Great American Adventure Trip Itinerary

Great American Adventure Trip Itinerary

Day 1: 

Hot Springs, AR to Wakeeney, KS (approximately 660 miles, 14 hours)

Campground: Wakeeney KOA

Day 2:

Wakeeney, KS to Colorado Springs, CO (294 miles)

Campground: Garden of the Gods RV Resort

Activities: Garden of the Gods; Manitou Springs

Day 3:

Sight-Seeing in Colorado Springs, CO

Activities: Pikes Peak; US Olympic Training Facility

Day 4:

Colorado Springs, CO to Casper, WY (351 miles)

Campground: Casper KOA (technically in Bar Nunn, WY

Day 5:

Casper, WY to Yellowstone National Park (293 miles)

Campground: Fishing Bridge RV Park (located in Yellowstone National Park)

Activities: Set up camp; hike to Natural Bridge; Yellowstone Lake

Day 6:

Sight-Seeing in Yellowstone

Activities: Old Faithful, which included a hike through Upper Geyser Basin & a walk through Old Faithful Inn; Hike to Mystic Falls; Grand Prismatic Spring; Continental Divide

Day 7:

Sight-Seeing in Jackson Hole, WY & Grand Teton National Park

Activities: Scenic float trip on Snake River by Sands White Water; walk through downtown Jackson Hole; drive through Grand Teton National Park, stopping at Visitor Center & Jenny Lake.

Day 8:

Sight-Seeing in Yellowstone & Cody, WY

Activities: Grand Canyon of Yellowstone; Hayden Valley; Mud Volcano & Dragon’s Breath Cave; Drove to Cody for the Cody Nite Rodeo

Day 9:

Sight-Seeing in Yellowstone

Activities: Mammoth Hot Springs (drive from Fishing Bridge took us through Hayden Valley, Tower Falls & Roosevelt Tower); Roosevelt Arch; Norris Geyser Basin; West Yellowstone

Day 10:

Sight-Seeing in Yellowstone

Activities: Drove through Lamar Valley & to Northwest Entrance

Day 11:

Yellowstone National Park to Custer, South Dakota (439 miles)

Campground: Custer’s Gulch RV Park & Campground

Day 12:

Sight-Seeing in South Dakota

Activities: Wind Cave National Park; The Mammoth Site; Custer State Park; The Needles Highway

Day 13:

Sight-Seeing in South Dakota

Activities: 1880 Train; Mount Rushmore; Crazy Horse Memorial; Walk through downtown Custer

Day 14:

Sight-Seeing in South Dakota & Wyoming

Activities: Devils Tower National Monument (in Wyoming); Deadwood, SD

Day 15:

Sight-Seeing in South Dakota

Activities: Wall Drug Store; Badlands National Park

Day 16:

Custer, SD to Rock Port, MO (627 miles)

Campground: Rock Port Riversedge Campground

Day 17:

Rock Port, MO to Hot Springs, AR (528 miles)

My Journey to Health

1st pic, Jan 2019; 2nd pic Jan 2018

Last January I made a decision that it was time to take control of my health. I had reached my heaviest weight ever and I did not feel good at all. I was feeling terrible both physically and mentally. Honestly, it had gotten to the point that I could not even sleep well as I could not get comfortable in any position due to the extra weight I was carrying.

I weighed in at 237 lbs. I am 5’7″.  While I have always been a bigger person (big boned as my mama always said), I was well over where I should be have been at this point. How did I get here? Why was it so hard to change this? I kept asking myself these questions in the months leading up to finally deciding to take charge.

So, how did I get to this point? I have spent the last 13 years of my life having babies, working a sedentary job and concentrating on the needs of my kids. This led me to eating fast food on a regular basis, snacking all day long (especially on sweets) and getting absolutely no exercise. The pounds come on quickly with that kind of lifestyle.

