Do you have computer problems? Give Jim a call! Well Jim had a design problem and he gave me a call. After working for the same IT company for 15+ years, he made the decision to start his own company and he needed a logo. It didn't take long and Jim was happy. Here are five logos from the initial presentation and the official White Bear IT Solutions logo.
Time to wrap up our family adventure. I'm going to make one last post with the rest of the road trip. We cover a lot of ground, but we are all getting tired and haven't been taking as many pictures, especially once the van is headed east...
We're finally on our way to the main reason for our road trip - Tonya and Arnie’s wedding at the Oceano Hotel & Spa in Half Moon Bay California. After a rough day of driving through the middle of California and spending the night in the “Armpit” of California (Bakersfield) we made it to our destination by 3:00 Thursday afternoon, just in time for Kristi to make it to the wedding rehearsal. Tonya, Kristi’s college friend & roommate was getting married, and she was a bridesmaid along with all the roommates. Once a Beaver, always a Beaver!
While Kristi was at the rehearsal, the kids and I checked into our room and then headed for the ocean. It was the kids first ocean experience. They had fun running in and out of the water, but we didn’t have much time because we had to get ready for the grooms dinner. The dinner was at the Half Moon Brewing Company and we had a lot of fun, great company, great food and most importantly after all that driving, great beer!
Wedding Day After breakfast the family headed for the ocean. We went to Maverick’s Beach to go for a hike and check out the tide pools. Saw some really cool stuff, even a few seals. Like our whole time in California we didn't spend a lot of time here because now Kristi had to get back to the resort to hang out with her friends and get ready for the wedding.
Me and the kids did some exploring without mom. Had lunch at a cool little fish shack, Barbara’s Fishtrap, some of the best fish and chips I've ever had. Then we found a really cool beach about a 1/2 mile south of the resort and the kids really got to experience the ocean. Little Eddie almost got swept out to sea a couple of times, don't tell mom!
The rest of the day was getting ready for the wedding, the wedding ceremony and the reception. All the festivities were at the resort and first class. Everyone had a blast!
Saturday-The Day After We only had two nights reserved at the resort, we said our goodbyes to everyone and headed for San Fransisco. In hindsight, we should have stayed one more night at the resort and spent more time exploring the area. Plus driving through SF and over the Golden Gate Bridge on a Saturday afternoon was not a good decision. Can you say, overcrowded?! Once we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge we stopped for lunch in Sausalito. Too many people, we're all tired and grumpy so the crowds inspired us to get back on the road.
We've been on the road for 11 days, when I asked everyone what they wanted to do, they all said Let's go Home! So that's what we did. That night we made it to Roseville CA. Sunday we made it to Salt Lake City UT. Monday we made it to Casper WY. And on Tuesday after a long 15 hour drive we were home! Nothing exciting happened between California and home other that seeing a lot of the USA through our van's windows.
We were on the road for 14 days and traveled 5049.5 miles. It was an experience we'll never forget and great childhood memories for the kids. We will definitely do more road trips in the future!
Zion Day 1
We are on our way to Zion. We drove all day, and stopped in Salt Lake City for lunch. We drove to Zion River Resort and arrived at about 8pm. We started the next day by heading to the Zion Adventure Company to get walking sticks for Addie and Will. After the slow, uneventful process of buying the walking sticks, we made our way to the narrows. There were a few people there already, but not too much for it to become annoying. We took a shuttle to the hiking grounds, but we still had a mile left to walk before ACTUALLY reaching the river.
When we did reach the river, we got ready to hike in the water. It was the kids' first experience ever, which made it even more exciting. It was the coolest thing, hiking through the river and seeing the beautiful scenery that encased us in the path. Addie decided to be a daredevil and go into the waist deep water, but immediately regretted her decision. She ended up freaking out because of a spider instead of actually looking cool and daring. The two older kids went along and splashed through the water while the youngest was being carried down the river by Mom. We got a few stares, but Eddie had a blast and even tried to hike in the waters himself. We stopped and got up onto the rocks once in a while to rest, and also have a few of the snacks we packed. Addie and Will almost ruined their Keens by stomping around in the mud by one of the places we stopped.
