Monday, June 15, 2009

Start of a journey...

Well, you may be wondering why I started this blog. I'm wondering that myself. Honestly, I just thought it would be good to have one set up in case I ever wanted to start blogging.

And now that I have one, of course I have a use for it.

I am spending a little over a month traveling the Western U.S. with my mom and three siblings. I want a way to remember everything that happens on this journey, so I started a journal and thought, why not share it? Of course, no one even knows I have a blog yet. But in my backward thinking, I figure that once I start posting, maybe I'll have a reason to let people know this blog exists.

So now that I have explained the start of my blogging journey, I will give you some details about the start of our cross-country journey as well.

(Written Tuesday, June 09, 2009)

After spending several weeks (months?) planning our month-long tour of western America, we finally took the first step and left Kansas! While I hoped to finish all the requirements for my Bachelor degree before we left, we finally gave up and just got on the road. However, I do plan to finish school before the month is over. I have three tests left; A History of the Vietnam War, Introduction to the Modern Middle East and Money and Banking. Because they are DANTES exams, they are offered at many locations across the nation, so I will be able to study a little (a very little—this is vacation after all!) and take them as I am ready. I plan to take A History of the Vietnam War in Fort Collins, Colorado on Thursday.
But to begin at the beginning…

We started our travel experience last Monday, camping at Marion County Lake for a week to get acclimated to tent life. We have a nice, large tent, but we soon found we needed several other things that are vital for camping. Such as--a camp stove. A flashlight. And most important, a better system of organization. We learned a lot over the last week and then on Sunday, we decided it was time to move on!

We left Marion County Lake this morning, packing up in a little more than an hour (not too bad!) and getting on the road. We headed north and west, to Estes Park, Colorado, which is where we are right now! We spent about 11 hours driving. Whether it should have taken that long or not, I really don’t know. We did stop an awful lot. In fact, I don’t think we were ever on the road more than two consecutive hours!

Some of the highlights of the trip:

Well, it’s western KS and eastern CO! Not always that much to see. Sometimes the clouds along I-70 are gorgeous and can keep your attention for hours. Not today. Today it was overcast and rainy, meaning a gray sky, flat fields and lots of interstate. There were a few beautiful moments--such as when we drove under a dark, dark sky that threatened severe storms at any minute. And when the sun finally peeked out for a little while, the contrast with the overcast sky made for bright, brilliant colors in the fields and trees.

My favorite part, though, was the wind farm. I always look forward to that part while driving I-70. The wind farm is miles upon miles of wind turbines, providing energy by using Kansas’ most abundant resource—WIND! From the time I saw the first wind turbine until we actually reached the first wind turbine was about ten miles—and that was on an overcast day! Normally you can see it twenty or more miles in advance. The Wind Farm lasts another fifteen or so miles and is a sight to see, especially when they’re running.

We also stopped in Colby, KS, which was a nice little town. Actually, the only thing we saw up close was the Visitor Center when we stopped to eat lunch at their picnic tables. Nevertheless, they had some wonderful pictures and all the information was very neat to see.
I got to drive through downtown Denver at rush hour, which was quite the experience! I always enjoy driving in large towns, though—it is good practice.

We finally reached Estes Park, Colorado at the YMCA of the Rockies about 8:00 this evening. This is where I attended GenJ camp a few summers ago and it is really a wonderful place to be! We unpacked and ate dinner in front of a gorgeous view of the mountains. I’m starting to really fall in love with the mountains, though I still think the Flint Hills are the most beautiful of God’s creation!

It is now 9:00 at night and we’re sitting in our cabin. Mommy and Tiffany are playing cards (and learning math at the same time!), Matthew is planning out our schedule for tomorrow, Alyssa is just sitting and I am here, typing away at my computer, not wanting to forget all the wonderful parts of our trip thus far.

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