Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dakota Carves a Pumpkin!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gone Fishin'

Grandma let Dakota do some fishing today in her pond in the back yard. He seemed pretty keen on the idea until he found out you have to actually sit and wait for the fish to take your bait...

If he DID catch a fish he would go straight into the pond with it! Maybe it's better that Dakota does not like fishing after all...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dakota Gets Ready for Halloween

Dakota is working hard to get ready for the 'Trick-or-Treaters' next weekend. I got these pictures today via email:

Good costume Dakota! you had me fooled!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dakota gets a Halloween Costume?!?

He was hoping for a Pirate costume...

Not a Fairy...

Dakota Sends his First Email!

Things seem to be going well for Dakota. Here's his latest update:

Grandma is working on his Halloween costume - Can't wait to see it!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The U.S. Mail Delivers!

Well, it turns out Dakota got sent USPS Priority after all... He arrived safely at Grandma & Grandpa's Saturday afternoon and immediately began to fill them in on his harrowing adventure.

After the initial shock, Dakota set out to explore his new surroundings.

Grandma & Grandpa have promised him lots of great adventures - we can't wait to hear about his adventures this week!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Over the River and Through the Woods...

To Grandma's house we go....

I swear I told him last night. I think he just forgot. I hope the US postal service is fast. Probably should have sent him Priority, huh?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm Getting Ready to Hit the Road Again!

After blogging about my adventures with Charles and Robin on Nothinglikeit, I've received invitations to travel and visit other places in the U.S.A.! We're getting my travel kit ready (photo album, teddy, and my suitcase) and I'll soon be off to my first destination. Stay tuned for my big, gulp, send off (I'm kind of nervous).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day 17 - There's No Place Like Home

We arrived home on Tuesday night after a couple of really long days on the road. Once Dakota found out that we had new episodes of his favorite TV programs on TIVO he completely lost interest in the trip and seemed hell-bent on getting home. Can't say that we blame him really...

Over 15 days we managed to travel 5454 miles. We drove through 17 states and stayed in 9 hotels and 2 family homes. We went to a great wedding and met a lot of family members for the first time. We visited the nation's first national park (Yellowstone) and the nation's first national monument (Devils Tower). We ate at too many fast food restaurants and had a few good meals (mostly the homemade ones). Most importantly, Dakota learned that we live in an amazing country full of wonderful people and beautiful places.

Once Dakota catches up on his favorite TV shows and gets in some time on his Nintendo Wii he has promised to finish his second movie. He is also talking about writing his memoirs but we told him he is still a bit young for that.

What happens next for Dakota? That's hard to say
  • He might retire to a shadow box with a few of his favorite photos and treasures.
  • He could go on more exciting adventures with US in the near future.
  • There's always a chance he could visit friends, relatives, or total strangers for more travel adventures to blog about.
  • Finally, he might star in his own sitcom on NBC next fall.
OK, the last one is highly unlikely but you never know.

* Hey! What do you think should happen to Dakota? *

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day 15 - We Left Behind the Cold Weather but not the Cold

Dakota can't blog tonight - he's been sent to bed early with a head cold. He'll be back tomorrow night with more tales from the road.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Day 14 - Dakota Begins the Long Trip Home

The night after our visit to Yellowstone park, we took Dakota back to the hotel and did a little first aid on his broken leg. We did not have much of a first aid kit so we cut up some strips from an old map and wrapped his leg. Of course we gave him a little wine to kill the pain. He did not complain too much.

Leaving the park the next morning we crossed the continental divide twice. Dakota has been watching the presidential debates and he thought this was some kind of political demarcation. We tried to explain to him that the continental divide is the watershed of North America. Water on the east side flows east, water on the west flows west. Dakota then asked, "Do the Elephants live on the east side and the Jackasses on the west side?" We gave up at that point.

It was a cloudy and rainy day so we missed the great view of the Grand Teton mountain range as we drove south. We stopped at the visitor center to learn more about the mountain range and the surrounding park.

Dakota had some time to kill so he finished up his first movie while we were on the road.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Day 13 - Yellowstone All Day!

We booked into the Stagecoach Inn at West Yellowstone for 2 nights so we could have one full day exploring Yellowstone - today is that day! We headed north around the grand loop in Yellowstone park, making our first stop at Mammoth Hot Springs. The mineral deposits from thousands of years of flowing thermal springs make the place look like a winter wonderland.

While driving around the grand loop we saw lots of wildlife. Dakota was especially fond of the Bison (Buffalo).

We made it to Old Faithful just in time to see the almost predictable eruption. They say the geyser blows about every 90 minutes but that's just a rough estimate. Dakota got a little impatient when Old Faithful was 15 minutes late.

We wandered over to the 104 year old Old Faithful Inn after the geyser eruption to look at the amazing architecture. While there we met an author signing his book of Yellowstone photography. We decided his pictures were better than ours and Dakota got him to autograph the book just for him!

