Monday, June 30, 2008

6/30/08: The Wild West gold rush town of Deadwood

We are in a Wild West town that is an entire historic district. This town grew out of the last great gold rush in the USA – the gold rush to the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1876. It has a very colorful wild west past with such notables as Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and others. It’s most famous cold blooded murder was that of Wild Bill (notorious for his sharp shooting) by a sore looser. He was shot while playing poker with a hand of 2 black aces and 2 black 8s, now known as “dead man’s hand.”

Sunday, June 29, 2008

6/29/08: Home Sweet Home, Our Humble Abode

Since I’ve had a couple requests for pics of our humble abode, I decided to invite you all in. As you step inside our home sweet home, imagine the background music… “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home…” With that we welcome you…

Saturday, June 28, 2008

6/28/08: Traffic Jams in Yellowstone?

Those of you who’ve been here know exactly what I’m talking about. While it may be hard to imagine rush hour traffic in a National Park, try picturing a meandering Bison who would rather walk the length of the road than cross it! And, if you think this is a rare occurrence, think again. We have been stopped by Bison sometimes a couple times in a day, and up to 45 minutes (though we shouldn’t complain, we met some who had to wait 1 ½ hours). Well, all I have to say is they have no regard for traffic laws – imagine that!

Friday, June 27, 2008

6/27/08: Happy Hiking

Today we went on a great hike through canyon, past waterfalls, through forest, past two lakes, through meadows and various hydrothermal features. It had it all! We saw much of the varied beauty of Yellowstone and got some refreshing exercise while we were at it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

6/26/08: A Rainy Day and a Boat Ride

Ah…a lovely, quiet day enjoying some rain and some r&r. In the afternoon, when the rain cleared we rented a motor boat on Yellowstone Lake. We definitely scored some points with the kids on this one. They each took turns driving the boat wherever they so desired. They actually rated it equal to the go-cart racing they did a couple weeks ago.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

6/25/08: A Room with a View

Well, I should say, a motor home with a view. I think this may rate as the best mountain view from a camp site we’ve ever had. In fact, we loved it so much we made a slight adjustment in plans and will be in Yellowstone 2 days longer to enjoy our temporary lake front home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

6/24/08: More Yellowstone hydrothermal features

You know you’ve seen many amazing hydrothermal features when your child starts chanting, “geysers, and hot springs, and mudpots, oh my!” Oh, and don’t forget the fumaroles and hot spring travertine terraces as well as the colorful microbes living the hot water run off. It’s been very interesting to see these wonders of nature that we rarely have the opportunity to see.

6/23/08: Yellowstone - the largest concentration of hydrothermal activity in the world!

…And it contains 2/3 of all the geysers in the world! Today was my first time seeing Old Faithful in person! And since the girls did the young scientist program, which is done in the Old Faithful area, we saw it erupt three times! (It erupts every 1 ½ hours!). Even though 2 of the 3 oldest girls objected to this required “school” assignment, it turned out to be interesting and we enjoyed seeing all the many geysers in the 3 ½ mile loop around Old Faithful. It was amazing to see so many active geysers in one small area, especially when you consider how few geysers there are in the world. We were fortunate to see the largest predictable geyser in the world erupt. The Grand Geyser only erupts once a day. I have to note that I prayed we’d be able to see it erupt – no easy thing considering the 3 hour window in which they can predict its eruption – and it erupted right as we approached!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

6/22/08: The Grand Teton is so…well…Grand!

Today we took another hike in the Tetons – this time to Hidden Falls, Inspiration Point and on into Cascade Canyon. We still can’t get over how striking the mountains are here. We loved this hike for the awesome, majestic beauty! In fact, if it weren’t for the hard to come by Yellowstone reservations, we would have stayed here another day to enjoy its awesome beauty on another hike.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

6/21/08: My first wild Bison and Moose sighting!

Today we explored the Grand Teton National Park. Paul and I were in awe of their dramatic beauty and the lovely snow covered peaks. We took a hike and ran into a moose. I feel pretty sure that was the first time I ever saw a moose close and personal in the wild. That was definitely cool. Then we took a side road to some historic buildings and were surprised to see at least several hundred Bison, including many with calves. Ten to twenty passed just 10 feet in front of our motor home. It looked like there could have been a thousand Bison grazing unhurriedly in the wide expanse. It caused me to ponder…this must have been what it was like when the Native Americans hunted the Bison (minus my motor home and the paved road!).

