The Crown of the Continent – Glacier NP

The Crown of the Continent – Glacier NP

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Forever. That’s how long I’ve wanted to visit Glacier National Park.

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When I, Mrs. Dirty, was in elementary school, I was a library assistant. Library assistants were allowed to leave class to help the librarian. (Normally, they chose the kids who finished their work early & disrupted the rest of the class.) Anyhow! I distinctly remember shelving a book about America’s National Parks. On the cover: Glacier National Park.

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When we started planning this road trip, Glacier was my first request. Please, please, please!!

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Sadly, we didn’t have a lot of time to explore. I could spend weeks exploring this park & I’d still be sad when it was time to leave. In fact, I’m totally down with moving to Montana. Just saying.

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We had a few hours (yes, that’s all – remember the main objective of this trip is to visit family in Washington; everything else is gravy) to spend in Glacier, so we spent it on “Going to the Sun” Road. The road has only been cleared a few weeks, and it’s only open to Logan’s Pass. That’s just over 30 miles of heavenly beauty.

Seriously. God was showing off when he made this place.

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I can’t even begin to describe how in awe I was of this majestic place. Way back in 1908, George Bird Grinnell (co-founder of the Audubon Society) named the area the “Crown of the Continent”. I agree.

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All I can say is, “I’ll be back.”

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Badlands National Park

We hadn’t planned to visit Badlands NP, but the Dirty Boy successfully talked Mr. Dirty into dropping into the park from I90 to drive the Badlands Loop Road. (He doesn’t ALWAYS get what he wants, but this IS an adventure!)

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We completely unaware that you could hike into the canyons & climb around out there… at least until a park ranger suggested we get some dirt in our shoes. We definitely need to carve out a block of time to go back out & get lost.

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On a side note, we saw a young family (no picture, sadly) who were climbing around the Door area of the park. The daughter, about 6 years old – a total spitfire, told Mrs. Dirty that her brothers didn’t think she could climb down to a cave in the bottom of the canyon. She smiled a very familiar smile and said, “Watch me do it!”

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I’m happy to report that she made it to the cave – all on her own. She was so cool!!

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Thanks, Dirty Boy, for being so persuasive!!

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See America the Beautiful!!

Road tripping is a beautiful thing. You see parts of the country that you wouldn’t see from the air. You learn so much almost useless – but highly entertaining – information along the way. Just this morning, I learned that Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in South Dakota when she met Almonzo (it’s been years since I read the books).

One of the draws to a USA road trip is visiting some of the uniquely different national parks…and we plan to visit as many as possible along the way (I think we have five planned!).

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This morning we stopped at Badlands National Park (more to come on THAT story, just know: it was AMAZING). Guess what: IT WAS FREE!

Look, we haven’t talked much about it before, but one of the best skills the Dirty Nana passed down to her daughters was getting a deal. We got a deal! All of our national park visits will be free this year!

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It’s a military perk! All of you active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coasties – it’s free!!

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Find your park!

Keeping It Kool on the Keewaydin Express

Last summer, the Dirty Diva relocated to South Florida, where she started carving a life of her own on Marco Island. It’s been a little overwhelming for Mrs. Dirty to have her so far away – mainly because she’s out numbered at home.

We’ve made several trips to Marco Island over the last year. Who wouldn’t?

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Over our Spring Break, the Dirty Boy & I headed down to see our girl and get some Vitamin Sea. There’s nothing like the ocean to cure what ails you. Nothing.

Marco Island is the largest of the barrier islands within Southwest Florida’s “Ten Thousand Islands”. Can you imagine – ten thousand islands? Ten thousand islands scream, “Where’s your boat, woman?!”

Unfortunately, we were boat-less. No, we didn’t even bring our kayaks! Who comes to a place like this without a kayak, at the least?!

Enter the Keewaydin Express.

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The Keewaydin Express, named for the uninhabited barrier island that is their primary destination, is a water taxi service that shuttles visitors to the island for much needed relaxation.

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Captain Jordan, our guide & owner of the Keewaydin Express, was extremely knowledgeable about the flora & fauna of the area. He provides beach chairs & umbrellas, if you forget yours (of course we did!). Best of all? He was very patient with the barrage of questions coming the Dirty Family.