Dakota saw lots of wildlife at Yellowstone - Buffalo, elk, deer, and ground squirrels. He did not get to see a bear. We suspect that the bears were a rare sight because most of the berries and other 'bear food' were no longer in the Yellowstone area. They have had a few frosts and are expecting snow there Saturday night. We tried to keep Dakota entertained with things that looked like bears. He seemed happy enough.

Toward the end of the day we went exploring a few walking paths. It was interesting to see the small new "lodge pole" pine trees that were growing everywhere. They are a direct result of the fire in 1988. Fire is the only way a lodge pole pine cone can release its' seeds. Dakota got a kick out of climbing a small one.
Our last stop was Tower Falls. There is a great view of the falls from the top of the trail but the signs said the path to the lower falls had been washed out so that view was inaccessible. Dakota decided to make his own way down to the bottom of the falls. That is how he broke his leg but we'll save that story for tomorrow.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day 12 - Yellowstone Park, Part I

We left Sheridan , Wyoming and drove most of the morning, making a lunch stop in Cody, Wyoming - a town made famous by Buffalo Bill. Dakota was interested in learning more about this great American personality but we were anxious to get to Yellowstone so we told him he would get to see Buffalo Bill later. As we got closer to Yellowstone, the plains gave way to mountains and the fences disappeared. This made for some interesting road blocks along the way.

We arrived at the East entrance to Yellowstone around 2pm and we're really happy to see no lines at all! Our plans were to spend the night in West Yellowstone, about 60 miles away at the far west of the park. We had some time so we made a few stops as we traveled across the park. Our first stop was the Mud Volcano to see the "Dragon's Breath" hot spring.

Along the way we discovered that Yellowstone truly is a WILD place. Our next stop was the "Artist's Point", also called the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. There are upper and lower waterfalls here and judging by the number of people with cameras, it must be one of the most photographed places in America...

Our last stop before heading for West Yellowstone was the Canyon Village Visitor's Center. We watched a good movie about the park and took a tour through the exhibit to learn about the geology of the park.

Tomorrow we have a full day at Yellowstone planned. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day 11 - Dakota Meets the Presidents

We had a great day exploring the Badlands. The next morning we headed for Mount Rushmore. We tried to explain the monument to Dakota but we're not sure he understood it completely.

Once he saw the monument Dakota was REALLY excited. We thought it was pretty cool too!

In addition to the monument, there were some great exhibits about the Lakota indians. The Lakota indians were in the Black Hills long before the European settlers and are an important part of American history. We've added a tiny tipi (tee-pee) to our shopping list...

We thought Dakota had a pretty good understanding about Mount Rushmore until he started talking about Paul, John, Ringo, and George. Charles tried to set him straight again.

We gave Dakota a few quarters to play with the powered binoculars while we grabbed a bite to eat.

After lunch, we hit the road and headed for Wyoming. Our next destination was 450 miles away - Yellowstone National Park. As we drove through Wyoming we noticed the signs for "Devils Tower" and realized it was only about 25 miles away. We made a short detour to check out this natural wonder.

In 1906, Teddy Roosevelt declared Devils Tower the first National Monument of the United States under the newly formed Antiquities Act. Along with being a geological wonder, it is also part of an important symbol for the Kiowa indians (click here to read the legend). If the picture of Devils Tower looks familiar to you, it's because it played a big part in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

Tomorrow we head for Yellowstone National Park!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 10 - Dakota in the Badlands

We said goodbye to Erika and Dick Tuesday morning and hit the road, headed for the Badlands in South Dakota. We passed dozens of corn fields and just as many sunflower fields before finally coming to the North Dakota / South Dakota border. Dakota insisted we stop for a picture. He liked sitting on top of the sign but seemed a little anxious when Charles headed for the car. He was only retrieving the camera we forgot...

Back on the road I gave him a small 'Mickey Mouse' character to play with. He had no idea who Mickey was. We stopped again one more time after Dakota said "Explain this corn thing to me again?"

We stopped at the visitor's center when we reached the Badlands and Dakota learned a lot about the geology and history of this region. We have been looking for a cowboy hat for Dakota but they don't seem to make one in his size. He has now heard the phrase 'Red Man' and decided he would rather be an American Indian than a cowboy because, after all, he's red. We're now shopping for moccasins and a beaded war shirt.

We stopped a number of times during our drive through the Badlands and had to keep telling Dakota that the signs said "stay on the walking path".
We think he finally figured it out.

As the temperatures cooled in the afternoon the prairie dogs came out by the hundreds. Dakota was a little cautious at first since the word 'dog' was in the description but when he saw the little guys he was OK. When he asked for his horse because he needed to herd the prairie dogs we decided it was time to find a hotel for the night.

Stay tuned... Tomorrow we head for Mt Rushmore, Devils Tower and beyond!