We don't actually know how far we hiked, but we think we made a three mile roundtrip. We also still had a mile left to hike to get to the shuttle, and by this time Addie and Will were complaining about how their legs hurt. We took the shuttle back to the beginning, and drove back to the campsite, had dinner, and fell asleep. I speak for the whole family when I say that day was amazing, and we would love to visit it again.
Zion Day 2
We had to go to Vegas to drop off the trailer. The road between Southern Utah and Vegas was not the best experience. The only bad weather we encountered was a flash flood in the desert...imagine that. We had to clean out the trailer in 110 degree heat, but we were all thankful it was dry heat. But on the plus side.........WE GO TO CALIFORNIA WITHOUT HAULING A TRAILER!!! YEAH!!!!
Zion day 1-2 written by our daughter Addie 12 (10 at the time of the road trip)
We took a short break from our blog "RaneyWords". Okay, almost two years isn't a "short break", but it turns out that life happens. With kids, work, play, etc something had to give. First up is finishing Raney Road Trip 2015.
Sunday morning and the first thing we have to do is say goodbye to our beautiful campsite at Buffalo Bill State Park. It brought many tears, but we are better people for it. Ok, no tears, but that place really made us want to just sit, stay there and enjoy doing nothing! There really are not enough hours in a day!
We saw a lot yesterday at Yellowstone. So we figured we needed to take the kids to Old Faithful and then head to Jackson. We have a lot of driving to do in the next couple of days, so we need to make this quick. Old Faithful is only a 34 mile roundtrip off the route we are taking so it shouldn’t take long…famous last words! We made a few stops along the way. Since this is a “working vacation” we needed to take some photos of the camper in action. First we got some photos with the Yellowstone National Park sign and then we parked it next to Yellowstone Lake. Got some nice photos with the lake and this turned out to be a really fun stop.
Back on the road to Old Faithful. From West Thumb to Old Faithful it’s only a 17 mile stretch, but it’s all mountain driving, up, down and round and round…and this time we are pulling the camper! When we finally get to Old Faithful (on a Sunday afternoon) there isn’t a parking spot in the entire lot. It makes you want to leave, but we can’t come all this way and not see Old Faithful! After circling the lot for awhile we finally see an open space. And in our (moms) mad dash to the space we clip the huge RV next to us as we pull in. That's why rearview mirrors fold it, right? Just unfold it, good as new.
Old Faithful is awesome…
but holy crap, the people!!! We got there at 1:30 and the next eruption was at 2:10 +/-10 minutes. We were one of the first ones to get a spot to watch and by the time she blew her top there must of been 5000 people watching. Crazy for being on top of a mountain! It was almost 4:00 by the time we got on the road and we have a lot of driving ahead of us and no place to stay. Sunday night, should be easy to find a place…hahaha
To Jackson and beyond
We drove out the south entrance of Yellowstone through Grand Teton National Park, and the mountains are unbelievably beautiful. Did it just snow a bit? Yes! We haven’t put the miles in that we needed to today, but we thought it might be cool to stay at one of the national park campgrounds in the Tetons. They are first come first serve and it’s a Sunday, we shouldn’t have a problem finding something. Wrong again, everything is full, so why not drive to to Jackson. This is all we saw of the Tetons... :(
We heard good things about Jackson, well not on a Sunday night when you're hungry and tired with no place to stay. I (dad) actually got laughed at when I told the lady at KOA that we were looking for an RV site. Not liking the crowds in Jackson and after filling our bellies with fast food, mom said “screw this, we’re just going to drive and see what happens”. It was getting dark and for the next four hours we drove through mountains on two-lane roads winding through Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. Finally around midnight we pulled into a Holiday Inn Express in Evanston WY and called it a day, a very long day. Still not sure if we wanted to see the roads we were on...heights, mountains.
- We are the worst food planners ever. Bad diets and lots of waiting at Old Faithful in the hot sun=at least one kid that doesn't feel well! Lots of parenting failures!
- No cell reception at Old Faithful (or practically anywhere in Yellowstone) for making reservations at future campgrounds. Also hard to get "work" in even with our WIFI hotspot. We even used a phone booth in Tetons!
