2015 Summer Road Trip: Planning and Overview

In 2013, Will and I were planning an outdoor adventure road trip for his three-week fall break from Barkstall.  Our decision was between Utah’s five national parks, or something centered on Yellowstone National Park. In late summer, my Dad decided he wanted to join us, so we settled on Yellowstone.  That 2013 trip (just Will and Dad and I) was epic and special, and immediately after completing it, we asked Dad, “In 2015, let’s do something special again. What’s your bucket list trip?”

Dad’s desire was to take a journey, by train, through the northern Rockies.  He’s always been a train nut, and the Rockies’ scenery has always been special to him, so we started investigating Amtrak’s Empire Builder route from Chicago to Seattle, again just for Will and Dad and I.

We began planning in the summer of 2014, and we quickly got ridiculously ambitious.  While the Empire Builder served as the basis for our trip, its journey through the Rockies was mostly at night, rendering the scenery much less compelling.  We quickly altered our plans to take the Empire Builder not to Seattle, but to West Glacier, MT – just outside Glacier National Park.  We would then drive to Seattle to end our trip, giving us a greater chance at adventure and more leisure for great mountain scenery.  Getting to Glacier NP by train was relatively easy and affordable: Amtrak offers a Superliner Family Bedroom on the Empire Builder route that gave us a private room with two adult-size and two child-size bunks, converting into a couch and tables during the day, and including meals. We booked it with a departure from Chicago on Friday, July 3.

Glacier NP has been on my bucket list for years as a preeminent hiking destination, but I worried about my 67-year-old Dad and 7-year-old son tackling 10- and 15-mile hikes at altitude.  We talked about it, and they both wanted to do it.  My Dad even secured a full two weeks off work to make the trip feasible by train, the most time he’s had off since forever.

With two full weeks to fill, we started discussing other possible ideas to fill the two week itinerary. My Dad had always wanted to visit Lake Louise in Banff NP in Canada, so we resolved to head north after Glacier.  We wanted to be in Seattle by the end of our first week, so that Pam and Cate could fly there halfway through our trip, and join us for the final week.  My Dad could fly home from there. And my brother Eric and his wife were expecting a new baby in July, so we were hoping to see them also. So we added Banff NP and started considering options for the second week based in Seattle. Vancouver and Victoria Island?  Crater Lake?

NEXT: (Automobile Transportation and Changing Parties)


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Weekend of Progress!

Well, despite the cold weather around here we managed to not get any of the snow that seemed to all go elsewhere.  It did look like a typical weekend around here though with Gordy working a bit at the office for early voting on Saturday and lots of noise coming from the basement.  Will and I made the best of our time by playing inside again although today’s venture outside to the neighborhood park left me with a bit of windburn on my face.

Bill and Lois celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary this weekend (today) and our family treated them to a special night at a lovely B&B down in St. Genevieve!  Hard to believe they are celebrating 40 years as Gordy and I will also hit our 10 year anniversary later this year.

Gordy is making more progress down in the basement this weekend.  The number of weeks left until Baby Girl Hulten are getting shorter and we still have a lot to finish before she arrives.  Gordy is doing an amazing job though already with framing, plumbing and almost all the electrical work under his belt.  He still has drywall, flooring, and much more to complete before we can move rooms around.

I am staring to get really anxious on decorating the baby’s room, but can’t do too much until I know Gordy is going to have all the help he needs to finish our basement.  For most that know me well enough, pink is not necessarily my first choice in color when it comes to girly stuff so I have found something beautiful and different to decorate with in the baby’s room – RED POPPIES.  I am really diggin these red poppy wall stickers as well!

I am officially at 23 weeks into this pregnancy and feeling good at this stage.  Always a bit tired at night and definitely showing the baby bump a lot sooner this time around, but to be expected with #2 so I hear.

Play Day with Cousin Allison!

It’s been way too long since we have posted new albums of photos to the site, so my goal for March 2011 going forward is more posts and more pictures.  We have to get ourselves ready for the new arrival and keeping everyone in the loop.

Will and Allison had a fantastic weekend visiting with Grandma Lois and Papa Bill and here are the priceless pictures from the weekend.  We also celebrated Great Grandma Jean’s 81st Birthday together as a family.  That too is PRICELESS!

Visit the entire album of pictures here!