I started my journey on January 1, 2018. I know, very cliche, new start, new year but I was determined. On January 1, 2018 I started by getting on my treadmill and starting a Couch to 5k program. What that did was give me motivation and accountability. I have a bit of a competitive nature in me and when my phone would ding at me that I needed to run, that spurred me into action. So, getting moving was the first step.

The second step was changing my diet. I knew immediately that starting some fad diet or trying to starve myself (as I had done in the past) was not going to work. I just needed to slowly change my eating habits. That’s what I did. I started by cutting out snacking and completely cutting out any kind of soda. Then I started working on my lunch habits. When you work in an office and have an hour break for lunch, it’s so easy to run down the street to pick up a burger, tacos or whatever other fatty place awaits. Instead, I started packing my lunch. They were still not always the healthiest lunches (even now my favorite is a frozen chicken pot pie), but they were much better than Taco Bell. Now, I did not completely cut these out, there are still times that I have to pick up something but it is much, much rarer than what I was doing. I also discovered that by working out, I paid way more attention to what I was eating. I did not want to “ruin my workout” by eating something bad a couple of hours later. Basically, it made me more aware and that led to better eating habits.

I have seen slow results as this year has gone one. Some weeks I saw big successes, some weeks were a struggle. Slow and steady weight loss was what I was looking for and that is what I have seen. It has taken me a full year to lose 30 lbs. Also, I still can’t RUN an entire 5k. However, I am working out by doing a 3-5 mile run/walk at least 3 days per week. That is far beyond what I was doing a year ago which was a 1-1.5 mile run/walk 3 days per week.

My goal was to hit 200lbs by the end of 2018. I was on my way to that, but the holidays kind of got in the way (imagine that!). I did more cheating and less working out in the last month just due to the busyness December brought with it. I ended 2018 at 206.6 lbs and down one pants size. I feel better now that I have in several years.

Now, it’s time to set new goals. I am starting off 2019 at 206.6 lbs. My goal is to be at 175 lbs by Jan. 1, 2020. I plan on adding more body toning to my workout routines. I have really concentrated on cardio this past year. I plan on continuing that but adding a weight workout on the days in between. I will also continue watching my diet. The goal this year is to cook healthier foods for my family while also working toward getting my entire family more active with me.

Here we go, bring on 2019!

My steady trend down (until December)
I ran 226 miles in 2018!

Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019!!

GOODBYE 2018!!

2018 has brought both highs and lows to our family. How has our year gone? Let’s see…

January: Johnny and I went on our first cruise! You can read more about that here. Now that we are a year away from that cruise, I am more than willing to try another one. This time maybe with family and friends. Also, Logan went through the month of January and most of February with a broken wrist. He has stayed off the pogo stick since then! We also finally ate at Debra’s Restaurant (a little inside joke with JB & I). January was also the start of my journey to get healthy, more to come on that.

January 1
Logan had a broken wrist to start the new year.
January 2
We finally ate at Debra’s! (I bet they have a good breakfast)
Valor 4
Our first Cruise

February: I turned 37 and Logan turned 12. We decided it was time, well maybe not time but we gave in, and got Logan his first cell phone.  Logan also joined the Lake Hamilton Trap Shooting Team. He has fallen in love with the sport and is very ready for the season to start again.

Logan’s 12th Birthday!

March: Let’s see, what happened in March??? I had to look through pictures on my phone to remember. (Seriously, my phone camera roll is as good a journal as anything). It looks like we started the month with our Sunday School classes annual Chili Cookoff, that is always a fun event. Logan had his final cotillion event and was super happy to be done with anything having to do with cotillion. March 10 brought us the annual Adam Brown 5k at Lake Hamilton School. Our whole family participated, though I was dragging Noah across the finish line at the end. Then we ended the month with our Sunday School class annual Easter fellowship. Let me say, I love the support group our Sunday School class provides.

