Day 14 of Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park.

Day 14 of Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park.

Today we made it home after 14 days on the road and 2,584 miles. We averaged 11.3 MPG and spent $827.00 in fuel. OMG!

The last few days of our trip were spent along the beautiful McKenzie River in Oregon. We met up with five other families who were staying at the Horse Creek Lodge; we were just down the street at the Holiday Farm RV Park. We spent Friday night enjoying a little R&R along with drinking a little home brew. Three of us make our own beer, so we had 15 gallons of brew ready to pour. I made a Chinook IPA, Jeff made “Wit the Heck” and Brian made “Artic Blonde.” We all drank and were merry. The kids played with all of their friends and were able to burn of a lot of energy, which was needed after all the smores and sugary drinks.

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On Saturday segments of our group rafted down the McKenzie River. They were well prepared with wetsuits and splash jackets. The river guides were the owners of the lodge where everyone stayed, and by all accounts they were fantastic at their job. Rachel, of course, was all about going faster and over more white water and rocks. I’m going to have to watch out for that girl; she’s going to be hard for me to keep up with. 😉

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After the rafting trip everyone went down to an inlet on the river and jumped off logs and used rope swings. The kids had a great time! Saturday night brought about more games and partying. We spend hours playing “Corn Hole.”

On Sunday we had a leisurely breakfast, and then we left to break camp. We were home around 12:30 p.m. and spent the rest of the day cleaning the trailer and doing laundry.

All in all it was a fantastic trip that I think the kids will remember for a very long time. Looking forward to the next adventure!!!

Happy Trails

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Day 8 of Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park

Day 8 of Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park.

We left Yellowstone yesterday after four wonderful days in the park and surrounding area. On our last day in the park we saw a grizzly bear! I think that made the trip for the kids. I never truly understood how big the park was until we drove it. We put on just over 500 miles in four days. The scenery in the park is breathtaking from Old Faithful to the waterfalls and the Yellowstone version of the Grand Canyon.

The KOA at West Yellowstone was a fantastic camp location. The amenities were clean, and there was a lot for the kids to do in the evenings. We would certainly stay there again. We had spot 23, which was conveniently located by the coffee stand and ice cream bar.

We left the park yesterday to head to Hailey, Idaho, with our friends Ang and Ben. We are currently dry camping in their driveway. They live in a beautiful location at the base of a mountain along a river. Today we drove up to Sun Valley and Ketchum to look around. The Sun Valley Lodge is amazing and has so much history of the area. If you did not know where you were, you could step out into their courtyard and feel like you were in a small village in Austria. I am already making plans to come back here at the end of January for a ski weekend with Ben. We found a great Starbucks in Ketchum which I can highly recommend. Not only do they serve coffee but also beer and wine. 🙂

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We have one more full day here, then we begin the trail home on Thursday. Our plan is to make it home on Sunday after spending the weekend in McKenzie Bridge, Oregon, with five other families for a little camp out. By the time we make it home, I will need a rest from the vacation!

Happy Trails

Day 4 of Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park and Tristan’s 9th Birthday.

Day 4 of Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park and Tristan’s 9th Birthday.

Today is the 4th day of our adventures. We met up with our friends Angela, Ben and Hayden yesterday near Hailey, Idaho, and traveled the remaining 5 hours to the West Yellowstone KOA in convoy. When we arrived, we got checked in and set up camp — at which point the 3 kids were anxious to go swim in the indoor pool. They have a beautiful log cabin which houses the pool and hot tub. After a long evening of catching up, we all crashed for the night.

Today was Tristan’s 9th birthday. Where has the time gone, it seemed like just yesterday that he was born. We started the day with breakfast and presents. After which we headed in to Yellowstone National Park where we saw elk and moose and headed to Old Faithful. It was the first time for the kids and me. There are some amazing sights and scenery. We saw Old Faithful blow twice while we walked around and looked at the smaller geysers, hot springs, Old Faithful Lodge and information center. The kids got to spend a little money in the gift shop and generally enjoy the area.

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When we left the park, we came back for a little R & R and swimming in the pool. Tristan also wanted to rent the KOA bikes, which he totally enjoyed. After which we went into West Yellowstone for dinner at an old 50s dinner where we ate burgers and drank milkshakes, all in all a good time for the boy. Given that we had not seen much wildlife in the morning we decided to drive back into the park for another look. We saw a bison on the side of the road, which then proceeded to walk down the center of the lane. This sealed the day for Tristan. All in all I think he had a great birthday!!

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Happy Trails

The Nicolson’s Visit Yellowstone National Park

Day 2 of our trip to Yellowstone National Park for Tristan’s 9th birthday.

We left Eugene, Oregon, yesterday and night stopped in Burns, Oregon.  We found a nice Good Sam campground right off the road.  We will also stay there on our return trip. While in Burns we found a nice city park for the kids to burn off a little energy.

