Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bonnie Mae Kircher

 Sorry we have not posted in the last few weeks. After the Badlands the weather turned pretty bad so we headed to Rock Island, Illinois to visit Josh's grandparents, Addie and Don.
The second day I got a call from my mom that my grandma had passed away. So I got the next flight out of town to be with my family and left Josh with his.
I spent about two weeks with my family. During that time I was able to spend a few days with my Grandpa. He is such a great and strong man. We had a good time keeping each other company.
The funeral was beautiful and so many people came to celebrate her life. The eulogy was perfect and my cousin Riley put together a great slide show. My grandma was always someone who liked to have her family around and I think she would have loved to see everyone together. She was an amazing woman and will be missed by everyone who knew her.

My grandma's obituary:

Bonnie Mae Kircher was born Jan. 17, 1929, in Medford, Ore., to Leroy and Elvine Gienger.
She lived her life in Chiloquin, Ore., where she built a beautiful home and family. She graduated from Chiloquin High School and then attended University of Oregon, where she graduated in 1951. Then, in what could be considered the best part of her life, she met her husband Glen Kircher, a military veteran of World War II and the Korean Conflict. They were married on June 13, 1951, in San Diego, Calif., while he was in the Navy. Glen always thought she had wild blue eyes and a great smile. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year with their family on a trip to Eastern Oregon.
Bonnie and Glen owned Kircher's Hardware in Chiloquin for 38 years while raising their four well-behaved children. While working at the store and continuing after retirement, Bonnie stayed very active in her community with many Chiloquin civic projects and the Chiloquin Rodeo and Trail Ride. She managed the Gienger Memorial College Scholarship, mentoring many of the recipients to keep them on a successful track to graduating.
Bonnie had such a kind heart; she had no trouble making friends wherever she went and kept them close to her always. She was involved in Campfire Girls since 1939. Their group continues to gather monthly to reminisce. She was also a part of the "80's Ladies," with whom she shared lunch and company at least once a month. Bonnie was a regular member at the YMCA, where she enjoyed many afternoons with her friends swimming.
She loved to get together with friends and family just to visit and catch up. She really enjoyed seeing her family together and ending a great night with a game of cards. She loved to win and usually did and was always the scorekeeper.
Bonnie was a very talented seamstress and an amazing cook. Her home was always filled with wonderful smells. Whether it was pies, a roast, or her famous baked beans, she loved to cook for and feed everyone who came through her door.
Bonnie embraced life and wasted not a moment. Her heart was with her husband, her family, and her home, all of which gave her great joy.
Survivors include her husband Glen; her children and their spouses Suzanne and Bob Hannan, Melinda and Harry Childers, Joe and Paula Kircher, and Alyson and Shannon Totten; her grandchildren, who loved her dearly, Kirk, James, Riley, Lucas, Justin, Lindsay, Kate, Bonnie, and Ivy; and her four beautiful great-grandchildren Treiquella, Taylor, Aubreianna, and Gabriel; her siblings and their spouses Norma and Bob Hill and Bud and Pauline Gienger.
On Oct. 11, 2011, Bonnie Kircher left us to join her eldest grandson Tyler and many other beloved family and friends.

I am so blessed to have such an amazing woman help mold me into the person I am today. She will be missed but I know she is in a better place. I love you grandma.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Badlands National Park and Wall Drug