If you are planning a trip to Marco and you don’t have a boat (or you just don’t want to fool around driving a boat in unfamiliar waters), I highly recommend you give Captain Jordan & the Keewaydin Express a call.

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They have a discounted summer fare available now!

While you’re there, tell him I said thanks for everything!

Disclaimer: I stole most of the pics from the Keewaydin Express Facebook page. You can find it here.

Mr. Valentino

I know it’s been awhile since Valentine’s Day, but life was a little too busy back then to tell you this story. It’s an important story – one that needs to be told. Today.

We didn’t have plans for Valentine’s Day this year – mainly because we needed the weekend to catch our breath; however, we wound up having one of the most memorable weekends EVER.

The Dirty Boy was going with the church youth group to Winter Place Ski Resort in West Virginia for the weekend. We were stoked to have a kid-free weekend (nap time!). You know what they say about hearing God laugh?! Dirty Boy had a late soccer game (did you know those get over at 10pm?!), and the ski trip bus left earlier that day. Guess who got an impromptu road trip to WV? The Dirty Duo!

Around midnight, we loaded George with the Dirty Boy & his friend, Ms. Not-so-Dirty. Everything was lovely until we neared the West Virgijia border. Just as we passed the Welcome Center, things got really interesting… George died. Literally.

In the middle of the Jefferson National Forest & among the Appalachian Mountains, George died. Right there in the side of the highway in 19 degree temps at 4 am, George died.

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Thanks to USAA roadside assistance & a fearless tow truck driver, we made it to Bill Cole Subaru in Bluefield, where we waited for 1) a fabulous youth leader who came to pick up the kids, 2) the light of day to diagnose George’s ailment (spoiler alert: he was dead).

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We piled on ALL of the clothes from our suitcase & used the heated seats to keep warm while waiting for Bill Cole (the dealership, not the person – assuming there IS a person) to come to our rescue. Looking like homeless people, we walked to a nearby gas station for a healthy breakfast of coffee & powdered donuts. Breakfast of champions, my friends.

With tears in his eyes, the mechanic delivered the bad news: busted crankshaft. Since we needed a car to get back home, we bought a new Subaru: Mr. Valentino, a Venetian Red Crosstrek XV.

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As we were finishing the paperwork to make Valentino a part of our family, it started to snow. And snow. And snow some more. By the time we left the dealership, it was a full-fledge blizzard (at least in my Florida-girl mind).

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Since it WAS Valentine’s Day, we decided to grab some dinner. Yeah. Nothing was open except the truck stop by our hotel. Our dinner? Pringles, bottled water, and gourmet truck stop fudge. Yum.

To top off our adventure, we were asleep for about an hour when the fire alarm went off in our hotel. Mrs. Dirty’s shower-wet hair froze solid before we know it was a false alarm (thanks, hotel DJ).

With the Dirty Duo, life is an adventure. Every day, especially Valentine’s Day.

Burning Up the Highway

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This is my current view on the world. As I write this, the Dirty Boy is piloting the Great Valentino (RIP George, that story is coming soon) down the interstate as we embark on our summer adventure: road tripping to the Pacific Northwest to visit the Dirty Grands – the Ma & Pa variety.

Our main objective is to visit with the Dirty Fam; however, every day is an adventure!

A few sights we plan to see on our road trip:

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Want to go? It will be an adventure!!

Rest Stop

To anyone out there who still reads our blog: We’re back!!! I’m sorry for our absence. It was a hectic year! I’ve never been more grateful to see summer vacation!!

The very first day of summer break, I had the most interesting dream:

I woke from the best sleep ever. I was sleeping in my Grand Trunk Ultralight hammock – one end was tied to my car and the other to a large oak tree. Above me, the clearest blue sky was peaking through a green canopy of leaves. On the other side of the oak tree, a steady flow of traffic cruised the interstate. A roadside sign read, “Next Rest Stop 100 miles.”

Thank you, Lord, for summer break – the Rest Stop on the highway of life!!

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