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Sequoia National Park & Kings Canyon

Brownie, Boots, and Smarty’s intitial entrance to California was not very welcoming. They might have had a sour taste in their mouths because they were one step closer to their road trip ending and dropping off Smarty Pants for good. Reality was setting in which turned Bootsie and Brownie against the beloved California.Brownie kept saying how she could never live there and went on and on about plate boundaries and earth quakes. Boots was complaining how brown the grass was since she couldn’t find anything else bad about it but wanted to.

The three queens again rise with the sun from their king size bed at the best western. Boots sneaks out the side door and packs up the car. Off to Sequoia National Park, as they drive from Visalia into the park, the landscape starts changing. It’s beautiful, okay California is not that bad.

They open the windows, it’s 20 degrees cooler from where they had started, large sequoia trees and red woods fill the landscape as they wind around the mountains. Throughout the trip they have made it a point to stop at every Visitor Center of every National Park they stop at.

At the sequoia visitor center, there are many signs about the wildlife, Mountain Lions, Bears, and Snakes Oh MY!

Ding, Ding, Ding

A very tall, young Park Ranger rings a bell, he is holding the skull of an animal and announces,

“If anyone wants to learn about Mountain Lions, follow me, I will be doing a quick presentation outside.”

Hmm sounds interesting, Brownie and Smarty are on the line for the bathroom, so Bootsie follows the ranger outside. It’s just him and her for a little awkwardly standing there. He starts the presentation thankfully more people filter in. Here comes Smarty and Brownie just in time.

Ranger Dan, I’ll call him this because he is as tall as my cousin dan. So ranger dan starts prancing around like a mountain lion, showing the crowd how it attacks its pray, measuring how far it can jump, he is pretty good at this. I wonder how many times he has talked about mountain lions. He teaches us the 4 important steps if you come in contact with a mountain lion.


Step 1: Stay in a group

Step 2: Give it space

Step 3: Get As big as you can

Step4: Fight the mountain lion

 

What?! Fight the mountain lion! He shows us how we can fight it and what we can use, rocks, water bottles, splash it in the face ... there are many ways to fight a mountain lion but he never said if they worked. A little scared of big cats now the girls head into the park.

It’s a beautiful drive, Smarty drives most the time when they’re on the mountains edge, they don’t dare let Boots do it her palms get too sweaty. They go through sequoia , stopping to take pictures with big trees, look at the scenery walk around all with mountain lions in the back of their minds.

Sequoia takes them right into Kings Canyon National Park, which is even more amazing and an even scarier ride. From sequoia all the way to the end of Kings Canyon it takes them 5 hours, they decide to camp for the night.

There are prancey tall happy rangers and there are not so happy rangers who are a little shorter. Pam is not like Dan, Boots asks Pam if there are campsites left. She grunts gives Boots no directions just sends her to the Mairen Campground. No one is there, it seems sad, Smarty wakes up from a nap. When you leave it up to Bootsie and Brownie things don’t work out as smoothly. They don’t ask enough questions.

So, feeling like do-do birds they head back to Pam only Smarty goes in this time. Smarty finds us the best camp ground and the best site right next to the rushing river, Kings Creek,  nestled between the huge canyons.Alrighty, Smarty is an important member of the team, gotta admit it.

It’s dreamy, crystal clear water running through the rocks, huge mountains surrounding them. They throw on their bathing suits and sit on the rocks take a dip in the river, it’s almost better than the fake waterfall in Vegas, actually much better!

Miraculously there is a market at the very end of the road, they buy 2 beers and an iced tea for 6 bucks holy mackerel! Boots goes up for more grabs two bottles of  “Josh” Pinot Noir and some Rice-Roni. The healthy road trip is over, Brownie grabs a bunch of potato chips and Kraft onion dip. Dinners Gunn be Gewd!

Boots pours them wine, Brownie puts it over ice and then pops open a Strawberry Mango seltzer and pours it in with her Pinot.

“no!!!!” Boots gasps!

“What?! This is how I like my wine!” Says Brownie.

Smarty and Boots look at each other and chuckle. They shrug “whatever it will take to get her to drink” and we all love when Brownie has something to drink. They cook up the Rice-Roni, drink the two bottles of wine and even try it with the seltzer, hey Brownie style ain’t that bad.

The tent is set up, without the fly so they can look up at the stars. Smarty, Brownie, and Boots fall asleep on bellies full of wine, seltzer, Rice-Roni, chips and onion dip. They love California again.

