Road Trip!

Last month, my family and I, moved to the PNW from Missouri.  The Monster I Married is in the Army and every 3 or 4 years, we get packed up and hit the road.  This time, since the Little Monsters were a bit older, we decided to make the best out of a stressful time. Instead of driving a straight shot to our new home, we decided to take our time and camp across the country, enjoying all that the countryside had to offer.  

We were excited by the promise of a new adventure, both in our new home and on the road.  We plotted our trip with the goal of hitting a National Park or State Park to camp in every night.  A lofty goal!  With two Little Monsters, a dog and cat, we were sure to have some exciting times.  However, about a month before departure, we decided to ask along my Monster Dad.  He lives In Texas and doesn't leave the state. Like ever.  Monster Dad is a good 'ol boy. Texan to the core.  Getting him out of his comfort zone, and into the great wilderness, was going to be a chore!  But, with him recently retiring, we wanted to give him a little taste of life outside of Texas. Boy did we ever!

He flew in the day the movers were at our house packing up the truck. Monster Dad flew in (dressed to the nines in pressed slacks, button up shirt and shiny cowboy boots) on a jet to St. Louis.  He then had to take  'hopper flight' to our post on one of those small, six passenger planes.  That was the highlight of his day.  Dad hadn't ever been on one before.  By the time we collected Monster Dad from the little airport, and he got his equilibrium back from his ears not popping, we were on the road.  We camped our first night in a Missouri state park.  This was Jack's first ever night outside, that I know of. He took to tent camping pretty well. Check him out posing in the tent HERE.  The next day we were really on the road, saying goodbye to Missouri and hello to places we'd never seen before.  But I have to tell you...Iowa was painful to drive through. nothing but corn fields. Like....that was it. THIS was my view for just about the entire second day. On we went and the first real noteworthy stop was in South Dakota. The Badlands National Park is beyond words.  We drove and all of a sudden we were in THIS. It was simply incredible. We experienced amazing views like THIS. They even have an Amphitheatre where we had a Park Ranger do a little talk and taught us all about the park. Check it out! I highly recommend this park if you have kids and are an active people. Be warned - There are no showers in this park. (This was something that turned into somewhat of a theme throughout this trip.) You can hike all over the place and even run across fossils just sticking out of the ground. The Rangers urge you to help find them!  They do not, however, want you to remove them. The night time activities are culminated into the most amazing view of the night sky I had ever seen in all my years.  You have to see it to believe it.

The next major stop was Mt.Rushmore and surrounding areas. That area has an ethereal beauty. I can't even explain it in words. Check out some of my favorite pictures here, here, and here

After that, we made our way to the destination I had been looking forward to for a long, long time. Devil's Tower. That was the view from our campsite.  It was amazing to wake up and see this deeply moving phenomenon in the morning light. We hiked around the mountain the next day. The power around the tower was palpable.  This is where my Little Monster's were sworn in as Junior Rangers and received their badges after completing their projects. Devil's Tower was among my most favorite stops on the trip. On a side note, there is a Devil's Tower beer. See a pic of me drinking one HERE. Bonus points for that shit. However, no showers here either.... see our problem emerging? Yeah...we learned the fine art of "bucket baths" real quick.

The next few days were spent in Yellowstone National Park.  There are so many pictures of Yellowstone on my Instagram account. You can see Old Faithful erupting HERE. Some gorgeous geothermal pools HERE. Random other things  like: Where we camped, A Bison taking a stroll down the road, a stinky Mud Volcano, and The Dragon's Mouth. Regardless of how beautiful Yellowstone was, that was hard camping.  We DID have showers. That was awesome. BUUUUUT....it was cold. Like the 30's kind of cold.  Then it rained and turned into a thunderstorm! I was fine, as I enjoy the rain, but the animals and Little Monsters were not happy.  Cold and wet, we made our way out of Yellowstone and headed towards Montana.

I'd never seen Montana before and it was just as beautiful as everyone says. Check out the view as we drove trough HERE. Although gorgeous, it rained heavily during our time in Montana.  We took a break from the tents, and frigid cold, and stayed in a hotel in Butte.  The Little Monsters enjoyed heated swimming pools and the furry children were able to stretch their legs. 

The next day, we made our way into beautiful northern Idaho. That was a surprise that it was so pretty!  Soon, we finally made it to Washington and got here just in time!  We got the keys to our new house on Monday and the Little Monsters started school on Wednesday.  What a whirlwind! If you want to see all of the pictures from the road trip, and as we discover Seattle and surrounding areas, come follow my Instagram account HERE!

Now that I'm finally settled into my new home, I'm working like crazy to finish up EARTH'S MAGICK, Book 2 ~Water~.  Currently, I'm working with the artist who's doing the cover and it looks amazing!  That big reveal is coming SOON!

 

Smooches,

Mel