July 30, 2018 – Sundance WY to Grand Teton National Park

FINALLY!  We got off the interstate. But yes, Wyoming is sooo beautiful, even from the interstate.  We topped off the fuel tank and ate lunch at the Subway. It is the first time I ever went to a cowboy town Subway.  It was the same as most others on the inside.

We then followed US16. We had to pull over for some minor emergency (something crashed in the back of the RV).  While Andy checked that, I took a couple pictures out the window.

The Bighorn National Forest was incredibly beautiful and mostly filled with lodgepole pines. I pulled over at one overlook.

Andy reminded me that we had a long way to go and I could not stop at every overlook or interesting spot.  Those are the only pictures I took so you should Google images of Bighorn National Forest and see how amazing, stunning, incredible and beautiful it is.

Another thing you need to see with Google images is Wind River Canyon. Absolutely stunning. Today’s drive was one of the most beautiful I have ever taken.  It is in my top ten, for sure. It is right up there with the Pacific Coast Highway in California, the Overseas Highway in Florida, and the drive through Zion National Park.

We drove directly into the Grand Teton National Park and to the Gros Ventre campground.  It was late in the afternoon and there was a line at the campground office, but we got a campsite.

Here is Scamp snuggled into our campsite.

No wonder I’m so tired.  We drove 475 miles today in about 10 hours.

July 29, 2017 – Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Sundance, Wyoming

We had Cheerios and coffee for breakfast. Then we disconnected the utilities and got underway at 0853 Eastern. South Dakota is so beautiful! Since Mequon, the scenery gradually changed from dairy farms on glacial moraines to flatter farmland.  Then corn gave way to cattle. About halfway across South Dakota we went over a rise and saw the Missouri River flowing through a huge valley. The west side of the river was covered in steep hills. Gradually, the countryside was a bit less green. We stopped for lunch in Rapid City, just before the Black Hills. We have driven through the Black Hills before, but I just have to say they are also pretty from the Interstate. Yes, Wyoming is so beautiful too!

We drove I-90 all the way to Sundance, Wyoming, 423 miles. I saw this billboard (or one just like it) soon after crossing the border. The picture is the Devil’s Tower.  I enjoyed the clever wording. I got this picture online and noticed that they have a whole series of Wyoming scenes with this wording on billboards

We stopped in the visitor center to ask about wildfires on the way to the Grand Teton National Park.  Then we asked about the rest of our itinerary as far as Lassen National Volcanic Park.  There is only one road on our plan that is affected, but there is a simple alternative.

Tonight, we are in Mountain View RV Park and, indeed, we do have mountain views all around. Small, but mountains nonetheless.

This hikeable hill is behind the RV park.

The RV park is located on the side of a large hill and there is a grand view behind Scamp.

It’s more grand than these pictures show.

July 28, 2018 – Mequon, Wisconsin to Sioux Falls, South Dakota

After the family left Andy and I spent the rest of yesterday getting ready to get on the road ourselves. We went to bed early so we could take off early and actually did get underway at 0750 Eastern Time.  We spent an extra week in Wisconsin because Jennifer asked us to stay while George was in China.  Then, it took nearly another week for the RV to get fixed. We were both anxious to head west.

We did head west on route 60 until we got on Interstate 90.  Wisconsin is such a beautiful state (in the summer). I never tire of looking at dairy farms and old farmhouses. Andy had picked out a sooner destination but I wanted to cover more miles. We crossed into Minnesota, such a beautiful state!  I would never tire of watching Minnesota scenery either.

We finally ended the day, not too far across the border in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Our RV park was an old, run-down motel across the road from a fuel tank farm.  Hey, I’m not complaining; it was only $15 for the night.

Here is Scamp, tucked in between two fifth-wheel RVs.

We covered 507 miles.


July 28, 2016 – Bartons Leave for Alaska Cruise

Son-in-Love George and his three siblings have gotten together to take their parents on a cruise to Alaska.  George’s dad has always wanted to ride the White Pass Railroad.  So the four children decided this is the year.  It’s going to be a big crowd with parents, four children, spouses, and grandchildren. Jennifer has been packing and planning for weeks.

The boys were ready to get in the van but did not have their shoes on.  George hurried the process.

Andy and I returned from the final RV repair shop trip and found their good friend John standing near the front door.  He is driving them to the airport in Chicago (two hours away).  George will return the favor in a few weeks when he drives John to Chicago for his flight to Poland.

The boys both had a backpack filled with toys for the trip.  As Owen was going out the door, he asked me if we were going to see each other again in his lifetime.  I assured him we would. Note that this is Cam’s OLD backpack.

He climbed into the back of the van to make sure it was stowed safely.

Owen was already inside and ready to get in his seat.

Jennifer came outside wearing Cam’s new backpack.  He got it this week and has been sleeping with it.  He will start four-year-old kindergarten in a few weeks.  He gave Jennifer permission to use his precious possession for the trip.

Finally, everyone was in their seats and buckling up.

They were backed out of the driveway when Cam’s hand shot out the window for a goodbye wave.