 

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California’s Warm Welcoming

Death Valley. Shouldn’t they have known by its name, maybe this won’t be the most welcoming place.  Las Vegas was the last stop on their trip that they had actually planned, now which route should they take? The girls whip out the Atlas, Smarty points her finger at Death Valley National Park which is pretty much a straight shot from Vegas into California. They have been loving the National Park route so why not?

Smarty proposes the idea of driving through Death Valley into Sequoia National Park, it’s 2 hours through the Valley and then 4 more to get to Sequoia, 6 hours this should be a breeze! Before they pack their bags, Boots makes everyone head to The Mirage pool, it’s the only reason they stayed there after all.

Boots guides them to the pool, it’s like a beautiful oasis in the desert, palm trees, waterfalls, cabanas, lounge chairs, it’s luxury so far from what they have known the whole trip. Brownie again gets this look in her eyes as if she is a little kid! 

Brownie, “Oh my gosh, look at those waterfalls! I am going in!”

Brownie bolts into the pool leaving Bootsie and Smarty, they follow after her. 

Boots, “Where did mom go?!” 

Smarty, “She said she was heading into the pool.” 

Boots looks across the pool, Brownie is sprinting (sprinting in a pool looks like bobbing up and down) but she is sprinting toward the man made waterfall. The girls watch from a far, Brownie gets right underneath the rushing water and stands there, opens up her arms, smiling ear to ear and laughing hysterically. Boots and Brownie join her, they laugh splash and swim, it is so refreshing. A whopping 30 minutes at the pool and they are off to Death Valley.

Here is a little tip, if you ever decide to venture into Death Valley National Park, please do not go during the hottest time of year to one of the hottest places on the planet. Also please make sure you know that Death Valley is a desert and not a valley of beautiful flowers that, Boots had some how thought.  

As the car winds down the road, the land gets dry, traffic is dwindling soon they are  the only car on the road. Entering the park, it’s different than any other they have been to, no one is there to greet you or check that you have your park pass there is only a porta potty. No one is around, a tumble weed blows past them, it’s eerie. And it’s 115 degrees. 

Brownie goes into the Porta Potty, in a mere 30 seconds she is running out of there and back into the car! 

Smarty and Bootsie scream “Ewwwwww!!!!! Mom you smell like a Porta John, it smells like something died ah!!!!” Brownie is almost crying, no one had cleaned that porta potty for a long time and the desert heat was cooking whatever was inside! They start spraying Brownie with perfume, it doesn’t work, they can’t open the windows it’s way to hot so they bare with the stench. Poor Brownie. 

A 2 hour drive through the “Valley” turns into 5 long hot hot hours. Half way through there are signs for the Visitors Center... yes some sign of life! 

The visitors center is bumping compared to the rest of the desert, Smarty spots a huge thermometer outside, it reads 124 Degrees! Holy Moly, Brownie isn’t looking thrilled she is definitely missing her waterfalls in Vegas.  Brownies got that look on her face that is saying “Get me the heck out of here!”

Back on the desert road, it should only be an hour out of this hot place. Slowly they all lose service, there is only one road, signs start saying “next 40 miles, turn off your AC so your car won’t over heat.” Boots looks at Smarty who is driving, they turn it off. In 124 degrees it’s dangerous, they are sweating perfusely, somehow Bootsie the co pilot, gave Smarty the wrong directions they missed a turn a long long time back.

It’s  getting hotter, gas is running low, as they drive they spot dozens of Crosses and Memorials along the road for the ones who had passed. This does not make them feel any better. On the brink of freaking out, 5 hours they make it through the desert alive no over heating and so grateful! First stop is “Loves” Gas station, it’s very rare that they eat “Subway” but it looks so darn good to them right now! They each order a sub and some potato chips, it is heaven!

Plans didn’t go as planned but do they ever? It’s getting dark now, looks like Sequioa will have to wait, what do you know they find another Best Western to lay their heads at, and they only have a King size bed left. Sharing a king size again, it feels like home, although this time only 2 people were allowed. So James Bond style they went and snuck Bootsie in through the side door. Success!  Welcome to California!

 

 

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VIVA Las Hotdog

July 5th the girls wake up with heavy heads feeling their drinks from the night before. They pack up camp at lake Powell and head to Las Vegas! Smarty and Bootsie initially thought they would skip over Vegas on this trip but Brownie is inspired to go there! Brownie’s mom, Connie loved Vegas and Atlantic City so as a tribute to Connie they headed through the desert to the City of Sin! 

