In the high summer months, there is a free shuttle provided along the span of the road, but we were visiting just a couple weeks shy of the shuttle start date. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16709" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16711" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Our goal that day was to do the 7.5-mile Grinnell Lake trail in the Many Glacier area on the east side of the park, so we started our drive along the road early in the morning to allow us the time to get over there - and we’re very glad we did.  There are some beautiful sights to see along the road, including McDonald Falls, The Loop, Heaven’s Peak and the Weeping Wall west of Logan Pass, and then Jackson Glacier Overlook, Sunrift Gorge and Rising Sun Overlook east of Logan Pass. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="17" gal_title="Glacier"] [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] We finally got to the Many Glacier area by mid-morning and started our hike. The hike starts at the road but quickly reaches the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake and then Lake Josephine, 2 pristine subalpine glacier-fed lakes.  There are ferries that cross both lakes as a non-hiking option, but the shoreline trails provide beautiful scenery. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16715" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16716" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16744" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16717" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16718" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] After a few miles of strolling along the western shoreline of Lake Josephine, we crossed a suspension bridge and eventually arrived at the gorgeous Grinnell Lake.  The water was crystal clear, shallow and frigid at the shoreline, and a beautiful turquoise blue in the deeper parts.  Looking up the mountainside ahead, you could spot a small portion of Grinnell Glacier.  We would have loved to take the more strenuous climb up to Grinnell Glacier itself, but we were warned that the trail was still covered in deep snow and difficult to traverse. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16724" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16725" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16723" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] We picnicked with some PB&J and trail mix along the shoreline and then started our hike back, this time along the east side of Lake Josephine.  This side of the trail was extremely muddy and shared with horses, so we also had to dodge the occasional “landmine”.  However, there were more opportunities to approach the lake shore than the west side, and we found a perfect little shoreline to stop at for a few moments. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We got back to the trailhead by mid-afternoon and opted to take a different drive back to the campsite, this time out and around the park boundaries.  While we thought this route could be quicker because of less traffic and less hairpin turns than on The Sun Road, we were definitely wrong but very glad to witness new incredible surroundings.  We even found a little family-run ice cream shop in East Glacier Park and sipped on a huckleberry shake. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16726" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] On our last day in Glacier, The Weather Channel was warning of snow in the high country, especially at Logan Pass.  The weather in West Glacier was grey, overcast and intermittently rainy, but we really wanted to get out of the trailer and try for at least one more day of exploring in the park.  We attempted to stop for a hike at the Trail of the Cedars but couldn’t find a parking spot at the trailhead, so decided to keep going up The Sun Road to see what the weather was doing.  As we neared Logan Pass, the temperature steadily dropped, and when we hit the cloud-line, and our surroundings completely changed and visibility was no more than 10 feet in front of us.  Thankfully everyone dropped their speed to a crawl, and we eventually reached Logan Pass, which clocked in at a nipping 37 degrees on the truck’s temperature gauge.  We hoped to do a short hike up there, but we definitely weren’t dressed for a hike in 37-degree weather (it was in the 60s back at the campground!).  So, we opted for a few pics and rushed back to the warm truck and back to our campsite for an afternoon of movie-watching. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16730" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16729" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16731" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] While we would have LOVED more good-weather days in Glacier, we cherished the one great sunny day we had and enjoyed what the surrounding areas had to offer.  Glacier is one of the national parks that just isn’t near anything else, but it is absolutely worth the trip north to see.  Montana itself is an amazing state and we would love to come back again one day! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16734" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#e26714" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text]   Trae and Jamie[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

BWW_WY&Yellowstone-4
The land of Big Ole’ Bison

[vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] The Land of Big Ole' Bison [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Written by Jamie [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Just a short 31-mile drive from Grand Teton NP up the scenic John D. Rockefeller Parkway is the O.G. of the US National Park system, widely regarded as the first national park in the world, the first-born, the one, the only - Yellowstone National Park!  Established by Congress and signed into law by Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, Yellowstone is known for its diverse wildlife, terrain and geothermal features.  Because of it’s reputation as the showpiece of the National Park System, it draws quite a crowd, especially in the summer months. We planned to spend a week here (mostly because of its size -  2,219,791 acres!), and there’s only 1 campground in the park that has RV hookups, Fishing Bridge, so we booked our campsite almost 6 months in advance.   [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16624" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We had a rainy drive into the park but stopped at Moose Falls for a quick leg stretch and photo op.  We reached the Fishing Bridge campsite around lunchtime and headed over to the nearby historic Lake Hotel for a bite to eat.  We also stopped by the Visitors Center and caught a ranger talk about the National Park Service Centennial that is being celebrated this year.  The ranger highlighted how Yellowstone played a pivotal role in spurring the creation of the NPS and their mission - to “preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.”  He also spoke of the different types of wildlife that call Yellowstone home and suggested some places we could find them. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16625" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Ironically, on our way back to the the campsite, we encountered our first bison traffic jam in the Hayden Valley area (this would be one of many - any visitor to Yellowstone can relate).  Bison are the largest land mammal in North America and used to roam most of the US, all the way to the eastern seaboard, but due to years of over harvesting, their numbers were greatly depleted.  Yellowstone is the only place in the US where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times.  The bison that roam here comprise the largest population on public land and are among the few herds that have not been interbred with cattle. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16626" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16627" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] On our first full day exploring Yellowstone, we woke up early to try to beat the large crowds to some of the sights.  Our first stop was in the Mud Volcano area, where we saw multiple bubbling acidic cauldrons guarded by some lounging bison.  We then headed to the Norris Geyser Basin, the oldest, hottest and most dynamic thermal area in Yellowstone.  This area also contains very rare acidic geysers, along with the tallest active geyser in the world, Steamboat Geyser. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="15" gal_title="yellow1"]  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Our second day in Yellowstone was marked with some amazing wildlife sightings.  One of the park rangers had told us about the reintroduction of grey wolf packs in Yellowstone starting back in 1995.  We happened to be visiting at a particularly exciting time because for the first time since 2010, 2 female wolves had just had wolf pups in a den that was visible from an easily accessible park location - Slough Creek in Lamar Valley.  So, we got out early again and headed towards Lamar Valley.  As we pulled onto the main park road from our campsite, a grizzly bear crossed in front of the car in front of us!  We were so excited to experience this sighting so up close (not nearly as common as a bison sighting) on our 3rd day in Yellowstone!  Sadly, he/she raced over to the Yellowstone River way too quickly for me me to snap a picture. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16629" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16630" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] We made our way through Hayden Valley, which on this morning was shrouded in a dense fog, making it a particularly beautiful backdrop to the grazing bison.  We continued up the road and pulled off on South Rim Drive to get some views of both Upper and Lower Yellowstone Falls.  These falls on the Yellowstone River are definitely some of the most photographed locations in the park, but because we were out early, we really didn’t have many others with us at the viewpoints, which afforded a very peaceful scene as the morning sun hit the walls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] As we pulled off the main road into Slough Creek, we immediately felt the importance of this occurrence based on the number of people perched on the hillside with $1000+ spotting scopes trained on the den hole over a mile away.  You could tell that many of the onlookers spent a lot of time here (all-day, all-season probably?) with eyes trained on the hillside waiting to catch a glimpse of the mother wolves and young cubs. We felt very ill-prepared, with not even a set of binoculars in hand.  We decided to leave, Trae particularly discouraged with not being more prepared to see something so cool, but with a plan to go out and buy binoculars at first chance.  Just as we pulled onto the main road, a grey wolf momma darted across the road in front of our truck.  We slammed on the brakes and jumped out of the car, over the embankment next to us and kept her in our eyesight as long as possible as she continued down to the nearby stream and back towards the den.  Couldn’t have asked for more perfect timing!  