And we’re off!! Today we embark on a new adventure! An RV trip has been on Jeff’s bucket list for years and we’re finally doing it! Will, 14 and Spence, 12 are super excited for all the new experiences this trip promises. Traveling together always brings us closer and creates lifelong memories, so this mom is happy and grateful for this time with her guys.

Day 1

Ready to roll!

Our driver awaits

A little sleepy at 5:30 am

I think I have the best seat in the “house”.

Vacations with my family growing up are some of my very best memories. My mom would always make the best sandwiches for the drive and my dad would head up the license plate or state capitals \240game. My parents were always excited to have new adventures and were truly so fun to be with. The experiences we shared on all those road trips are seared in my memory and the laughs we had along the way I will never forget. I miss them terribly, but feel so grateful to have so many wonderful memories of our life together.

On those road trips, I always brought way too many pillows which didn’t leave much room for the actual humans in the car. Being the oldest (and perhaps bossiest 🤫) I claimed the backseat for sleeping, Paulie had the floor and Jason had the top of the backseat under the back window. Sounds crazy now! No seatbelts, lots of snacks, fun and family bonding. Times I will never forget. I hope that this trip is one that my boys can look back on as fondly as I do of \240my childhood journeys! ❤️

We’ve made good time today. In Wisconsin right now with just a couple hours to go until we arrive at our first RV park, Stoneybrook in Osseo, \240where we will set up and stay the night.

RV travel is interesting. It’s really comfortable for everyone which has made the time fly. It’s super convenient having a bathroom on board. Not so super is the smell of the water when it’s first turned on 🤢 It’s nice to not have to stop for food, but \240not so nice to have a jug of milk fall on your toe when you open the fridge 🤬

Hope my dad is watching 😂😂😂

Things did get off to a bit of a rocky start. Last night while we were packing the RV, the exterior door to all the hookups got jammed. It. would. Not. Open. Finally we had to reach out to the owner of the RV. He drove an hour and half to our house to try to fix it (he was a diesel mechanic). He wasn’t able to fix it, so they had to rig a way to get the hoses out another door. I’ll update later on how that all goes later when we try to hookup at the camp. 😬🤞

About two minutes after we got on the road this morning, Spencer, Jeff’s apprentice 😉,, notices that there’s water on the floor under the fridge! He went into full damage control mode and cleaned it all up. Thankfully it was just my water container that flipped over in the fridge and leaked out. Disaster averted.

Will “slept” through most that 😜

Great way to round out the day at Stoneycreek. We’ve had beautiful weather, cooked out and walked the pretty grounds here. \240Jeff and the boys easily connected all the hookups so all is good on that front. Finishing up with some s’mores around the fire. On to South Dakota bright and early tomorrow morning.

We started day 2 getting on the road bright and early. As we drove west for 700 miles, we enjoyed the changing landscape. From rolling hills to Great Plains on all sides and the eroded buttes of the Badlands in the distance. As we rode along, we listened to some John Denver which made me recall a wonderful memory of my very first concert at the Richfield Coliseum. \240My mom took me to see John Denver; just the two of us. I was in 2nd gr. and we wore matching outfits. I remember how excited we both were. We sang along to our favorite songs and had just such a special time together. We started to leave as the concert seemed to be over, until we heard him start singing “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” We rushed back in and it was the perfect way to end the perfect night! We always listed to John Denver driving through the mountains on every trip, so just good vibes all around. So fun to hear my boys know the words to some of the songs. Love creating new memories and remembering cherished ones.

Just stopped at the famous Wall Drug in SD. Cute little tourist trap full of Native American art and SD souvenirs. Now on to our last 90 minutes of today’s drive. We are staying in Spearfish, SD at Elkhorn Ridge. Looking forward to a relaxing night at the campsite before we start touring the National Parks!

Great Plains


Part of Wall Drug town

Home for tonight

Gorgeous first light this morning and a double rainbow! On our way to Mt. Rushmore

Got to Mt. Rushmore before it even opened. Worked out really well as were are able to get a good view of it and lots of pics and be back on our way in no time. 8 hours to Jackson Hole and a respite from driving for Jeff for a couple days!