 On our drive from Rapid City to the Badlands National Park we passed so many signs that told us we had to visit Wall Drug. Kids love it, 5 cent coffee, free ice water!!! We couldn't possibly pass up the opportunity to go... and it was weird. It was a giant tourist drug store. This first picture is Josh riding an actual Jackelope, yeah there was one there. For those of you who are new to Jackelopes, let me educate you. They are in the same category as Big Foot and Sasquatch. They are out there, but there is no real proof besides the occasional blurry photo and and weird noise when you are out in the woods all alone... The Jackelope is said to actually mimic you if you are singing in the woods. This was a rare opportunity for Josh and I'm glad we got it on camera.
 This next photo is of a T-Rex that they captured. It was actually quite scary. I could see it scaring many little kids. I even jumped a little. My nephew Taylor would have LOVED it. I however am still having nightmares.
 This lady and I were trying to help the payers cheat. Wild Bill Hickok did not appreciate our helping the other guys. We rode our horses to Deadwood, South Dakota, and had a shoot out... I think you all know who won.
 After our very exciting hour at Wall Drug, we headed to Badlands National Park. And for lack of a better saying, it was pretty "bad ass." We first drove up on "The Wall." I was not expecting it to be this large!
 We did the drive through the park and took so many photos, I had a hard time picking which ones to add. I did of course rule out most of the ones Josh took...
 The rocks where all stripped with the sediment from years. It was so cool to look out across the entire area and see the same lines running across every rock! It was like someone had painted lines across them.
 The only draw back to this park was the wind. It was ridiculous! the park ranger told us it was blowing at least 20mph.
 We got to the campsite early so we could set up and go watch the sunset. Now we have been camping in rain and a little snow, we have set up in the dark and on a hill. But this place was by far the hardest place to set up a tent. The wind would not have it. We ended up having to stake down the tent before we could even set it up! We then had to pack out stuff into the tent to give it more weight so it wouldn't blow away.
 We drove out to White River turnout to watch the sunset. It was beautiful!! The the shadows on the rocks were brilliant!
 One one side of us we had the sun setting and on the other side we had the moon coming out. You can kind of see it behind Josh in this picture.
Here are Josh and I sitting out on the ledge. The Badlands are so dry!

 After the sun went down, we headed back to camp. It was only seven o'clock but already almost dark. This campsite didn't allow fires and the sun was down. We sat up for a while drinking Black Velvet (the drink of true campers) and playing cribbage, but when we looked around the whole campgrounds had gone to bed.

 Of all the places that we have camped so far I would definitely recommend a tent to an RV, however with the crazy wind of the Badlands this was one place that I wished we were in an RV. The crazy wind kept us up most of the night, shaking our tent. I thought it was a Jackalope but Josh said no. We tried to wake up early to see the sunrise, but we woke up to overcast skies and rain. We did want to hike a little before we headed out so we went to the Door and Window trails. They were amazing! You hike out from "The Wall." It was beautiful.

 We drove out to Sage Creek to see the Prairie Dogs!! So cute!! I want one of these to take home too. They actually bark as you get close to them.
 With the awful wind and rain, we decided to head out to a new place. We thought about Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but when we called they said it was pretty cold and suppose to snow soon. We decided to hit the road and head out to Josh's grandma's house in Rock Island, Illinois. It was an eleven hour drive. That meant eleven hours in a car with nothing to look at but corn fields... Fortunately we had a book on tape to pass the time. Unfortunately, it was only six hours long. I did manage to catch some photos of the sunset. We are going to spend a few days in Rock Island and then I think we might be off to Niagara Falls!!!! We do miss you all and hope you are all doing well!

Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial

After it started to rain in the Grand Tetons, we decided to head to Rapid City, South Dakota, to meet our other roommate, Kenny, on his way back to Portland. It was a long drive... We ended up getting stuck in construction for over an hour! We tried to make it to Devils Tower National Monument before dark, but we didn't make it. We did drive out to it, and even in the dark it is amazing. Hopefully someday we will make it back there in the daytime. None of our pictures turned out very good.

 We got into Rapid City pretty late so we got a hotel room with Kenny. The next morning we decided to head out early to check out Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial before Kenny had to leave. Just our luck, we ended up getting a flat tire on the way there.
We put on our spare though and continued on. Mount Rushmore is pretty dang cool! It's almost surreal to see it. This is Kenny and Josh in front of our presidents.
 They had a really informative museum and I thought this was a cool little tidbit about Mount Rushmore. They had some really cool movies and photos of the whole process. They changed a lot as they went along, moving faces and changing placement.
 This was the walk way into the monument. My dad would be so proud to know that Josh asked where the State of Jefferson flag was, with a smile of course.
 They have a very curvy road around the mountain and this was a cool profile view.
 After Mount Rushmore, we headed to Crazy Horse Memorial. It is still in progress but what a sight! It's huge!
We walked around and watched the very interesting movie about the monument. They will not take government money to help build the monument, only donations. So all the money they make from sales into the monument and from donation boxes is all they get!
 This a what it is going to look like someday. It was of course raining while we were there so they had to covered.
 They use a lot of dynamite to sculpt the mountain. The white chalk outline on the mountain is where the horse is going to be. They still have a lot of work, I hope it will be finished in my lifetime.
 "My lands are where my people lie buried." Crazy Horse