March 1
Adam Brown 5k

April: We started April out with EASTER! What better way to start a month than with the celebration of the resurrection of our Savior??? Our Easter Sunday always consists of church in the morning then going to my cousin’s house for a BBQ with our family. Once the Easter celebrations were over we headed straight into Baseball and Softball for Noah and Macy. They both had great seasons, both of their teams won their leagues. April ended with my last baby having “Wizard of Oz Day” at Lake Hamilton Primary school.

April 1
Easter Sunday
April 2
Easter Sunday BBQ
April 3
Wizard of Oz Day for each kid when they were in 1st Grade

May: May brought us Logan’s first ever Trap Shooting tournament. He did really well for his first time in a tournament. We also got to open our pool and started what would be a very fun summer of swimming and hanging out on the back deck. Macy finished her piano lessons for the school year with a recital and the all the kids finished the school year with good grades. The month of May also brought us a wedding for my baby cousin Drew. We ended May with those baseball and softball championships for Macy and Noah.

May 1
Trap Shooting Tournament
May 3
Macy’s Piano Recital
May 4
Drew and Alli’s Wedding
May 5
Baseball Champions!
May 6
Softball Champions!

June: We started our fun summer months with Vacation Bible School. That is always a big event for me as I had been the VBS Director the previous 2 years. This year I took a step back and was just in charge of registration. It was a very fun week. Then we started full prep for our BIG RV trip that we would leave for at the end of the month. We also got to celebrate Noah’s 7th Birthday and Johnny and I’s 16th Wedding Anniversary. June was a month of fun, fun, fun.

June 2
Noah’s 7th Birthday!
June 1
Johnny & I on our wedding day June 22, 2002

July: EPIC, that is how I would describe July. This month took us on a trip through 8 states and over 5000 miles. You can read all about our Great American Adventure here. We made it back from our trip in mid-July, just in time to celebrate Johnny’s 39th birthday and spend the rest of the month relaxing.

Yellowstone entry
JKLMN’s Great American Adventure

August: Back to School! August always means back to school and back to schedules and routine. I did take the kids on one last adventure before school. We spent a day at Mid-America Museum where they got to do all kinds of hands on science and walk through the Dino trail. August also meant celebrating Macy’s 9th birthday. Unfortunately, August also brought great heartbreak to our lives. Our friend, Brian Speers, passed away suddenly. Johnny and I had both grown up with Brian and he actually is the friend who set us up many, many years ago.

September: In September we started a Community Group in our home. It is just a gathering of several families from our church (though all are welcome). We spend the time eating, talking and doing a short bible study. It has quickly become one of our favorite nights of the week. Honestly, September was mostly just getting through the daily grind and continuing my getting healthy journey (you can check that out here).

Sept 1
7th Grade
Sept 2
3rd Grade
Sept 3
2nd Grade

October: October was a month that brought more heartache, our friend, Heather Pitts, another friend we had grown up with, passed away suddenly. It’s been so hard to believe that 2 friends, only 39 years old, left this earth so early.  We can only look to God and trust in his ultimate plan through these events. October also meant deer camp prep and Halloween. I think Noah had the most fun at Halloween this year because he got to be Zed the Zombie.

November: November means deer camp and Thanksgiving. We also started November with a Robotics Tournament for Logan. He has been taking several Computer Science, Coding and Robotics classes at school and has enjoyed every bit of it.  We had a fun deer season, though it was a pretty wet and nasty one. Thanksgiving was spent at my parent’s house with a delicious, traditional meal.

December: Oh, December! One of our busiest months of the year. It was full of Christmas parties, band concerts, choir concerts, busy work days and Christmas prep. It is always fun though. For me, the last several months have brought a lot of traveling and stress at work. I was looking forward to December and a few days off around Christmas. We enjoyed all of the celebrations and then took a spontaneous trip to Branson after Christmas. You can read all about that here.

Overall, this year has been amazing. Though the end of the year brought a lot of heartbreaks, the first 8 months of the year were amazing. Now, I’m ready for 2019!!