Friday, June 20, 2008

6/20/08: A Dinosaur Dig

We stopped at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center which until a couple weeks ago was the most recent site in the States where dinosaur bones have been found since 1945. The museum is fairly small but the center’s primary objectives are study and education. They offer all day digs for visitors as well as various educational programs. We took a tour of one of their dig sites. We actually watched the Paleontologists digging. They explained what they were doing and took time to answer our many questions. We saw dinosaur tracks and bones that had been partially unearthed. It was very interesting to see them working at uncovering real dinosaur bones and casting them for transport to the lab (which we also got to see).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

6/19/08: A Five Star Field Trip

If any of you ever find yourself near Casper, WY and would like a fun and educational experience for yourself and the kids, check out Historic Trails Interpretive Center. This exhibit was informative and fun. Even my museum fatigued children liked it. Among other things, we took a simulated covered wagon river crossing across the North Platte River, a simulated Wells Fargo Stage Coach ride, and carried the heavy carts that the European Mormon converts pushed all those long, hard miles because they couldn’t afford to outfit a covered wagon. Check out their web site at if you plan to be in the area.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

6/18/08: Stepping Back in Time

Today we stood on the very spot (in Guernsey, WY) where approximately 500,000 emigrants passed on their way to settle the west, search for gold, and follow their religious pursuits. Regardless of where they started or where they were going, all the emigrants passed by this portion of the trail – so much so that it wore down the rock here. Later when the Pony Express was in operation, it passed here and so did the Wells Fargo Stage Coach. We also toured Fort Laramie. It started out as a fur trading post but the army bought it to protect all the masses of emigrants headed for Oregon, California and Utah. This was the last place the emigrants could get supplies for at least 350+ miles (or more depending on which trail they were headed). It’s also where 2 significant treaties with the Plains Indians were signed (which were later broken by the US).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

6/17/08: Five Week Check Up on the Meity Adventure

I can hardly believe it’s been 5 weeks already!!! We feel like we have so much we still want to see. So, in case you are wondering how we are feeling about this crazy RVing dream now that it’s been 5 weeks…as of right now, we are loving it.
It definitely took time to adjust to life in a small space, and as time has passed we have all gotten more flexible. And, I really miss my loving parents and our dear friends. But, rarely a day passes where I don’t thank God for the awesome opportunity He has given us. In fact, I often feel overwhelmed with gratitude at His gift to us. ("Every good and perfect gift comes from above..." James 1:17)
Even with its lumps and bumps I’m so thankful to be able to have this time to see and experience our country with my family. I see His creative handiwork in the diverse and magnificent natural wonders we’ve seen as well as His perfect plan in HIStory at various historical sites. Even when I’ve been lonely for friends He’s brought along old friends and even “new friends” to help fill my need for people.
One of my favorite ongoing lessons and continued wonders is how little one needs to live with to be comfortable. I moved out of almost 3100 sq.ft. into something like 250 sq.ft.; all six of us share a closet that is smaller than any Paul and I have ever shared, and guess what? It’s totally fine!!! Wow! Who knew?!

Monday, June 16, 2008

6/16/08: Rocky Mountain Wildlife

We definitely enjoyed some of God's creatures that we don't get to see in Southern California...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

6/14/08: Happy Fathers Day from the Top of the World!

Happy Father’s Day to both our dad’s and Paul! While we wish we could be with our dads, Paul said he couldn’t have spent a better Father’s Day.

Starting out at an elevation of 7,480 feet, we drove on the highest highway in North America, Trail Ridge Road, which topped out at 12,183 feet. I feel there are no words to describe how beautiful the views were. I think we stopped at every pullout and took way too many pictures that didn’t do its awesome beauty justice.

In two spots we were able to take short hikes to mountain peaks. Imagine a 12,000 foot mountain peak without all the work of hiking there! That definitely “rocks” in the Rockies…get it? (O.K., I know it was pretty bad, but I couldn’t resist). Well, needless to say, we were on top of the world – and we felt that way. In fact, I just HAD to serenade my family with the Carpenters’ song, I’m on the Top of the World (some of you may remember way back to the ‘70s). And, really, if I’d had a John Denver CD I would have HAD to play it, too.

