Friday, August 18, 2017

Flashback Friday: West Coast

**This post is part of a Flashback Friday series. I will be posting photos from the trips I took as a kid accompanied by the journal entries I kept while traveling**


Destination: West Coast

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I woke up this morning at 4:33AM but didn’t officially get out of bed till about quarter to five.  We left our house at around 5.  After driving for a long awhile we stopped at a gas station in Nebraska to pee and get gas.  Then we took a short drive to the U of N where we ate tuna sandwiches for lunch.  After eating we went to a campus store where I got a U of N basketball t-shirt.  Then we went to the football stadium, which was pretty sweet looking!  We drove some more to a visitor’s center in CO.  Of course mom had to take pictures.  We took off again and went to McDonalds for supper.  The lady working was clueless and the burgers weren’t all that good.  We next drove to our hotel- Motel 6- which literally took forever to find.  I managed to read Harry Potter 7, finish Heart of Glass, and The Summons, and start Crime School!

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

A day under a month until school starts…

This morning we left the hotel for an hours drive through Colorado Springs to Pike’s Peak which is over 14,000 feet high in the Rocky Mountains- the longest mountain chain on the Earth.  The roads to the top were curvy and there wasn’t really any guardrails except at the WAY WAY top.  Every turn we took I was for sure we were going to go over the edge.  A little way over half way up I started to feel sick.  Altitude sickness apparently.  It was awful.  I had to keep my head in the blanket to 1) keep from feeling any sicker and 2) try falling asleep.  It was a bummer I couldn’t even look out the window as I was missing some spectacular views.  Once at the top I felt I was pretty close to dying.  I got out of the car and felt REALLY dizzy.  My legs were so jello-y I pretty much had to sit down every 20 feet.  I felt completely awful I can’t even explain it.  After we took what seemed like a million pictures- even though it was only 3- I went to the car and tried to sleep.  At some point before that though we went to the doughnut shop where there are supposedly the best donuts on earth because the elevation makes them fluffy.  I have yet to eat mine as there was no way I could have kept anything own.  I slept while I waited for everyone in the car.  It was hard to fall asleep at first and I couldn’t stop making awful noises to relieve my pain.  On the way back down the hill and I slept.  Halfway we stopped and, feeling better, I ate some cheesy crackers.  The rest of the way down I was half asleep.


 



We stopped at a gift shop and then took off for the Garden of the Gods.  There, there were these huge rocks made in the strangest formations.  First off, they were an orangy-red in color.  They, much like the Rocky Mountains, were made by erosion, plates pushing, and the building up of sediments.  Often the mountains erode and reform.  We took pictures with the oddly shaped rocks and I climbed around on them a tad.  At the level of elevation we’re at in Colorado you can throw-kick a ball 10% further.  Next we went to the United States Air Force Academy.  It was pretty cool.  We saw Air Force people marching.  Freshman do BCT (Basic Cadet Training) from June 6 until school starts.  We went to IHOP for supper.  I had French toast with strawberries J YUM!  Then we went to the hotel.


Monday, August 6, 2007

I woke up this morning at 2 AM because some bozo was running up and down the halls, as well as outside the hotel screaming his head off.  I finally managed to fall back asleep but then got up again so we could take off at 6.  It was a 4-hour scenic drive until we reached the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.  We took some curvy mountain pass roads on the way.  At the park we first went on the nature walk tour that lasted about 40 minutes.  We learned about different creatures that lived there such as the magpie bird and the blue mountain bird, the latter of the two liking open areas.  We learned to get bird boxes for the blue ones, the Eastern blue bird needs a hold 1 9/10 inches in their boxes.  We also learned about Kangaroo Rat, which is nocturnal and can jump 6 feet.  There is a toad that lives about 2 feet under the ground.  The tiger beetle lives only in the dunes and eats other bugs.  We climbed the dunes also which actually turned out to be quite tough.  My ankles and knees were extremely sore afterwards.  I wrote my name real big in the third to last hill.  It was way cool.  I got a post card of the CUTEST little baby black bear EVER!  Then we drove on a mountain pass, which had really cool views. Also some crazy guy was going really fast and passed on a curve- moron.  We drove to the continental divide too.  Then we stayed at a Motel 6 in Grand Junction, Colorado.



Tuesday, August 7, 2007

This morning I woke up around 6:15AM and had apples and cinnamon oatmeal and hot chocolate for breakfast.  Then we took a 2 hour drive to the Arches in Utah.  The arches were really cool!  We took two hikes and saw things like Landscape Arch, the two Windows, Delicate Arch, Balancing Rock, the 3 Gossips, and some other formations.  They were made because millions of years ago the Pacific Plate and the Colorado Plate collided and that made the Colorado Plateau rise and between the Colorado River and the Green River it eroded away and left the rock formations that are there now.  The arches are formed from erosion too.