While, again, the encounter happened too quickly for me to capture a picture, our spirits were lifted - we had just experienced something much more unique than a glimpse through a scope from over a mile away! [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] On the way back to the campsite, we stopped by Tower Falls for a few photos, although the area was now slammed with people (9am to 10am makes ALL the difference).  We decided to spend the rest of the afternoon catching up on work and headed to the Lake Lodge which, as we discovered, had decent (although pricey) internet available, big comfy leather chairs, a roaring fireplace, and a bar with yummy beers on tap - the ingredients for a wonderful workplace ;) Just as we were pulling up to the lodge, the wildlife-sighting trifecta was rounded out with a spotting of 2 bull elk hanging out in the grassy field behind the lodge. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16632" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16639" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] The following morning was stormy and overcast, so we took the opportunity to do some more work over at the lodge.  The skies cleared up in the late afternoon, and we drove in a new direction over to the famed Old Faithful.  As we parked the truck and were walking towards the viewing area, Old Faithful began to erupt! Kinda perfect timing, but the photographer in me wasn’t happy with the angle we were at during the eruption, so my very loving husband agreed to stay another 90 minutes until the next eruption.  We headed into the historic Old Faithful Lodge, where on the Mezzanine level is an awesome viewing deck to look out over Old Faithful with drink-in-hand! [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16642" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16654" img_size="full" alignment="center" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We woke up super early the next morning to hike the 2.8 mile Elephant Back Loop Trail just down the street from our campsite.  The trail is rated moderate, and although you climb 800 feet to the summit, the grade never feels that intense.  The majority of the trail is through mildly dense forest until you reach the summit, which has two log benches with a beautiful panoramic view of Lake Yellowstone below.  We were the only ones on the trail when we set out and made sure to bring our bear spray.  While we didn’t have any bear sightings on the trail, we learned later from a park ranger that having bear spray handy was smart, as last year a man was attacked and killed on that trail and many say he would have survived if he was carrying bear spray.  We had the opportunity to meet up with my cousin Brian, his wife Emily and their 2 children, Sophia and Jackson, for a picnic lunch at Fishing Bridge.  The whole family was in Yellowstone for the last few days and were heading back to Denver that night.  It was so great to catch up with them, especially since we’ll soon be neighbors.  It was also exciting because Brian and Emily are now proud owners of an Airstream too, so we got to show off our rigs and exchange upfit stories.  Hopefully there will be many RV trips together in our future.  After saying goodbye to them, Trae and I headed over to the lodge to do some work and sit by the fire. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16656" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We packed a lot into our fifth day in Yellowstone, starting our morning off early by making the long drive up to the iconic Roosevelt Arch at the north entrance of the park, followed by a stop in the Mammoth Hot Springs area.  This is where the historic Fort Yellowstone is located, the original fort where members of the US Cavalry were stationed to protect this first national park, before the National Park Service was created.  We explored the vibrant travertine Lower Terraces, followed by a drive along the Upper Terrace Drive. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="13" gal_title="YS2"]  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We then drove south to the Artists Paintpots, followed by the Lower and Midway Geyser Basins.  The spectrum of colors in these geyser basins is incredible, particularly in the Midway Geyser Basin, where the famed Grand Prismatic Spring is located. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16658" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] [Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="16" gal_title="YS3"]  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] We had no set agenda on our last day in Yellowstone.  Just as we were leaving the campsite we caught 2 elk crossing the Yellowstone River by Fishing Bridge.   [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16660" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We headed out to Slough Creek again to try to catch another wolf sighting, but came up empty handed this time.  We did get lucky with 2 black bear sightings (from a distance) along the Blacktail Plateau Drive.  We then took a drive up Chittenden Road that partially climbs the side of Mount Washburn and ends at a beautiful subalpine meadow. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16661" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16662" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16663" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We spent the rest of the day straightening up camp and preparing for the next leg of the trip up into Montana, and wrapped up the evening with a final visit to our little workplace at the Lake Lodge. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16665" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We had spent more time in Yellowstone than any other stop thus far (excluding friends & family time in NY and MI), and while we at times debated if we booked too many nights in the park, in the end we were happy we didn’t try to cram this vast and diverse location into a shorter time frame.  7 nights allowed us enough time to leisurely enjoy the park at a comfortable pace while still allowing us time to work in the afternoons and evenings.  Writing this post now, later into our trip, I can honestly say that no other location has come close to providing the wildlife encounters that Yellowstone offers. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16664" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#e26714" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text]   Trae and Jamie[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