Today we took a short 4-hour drive to Mountain Home, Idaho.  It is a KOA, although a rather rundown one. Once we got checked in (which was a challenge), we unhooked and headed into Boise for dinner and a walk along the river.  We found a nice Irish pub and a well-deserved pint. The weather was kind of crazy today.  When we left for Boise, we hit a rain storm and the temperature dropped from 94 to 73 in a matter of 5 minutes.  It lasted for about 10 miles, then we were back in the 90s

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It seems like we have been pulling the trailer uphill for the last two days.  We never seemed to go downhill much.  The elevation change was only a 2,772 foot increase, although it seemed like much more.  The Toyota Sequoia did a fantastic job of pulling the 2008 24’ Keystone Passport even if we only got an average of 9.7 MPG.

Tomorrow we head to the KOA at West Yellowstone.  We are meeting up with some of our best friends along the way, and they will be joining us for our adventures.  It’s been too long since we have seen them, and we are all looking forward to the adventure.

Happy Trails!

First camping trip of the year – 2013

This last weekend we took our first camping trip of the year. It was my birthday and Michelle planned a weekend away in Ashland Oregon. The weather was beautiful for this time of year, we had 88 degree temps. We stayed at Glenyan RV and campsite just outside of Ashland, which was a very nice place with a little stream running through the park. I love Ashland for all that it offers for both summer and winter activities. Mt Ashland ski resort is just a short 30 minute drive up the road, and then there is the Shakespeare festival, and all the great food. Great food being a relative term depending on your taste. We have been to Ashland several times but only eaten at one restaurant. I love the Black Sheep Pub, coming from England I enjoy the traditional pub atmosphere, food and drink.
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On Saturday we drove up to the ski area just to look around. We have yet to ski there. In the afternoon we went to “My Fair Lady”. It was a fantastic performance. The kids did great during this 3 hour show. Tristan’s favorite part was “Eliza where are my slippers!”. Yep it was funny, guess you had to be there though. We ate and drank at the Black Sheep twice that day. On Sunday it was mother’s day, we had a slow start to the day packing up the trailer and taking a walk with Sadie. We checked out late so that we could go into town for a brunch. Yep you guessed it; we ate at the Black Sheep.

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All in all I had a great birthday weekend tied in with mother’s day. The kids were fantastic and it left me looking forward to the next trip. This happens to be this upcoming weekend. Daddy Daughter camping weekend.

Tele-Fest 2013 @ Hoodoo Oregon

Family Ski Day

This weekend I helped put on the annual Tele-Fest that my friend runs at Hoodoo, Oregon.  Tristan has wanted to come with me for several years.  This year he was old enough to come and be a real help.  We camped out up at Hoodoo the night before the event which Tristan really enjoyed.  The next day Michelle and Rachel joined us.  It was a fantastic day.

The kids have been skiing since they were 2 years old.  Since I was tied up with the event most of the day, we chose to put them both in ski lessons for a few hours, which they really enjoyed.

I had the opportunity to break away from the day to ski a while with them in the afternoon.  Being an avid skier myself, it warmed my heart to see how good my kids can ski and how much they truly enjoy the sport.  They are both solid Blue (intermediate) skiers.

Tristan is able to link his turns and uses the wedge Tristan @ Tele-Fest9minimally while controlling his speed very well on the slopes.

Rachel is more like I was when I started at 8 years old.

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Does a great job at making her turns and can stop, but has no issue with just going straight down the steep slopes only making a few turns along the way.

Very proud of my little kiddos!!!

Untraditional Thanksgiving

Once again this year we chose to celebrate Thanksgiving in an untraditional way.  Instead of sitting around and making a huge meal and veg’ing for the weekend, we escaped.  We are putting our new trailer to good use.  Historically we head to the Portland Zoo around this time of year to let the kids see the Zoo Lights, which we have done for a couple of years.  We have also gone to Wildlife Safari for their Christmas lights.  This year we wanted to visit the Christmas lights at Shore Acres down by Coos Bay, Oregon.

We loaded up the trailer and the kids on Thanksgiving Day and headed south on the Oregon coast.  We booked into the campsite at the Mill Casino in North Bend.  Not the traditional place to take kids. The RV Park is away from the casino, yet we had all the amenities at the hotel.  The kids loved that we could use the hotel pool, the hot tub and, most importantly for them, the arcade.  We spent a fair amount of time in the arcade with the kids, aka the kid version of the slot machines.  There were several of those machines that you put in $.50 and get a cheap plastic toy.  Tristan decided he needed one of the plastic people holding various sports balls.  Unfortunately his first attempt got him the soccer ball guy and NOT the baseball guy he really wanted.  Three more attempts yielded him the same result.  He wanted to try again, but we headed him off. We then used this as a learning experience relating his desire to keep putting money in on the chance that he would get the guy he wanted to the people playing slots down the hall.

In addition to visiting the Christmas lights, playing around the campsite and swimming in the pool, we also went to a couple of beaches.  We found two really nice beaches on the way to Shore Acres.  The kids loved splashing around in the surf, checking out the tidal pools and digging in the sand.  All in all they got wet and messy, not exactly what Dad likes, but I tried to go with the flow.

Our last camping trip to the coast was less than stellar. This trip, however, was fantastic.  Everyone got along well; kids interacted well and did not fight.

Happy Trails