The temperature is increasing rapidly as they head to Vegas, 87, 93, 105 it is hot!   A 4 hour drive and they made it, 4 hours seems like nothing to them now! Smarty drives through the strip, it is so bright, neon signs, fountains, Bail Bond businesses, and they pass the famous wedding chapel where people run off to elope. It is very different from what they have been experiencing from the majestic mountains to the loud boisterous Las Vegas.

They book a room at The Mirage, it’s known for the fake volcano in the front that “erupts” every hour. Bootsie really wanted to stay at the mirage because rumor has it is they have a lazy river and an amazing pool. From all this heat they are craving a dip in the pool and an ice cold drink! They are in Vegas after all!

As they head into The Mirage it is clear they have been road tripping for a while Smarty in pajama shorts and bright orange crocs, Bootsies feet are muddy in her Tevas and she’s got her osprey backpacking hiking pack over her shoulders, everyone else is dressed nicely, showered, glancing over at them like “did they get stuck in the desert or something?”.... not yet. The hotel clerk relays the bad news that the pool is closed, Bootsie’s face drops.

All checked in and cannot wait to shower! The ladies are all freshened up, iron there dresses too bad the iron does not work, looks like they are wearing jeans, they head out into the craziness of Vegas! Smarty, Boots, & Brownie walk the Las Vegas strip, it is so busy and hectic they end up all holding hands so they do not lose each other. There are people on the street selling tickets to the strip clubs, they think about it for a second and shake their heads “no friggin way!”, walk past the Billagio which is known for its fountain show.

Boots ends up finding them a restaurant which is across the street from the fountain so Brownie can watch her fountain show. They get the best table, outside along the street so they can people watch, which is one of there favorite things. Brownie orders a veggie pizza, Smarty gets gnocchi, and Boots the green goddess salad. Oh & a drink ofcourse. As they eat Smarty expresses how much she hates Vegas, She wants to get out of vegas ASAP, all of a sudden something flies through the air almost hitting Boots in the face and knocks over there salt and pepper on the table, they all look down ... it’s a raw hot dog. Haha hey all agree “let’s get the ‘F’ out of here!”

They pay the bill and head back to The Mirage! Before heading to bed they have to gamble ofcourse! None of them have really spent much time in a casino before, Smarty is complaining how it smells like smoke, Brownie’s eyes are getting big she looks like a kid in a candy store! They have no idea how to do this gambling thing, so they head to the least intimidating machines.

“how do these things work?” says boots.

Brownie replies “I think we have to get tokens”

Smarty “ I don’t care I just want to go to bed!”

Brownie finds a guy in a maroon vest and black pants he must work at the casino she asks him “ hey do you know where we can get our tokens for the machines?” He chuckles and says “mam you do not need tokens you just put money in the machine and play, it’s gambling with money not tokens.”

All three blush, how could they not know it’s not an arcade. Brownie heads to a machine that catches her eye, right next to a lady who is definitely winning something she is wooing, jumping up and down, pulling the lever and winning they assume. Maybe it’s good luck let’s go next to her!

All three take turns pressing random buttons, they started the game with 20 bucks and left with 25 cents! Success, time for bed!

 

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Grand Canyon & Lake Powell

Every day it’s a new adventure, the terrific trio is back on the road! It was a sad goodbye leaving the Glamp site, it will be tent camping from here on out. They wave goodbye to Zion and head 3 hours to the GRAND CANYON! 

Oneward and upward to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, it is supposed to be less crowded and more majestic. Bootsie is still on probation from driving, the other two do not trust her up the winding roads. They watch the red rocks and desert turn into Palme Rosa pines as they rise up the mountain toward the North Rim! 

Getting glimpses of the canyon on the way up, the fact that they are almost at the canyon is surreal. Finally getting up to the top, the ladies walk down the trail to the overlook. Smarty leads the way, Brownie behind Smarty, and Boots hangs behind to take pictures. As they walk through thick pines, there is an opening, slowly approaching the canyon the anticipation is building, Brownie starts crying, Smarty too, and Boots sheds a couple secret tears. It is overwhelmingly beautiful.  They explore all that they can take a bajillion pictures and then head to Lake Powell. 

It is the 4th of July and they have no where to stay yet. Smarty calls all the campgrounds and they are all booked. For some reason, the girls are still drawn to go to the lake even though it doesn’t sound promising. 3 hours from the Grand Canyon Bootsie gains back her driving priveledges and gets them there like a champ. Driving through dry desert, over the Colorado river, and through Navajo Reservations... it seems like Lake Powell is in the middle of nowhere.  It pretty much is.