A couple hours out from Jackson Hole. Rockies in view

Grand Tetons!

Today we went to Yellowstone! So many sights to behold! From geological features to wildlife, it was a true delight for the senses. Our Naturalist, Colin, taught us so much about the history of Yellowstone and Grand Teton and brought us to so many little lesser known areas of the parks in addition to the most famous sites. It was a day to remember!!

Tetons’ stunning reflection

One of the gorgeous waterfalls of Yellowstone

Overlooking the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone


Mud pot

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the yellow stone that have the park it’s name

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Geothermal feature

After a hike along the river, we enjoyed a little picnic with our Naturalist, Colin. So peaceful and beautiful. He was such a wealth of information and funny to boot!

Geothermal hot spring

Beautifully colorful hot spring

More geothermal steam. The boys used a temperature gauge and the steam was around 140 degrees! We saw a Bison later in the day that had the fur singed off his feet from stepping in a hot spring.

The Grand Prismatic Spring. A little hard to see through the steam, but it’s so stunning with all its colors and grand size.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring

Old Faithful! This is one of the many times we were grateful to have a guide. We literally pulled up, jumped out of the van and there it was going off. It was a sight to behold and just neat to see something so unique to our world.

Old Faithful

Old faithful

Fun day enjoying Jackson Hole. Great vibes and energy here.

Real Elk antlers!

En route today from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to Greenough, Montana. Some observations we’ve had are that the mountainous regions of Wyoming are very green, Idaho is just plain...plain ugly and plain boring (at least the part we went through, and whoever named Montana the Big Sky state was on point 😉

A few things that have made us laugh:

Colin, our naturalist tour guide, explaining some of the tours he does with a mix of younger people and older folks as tours with “newlyweds and nearly deads” 😂😂

Spencer telling Will not to punch him in his ‘love sides’ (aka love handles) 😂😂

Jeff breaking out his dance moves for us to enjoy and Will just plainly saying \240“That makes me so uncomfortable” 😂😂

Off to Paws Up...

Arrived at Paws Up early yesterday evening. 37,000 acres of ranch land. So beautiful and so peaceful. These next days are filled with new adventures for all of us!

Arriving at Big Sky Bash. Beautiful spread for dinner, a live band and fun games for the kids. Great way to kick off our stay!

Two of a kind

Three amigos

Boys playing tug of war

My morning view as I had my coffee

Running the horses! Just majestic to watch!

Sporting Clays this morning! First time using \240a shotgun for Will, Spence and I. Jeff has some prior experience. It was such a fun and exhilarating learning experience. Boys and I now have some knowledge of gun safety and use and total respect for the power guns hold. We all hit lots of clays too, which was really satisfying! Jeff and I may or may not end up with a bruised cheek, but otherwise we all were pretty unscathed!

Winding down a busy and adventurous day! \240After shooting clays, we had a delicious lunch overlooking the ranch and then Jeff drove us in a UTV on a three hour ride up and down the mountain and to the oldest preserved ghost town. A wild ride and so much fun!! Very dirty so we came back to the cabin and dipped in the hot tub before heading to the Chuck Wagon Dinner. The dinner was on the banks of the Blackfoot River. We all did some ax throwing (not to boast, but I nailed the most axes 😉) took a wagon ride, had a scrumptious dinner, s’mores and cobbler by the fire where an old cowboy told stories and we branded our own coasters. So much fun and so many new experiences packed in one day. Time to watch the sun set and call it a day.

Inside the ranch dining

Lunch on the ranch

Boys ready for some off-roading

El Capitan...again 😉

Too of the peak at overlook point

Overlook point

Ghost town

Blackfoot River

Blackfoot River

Blackfoot River

Chuck wagon Dinner

Horse drawn wagon rides with Dally and Repeat!

Getting ready for s’mores and cowboy stories

Jeff on the banks of the Blackfoot

Campfire time

Spence branding his coaster

Will’s turn

And jeff!