We also went to the 4 corners.  I got a t-shirt and a Native American made necklace.  We stayed in Flagstaff, AZ where the morons below us kept complaining we were too loud.  Psh…



Wednesday, August 8, 2007

This morning we left at 7 to head to the Grand Canyon.  It took about an hour and a half to 2 hours to get there as we arrived a little before 8.  When we first got there we went to some over looks and took pictures.  Then we took a hike to about a mile down the canyon.  Going down was hurting my ankles and knees and going up, I was just sore.  Then we went to a few more overlooks.  The canyons were all formed by water.  It looked really cool!





Next we drove a few hours to hoover Dam.  They made Lake Mead from the Colorado River and there is enough water in the lake to cover Pennsylvania completely one foot deep.  They used enough cement to go around the equator and make a 4 foot wide sidewalk.  It took 5 years to make, 2 less than expected.  90% of the water going through is from snow.  


Then we drove to Las Vegas.  I don’t like it here.  We walked to the strip.  I bought two really cool CSI: LV t-shirts for Beth and me for only $10.97 total.  The lights are really pretty but the people scare me.  I had quesadillas for supper.



Thursday, August 9, 2007

Before we left Vegas this morning we went ot the grocery store and there were homeless people there.  They scared me.  We took in the strip once more in the car and then left.  We didn’t do much today except for drive.  First we drove to Death Valley.  They hottest it got when we were there was flippin 113 degrees!  Yikes! It seemed like an endless valley of nothing.



We eventually stopped at McDonalds and went to the bathroom there and got sundaes.  By now we’re in California.  We drove about a total of 8 hours.  When we finally reached Mammoth Springs, CA we drove around for awhile looking for a hotel.  We ended up going to a yet another Motel 6.  When we got there we all collapsed on the bed.  Who knew riding in a car was so tiring?  The boy ended up going swimming and dad and I went to KFC to get supper.  We watched CSI: Miami, the Office, and the Simpson’s until we went to sleep.

Friday, August 10, 2006

This morning we got up early and left by 6:15 for a drive to Yosemite National Park where we had to drive about an hour to actually get where we wanted to within the park.  On the tour I learned…

  • People get married in the “heart” of the mountain
  • At the Bridal Veil waterfall, the myth is, “If you’re a miss in the mist and you get kissed you’ll be a misses.”
  •  On the sugar trees the pinecones get up to 34 inches long.
  • On 1/2/97 there was a tropical storm from Hawaii and all the snow melted and there was a HUGE flood
We went and hiked to the Giant Sequoia Trees.  They were pretty good in size but didn’t quite reach my expectations.  Our tour guide was crazy and she screams at bears.  Glen Clark dug his own grave there after being told he had 6 months to live and being diagnosed with tuberculosis.  He died 55 years later.  I think that doctor was as nuts as our tour guide.





We drove and stayed in San Francisco at Travel Lodge.  We ate at a burger joint and I found a Hawaii license plate.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

When we woke up this morning we walked up Lambard Street, which got to be quite steep.  Then we went down a VERY curvy road.  We walked a good 2 miles to Pier 33, where we hopped on a ship and cruised to “Rock Island” and got to see Alcatraz- a maximum security prison.

There was a guy named George “Machine Gun” Kelly by he didn’t even know hot to use a machine gun.  One man named Giles tried to escape but failed.  He planned his escape for 10 years.  He took a bit of army uniform every month and made himself an ID.  He tried to sail away on the ship but was found on Angel Island because he wasn’t there for count.  When he was asked his name he said, “Sergeant Giles, sir” and they took him back to Alcatraz.

At Alcatraz we watched a movie first.  Then we listened to a man tell us about escapes.  No one successfully escaped (that they know of).  36 attempts were made by 34 people.

One guy, who was one of the worst guys, I think his name was Floyd Hamilton but I’m not for sure.  Anyways he and some buddies tried escaping.  The rest were caught but he was pronounced dead- shot in the head and drowned.  However…one guy who was a guard saw a trail of blood by a cave so he shot into the cave.  Someone yelled, “Don’t shoot!” and walked out of the cave.  It was one of the guys who tried escaping.  They shot into the cave again.  Nothing, so they left.  Two days later Floyd leaves the cave, not knowing he’s “dead.”  But he’s hungry and hurt so he climbed back into the broken window he first escaped from and goes to the guard who allegedly shot him in the head, and taps him on the shoulder.  The guard sees him and turns a ghastly pale.  Floyd says, “Why you look like you’ve seen a ghost. You should be happy, you captured me!”  Needless to say there was a lot of reprimanding to go around after that incident.

