Sunday, July 5, 2015

Denali Adventure 2015 - Day 1

After a busy Summer of working on the peony farm followed by a week of rain, we decided to get "the hell outta Dodge!" and take the kids camping in Denali.  It's a good thing we had two vehicles, because with eight of us, we had a ton of gear!  We packed up and headed out in a light rain.
Each vehicle was packed to the brim.
Here is our motley crew: Amanda, Paul, Taylor, Aaron, Kelly, and Allison.  Amanda, Paul and Aaron, have already successfully survived a camping trip with the Russells, but this trip to Denali was a first for Taylor, Kelly and Allison.  In fact, neither Kelly nor Allison had ever been camping!  They were in for a great adventure!
We stopped at the farm to grab a cooler and make sure the place was battened down, and as we made our way up Pheasant Farm Road, we flushed this female Spruce Grouse and her young chicks!

We arrived at our campsite just south of Denali National Park, and were thrilled to see that we were camping right on the Nenana River!
After the tents were pitched, we got out the camp chairs and enjoyed just "being".  The rain had ended, and the river valley was damp with low hanging clouds.

It feels so good to disconnect - no cell service, no internet, no laptops!  I love this photo of Dave!
The next morning we headed into Denali on the green shuttle bus, and saw this caribou off to the south side of the road.
Then as we rounded a bend, we could see Denali standing massively in the background.
At Polychrome we pulled off to the side of the road to get great shots of Denali.  It was an absolutely beautiful day, and we spent a long time watching the clouds move past the peaks of Denali.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring Break Adventure 2015: Day 3

This morning Princess Merida and Princess Aurora got ready to go to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
First stop was the giant castle!
The rooms are so beautiful, that it makes you want to live there and be spoiled in luxury!
Next stop was the Farm exhibit where the girls watched chicks hatch from eggs!

Then they explored the big tractors and combine!

Next stop was the Old Fashioned Chicago street.  The girls loved watching the silent movies in the Nickelodeon.

In the room with the giant globe the girls were fascinated watching the changing weather patterns move across the globe!

We got a little hungry, so we stopped in at the food court.  Tessa gives the food a big thumbs up!

Last stop was the maze! I'd have to say that it was the best part for both kids and grown ups!

Last stop was the gift store!  The girls got matching pink tigers.
After we left the Museum, we headed downtown to take the elevator up to the 96th floor of the John Hancock building.
View from the Signature Room Lounge on the 96th floor.

 The view from the women's bathroom is the best view in the whole place!

So Auntie Beth and I ordered adult beverages and the girls played games on our phones while we adults enjoyed the view of the city.  I don't think they were as enthralled with the view as we were!

But, they were having fun!
Next stop on our great adventure was a walk down Michigan Avenue in search of Garrett's Popcorn.
The girls learned about the Great Chicago Fire and saw the only building that survived - Water Tower Place.
Then they saw Mickey Mouse standing on Michigan Avenue!!!

We finally found Garretts Popcorn!  Just the BEST POPCORN IN THE WORLD!!!
Next stop was back up Michigan Avenue to a surprise store...
The Disney store!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spring Break Adventure 2015: Day 2

Today started with a phone call to mommy.
Then we had a big surprise.  Tessa got an Elsa dress from the movie Frozen.
We headed downstairs for breakfast
Then packed our bags and headed out on the next part of our adventure!
First stop was at the Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company.
Where we got to take a tour and see the giant fire pit where they melt different colors of glass in each opening.

Then, really strong men grab different sized scoops to get a scoopful of that particular color and carry them to the mixing station.
Here is a video of the really strong man mixing the molten glass and then putting it into the press to make sheets of glass.
Here are some of the sheets that came out of the roller.
And all of the different colors of glass they can make.

After the tour, we stopped in the gift shop and got mommy and present!
Next stop was to get some hot chocolate as we waited for the toy store to open.
At the toy store we got a pony/unicorn named Pink-a-licous.
Then lunch at The District, where the waitress/bartender loved the Elsa dress and put on the Frozen soundtrack for Tess.
We had tomato soup and french fries.
After lunch, we hopped back in the car and headed north to Plymouth, Indiana.  Not 5 minutes after we were on the road, the munchkin was zonked out!
In Plymouth, we went to a Candy store that reportedly has the world's largest gummy bear.  We forgot to ask about the gummy bear, because we were enthralled with all of the other candy!
The gals at the candy store, loved the Elsa dress, and they gave Tessa a Frozen balloon and took her photo in their famous Egg Chair.
Which she got to sign her name onto.

After getting yummy candy to share with Olivia and Auntie Beth, we got back into the car and headed for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  We birded the nature center at the State Park and then went down to the Observation Tower to see if we could see any hawks migrating overhead.
The tower is about 80 feet high and it was VERY windy.  So, we climbed down to the beach and explored it looking for seashells and rocks.

Ogden Dunes is just up the road from Indiana Dunes, and we walked out on the boardwalk until the frozen spray was too hard to climb over.

Then it was off to Chicago!  Where we went to the home of our great friends, Auntie Beth, Uncle Alim and Olivia!

We are having a great adventure so far!