Soaking after a long day

Horse drawn wagon rides

Another fantastic day at Paws Up!

It started with a gorgeous morning of Horseback riding! Jeff was on Jet, Will on Boon, Spence on Montana and I was on Russett. Each was beautiful and had a personality all it’s own and one that paired nicely with each of ours. Jet was type A; Boon chill and strong; \240 Montana fast and energetic and Russett chill and compliant.

I was the most excited to do this activity, but it was a little nerve wracking at times for me. Even though these are well trained horses, that bit of uncertainty that they could misbehave was a little unsettling for me. \240Horses are big and strong and have to know that you’re in charge which if anyone knows my relationship with Sunny, that’s a tall order for me 😂Nonetheless I did show him who’s boss in the end.

Jeff and the boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves with little to no apprehension, so it was a win!

Oh, and how can I forget the highlight of the experience: my horse had incredible gas the entire time!!! Absolutely hilarious!!!! Sounded totally fake and just kept going!!! 😂😂😂

After a delicious lunch on the ranch and some much needed down time, we headed to the rifle range for some target practice. The rifles were much lighter and easier to use than the shotguns. Jeff was the sharp shooter of the day with Will being a close second.

Today is our last day of activities at Paws Up. What a wild ride it’s been! The day started with Paintball for the guys, a long walk for me and continued with White water rafting on the Blackfoot River. It ends with a dinner at Pomp!

Whitewater rafting was by far my most favorite activity! A perfect mix of exhilaration and excitement as well as beauty and tranquility all rolled into a great family experience. We all loved this so much. Spencer was all in and went off raft a few different times. We all agreed that more whitewater rafting trips are in our future!


Whitewater Rafting on the Blackfoot River!

We ended the day with a beautiful dinner at Pomp. Sad to leave this “Last Best Place”

Well, it wouldn’t be a “trip” without a few hiccups. Earlier today, while in the mountains with no cell service, our engine blew its turbo. This meant that the RV couldn’t really go above about 40 and really struggled going uphill at all (not super convenient being in the mountains and all). Luckily, we were fairly close to a the city of Missoula, which we were headed to so we could pick up a rental car to tool around in the last few days of the trip. After a bit of a process, the owner of the RV located a place nearby that services Diesel engines on big rigs; and could help us today rather than next week like the first couple places I called. As a side note, it is not easy to find a place that services big rigs. Something to keep in mind when renting a large diesel pusher RV. We are still waiting for it to me fixed, but it should be up and running within the hour. To kill some time, we drove around Missoula in the rental car and saw the University in Montana and the Missoula Airport. Blink and you’d miss both. It’s a different world out here.

Funny tidbit of the day: During the time the turbo blew and renting the car, finding the service company and the RV being pulled in to the sevice bay by a technician, Will was the RV...with the mechanic driving it! We had to wake him up and fill him in. Some day I’d like to live in “Will’s World” 😉

Thank you Transport Equipment for getting us back on the road!

This is the view from Polson RV park. Home base for a couple days. Flathead Lake. Absolutely gorgeous!

Today we set out for Glacier National Park. We knew that much of the park was still closed for snow removal, but we thought we’d see what we could and hike the Avalanche lake trail. When we arrived, that part of the park was closed too! They had reached capacity. Ugh. So we saw what we could, but had to cut our time short there. It was very beautiful. Really lush forest and beautiful snow capped peaks.

After Glacier, we headed to the town of Whitefish, MT. What a quaint and hip little ski town! We explored Whitefish Mountain and rode the Alpine slide. Great views and looks like a ski resort we’d like to go to some day. Then we had lunch in town and enjoyed walking the streets a bit.

We were all a little slap happy today and bonded and had lots of laughs...the best part of any trip! Now, we’re back at the RV camp for the night. Tomorrow morning we start making our way East; toward home.

How quickly nearly two weeks have passed! We are on our last leg of the trip and headed home! Jeff drove a whopping 17 hours yesterday! Lots of white knuckle hours through winding mountains, rain and construction.

We have had a trip we will always remember. Grateful for the experiences and now, the memories! Until next time...