I spent my weekend kayaking on calm waters, swimming on the shoreline, getting lost in good books, & enjoying the lovely lakeside… After such a long and intense week of training, camping was exactly what I needed to refresh my mind & body before another busy week starts. The summer clock is ticking away fast, and I only have a few more weeks before “busy” takes on a whole other meaning.
*I am trying to enjoy it while I can, because it is not going to last much longer! I hope all of my readers are having a great summer! Thanks for reading. 🙂
Water balloons began the celebration with a splash as we raced across the yard, drenched in colorful rubber pieces.
A delicious buffet of home cooked food followed this refreshing amusement.
Then, bets were placed as cardboard “soldiers” were sent flying high in the air after being released from a small firework. Wind carried them off as people shouted in hope that their parachute would land nearest to the chalk marked X.
The sky was suddenly glittering with hundreds of patriotic fireworks that exploded in the night. My face lit up. I was so happy to be home.
This was the first 4th of July that I spent with my family in two years, so it was definitely a special treat to be home. The afternoon was absolutely spectacular, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Thank you so much, Mom & Dad! I love you both so much! 🙂
“A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow.”
(I loved this quote, despite my short stature.)
I am so thankful to have such a fantastic father… You have taught me so much and have made me the person I am today. It has been an incredible 16 years, and I am looking forward to all of the wonderful more to come. I love you so much, and I am proud to call you my dad. HAPPY FATHERS DAY!
This big summer trip has officially ended, and it is very bittersweet to be back home. I missed my room. I missed my bed. I missed my birds. I missed dance! However, my family and I have made so many great memories together for the past month. We saw parts of the country that we may never get to see again. I saw landmarks that I never imagined I would ever see. This was a trip of a lifetime, and I am so blessed to have experienced such beautiful places. I recall:
being on the edge of my seat at that rodeo in Cody
taking a ride through Bear Country and seeing those wild animals stand inches away from our car in Rapid City
eating the best steak I have ever had at the Big Texan in Amarillo
a giant crow smacking into our car on the interstate in New Mexico
traveling through all of the Fly Over States (love this song!)
almost getting lost as we tried to find our way to Devils Kitchen in Wyoming
driving through Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs as pea sized snow hits our car in June
We are now back to reality. We are home! Thank you all for joining me on this fun adventure, and I really hope you enjoyed this series of posts. Which place are YOU most interested in traveling to after reading?
Standing on the top of Pikes Peak 14,115 ft in the sky was definitely an experience that I will be sharing for a long time! Unfortunately, my family and I somehow managed to reach the top in the middle of a thunder-snow storm. We decided to stand on that mountain anyway and enjoy the impressive, hazy state of Colorado below. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pinch on my foot! My family thought I was crazy at first, but it all made sense when my hair stood straight up seconds later. Guys, I experienced an electrical discharge in a thundercloud over 14,000 feet in the sky… I know that this sounds unreal, and I know you may be thinking I have lost my mind. Whether you decide to believe me or not, I definitely didn’t want to leave this bizarre lightning encounter out of this post.
In addition, the Royal Gorge was definitely a grand landmark. I can now say that I have walked across the highest suspension bridge in the entire country! The Arkansas River raged below as I peered down down through the small spaces between the wood flooring. My mother suggested that I take a photo from this viewpoint, and I actually really like how it turned out! What do YOU think? Across the horizon, the river sliced a path through the rocks and cut through the landscape, creating a powerful moment in time…
*An ocean of lush, green grassland extended farther than eyes could possibly see. The hills were rolling waves, and the grasses rippled as they swayed in the wind.
*Rock mountains towered above us as we gazed up in awe. I couldn’t help but wonder if my imagination was getting the best of me.
*Fertile farmlands blossomed with corn and wheat for miles as the endless land surrounded us from left to right…
Scenery ranged significantly in the breathtaking state of South Dakota. Experiencing Mount Rushmore outside of a history textbook is something that I will never forget. It is a massive monument that is absolutely flawless! The balance of each detail is unbelievable, and I am still astounded that the creation of the masterpiece was even possible! On that note, we also visited the Crazy Horse monument. While we were there, we went into a Native American museum and viewed the historic jewelry, dolls, chief headdresses, clothing, and pottery of the Indians that use to call the area their homeland. Not too long after, we visited a retired gold mine and learned about how the miners use to search for the precious material! It was very interesting, and I learned lots of neat facts. Our busy day ended with a walk through Rapid City and the mouth watering taste of homemade truffles from a chocolate shop. What an amazing journey through South Dakota!
Despite the wet, windy weather that took over Nashville, we still had a great day exploring Music City. We visited the Ryman Auditorium (“the mother church of country music” since 1892), line danced, and experienced lots of live music. I am so lucky to have seen Preston James perform that night… He made Blake Shelton’s team on Season 11 of my favorite singing competition, The Voice! He is so amazing, and I am so fortunate to have seen this 17 year old star perform right in front of me.