A beautiful bright blue Lake, in the middle of the canyons, huge red rock, and slot canyon coves. It’s breath taking, Smarty gets tickets for the firework cruise on lake Powell for 8:30pm they miraculously have 3 tickets left! Only problem they still have no place to stay. Brownie insists we check the campground we called earlier, Smarty and Boots protest “we already called MOM! They are booked” Brownie keeps insisting...reluctantly they pull into the campground, Brownie jumps out miraculously she was right one site opened up with perfect views of the lake! The stars are aligning again, Smarty and Boots set up camp as brownie pours them all a glass of Rose!

All of their phones have a different time on them Smarty’s says 6:40pm, Bootsies 7:40pm and Brownies 8:40pm it is very confusing and they have to be at the boat by 8pm! What time is it?! They cannot figure it out, Boots runs into some other campers and asks thankfully is 6:40pm! After one glass of rose all the girls are feeling good, they head down to the Mahweap Marina. 

Brownie is feeling tipsy, you can tell when she gets the giggles and when Brownie the “non drinker” wants another drink that means the rose is working. Bootsie finds a bar called the Driftwood lounge, she grabs Smarty a guiness, Brownie a “white wine on the rocks”, and herself a Pinot noir. Bootsie asks Rosie the Bartender if she could possibly put the drinks in a plastic cup, Rosie even offers a plastic cup with a lid and straws, Perfect!! Boots brings out the booze filled sippy cups to the girls and they head on down the dock to the “Desert Angel”.

The “Desert Angel” is a yacht and it is run by 3 women! They are dressed in 4th of July attire, big American flag hats, blue tutus with stars embellishing it, and cowgirl boots! As they take their seats on the top deck of the “Desert Angel” , Zoey the captain gets on the speaker and introduces the rest of her crew members Ursula and Camillle. Ursula and Camille are introduced as the Djs of the yacht, and they are all from the coast guard. Camille puts on all the classic songs you would listen to on 4th of July. Katy Perrys “Firework”, “Born in the USA”, and anything else that has to do with this country. It’s hilarious, they watch the fireworks while sipping their drinks, it’s pretty funny to watch Smarty drink a Guiness through a Straw. The fireworks are beautiful over the lake, the stars are so bright in the sky, they laugh “how the heck did they get here!”

Leaving room for the spontaneous moments has made their trip a trip of a lifetime. 

 

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Three Days, Three National Parks

Rocky Mountain National Park

Back on the road, the road trippers are headed to their first National Park of the trip, Rocky Mountain National Park! Rocky Mountain has been on Brownie’s bucket list. Cool Cat decides to venture with the girls, Smarty Pants drives with Cool Cat, and Brownie with Bootsie. B & B drive the whole way listening to the playlist “70’s Road Trip” on Spotify. First song is “dream” by Fleetwood mac, Brownie and Bootsie know every word, and Brownie educates Bootsie on how Stevie nicks was dating a guy in the band and wrote this song about their relationship. Next your so vain by Carly Simon again they know all the words and Brownie tells Bootsie how Carly wrote the song about James Taylor. As they come up to the Rocky Mountains they “rock” out to “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver... classic. 

The drive is amazing getting a glimpse of the Flat irons in Boulder, Driving through Estes Park the gateway to the Rocky’s, cruising through winding roads with Mountain View’s and 1000 foot drops on the sides. It is majestic the elevation is rising!  

They plan to hike the Ute trail with Panoramic views, as they are looking for the trail head driving through the park, they stop at many view points along the way, take many selfies. it takes them 3 hours to get to the trail head. They are feeling the altitude and moving slow so change their plans to hike just to the highest peak which is 12,005 ft elevation which kicks their butts. Sounds difficult but the trail is made of stone steps so it’s not really considered hiking but they are fine with that. As they start to go more and more west, the restroom options are sparing, Brownie and Boots drink a lot of water to stay hydrated, they both have to go very badly...no restroom insight for miles. Brownie freaks out and stops the car in the middle of the road and runs into the woods leaving Boots in the car! Boots yells “mom!” And she hops into the drivers seat to pull off the road and picks up Brownie up the road.

 

 

Arches National Park, Moab 

They drive 5 1/2 hours to Moab, Brownie rides with Cool Cat in her Red Subaru, Bootsie and Smarty ride together. Another amazing drive, it’s amazing to watch the georgraphy change the rocks are starting to turn red and the pines are turning into shrubs, they are slowly moving into desert territory. The sun is starting to set, they arrive in Moab at 11pm and stay at the Days Inn run by the cutest Indian family, the entire family was behind the front desk, husband wife and two young children. 