Though the attached pictures are inadequate to show the vast splendor, I hope they will give at least a glimpse of it and sense of God’s magnificent creation.

Friday, June 13, 2008

6/13/08: Another God-given surprise!!

I was waiting for Paul in front of the coffee shop where he was working. As I sat parked in the motor home, using the internet, I got a call from a friend from home (they go to our church and are in the same homeschool group). We were planning on meeting them on Friday night since they were vacationing in RMNP. As I was talking to her I looked down at the car pulling into the parking lot and there she was!! They arrived a day early and “happened” to decide to stop in the very coffee shop where I was parked. First of all, what are the odds that a friend from home would be vacationing in the same place at the same time as us, and second, what are the odds they would arrive a day early and pull into the same coffee shop at the same time? God is so good!! We were so blessed so spend time with these dear friends both on Thursday night and Friday night. The whole Meitler clan enjoyed it immensely!!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

6/12/08: A Rocky Mountain High

The Rocky Mountain National Park section of the Continental Divide is picturesque and absolutely stunning. It took my breath away and I can’t imagine ever tiring of its beauty. We enjoyed several hikes – all full of awe inspiring beauty. Our #1 favorite was to Emerald Lake. We passed two other lakes and a good deal of snow hiking before we reached our destination. The lake which was partially frozen provided for fine dining ambience as we picnicked there, complete with a lovely glacier view.

Then after lunch as we headed back, our snow deprived children did some sledding (with an improvised, ranger-provided trash bag sufficing for a sled).

We even invented a new sport (or so we thought) which we dubbed, “shoe snow-skiing.” And actually the girls got pretty good at it. I even took a lesson and a couple practice runs. But, I found I was more successful at sledding. But you never know, from the way the spectators were gathering, you may see “shoe snow-skiing” as an Olympic sport some day. :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

6/11/08 A White Surpise!

We arrived at Rocky Mountain National Park late Tuesday night. We awoke Wednesday morning to a most unexpected but delightful sight. SNOW! Who would have thought we would run into snow in the middle of June? It wasn’t cold enough to stick but we sure had fun experiencing snow (especially for a bunch of snow deprived Californians).

Saturday, June 7, 2008

6/7/08: God’s BIG Surprise!!!!

I was quietly carrying an oversized load of laundry to the nearby campground laundry room when I heard, or thought I heard someone on a bike calling, “Mrs. Meitler!” “But that can’t be,” I thought, “no one knows me here.” But I heard it again and then I saw the most welcome sight and HUGE surprise…the Lee family was in our very campground!! I couldn’t contain the screams of surprise and delight. They are friends from our homeschool group and church back home. They knew we were in Colorado Springs but had no idea which campground (and there are many!) but God knew and He directed their path. Oh, how good for our souls it was to see them. We made some minor adjustments to our plans and spent the next 3 days with them in Colorado Springs. They are on a similar journey around the US,
only they left Feb 25 and will be gone for a year. It was great to get travel and RV living tips from them. And it was far better to spend precious time with them. We still can’t get over how God worked that one out!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

6/6/08: America, the Beautiful

I know why Katherine Lee Bates wrote “America, the Beautiful.” We had the opportunity to see the same awe inspiring site she did when she wrote the famous song atop Pike’s Peak. We took the easy, yet beautiful route up the cog railway. Like her, we were in awe of God’s creation. To the west we saw peak after peak as far as the eye can see of the great Continental Divide and to the east we saw all the way to Kansas. What a site to behold!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

6/5/08: Four Stars are Born

In Colorado Springs this week (6/1-6/6), the girls and I have toured many sites while Paul has been on a business trip in Austin. We saw the Air Force Academy, 7 Falls, Garden of the Gods, the US Olympic Training Center, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, and Pike’s Peak, but we all made our debut as radio theater actors on Adventures in Odessey at Focus on the Family. We even have the CD to prove it!! Well, truth be told, any visitor to FOF can do this. But, it sure was fun to read the script in the studio, complete with one of us as the foley artist (sound effects). Who knows, maybe we’ll be discovered. :-)