This section of the blue ridge parkway is quite beautiful. You either have rolling hills in Virginia or you ride the ridgeline with mountains and valleys on either side. There is a road closure around Roanoke for 30 minutes, but we wanted to run into town anyway so it wasn’t a big deal.
We asked the ranger for a recommendation at peaks of otter and wow, was this a fabulous hike. Sharp top mountain (which we promptly started calling shart stop mountain). We added on buzzard Rock which was well worth the extra 600 feet.
Our first weekend as empty nesters, so we headed up on the parkway for a long weekend. First night we stopped at Crabtree falls, (formerly known as Crabtree Meadows). The only other time we attempted to stay there, a lightning storm scared us of. Last night we had smooth weather and took a nice morning hike to the falls.
We also stopped by the blue ridge music center. They have daily music 12 to 4 every day but we missed the Friday open music jam. I always forget it’s up there.
Heading out, we encountered a downed tree across the road. After taking this picture, I went to help. 10 of us tried to move this locust with no luck and I wish I had that picture. A biker left and circled back with his truck and chainsaw and cut it out of the road before our detour put us right back where we started.
The Asheville Austins are on the way to Alaska! This time we are taking the kids and meeting the Austin grandmother. We are very excited but anxious to get there.
Ringo has to stay behind this time.
Sadira is on her way back from Costa Rica to meet us. Hot to cold! Here’s a picture of her and Cora with a volcano in Costa Rica.
I’ve spent the last week at home preparing for our exchange student (Helena) from Spain 🇪🇸. She arrives in the states on the same day we arrive back from Alaska. I just have to show off the cleaned closet. No other closets in the house have ever been cleaned like this in our 20 years of living there.
Next stop anchorage!
5:30 we loaded the plane in Chicago to Anchorage. 7 pm. Having to switch planes in due to technical difficulties. I guess we’re lucky they found it before we took off. Anchorage will have to wait.
Left Custer State Park and headed towards Yankton where my cousin Lisa vacations. First stop Badlands after our #campgroundschef breakfast.
After leaving Badlands, we headed towards Yankton, SD to meet my aunt and cousins. My shame of the entire trip is that I was rated third at doing donuts (behind my Morgan age 16 and George). It was apparently so bad that it was rated a burnout and not even a donut. #roomfordonutimprovement
Primarily a travel day. We left Big Tetons and spent 9 hrs in Frank. I even legally traveled 81 mph! George says, I technically legally drove 80 miles per hour. The extra 1 MPH is just me living on the wild side. Devil’s Tower / Bears Teepee is a worthy visit. Check out their campground at the base of the tower.
Since Ringo can’t go on the trails, it was just torture sitting around thinking about all the good hikes we couldn’t take. Rather than just sit around in the campsite feeling sorry for ourselves, we decided to take a trip into Jackson Hole and re-provision and check if Jackson Hole still had a brewery. Mission accomplished and another scenic route traveled.
We showered up and we got another fine sunset on Mt. Moran from the campground. While sitting there, a bald eagle flew right in front of us. We both decided it was the closest either of us had seen an eagle in the wild. #cagesDontCount
For those of you concerned, Ringo is still running loose, but #notintheT@g.
We started in Yellowstone so here are the west thumb pics before our ynp departure… And after our Ringo 2 hour squirt timer. If we look exhausted in these pics, well, we are.
The tetons are just amazing. Dogs can’t go on the trails so we just took a scenic drive and took lots of pictures. I’m just going to put lots of pictures up probably without a lot of description because #pictureWorth1000words
Then from the campsite we went to see the sunset over Mt. Moran.
Woke up very early and got our Yellowstone on. Good thing! We pulled into the nearly empty Old Faithful parking lot at 8 and by 10am, the parking lot was full and we were hitting the road back to campground to switch sites.
While there, Ringo got to see old faithful from afar. And we took turns going into the inn. We visited the geyser basin too. I have lots of pictures of Yellowstone that just can’t convey how weird Yellowstone is. It’s the sounds, the smells the colors, the deep hot bubbling pools of water /mud that you just can’t capture in a picture.
We got back to the campsite and then after lunch drove to the canyon. It was beautiful. We found a trail to the top of the waterfall that was really cool.
We had dinner and took Ringo for a walk around the Yellowstone Lake. Pretty sure this lake water made him sick. He’s had diarrhea every 2 hours every night since this photo, but at the time I took it, he was just another cute wet dog and we were dog owners without a care in the world.