Saturday, August 11, 2012

Amazing Things in Austin, TX

This post is for Friday, August 10

Hi there. It's me - Sarah Ann.

First, on Thursday we woke up at our campground and drove about seven hours to my cousins' house in Austin, TX. We listened to books on tape to keep us entertained.

Today we started out by going to a natural spring swimming pool kind of thing in Austin, TX. I went with my aunt and uncle who live in Austin. We are staying at their house for a few days. The spring is called Barton Springs.

Here's me at Barton Springs in Austin, TX

Wee're all waiting for the bats.

If you look really hard, you can see little black specks in the sky. That's the bats. (The picture didn't work so well.)
At Barton Springs, we had lots of fun swimming. The water at first was cold and the rocks were very, very slippery. After we went home, we played a little and then our two cousins arrived. We hunt out at their house for a little while and then we went to see the bats. There were even more bats than we saw at Carlsbad Caverns. They were soooo nea.t There were over a million but we probably only got to see less than a thousand because I was thirsty and Christian was worn out. Then we went home and ate Blue Bell ice cream. I don't exactly know what's so neat about Blue Bell but I think it's only in Texas. It's supposed to be especially good.

Driving to Austin

This post is for Thursday, August 9.

We drive Austin. I go Aunt Laura's house.

Carlsbad Caverns

This post is for Wednesday, August 8.

This is Taylor. Wednesday morning, we drove 3.5 hours to get to Carlsbad Caverns. It was super ugly. There was just ugly desert plants around everywhere. We parked the camper at a ycky RV place with really disgusting bathrooms. If you got to Carlsbad Caverns, here's a tip: don't stay at the RV place in Whites City.

Then we drove to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We got to tickets to tour the cave. When we went on the elevator, we were going so fast down that I had to swallow and yawn fifty times because my ears kept popping.

When we went into the cave, my mouth dropped open. It was so neat - even the first site. There was all these formations of stalagmites, stalagtites, soda straw, popcorn, and all sorts of stuff. Walking around the cavern was so amazing. We saw a rock called Rock of Ages. A long time ago, they were doing a tour with the ranger when there was a blackout in the cave. All of a suddent someone started singing Rock of Ages and other people joined in. That's how that rock formation got its name. We tried to take lots of photos of the cave but they didn't work very well because of the low light.

After touring the cave, we drove down the hill to see the bats. First, we listened to a program. A ranger told us that lots of bats were dying because of a fungus called something like white nose fungus. The white fungus would grow on the bats and make them wake up when they were hibernating. And then they go look for food, but there's no food around because they're supposed to be hibernating. So they fly around until they run out of energy and starve to death. When the bats came, they were amazing. Tons of tons of bats flew out the cave at once. I thought they sort of looked like gants except for more amazing. One bat flew right over my head. When we left, it was late. We drove down this curvy road to get to the campground. I got really sick and threw up. I won't give you the details of that. At the campsite, the electricty didn't work so we we tried to run the car and charge the battery so we could run the fans because it was really hot. It helped a little, but the fans still went out in the middle of the night.

outside the bat program - see the desert behind us

Friday, August 10, 2012

Full of Sand at White Sand Dunes National Monument

This post is for Tuesday, August 7.

From Rachel:

First I am going to fill in for Monday. Mesa Verde was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo neat. I loved it.  What it was is ruins of houses that were built into a cliff thousands of years ago. The only way to get up to some of them at the time was climbing up holes dug into the cliffs called "toe and hand holes". There were tons of ladders. First, we all walked down to Spruce Tree house. Well, I didn't walk. I got pushed in a wheelchair. The path was really steep and going back up my parents had a problem pushing me. I tried to help by turning the wheels with my hands but I don't know how successful I was.

Sarah Ann, Taylor, and mom also went on a tour of Cliff Palace but it involved a lot of stairs and climbing so we decided that wouldn't be the best match for me with my broken foot. Dad, Christian, and I drove the circle route and got out at some stops so I could take some pictures. The dwellings were really cool. Some of them were really high up on the cliff face.

Back at the campsite, we saw tons and tons of deer. I even saw a few baby deer. They were soooooooo
cute. The bathrooms at the campground were really annoying because the lights would flick off every few seconds. If you were in there when it was dark, this flicking wasn't too helpful. That night we did laundy while I wrote postcards and we roasted hotdogs over a fire. Dad, Taylor, and I went to a ranger program.