BWW_WY&GrandTeton-13
Upper Teton Views

[vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Upper Teton Views [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Written by Jamie [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Next up on the trip was a long drive and overnight stay in Wyoming before reaching Grand Teton National Park.  Pictures we had been seeing of the beautiful snow-capped mountains had us itching to get there as quick as possible. I was really excited about our drive through Wyoming to get there.  Everything about Wyoming just screams “The Wild West” in my mind.  The mountains...

BWW_SD&Badlands-51
Black Hills Bound

[vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Black Hills Bound [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Written by Jamie [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Our next destination was the Black Hills of South Dakota, which is about an hour and a half drive from Badlands NP.  After 4 days of boondocking in basically the middle of nowhere, it was a nice change of pace to drive through Rapid City in the foothills of the Black Hills.  We decided to find a place to park the trailer, grab a yummy breakfast at Tally’s Silver Spoon, and catch the matinee showing of Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the local movie theater. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] As you leave Rapid City heading west, you drive right into some beautiful mountain scenery!  We weren’t exactly sure what we were going to do for the next few days or where we were going to stay, but we were happy to be in the mountains.  We eventually found ourselves in the town of Custer at Custer’s Gulch Campground where we booked the next 3 nights.  We couldn’t help but notice that everyone there had really awesome RV setups, towing tricked out ATVs, Jeeps, etc.  Apparently the Black Hills are an off-roaders paradise!  There were a lot of options for ATV and other off-road rentals, but sadly all were a little outside our budget. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] After doing some research, I learned that the nearby Wind Cave National Park offered a Wild Cave Tour, a 4-hour spelunking experience that takes visitors off the normal walking cave tours and into some of the tight crevices of Wind Cave.  Naively thinking that maybe this wasn’t a super popular tour, I called to see if we could book 2 spots on a tour sometime in the next few days, and the park ranger kindly told me that the first tour of the season was the next day, that most of the tour slots for the season were already booked nearly 6 months in advance, but that the next day’s tour had 1 slot left, and he could put 1 of us on a waiting list in case anyone cancelled.  We’ll take it! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] So, the next morning we prepared as if we were going on a cave tour and headed out to Wind Cave NP, with the understanding that if one of us didn’t get on the tour, neither of us would go and would instead explore the other areas of the park.  Luck stuck in our favor, and just as we were about to leave the trailer, we got a call from a ranger saying someone had cancelled their reservation and we would both be able to go on the tour! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16546" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] When we arrived at the visitors center, we met with our group’s guide, Sina Bear Eagle, one of the interpretive park rangers and also a member of Oglala Lakota Tribe.  Sina walked us through what we could expect to see and experience in the cave and outfitted us with all the gear we needed to start our exploration.  Wind Cave is the densest (most passage volume per cubic mile) cave system in the world, and currently the sixth-longest in the world, with over 140 miles of explored area.  An average of 4 new miles of this cave are explored each year, so Wind Cave is expected to go up in this ranking quite a bit, if not to the top.  Unfortunately (but for our safety), cameras and phones were not allowed in the cave, so we weren’t able to get photos inside, but we did get to witness some amazing calcite formations, including the beautiful boxwork (95% of the world's discovered boxwork is found here!) and frostwork that that Wind Cave is known for.  Sina did have her phone with her, so she took a group picture and sent it to everyone.  Toward the end of the trip, Sina had us all turn out our headlamps and experience “true dark” while she shared her tribe’s oral history of the cave and what it represents to her people.  We felt so lucky to have this experience in Wind Cave that not all people get to enjoy - truly a highlight of our trip.  After 4 hours of crawling and climbing through extremely tight spaces, we headed back up to the surface, returned our gear, and headed back to Custer where we grabbed a delicious dinner and sampled yummy beers at Bitter Ester’s Brewhouse. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16549" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] The next morning, we took a scenic drive along the Iron Mountain Road (Rte. 16A) through Custer State Park and the greater Black Hills area to Mt. Rushmore.  The drive itself is gorgeous, featuring quick switchbacks, one-lane stone tunnels, and beautiful overlooks.  There are even multiple viewpoints to see Mt. Rushmore from the road.  When we reached the entrance to the national monument, we were a little miffed to see that there was an $11 parking fee (not covered by the America the Beautiful Annual Pass) that was required to park and get any closer to the sculpture.  The parking lot looked packed, and to be honest, the views from high above on the Iron Mountain Road seemed better, so we opted not to go any further and drove the scenic roads back towards Custer.  I was able to snag a closer pic of George Washington’s profile. We spent the rest of the evening doing laundry and work, preparing for the next portion of our trip. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16548" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#e26714" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text]   Trae and Jamie[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

BWW_SD&Badlands-24
Good times in the Badlands

[vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Good times in the Badlands [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Written by Jamie [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] Leaving Michigan was sort of monumental for us for a couple of reasons: 1) it was the last time we would be staying with friends or family until we got to California; and 2) it was the official start of our western journey to places we’ve largely never been before. Everyone suggested that we drive up through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but unfortunately the timing of it wasn’t going to work out on this trip as we had reservations in Yellowstone in the following weeks that could not be changed.  So a trip to the UP is definitely in our future at some point.  So around Lake Michigan and through Chicago we drove, our goal being to reach the Mississippi River by the evening.  After a long day of driving (longer than we normally like to push it), we found a great campsite right on a tributary of the Mississippi at the Pettibone Resort in LaCrosse, WI, setup camp for the evening, and enjoyed a nice beer with the sunset over the river.  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16477" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16483" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_column_text] The next day was going to be another drive day across more of the plains region.  As you drive through this part of our country, you can see for miles in every direction - tons of crops - tons of wind turbines - we even watched a few storms roll in from over a hundred miles away.  It can be beautiful, but truthfully it is very boring after a while.  We were happy to arrive at our stop for the night in Brandon, South Dakota, where we had contacted another Harvest Host, Wilde Prairie Winery.  After parking the trailer, Trae cooked a yummy shrimp and veggie dinner on the grill that we then followed up with a delicious wine tasting with the owner, Jeff.  He explained about the different varietal grapes that he uses that are more prone to survive the particularly harsh winters of South Dakota.  These types of grapes tend to yield either sweeter white wines, or tart red wines.  Wilde Prairie has some delicious fruit wines as well, and we grabbed a bottle of their strawberry wine to have for dessert that evening. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text] The following morning, we woke up early and hit the road again headed towards Wall, SD, home of the famous Wall Drug.  We were told about Wall Drug and all of its kitschy glory by our good friend Dave Hasenmyer.  Stopping at Wall Drug seems to be a right of passage for any travelers heading west.  You almost can’t help but stopping after seeing the signs for the last 100+ miles.  Of course, like any other tourist trap, Wall Drug is filled with cheap, made-in-China souvenirs, but it also has quite the western wear collection as well.  All-in-all, Wall Drug is really not worth a visit, but probably everyone that’s ever driven across the country on I-90 has been there, so someone will inevitably ask if you stopped there - the answer might as well be yes. :) [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="16485" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] The town of Wall is one of a couple tiny towns that are typically used as a home base when visiting Badlands National Park.  We grabbed some groceries in town and then headed towards the entrance of the park.  Just outside the park boundary is an area call the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, administered by the Bureau of Land Management.  This public land is completely free to camp on for up to 14 days.  We have become avid users of the user review-style website Campendium (everyone should check it out) to find our campsites, and an area known as Nomad View at Buffalo Gap came highly recommended.  We put in the provided GPS coordinates, and within a short 15 minute drive south of Wall and just 5 minutes north of the park entrance gate, we found ourselves at the most perfect semi-remote, prairie location right on the edge of the iconic sedimentary rock cliffs of the area where we planned to test out our off-grid abilities over the next 4 days. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16487" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Getting the trailer level was a bit of a task, but once we got it, we really couldn’t picture a more perfect setup for camping.  