Sunday, August 30, 2009

Texas Bluebonnets vs Washington Wild Lupine

Every springtime Tonya allows a little bit of “home-sick” to creep in when she remembers how vivid the vast fields of bluebonnets were that bloom each spring back home. She remembers driving thru central Texas where many of the state's major roads were lined with bluebonnets and other wildflowers during this time of year, making for memorably scenic drives.

This has been the first year we have been able to get in a few hikes in the midst of the wildflower season in our area National Parks. This past Sunday happened to be one of those opportunities and the meadows were filled with a multitude of colors. Not only the lavenders & blues of the lupine but also, yellows, reds, pinks, orange and lots of white among the summer green plants. This was the first time we have noticed the wild heather. The air we took in had a flowery fragrance.
Bluebonnets and Lupine are not the same, but for us, they are sure close.

When we left this morning we really did splurge, stopping at McDonalds for some “take & go” breakfast. The drive out to the mountain was enjoyable, as we were able to spend quality time with one another. However the parking at the Paradise area at Mt. Rainier was left a lot to be desired. The parking sucks so bad that they Park has now instituted a “shuttle bus” to help alleviate the congestion of the parking area (we can’t imagine how horrible it would have been had the buses not been running).

After looking for a parking place in the vicinity of what was our original hiking trail plan we had to settle on Plan B and we were not disappointed. We parked down the hill from the Paradise Lodge and began our hike of the “Fourth Crossing” trail.

How amazing the fields of wildflowers were! The lupines that were blooming so reminded us of the Texas Bluebonnets, but in Texas you don’t have a huge active volcano in the background! It was a wonderful hike. It was a little steep in places but the beauty and fragrances helped take our minds off of our hearts beating in our throats. We stopped along the way (several times) to take in the view, and thank God for creating this site for us to enjoy.
After we survived (okay, it wasn’t that bad of a hike, but keep in mind we are middle-aged, over-weight and out of shape!!!) that portion of our day we took on a small jaunt to complete our trip. We hiked down more of the Paradise River on the Lakes Trail. Not as challenging as the first trail was but just as enjoyable. There were not as many wildflowers but the waterfalls and rushing waters by far made up for that.

It was a wonderful day. We were able to enjoy quality time with each other (well, except the 4 million other people on the mountain) today and enjoy God’s creations. Sharing all of this with your one and only is priceless.

Life if good.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

4 Days, 3 Nights & 2414 Miles

And we are home safe. As Dorothy Gale said, "there's no place like home..." . It was a fast, long trip, but one we are glad we made.

Rewind a few days…..

I’m sure that we mentioned that Whitney had been accepted at Southern Utah University a few months ago. Well, she left us last Monday (8/10) with her little car fully packed. Her car is not big enough to pull a trailer with all her apartment furnishings so the parents are called in to assist to pull a U-Haul trailer with our truck down to her, of course we were happy to help. So we arranged the time off from work, our good friend Jeff helped Bill load the trailer, we packed G’Ma Evelyn in the back seat of the pickup and off we go on Saturday morning, heading south to Utah.

We left home about 6:15 and before we ever got out of the neighborhood Tonya was pretty sure that she had forgotten to pack the IPod so we had to make the block so she could double check (pulling trailer thru neighborhood with large speed bumps,,,, Hey only 1 go-back is pretty good).

We had originally planned to make this a fast trip and leave G’ma at home alone, but Tonya was a bit concerned about leaving her alone for 4 days, so we pitched the idea to her that she go along with us. Making sure that she felt she was up the trip. We knew by taking G’Ma along with us on this adventure it would involve extra time since we would need to make some extra stops along the way in order to make the trip easier on her, but we were up to the challenge! We are so glad that we did. We all had a good time.

Saturday we spent 14 hours in the truck (this included stops for gas, potty breaks, breakfast, walking the kinks out and of course the “lunch crate at the roadside park” break). After driving 788 miles we arrived in Tremonton, UT., where we found the first motel and got a bed for the night! We were tired but all in all felt good. Once we got into our room Bill walked over to Burger King and picked up our supper.

Sunday morning we headed out, knowing that we had hoped to meet Whitney about 2 in the afternoon in Cedar City at her storage facility. We made the usual stops again and were right on time. Whit’s brother came along so he could help Bill unload the trailer, what a great help he was! We dropped the trailer off at her sister’s house so they could return it on Monday (seems that a lot of places are closed in Utah on Sunday,,,, go figure). It was so good to see Whitney’s sister, brother, nieces and nephews. After we said our tearful good-byes to Whit we get back in the truck…. heading back north on I-15 to Salt Lake City.

Monday morning we checked out of our hotel in Orem and begin our journey on I-15 hoping to connect with I-90 in Montana. Along our way we stopped at Temple Square in SLC. Mom had never been there and was very excited to see some of the places she’s always heard of most of her life or seen on television. We walked her around the Mormon Tabernacle as well as the grounds of Temple Square. She was very impressed with the buildings and of course the flowers. We think she enjoyed it a lot and getting a good walk in was good too.

Somewhere in Idaho, on I-15 we begin to calculating our time against when we needed to be back to work and had a change in plans. We had hoped to go to Glacier National Park on Tuesday morning then head back to Tacoma on Tuesday afternoon. We quickly realized that this would not allow us enough time at the park, so we opted to not take in Glacier at this time, we would plan going back over Labor Day. We arrived in Missoula, MT around 6pm, got a room and then treated ourselves to a delicious dinner at The Cracker Barrel. It is a good thing that the closest location to our house if over 400 miles! G’Ma E was so excited she got to have Fried Catfish for supper. Living in Washington she sure misses her Texas Fried Catfish. Tonya found the cutest t-shirt at the restaurant there, it really hit home since she quit “coloring” her hair a few years ago, "You call it gray hair, I call it STRESS Highlights"… this is Tonya’s new motto.

While passing thru Idaho on our way home we stopped at The Mission of the Sacred Heart State Park. The mission is the oldest standing building in all of Idaho and was constructed between 1850 & 1853. We were very impressed with the workmanship used in the construction of this building.

By Tuesday evening after 4 Days, 3 Nights & 2414 miles we are back home, safe and sound. The house is emptier with Whitney moved out, but we are oh so proud of her decision to go after a degree, we know she will do great at Southern Utah University and they are darn lucky to get her! Glad to be home… there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s not place like home.