5am the crew wakes and heads to Arches National Park to hike and watch the sunrise over “Delicate Arch” . It’s a 3 mile hike, they bring their yoga mats and head up the trail. They are in awe, since they got to Moab in the dark they had know idea what it looked like as the sun started to rise they were able to see the red rock formations, huge red rock arches,  the sky is a combination of purples, red and orange they hike up just in time to watch the sunrise over delicate arch one of the famous arches in the park. It’s breath taking. 

Bootsie leads them in a yoga class facing the sun, more and more people show up to see the arch. Boots looks over and a little boy has joined in on the class. Kieran is about 8 years old and has really good yoga form. He informs them “don’t think this is my first yoga class, I have done this before” he takes the entire class his parents are watching and giggling at him from across the way. As the class comes to an end, he shakes Boots’ Hand and thanks her for the class. All 4 of them boots, Brownie, Smarty and Cool Cat are feeling grateful and centered. 

They head on down back to the car and drive around Arches National Park for another 4 hours stopping at every hike and over look, Boots convinces everyone to take off their shoes and feel the sand in between their toes she is inspired by her boyfriend James, he is always taking off his shoes so he can feel the earth more. It does feel good, the terrain starts to change and they have to put there shoes back on. As they start moving along the trail, Brownie screams “ow, ouch, ah!!” She unties her hiking boots and takes her sock off and finds a red fire aunt stuck in her sock, it bit her 3 times and looks like a bee sting! They laugh but feel bad about it, they continue down the path to see another arch and another yelp from Brownie, this time she even cusses which is rare! She unties her left hiking boot and same thing a red fire aunt in her left sock bit her twice, we laugh even harder. 

Its starting to get hot out, in the 100’s they head out wave goodbye to arches, part ways with Cool Cat and head on 6 hours down the scenic highway 24 in Utah on their way to Zion National Park!

 

 ZION NATIONAL PARK Virgin, Utah

The drive to Zion is 6 hours they take the scenic route through slot canyons and mountains winding roads. Bootsie takes the wheel it’s her turn, not sure if it was the heat or just over thinking but she is driving terribly. Smarty always says Boots drives like a grandma, but bootsies palms start sweating as she comes up the narrow winding road she’s got 3 bikers behind her and driving a wopping 35 mph in a 65 mph speed limit. Brownie and Smarty hold their tongues for a while until they have had enough, they burst and tell bootsie to pull over, she loses her driving priveledges for the next two days.

Smarty and Boots have a surprise for Brownie. They booked 2 nights of Glamping at Zion Canyon National Park, yes glamorous camping! All the while they have the pleasure of tricking Brownie that they are really back country camping in a backyard they found on Airbnb, she is not pleased. 

They roll up through the canyon, on another winding road with cliffs on both sides its beautiful the sun is setting, they spot the glamp site in the distance, white canvas tents nestled in the canyon. They pull up the dirt road, Brownie is confused she thinks we are in an Indian reservation and is getting freaked. They pull up to the reservation tent and tell her they are glamping for two nights! She starts crying for the millionth time, girls really do it right! The stars are aligning for them, they get upgraded to a tent with its own bathroom and best view of the canyon. There is live music by the fire, a yoga platform overlooking the canyon, beer wine and a restaurant it really is glamorous and they never want to leave, again they share a king bed it seems to be the theme of the trip. Bootsie cracks them all open a Utah apple crisp beer which sounded nice but actually tastes pretty bad they take a sip laugh and watch the stars on the front porch of the canvas tent, they see a shooting star together and all hold hands for a moment, feeling grateful to experience this together.  

The next morning the three wake up for sunrise yoga, Bootsie leads the class it’s the most amazing place they have ever done yoga before. Up and at it they head to Zion for some hiking! So many things to see they start with the narrows hike, they didn’t get the memo to wear water shoes so they do it kramer style kick off there shoes and hike barefoot for a couple miles down the river through slot canyons they get some looks one man makes a comment and Bootsie replies back “that’s how jersey does it”.

Next they head to hike Angels landing, it’s the hottest time of day they make it half way up, Brownie gets spooked partly because Bootsie tells her all the stories of the hikers who have fallen off of the top. They turn around, it is 99 degrees so they jump in the river again. They find another hike that is more moderate and less on the edge of losing Brownie off the edge. Overall they spend 8 hours at Zion it’s the most amazing place so far, canyons, crystal clear water, waterfalls it’s a dream. 