Three guys who went to Alcatraz dug out their vent holes with a spoon so one night they left fake heads in their beds and climbed through their vent holes to the utility room where they climbed p to the rood.  When a man went around to wake everyone up in the morning and the three men wouldn’t get up so he ripped off their blankets and their heads fell out!

Over 1500 people went to Alcatraz.  It had only 4 wardens total and some families lived on the island as well.  One man was sweeping when he tried to escape.  No one saw him so he ripped off his clothes and jumped into the water.  Unfortunately for him he forgot to swim.  He just stood in the water and screamed, “Get me out of this water!”  If he would have swam he could have escaped for it was very foggy and no one would have seen him, however he was caught and put into jail for longer.

The prisoners loved to play Bridge.  There was a library in the prison but no books with anything to do with crime or criminals.



After Alcatraz we went back on the boat and walked through Fisherman’s Warf where we looked through shops.  I got a bright green t-shirt that says I heart SF.  We saw a guy painted silver and he looked like a robot and did the robot.  There were also drummers and a band.  We had In-n-Out Burger for lunch.  It was really good.  After eating we walked to Chinatown and then Japantown.  At Japantown there was a street festival and some taiko drummers.




We then walked back to our hotel and stayed there for an hour.  My legs were very sore.  I slept a little at the hotel.  We then walked down to the bay.  We didn’t really do anything there except take pictures.  Some with Alcatraz in the background and some with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.  We walked back to the hotel and mom walked down the street and got our supper.  Isaac had spaghetti, I had very good cheese tortellini, and the rest of them at pizza.  We watched “The Fugitive” on TV and it reminded me of Alcatraz.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

This morning we left the hotel and drove across the Golden Gate Bridge.  At the other side we parked and took pictures.  Then we walked partially across the bridge and took more pictures.



We left the bridge and drove a little while to a park with giant Red Woods.  They weren’t that fat, just really tall.  We left there and drove a little further to the Pacific Ocean on e a beach.  We stepped in the water and picked up oysters and sand dollars.  Once we left the beach we drove awhile until we finally stopped and got has and lunch at In-N-Out.  Mostly we drove until we got the to Super 8 Motel in Roseburg, Oregon, stopping a couple times at rest stops, gas stations, and BK to get a shake.

Monday, August 13, 2007

5 days til we’re home!  This morning we left the hotel at around 7:20 after having danishes for breakfast.  We drove to Seattle, Washington.  We went to Mount Saint Helen’s.  That volcano doesn’t erupt in a flowy liquid lava.  It builds itself a dome-y thing at the top.  Of all the lava it lets out it could fill the whole visitor center in 10 hours.  Every 30 second it lets out enough lava to fill 1 ton dump truck.


After that we drove to Seattle to our hotel, a Motel 6.  Then drove closer to down town Seattle.  We parked and walked down to the baseball field where the Mariners played the Twins.  Mariners won 4-3 because on guy hit a homer at the bottom of the ninth.  I wanted to throw popcorn at the annoying people next to me buy I didn’t.  I had a Whopper for supper.



Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This morning we went to the BOEING place where they make airplanes.  It takes about 4 months to make one buy they build more than one at a time.  We got to “build our own planes” on a computer.  Mine was white and blue.  Then we drove to downtown Seattle where we went to Pike’s Place Market.  There were a lot of flowers there.  I had a corn dog and mini donuts for lunch.  There was also a lot of fruit there.  Next, we drove to Target.  I got green shorts, red flats, and a watermelon Icee.  When we went back to the hotel, we had IHOP for supper.  I had French toast with strawberries.  Then we packed up so we could leave early the next morning.



Wednesday, August 15, 2007

We left really early this morning- 6:09AM.  We completed our drive through Washington.  When in Idaho, we stopped at a rest stop, which completed our continental state drive.



We drove through Idaho to Montana and stopped at a ranch.  The boys attempted to lasso a wooden steer.  Montana is very smoky because there are fires all over the state because its so dry.  We saw part of one fire and you can just see the smoke in the air.  The sun is a bright red color from smoke dimming it and sometimes it blocks the sun our completely.  We stayed in a Super Motel 8 and had tacos and “Mexi-fries” form Taco Time for supper.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We woke up early again this morning, and had breakfast at the motel.  I had apple and cinnamon oatmeal and hot chocolate.  We left about 6:40 AM and headed off to Yellowstone.  Once at Yellowstone, we watched Old Faithful, the huge geyser, erupt, and went to a few gift shops.  Then we headed out on the road again to see how far we could make it yet tonight.

(I had a habit of not journaling the last day or two of the trip.....oops)


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