- Jackson, WY is smaller than we expected! There was a lack of lodging/camping between Yellowstone and Salt Lake City making for lots of driving! (this ended up being a good thing in hindsight to catch up on miles). No interstate until Evanston or Idaho Falls-both scary drives for novice trailer haulers.
- Thank God for GPS, because it was dark and the roads we took got confusing. But Google maps sends you on the shortest route, not necessarily the best or safest! Lack of research got us a bit on this part of the trip!
- Kids need to poop a lot!
To be continued...ZION!
We made it to Yellowstone!
We didn't really have a plan for Yellowstone. The kids are doing great and we are having fun hanging out wherever we are. The drive into the East entrance was so beautiful and we were camper free! We left it at our campsite for a day of exploring. The Virgin river runs all along the highway from Cody, we wanted to stop and just play in the river! We made it inside the park and basically followed the marching ants of cars to each site. Eddie says the "mud bolcanoes are disgusting"
We are not very adventurous when it comes to exploring off the boardwalks. So, we stuck to the main attractions. If we ever go back, it would be fun just to sit on the shore of the big Yellowstone Lake and explore the areas that are less crowded and watch for nature/animals. We didn't need to explore too much to see cool things!
Mom had the camera sticking out of the window, but choked and rolled it up–missing the perfect pic! It's not the same as seeing Bison at the zoo! Another petrifying thing is "hiking" Uncle Tom's Trail. It would be one thing to do it by yourself. Totally another holding the hand of your tiny 4 year old. Asking advice of strangers whether or not to take him down there was fun. "Piece of cake", "No way!", "Sure!". Well, that helps. Everyone else is surviving. Let's do it! Made it 3/4 of the way down.
Next, we went to Addie's favorite part, the Paint Pots. More bubbling mud! It was fun and mesmerizing!
Hmmm-why did my 10 year old daughter think this was so funny? And why does she keep publicly reminding us and others about why mom thought it was so funny?
We packed a lot into our first day at Yellowstone. After we got some souvenirs and ice cream for the kids at one of the very crowded "General Stores" we headed back to Buffalo Bill State Park to relax for the evening. Tomorrow we'll take a quick detour (so we think) to see Old Faithful and head to Jackson through the Tetons.
To be continued...
Raney Road Trip 2015
There are not many perks to being self employed, but one of the best is the ability to work from the road. I don't think enough people take advantage of this, probably because it still puts you behind on answering emails, getting the daily things done, pretty much everything. Life is more stressful on the road than the comfort of home, even when things are well planned (definitely NOT the case with us...what's planning?).
Our background is in design, not writing, so please refrain from sending grammar corrections to us–we don't care! We thought we would share some insights on a first time family road trip (or any camping trip in our case) where we decided to go all out and travel from the Twin Cities to California and back in two weeks. Why not document our trip on our work site, since our work and family life are so intertwined!
The reason we planned this road trip was because of an invitation we received to a wedding in Half Moon Bay, CA. (congrats Tanya and Arnie!) Most of the time, I (mom) would just RSVP no, since I do not like to leave our house...ever...even if it sounds like an awesome time and to be there for our friend. It is hard to not give in to social/travel anxiety and just stay home. But, since it was two years out, I forgot about my anxieties and we made ambitious plans. We decided to make CA our halfway stop and make a 2+ week trip out of it! When we started planning, we decided it would be fun to pack up the family (all 5 of us) and make stops in the Black Hills, Yellowstone, Tetons, Tahoe and Half Moon Bay. Then on the way back: San Francisco, Yosemite, Zion, Bryce and home.
First, we needed a camper. Mark has worked with clients in the RV industry for many years. He called up a long time client and asked if he needed any marketing materials in trade for the use of a travel trailer. We love work in trade almost as much as making money! We scored this little beauty, the Riverside RV Retro Bunkhouse for our trip from his generous daughter.
We will put a link to the Riverside RV website here, but we hope in the future the manufacturer will take us up on a new website-they truly need it! The site is not reflective of the coolness of the product or the super cool sales rep that we borrowed it from. It is the perfect example of the importance of decent design to show your product in the best light. So, if you could, look past that if you have an interest in these great travel trailers. We were even able to pull it with our minivan (with additions of a transmission cooler and brake assist).