After we were done we went to get our tire fixed and it started to down pour! The three of us decided to give in and find a hotel for another night. We found a really great, and cheap, motel that overlooked Rapid City. Big Sky Motel. We spent the evening in the outside hot tub watching the city lights and far off lightening.
 The next morning Kenny left early and Josh and I thought we would drive out to Needled Road. We passed this Christmas Village and had to stop! So many ornaments!!
 This was a tiny tunnel along the road. That's Lola, my car. Yes I named her.
This was one of the pictures along the road. We ended up not going all the way through the park, there were down power lines and trees so we decided to head out to the Badlands!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Grand Teton National Park

 The Grand Tetons were breathtaking!! Especially this time of year with all the colors! Just driving into the park we were suddenly surrounded by beauty. It rained on and off for most of our stay there but still one of our top spots so far.

This is a picture as we were driving into the park. When we got there we found out that only two campsites were open so our choices were limited. We ended up finding a somewhat remote campsite at Signal Mountain campgrounds. Unfortunately we could not get away from the sound of generators from RV's.
 We spent the next day just driving around the park. We started at the chapel, which had amazing wood beams and a beautiful stained glass window. We then headed to the dam. After that we went back to the lodge to get some lunch and a beer. We shared some nachos that were as big as Josh's head, and they were the half order!
 We drove all around the park, out to the snake river, which is where I took these pictures. Aren't the fall colors here awesome??  Then we headed out to two oceans lake. We thought about hiking but it had been so rainy that it was all mud...

 We spent the afternoon hanging out by Jackson Lake. Hiking around part of it, sitting on the dock, just enjoying the sights.

 Our friends from Big Sky, Brad and Matt, meet up with us in the late afternoon. We all decided to walk down to the lake again and watch the sunset over the mountains. It was so much fun! I have never seen such a beautiful sunset, and we were all alone at this huge lake, I couldn't believe it!
 This was the sun going down.
 The shadows afterwards were beautiful. This is Matt, Brad, and Josh at the end of the dock that we watched the sunset on.
 This one is one of my favorites because you can see the alpenglow from the sun. Brad said that's the lines coming out from behind the mountains. They look line sun beams!
 I like this one also, this is Matt, Josh, and Brad walking up the boat launch.
 The next day we woke up to pouring rain! So I bundled up and we headed out to Jenny Lake to hike to one of the more famous spots in the park, Hidden Falls. The shuttle that runs across the lake had shut down a few days earlier so it was not so crowded. Without the shuttle you had to hike a few miles around the lake to get to the Hidden Falls trail.
 We went with Brad, Matt, and their friend Benji. They brought all their fly fishing gear because apparently right below the falls was great fishing. It was a really nice hike. Again we were able to see lots of trees changing colors and the beautiful landscape.
 Once we got to the Hidden Falls trail we split up. Josh and I headed up the hill to the falls and the boys headed down stream. Here is Benji and Matt getting ready to go fish.
 Here is the falls! It really was amazing. Besides one other guy, we were the only ones up there! We decided to continue hiking up the mountain to inspiration point. So being out in the woods in cool but also slightly scary in bear country. We had our bear spray but were told the best way to avoid a bear is to make lots of noise so they know you're coming. I could only come up with bad eighties songs and Christmas jingles for the hike. But we did not run into any bears.
 The hike to inspiration point was ridiculous... It was such a cool view! But we were literally hiking along a narrow rock path along a huge ledge. That wasn't so bad though, what made it such a tough hike was that it started to snow the farther up we got, so the rocks became slippery.
 This was at 7200 feet. It was inspirational! It was neat to watch the clouds roll in on the mountain. But as soon as the snow really started to blow, we decided it was best to head back.
 This was Jenny Lake and that gorge area was where the Hidden Falls were. It was a really nice hike with beautiful views.
When we all got back to camp, it was almost dark and we were all hungry and exhausted. We decided that this was the perfect night to break out... the whole chicken in a can. Josh and I have been eating out of cans for the last two weeks now and it has been ok. But we were saving the best can for a special occasion. Matt and Brad had brought a pesto pasta dish and the chicken would go great with it. We cooked it over the fire and took it off the bone to throw in the pasta. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty good chicken. We of course followed up dinner with a few beers, a fifth of whiskey, and a pretty exciting game of cribbage.  All in all it was a prefect way to end our trip to the Tetons.  We are now headed off to the Badlands National Park to meet up with Kenny. Should be fun!!