 

   

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Journey to and in Colorado

SATURDAY

From the miles of wind turbines in Iowa and the never ending corn fields of Nebraska, to the rolling hills and mountains of Colorado! Smarty, Brownie, and Bootsie feel like real champs they did it! The longest spurt of driving in one day, 13 hours from Davenport Iowa to Evergreen Colorado 896 miles later they have reached the Mile high city just in time to fill their bellies!

After 896 miles, at this point they have got their driving arrangement on point like a well choreographed dance.. they switch drivers every two hours driver, then driver sits in back and naps/picks their nose (no judgement), passenger takes drivers seat, and so on. This is the only thing that is organized in this car, somehow between all three of them they are pretty horrible packers, every time they open the car something falls out..every time. 

The ice in the cooler has melted, letting there fruits and veggies swim and slosh as they drive down the winding highways. The girls try to stay healthy on the road Bootsie is vegeterian, Smarty and Brownie are nutritarians (whatever that means) apparently you can still eat waffles when you are nutritarian. To stop the fruit from going bad Smarty has the back seat she pulls out her Nutri Bullet and pulls out her AC/DC converter so we can plug it in. She loads it up  with our soggy fruits, uses some leftover cooler ice, and starts the bullet! Pow she blows a fuse, the Honda dashboard blinks and they are losing battery uhoh health is dangerous. Bootsie does not let the “almost” smoothie go to waste, she blends it up at the gas station pump while Smarty fixes the fuse, it’s called teamwork!

They meet up with Colorado cousin Cori who we  will call cool cat, she likes cats and wears cool hats, she’s got Colorado swag. The hipster restaurant Bootsie wanted to dine at is an hour wait, so cool cat suggests a burger joint. The trio agrees to anything at this point there goes their healthy road trip route. But dayum does it hit the spot, don’t worry Bootsie is still a vegetarian and no matter how hungry she gets she will never eat a mashed up animal. She gets the French fries and nibbles on everyone else’s burger buns, oh and a cider can’t forget that.  You thought the rose went to her head, first drink in Colorado oh me oh my, It makes sense why it’s called the mile high city.  It’s safe to say she won’t be driving again Smarty Pants gets the wheel.

They lay their heads in the beautiful mountain town of Evergreen, Colorado where Cool Cat lives. It’s beautiful and so darn nice, looking out at the mountains they are grateful to be able to stay still for a day. Although they didn’t really stay still, at all. !

FRIDAY

5:30 AM

Beep beep!! The alarm goes off 5:30am yes! Bootsie hops out of bed excited! They are off to Red Rocks Ampitheatre for Yoga on the rocks! It’s been on Bootsie’s bucket list. Bright and early, she wakes up Brownie, Smarty, and Cool Cat as if it’s Christmas morning! Wowee over 2500 people practicing yoga, at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre it was a real dream.


9am

No time to waste after the class the crew heads to Dinosaur ridge to see the Dino tracks! Man Jurassic Park actually is real! Cool cat is cool about it and the dynamic 3 -some is in awe, they are smiling from ear to ear as, Brownie educates the group on the type of rock and how it formed! Dinosaur ridge is filled with Fossils and proof that those Dino’s did exist and without them Jurassic Park would never be your favorite movie.

11:30am

Strap your hiking boots on! The group is on a roll running on adrenaline and lack of oxygen. They hike up a beautiful trail in Eldorado springs that leads up to where an old hotel once was, the trail is where the horse and buggy would travel up to for a night of dancing. Man they must have really needed to let loose if they were willing to travel up thousands of feet for a dance party, it must of been bumping! It is beautiful, Brownie sheds a couple tears, Smarty screams with excitement, and bootsie takes it all in with a big smile, man are they lucky to be so close and to share these amazing moments together. They are totally in the moment.

Just when you thought they would be tired from a long Colorado hike, you thought wrong!

3pm

Off to Boulder

Cool cat drives the ladies around. They get to Boulder and head to The Dushanbe tea house, which was built overseas, and sent in pieces to boulder where they reassembled it, pretty neat. They drink tea in the pouring rain under a patio umbrella, all other customers are in there Saturday tea finest as this crew is still brushing the dust off their hiking boots. We look like tea time crashers here to steal your crumpets and tiny sandwiches.