Our Actual Trip!
Special Note: if you pack your kids' lunches like this (see below) you will find nothing useful here! Other than maybe a bit of a laugh...
First Stop...Candy Shop!
Since we live in Minnesota, why not make a stop right away at Minnesota's Largest Candy Store?! The only place to get information about it is on their Facebook page. They are only open seasonally, have no phone and accept cash only (maybe checks-don't remember). Bring your cash and your restraint.
We thought about skipping the candy store and getting some drive time in, but it was a brilliant choice by us parents because the kids said "This is the coolest trip ever!" instead of "Are we there yet?". We also pulled up short for our first night camping, staying in Mitchell, SD. It threw off the few reservations we had later on, but we didn't want the kids to be traumatized by so much driving the first day. This would bite us later, but that's ok, mom has too much travel anxiety to tightly schedule things! (Mom could write a separate entry on anxiety and traveling.) And driving a travel trailer for the first time on a road trip like this is quite stressful! Wind, sway, future mountains, 100 degree temps, hookups, did we mention wind? Not too much to talk about for our first night, we made it and can relax. That is enough.
Changing Plans Already!
Our next (originally the first) stop was going to be the Badlands, with one night of camping right on the outer edge. We decided to pass up the Badlands since the kids really wanted to see Mt Rushmore. We can go to the Badlands another time. So, off to hopefully find a campsite with hookups and cancel one of our only reservations. I think something to take away from all of this is that it is not for most people to just take off without plans or reservations. Some people need a schedule and structure. We are not those people! We prefer just freely choosing what we want to do, when we want to do it! If we want to sleep in, do it. We will just have to fight more crowds.
We did find a nice campground and a pull through site with hookups near Mt Rushmore. Thankfully these days, winging a trip is not as hard with smartphones. As long as you have a signal! We found out fairly quickly that it is hard to have a "working vacation" even with a WIFI hotspot.
On to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Still the same! We thought for something different since mom and dad have already been there would be to see the lighting ceremony that started at 9:00. We arrived around 7:30. The crowds weren't bad. Until about 8:30 when the people started pouring in. The buzzkill that I am (mom), I kept thinking about trying to leave the park after the ceremony with a million other people all having to drive down a mountain in the same direction. So we left. Screw that, we can see it in photos, we can blame having tired little kids.
Off to Yellowstone!
We left the Rushmore area reminding ourselves that we knew we weren't going to spend a lot of time in the area since we wanted that to be a future trip. So we tried not to feel like we didn't see enough. I wish I would have studied the map more before the trip because pulling a trailer through the mountains for the first time is scary! We forgot about the Bighorns! Mom had to do all the driving because of her anxiety and control issues. It was very hot outside and we had a few overheating scares. We took our time, pulled off a lot and enjoyed these beautiful mountains!
We also stopped in Buffalo, WY for a nice picnic lunch.
We arrived in Cody, WY in the evening of our 3rd night. A Friday. In true Raney fashion, we then started to look for a campground since our only other reservation was in Cody, but for the next night! Everything was full, even the Walmart parking lot. Did you know you can park your RV there overnight and stay if you want? Thankfully we never had to, but it is good to know as backup! haha. We found a beautiful campground at Buffalo Bill State Park.
Here is another thing we have learned. (remember we are complete novices and we know others will be also that read this!) The national and state parks are so much more interesting and beautiful than the cement slab KOA type RV parks. We were not fans of the "jam them in like sardines on cement slabs" feeling. The national and state parks do not take many reservations and often do not have hookups, but usually have water and dump stations. It was amazing to us that Cody was jam packed and 6 miles away a beautiful view from every campsite had plenty of campsites available. We could have sat here for a week doing nothing but throwing rocks.
Let's continue this trip in another post...
Chocolate coins melt in about 32 seconds in the car on a road trip.
Pulling a travel trailer on an interstate is like pushing a baby stroller through the MN State Fair–people cut you off, drive like idiots and act like you are not there.