Our bedroom window looked right out over the rough cliffs, sunny and cloudless skies kept our 3 solar panels re-charging our battery banks each day, 70 degree weather allowed us to keep our windows open and our trailer cool, tons of space between us and any other campers allowed us plenty of privacy, and one of the best parts (even though it was a bit of an eyesore) was a cell tower within 100 yards of us, providing great Verizon service and allowing us to get some work done when we weren’t out exploring.  That evening, we revelled in our beautiful location, face-timed some of our friends and family, and tried out our propane oven for the first-time by cooking a pizza! [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="16495" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="16493" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="16488" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" color="#db4c2b" transparency="1" thickness="10"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text]The next morning, I woke up early and perched myself on the edge of our cliffside campsite to watch an AMAZING sunrise over the cliffs.  The already colorful cliffs lit up in warm pinks and peaches as the sun came over the horizon.  It really was a spectacular view, made even more amazing by the fact that it was just 10 steps from my front door, and completely free.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16491" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Once Trae woke up, we loaded up the cooler with some drinks and sandwiches and drove over to the entrance gate for Badlands National Park.  As we approached the gate, we caught our first (of what would be many) sight of a bison herd!  As soon as you drive through the gate at Badlands, you witness what all of the fuss is about when you reach the Pinnacles Overlook. Millions of years of deposition and erosion have formed these amazing layered rock formations that drop off the edges of sprawling prairies and grasslands.  What was a shallow sea around 75 million years ago, is today a dry/arid craggy landscape riddled with fossils of species that went extinct long ago and evidence the dramatic changes this landscape has gone through over the millennia. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16506" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16536" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] The park is over 240,000 acres, but only a much smaller portion of that is accessible by roads.  Thankfully the Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway (SD240) offers a terrific sampler of the surroundings, with multiple overlooks to stop at above and below the cliffs.  We spent the remainder of the morning driving the route through the park, stopping by the Ben Reifel Visitors Center to take in an informative movie about the Native American roots of the area. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16512" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16514" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16510" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16511" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="2/3"][vc_column_text] That evening, we had an amazing clear, starry night which allowed for some awesome photos, but what we didn’t a expect was how windy it would be.  The wind woke us up multiple times in the middle of the night, and while there wasn’t any immediate threat or danger, it sure didn’t make us feel great on our perch on the side of a cliff! After a long, somewhat sleepless night, we took it slow the next morning and then headed back into the park to do some more exploring.  When we hit up the visitors center the previous day, we learned that there were only a few maintained trails in the park, but that the NPS allowed, and actually encouraged, hiking anywhere within the park boundaries (using appropriate caution, of course).  We decided to hike along the interpretive Cliff Shelf Nature Trail, followed by a hike on the Notch Trail, a 1.5 mile roundtrip hike that climbed up some rock formations and then up a log ladder to “the Notch” viewpoint over the White River Valley. While the trail is rated moderate to strenuous, it wasn’t particularly difficult (especially given the the length) - I’m thinking they rate it this way because of the log ladder (which is very steep). [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/3"][vc_single_image image="16525" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16489" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_single_image image="16530" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text]For our last night there, we drove up the the Sage Creek Rim Rd. and watched the sunset over the Badlands from the truck tailgate - so beautiful!  On the way out there, we saw a herd of bison out in the prairie, but on our way back to our campsite, the bison had come all the way in and were coming up next to the road to scratch themselves on the pylons!  We knew better than to approach them, so we stayed safely in the car and watched them from there.  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16520" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16519" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16517" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16529" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16521" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_single_image image="16522" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our time at Badlands National Park! [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#e26714" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text]   Trae and Jamie[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]...