5 PM

ESCAPE ROOM

Have you ever heard of people paying other people to trap them in a room for an hour and have them to try to escape?  Sounds stupid when you put it that way, eh? Wouldn’t you have thought more of the road trip crew? Yes they PAID to willingly get locked in a jail and try to escape. Good thing they all have very very different brains and capabilities but most importantly they had Smarty Pants without her this blog wouldn’t be happening because Boots and Brownie would still be in the jail, running up an expensive escape room bill.

7PM

THEY EAT LOTS OF INDIAN FOOD & GO INTO FOOD INDUCED COMAS! 

10 PM

Back to the home base, the crew ends their day beautifully by watching the moon rise over the mountains (yes I said moon rise..it rose) Bootsie asks everyone what their favorite part of the day was, everyone shares their favorite memories, they get in a couple more good laughs and then pass out like the big babies they are. 

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Ohio👉 Chicago 👉 Iowa

The crew made it 5 hours from Sandusky to Chicago  to see their childhood neighbor Steffie. The first stop on the trip that was actually planned and the plan was executed! 

Steffie’s stop came just in time for Smarty Pants, Brownie, and Bootsie. The three had a pretty easy drive listening to a Stephen King book on tape but the adrenaline was wearing out and smarty pants and Bootsie started picking on each other.. Smarty commenting on Bootsies driving and Bootsie mocking Smarty for talking too much.

Steffie grew up with them; she lived 3 houses down on church street. Steph would come on all the kramer’s vacations, they would walk to school together, and she was always the buffer for the kramer girls. As sisters do,they bicker but with Steffie around it kept the fights from escalating into a pinching and flicking battle.

The ladies enter Chicago, pull up and Steph comes out to greet us. She always looks stylish and put together, as the three queens no longer look like royalty ..more like a couple of gypsies who haven’t brushed their hair in weeks and crumbs on their pants from the snacks they were munching on in the car.

They freshen up and Steffie shows em around. 

  All aboard the El (elevated train) which is an adventure in itself, you know those doors that keep spinning and you go in one at a time? Well apparently brownie is not so familiar with how these spinning doors work and nearly gets caught in one and let’s out a yelp. We laugh, then brownie gets on the train, it starts and she jolts almost falling over. Smarty tells Brownie “wide stance, wide stance... like you’re surfing” Brownie follows suit and rides the El like a surfing champ.

Second stop lunch! Lunch and a drink has the girls feeling great, All it takes is one glass of Rosé, for Bootsie to fall up the stairs and come down with a bad case of the giggles. 

Down town they go, checking out the Chicago theatre, taking a pee stop in the Chicago cultural museum (beautiful bathrooms is the word on the street), checking out their reflections in the Iconic bean, and walking by the water. Brownie says she always wanted to see Lake Superior....they do not correct her for fear of crushing her dreams...the lake she is really looking at is Lake Michigan. 

They end their time in Chicago with a trip to Jeni’s, the most amazing ice cream, and head off on their way to Iowa. Smarty has got the wheel and is in charge of the stereo. She plays the ENTIRE soundtrack to Hamilton, singing every single word. Good thing Bootsie is tired, no energy to fight this one and she drifts off to sleep. Wakes up 3 hours later and Hamilton is still on the radio, Smarty is still singing. Grrrr!

The gals pull off to find a place to lay their heads, at The Best Western in Davenport, Iowa.  Truck stop heaven, the clerk at this joint ain’t nothing like our friend Earl. Mary behind the desk has a raspy voice as if she’s been smoking ciggys for years. She sets the ladies up in room 170.

Smarty gets in first; she warns Boots it’s a little smoky but not bad. Bootsie walks in and starts coughing; she’s a bit of a drama queen some times and demands they cannot sleep in the smoky room. 

Boots Calls the front desk.

Boots: ”Hey Mary, can we switch rooms it smells like cigarette smoke in here” 

Mary: “Oh honey! It’s a non smoking room, I will come check it out.” 

knock knock, it’s Mary to inspect the room. 

Mary: “wowee it does smell like smoke! Normally I can’t smell it because I am a smoker myself! Oh honey we will switch your rooms right away!” 

She sets them up in room 172, right next to 170, sharing the same smoky wall, they do not have the heart to have Mary come down and switch them out again.

Boots turns into a grumpy germaphobe that night and refuses to take her flip flops off, she sleeps on top of a towel on the bed and a towel covering her hair and swears she is getting bit by bed bugs. Smarty and Brownie roll their eyes , “When did you become so high maintenance?!”

The dynamic trio gets a good night sleep, a new day, a new life, a couple new states, off to Colorado! 