July 24, 2018 – Don and Linda Visit

The Grandma thing to do is make cookies so Jennifer got out the ingredients and utensils for me. I opted for the recipe on the Toll House chocolate chip bag – my favorite.  Owen was right in there ready to participate.  Jennifer took a few pictures. I love this one of Cam licking his lips while I measured out the chocolate chips.

His job was to carefully pour ingredients into the mixing bowl and he took his job very seriously.

Owen and Cam also helped to clean the mixing bowl and beater while the cookies were baking.

Friends Don and Linda came for a visit.  They live in Florida and spend some time in the summers in Wisconsin.  After everyone had eaten enough chocolate chip cookies to spoil their appetites, we all went to the Out n Out for lunch. George took Don and Linda, and the boys for a ride in Eleanor, the Model A. Jennifer, Andy and I followed in the family van. I got a kick out of watching the old car in front of us and asked Jennifer if she had followed it before. She answered yes, many times when they were expected something to break.

Out n Out has a super-large table where you can sit and meet people.  One end of it was just right for our group. It is one of those places where you order and pick up and a window and carry your own food to the table.

Don and Linda were gearing up for their ride back to their RV park somewhere in Wisconsin while Cam decided to drive the car.

Don is a friend of George’s father.  He and Linda have also become friends with grown-up George. I took this photo of them.

And, here are Don and Linda taking off on their Spider.

July 23, 2018 – Milwaukee Zoo

A trip to the zoo is always a good idea on a beautiful day.  George was taking two days off work for his “weekend” he missed while traveling. Two weekends, actually. The zoo was not too crowded on a Monday.

When I can’t pick my favorite pictures, I simply include more.

Try as I might, I did not get many good monkey pictures.

Owen displaying his missing teeth.

And cheeseballs.

I did manage to get another excellent photo for my animal butt collection.  This guy would not turn around for anything.

I think this is a bushbaby.

The bats were most interesting. The hallways, where the people were, were dark.  Dozens and dozens of bats were hanging upside down.  I was surprised by how active they were.  They were moving around and changing spots regularly.

We could not keep the pace of the kids.  Andy decided he wanted a hamburger so we found a place.  They were not cooking hamburgers so he got a chicken sandwich. That’s enough to put him in a foul mood.  Several gardeners were busy setting out new plants in the flower bed next to our table. Then a mama pea hen wandered in with two chicks.  She settled down in the garden until a gardener disturbed her.  She got up and left.

Then we got a better look at the chicks that had been hidden by the plants.

We saw a peacock strutting down the sidewalk sometime later.

When Andy was finished with his lunch, we caught up with the family at the playground.

Zookeepers were giving a talk on large insects.  Ick.  I think this one is related to a scorpion.

We always ride the train around the zoo before leaving. I was hanging my camera out behind me, hoping to get pictures of the kids.

I got one of my big kid too.

Andy enjoyed this more than it appears.  I think.

Cam got a ride out to the parking lot.

July 22, 2018 – Korean Steamed Buns

George took a picture of himself and his co-worker in the airport limo on the way home from O’Hare.

They did not come home in the grand style in which they left for China.  This was a regular airport limo.  Cam was out the door to greet his Papa as soon as they pulled into the driveway.

Jennifer and I were busy making Korean steamed buns.  This, in the foreground, is the pot of beans that we were turning into bean paste for the center of the buns. I spent a lot of time smooshing them with the back of the spoon.

The dough was exceptionally springy.  Every time I would press it out into a circle, it would spring back into a smaller circle.

Jennifer was actually the chef, I was the sous chef.  But, she kept stopping to take pictures of me working. I placed a heaping tablespoon of bean paste on each circle. I needed two spoons because the beans were very sticky – and sweet.

After we pinched them into a bun shape, Jennifer placed them in the steamer basket

and placed the basket in the huge pot.

I remembered how much I love the bean-paste buns at our Asian buffet in Leesburg and suggested adding some sesame seeds.  We were not very good at it though.

The buns did not look much different after steaming than they did before steaming.  They felt “cooked” though when I touched them with my finger. Several disappeared from the plate before I got a chance to photograph them. I see that one had a thin spot with visible beans.

Boy were they ever tasty.

Jennifer and I agreed that the sesame seeds did not add to the enjoyment of these buns.

Six-year-old Owen hit a milestone this week.  He lost his first tooth.  And then, two days later, he lost a second tooth. Both of the adult teeth were well on their way in already. Owen told his Mama that he wanted to keep the teeth in a small container to show Papa when he got home.  He didn’t think he really believed in the tooth fairy.

One night I was reading bedtime stories with the boys.  I told Owen I had heard that he did not believe in the tooth fairy.  He didn’t think so.  I asked him if he believed in the Tooth Baba.  Well, he had never heard of a Tooth Baba. I looked in my phone pocket, pulled out a five-dollar bill, and handed it to him.

His eyes widened and he ran for his wallet to add the money to his savings. When he sat back down next to me I asked if he believed in the Tooth Baba.

“Oh yes!!”