BWW_Michigan-6
Michigangsta

[vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Michigangsta [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text] Written by Trae [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Next we had a week planned with some of my college roommates. Tyler caught the red eye from Denver to Detroit and graciously agreed to nap at baggage claim until we arrived. So, that day we woke up before the crack of dawn and did our first pitch-black campsite tear-down. Taking our trailer through the arrivals line at the Detroit International was surprisingly easy. The three of us arrived at the house of our good friend Casey’s parents, unhooked the trailer and settled in for a week of good times with old friends. After some light manual labor to help Casey's dad, the group headed to New Holland Brewing for some of Jamie’s favorite beer, “Dragon’s Milk”. The best thing to follow a fresh beer is drinking another fresh beer, so we headed next door to Hops at 84 East and then Curragh for some more pints. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] Tyler was only staying over the weekend, so we packed day 2 full of fun activities like walking the waterfront of Lake Macatawa to the Holland Farmers Market, hiking in Saugatuck Dunes Park, dinner with Casey’s family and a few games of mafia. On Sunday, we headed to Casey’s grandparents’ who live on a smaller lake that was just getting warm enough for swimming - of course we jumped right in. We also had a great lunch at Red Dock.  The last day Tyler was there, we headed to Rockford, MI and mountain biked the Merrell bike trail and ended the day by testing our trivia knowledge at Curragh with Casey’s family. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSV9ljz-JZ4"][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16455" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16453" img_size="full" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Once Tyler left, it meant vacation for all of us was over. Jamie and I had a lot of finishing touches to do on the trailer and spent the next 4 mornings working on them. In the afternoons, we would hang out or do fun activities with Casey and Adrianne. Some of the highlights were brats and corn hole, more kayaking and swimming at the lake, group trip to Menards, skipping the Waboba at the lake and finding out our friends are having a BABY BOY in early October! We also had a good time playing with Hobe the cat and Van the turtle. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16449" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16458" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT3GnI33Xcs"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#e26714" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] While in the area, we were also able to meet up with our good friends Joe and Alyse who used to live in Charlotte and now live in Detroit.  Joe grew up in Rockford, so we met them at his parents’ house and spent the rest of the afternoon kayaking the Rogue River. We ended our awesome day back in Grand Rapids with a visit to Casey at his firehouse, and then some delicious brews at Founders Brewery. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type="normal" color="#e26714" transparency="0" thickness="10"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16450" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][vc_column width="1/2"][vc_single_image image="16452" img_size="large" qode_css_animation=""][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#e26714" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text] Our last day in Michigan started with trailer work and ended with a family Memorial Day BBQ at Casey’s grandparents' house. It was a great way to end the week and enjoy quality time with our good friends and their family (who always treat us like family). We owe a huge thank you to Carol and Pat Sullivan for letting us hang out by their lake all week, and to Debbie and Brian Sullivan for hosting our trailer in their driveway and for allowing us access to the garage for tools and supplies. We can’t wait to head back to Michigan for another visit with our amazing friends. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css_animation=""][vc_column][vc_separator type="normal" color="#e26714" transparency="0" thickness="10"][vc_column_text]   Trae and Jamie[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]...