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Who Says 1 King Bed Can’t Fit 3 Queens

CHAPTER ONE

3 queens stumbled upon the Country Inn in Sandusky, Ohio with only one room available with one king bed, the queens chuckled and said why of course, Earl we will be happy to take it! What a jolly ole fella he is, he eats a pack of Softees donuts as he sorts out our accommodations.

This place is pretty fancy for 85 buckaroos, Earl tells us about the heated pool out back in the parking lot.

One queen running on little sleep and lots of caffeine asked a question which made Earl blush, “ Hey Earl, Bathing suits are optional right?” Earl the hotel clerk replied not catching the sarcasm , “You can do whatever you want my shift ends in 45 minutes, then it’s Amy’s problem”.

Wowee a little feisty Sir Earl, I thought Softee’s donuts would have an effect on your personality. Whatever happened to you are what you eat? Dang it... it’s not true, I wish I learned this sooner otherwise I would have eaten my boogers when I was younger.. I never wanted to turn into a booger.

The three queens are exhausted from there journey in there Honda Chariot. For they fought many battles along the way, truck drivers, torrential down pour, and a dangerous case of the Hangrys. (Hangry; noun; when one is so hungry they will kill anyone and anything in their way, even family.)

The three queens Smarty Pants, Brownie and Bootsie head up to there humble abode. Put on there pjs and get into there king bed. Smarty pants and Brownie insist that Bootsie sleeps in the middle, Bootsie is used to it she is the middle child anyways. As they start to get sleepy, Brownie gets a case of the giggles, smarty pants tells her to be quiet, Bootsie joins in on the laughter, then to Smarty’s surprise she loses it and starts cracking up. This goes on for 10 minutes and then they drift off into dream land.

Good night Sandusky!

 

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Introducing the road trip crew

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And  we are off! The Kramer girls head across the country on a journey like no other!

Before we get started let me just introduce you to this very special dynamic trio.

Meet Madeline, beware never ever call her “Madelynn” or you are in for it. Maddie is a 22 year old Stevens Institute of Technology Graduate, let’s call her “Smarty Pants”. Smarty pants just landed a job in San Francisco working for Chevron as an Ocean Engineer. She is the reason for this adventure across America! A little more about her, she is a Type A personality, likes to take control of the wheel, of course she is the first to drive, she knows what she wants, she knows where she is going. She is literal, sarcasm does not work with her. She uses big engineering words like “mitigate” and processes information faster than a computer. Don’t get me wrong she’s got her soft side, shes got one of the biggest hearts and would drop everything in an instant to help out a friend. She also carries her stuffed animal that looks like our childhood dog around everywhere.

Speaking of childhood, none of this would be possible without our next amazing character Patty aka our mom. Patty always likes to refer back to her childhood days in Waldwick when she was known as “Patty Brown”, let’s call her Brownie for this blog. Brownie is a very sentimental gal, she can make the simplest act into something that makes her cry. Brownie grew up in Waldwick, NJ , moved a miraculous 5 miles to Ramsey, NJ where she has lived for 30 years, raised 5 kids and took up teaching 7th grade science after 18 years of being a stay at home mom. Brownie can be a nervous nelly, good thing her daughters know just what to do to calm the nerves...it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s one shot of any kind of alcohol which magically turns B into a risk taker, rule breaker, and giggle monster. Brownie has not traveled much, she’s been to Bermuda and Florida, she can’t wait to see the world, she has never left the east coast, and now she finally gets to explore with her two daughters for the first time! This is something she will never forget that’s for sure. 

Last but not least meet Meghan the voice of this story. She is the older sister of Smarty pants and the daughter of Brownie. Let’s call her “Bootsie” because Brownie insists this be Meghan’s name. She has had the nickname Bootsie since she was born but never made sense of it. She thought maybe she liked to wear boots when she was younger, but her mother said Meghan would rather be barefoot, so it remains a mystery but we will refer to Meghan as Bootsie for the remainder of this blog. Speaking of being barefoot, she is a yoga teacher. It makes sense, she would be the kid in the neighborhood running around barefoot, running into trees while playing man hunt, anytime she slept over a neighbors house, the parents would force her to wash her feet, which she got upset about and then would call her mom to come pick her up. Bootsie just wants everyone to be happy and to have the best time ever! She’s the adventurous one, she wants to camp, climb mountains,she’s got some plans up her sleeve that will have smarty pants and brownie , sh***ng there pants. ;)

These 3 have an adventure ahead of them. But that’s it for now folks!

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