The next morning, we got up and drove. It was a far drive. My mom kept telling us not to get our hopes up because we wanted to sled down sand dunes but we weren't sure if we would have time. Luckily, we made it there in time. During the car ride, we listened to Harry Potter and Christian watched Cars about twenty million times. I am very sick of that movie.

White Sand Dunes National Monument was basically just what it sounds like - white - snow white - sand dunes. We rented sleds there. To our surprise, even though it was really hot outside, the sand dunes weren't hot. The gypsum sand doesn't hold any heat. Sledding down them was really fun. True - it was hard to get up the steep, steep sand dunes especially since I couldn't walk. I had to quite literally crawl up. We waxed the bottom of the sleds so they would go down easier. We sat down on the sled and slid down pretty quickly. It was really fun.

After sledding, I discovered that my boot for my foot was filled to the brim with sand. I sitll haven't gotten all the sand out of it. We drove another hour and slept at some campground in which my mom forgot where the bathrooms were so we spend about twenty minutes wandering around looking for the bathrooms. I went to bed that night quite worn out after the long, long day.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mesa Verde National Park

This post was from Monday, August 6.

From Christian.

I drive on mountains. I see deer. I see lots deer. I see houses in mountains.

We started the day with a pancake breakfast inside the national park.

Here is a mom and baby deer right by our campground.

Here is one of the cliff dwellings we got to see. (Rachel will write more tomorrow about them.)

We're looking through the windows at Sun Temple.

If you look really close, you can see the cliff dwellings built into the mountains.

Monument Valley and Four Corners

This post is for Sunday, August 5.

Hello. This is Sarah Ann.

We started the morning by driving a couple of hours to church in Tuba City, AZ.. After that, we drove toward Mesa Verde (that's a National Park).

The next stop was Monument Valley. It's a place on Navajo land. It kind of looks like Zion National Park if you have been there, but in another way it doesn't look like Zion. This place was red and flat with big rocks sticking up. We parked our trailer and went on this really, really bumpy road and saw some more of the rocks. We put a chair in the parking spot by the pop so nobody would park in front of it  The drive was seventeen miles but we only drove two miles because the road was so bumpity jumpity humpity. It was really neat and hot outside.

Then we drove some more until we got to Four Corners. There was a little bit of a line. It was not at all how I imagined it. There was pavement with a circle in the center. The lines crossed the circle and said where each state was. We took pictures of us standing in all four states at once. Then we ate some Indian fry bread. I think we ate the bread in Colorad. It was the most delicious thing we had ever tasted. We had to eat the bread in the car because the wind was blowing so hard that it almost blew the bread away.

After was gobbled the bread up, we drove some more and drove some more and arrived at Mesa Verde National Park. We sat up the pop and went to bed.

Here we are at Monument Valley

A view over Monument Valley.

We're each in a different state at four corners.

I'm in four states at once!
The end.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Visit to Grand Canyon

This is for Saturday, August 4. We have internet access for a moment - so be sure and look at the previous posts to see the photos we added - especially of Zion National Park.

Taylor here.

We left our campsite in Zion National Park pretty early and drove to Grand Canyon - about a five hour drive. But on the way, we stopped at Lake Powell. Lake Powell is the second biggest man made lake in North America. They made it to get water mostly for California from the Colorado River. Lake Powell is very pretty and really fun to swim in. It has all these red and brown mountains and cliffs around it. It's sort of like Zion but not so tall. We went swimming in the water at Lone Rock Beach. There were lots of boats there. It didn't get deep for a long time. Even Rachel got to swim with her broken foot. Christian really liked swimming there a lot.

After we were tired of swimming, we continued driving to the Grand Canyon. When we got there, we stopped at the Visitors Center and got stamps for our Passport books. We got our first view of the Grand Canyon. It was huge and very striking. We couldn't even see the ends of it because it was so big. The deepest part is three miles deep.The Colorado River carved the canyon. Next we drove to the main part of the Grand Canyon and got a wheelchair for Rachel. We ate dinner at cafeteria kind of place.

The main part of Grand Canyon was even better. At Mater's Point we saw some elk. They were super, super close. There was also a rainbow near them. We walked along the Rim Trail and Christian cried and screamed. He wanted out of his stroller but we couldn't let him out because he kept running around everywhere.

Lone Rock Beach at Lake Powell is called this because of this rock sticking out of the water.

Us at Lake Powell

The Grand Canyon

The elk was saw near Mather's Point

Here we are the Grand Canyon

another view as the sun goes down
Last, we went and looked around in the gift shop. We went to our campground, set up the pop, and went to bed.