White Bear IT Solutions

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.  

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Raney Road Trip 2015 (the final chapter, finally!)

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!

Raney Road Trip 2015 (part 4)

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're Back!

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. 

Kids enjoying our visit with their cousins in Texas.

Kids enjoying our visit with their cousins in Texas.

Raney Road Trip 2015 (part 3)

Old Faithful

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.

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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... :(

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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.

 

Notes:
- 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!

Raney Road Trip 2015 (part 2)

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!

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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...