Monday, October 29, 2012

The Smiths Explore... Capitol Reef National Park

Most of the time we love to explore the more obscure destinations than the busy and more popular sites.  Such is the case with Capitol Reef National Park.

I hadn't ever heard of it but I sure do love it.  Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, and Zion National Park are amazing but what is this - Capitol Reef National Park?

Our entire family loves to go to this not-so-known national park.

The orchards, the pioneer history, red rock, and river are just a "few of my favorite things".

We have been here twice in the last two months and I hope to camp closer someday.  I would love to visit it many more times before we leave Utah.

To learn more about this amazing place go to our website and watch the video my son made about our trip!

Capitol Reef National Park has amazing views that make my jaw drop every time I see them.

There are many Indian petroglyphs and pictographs to be found all over the park.

Egyptian Temple

One of my favorite places are the many orchards to eat fresh fruit at.

There is a wonderful nature center for the kids to play for a couple hours if you have the time!

River at the bottom of a canyon.
Also, you can find more pictures on our facebook page!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Canyon Overlook Trail at Zion National Park Adventure

Sometimes traveling is so exhausting. When we get to a new place we have to fight the urge to see everything and do everything. Can you imagine being on a constant sightseeing trip - for over four years!  I remember going on a two week vacation and then getting back to the house and thinking I need a vacation from my vacation!

Well, today we wanted to go to Zion National Park again.  We were heading to St. George to pick up some groceries from Sam's Club,(for those of you from St. George, I realize now there is no Sam's Club there), and our camera's from Best Buy and thought we would go to Zion first.  

The traffic in Zion was crazy.  It is still the busy season and I am beginning to wonder when Zion's busy season will end? So, we were thrilled when the full parking lot for the Canyon Overlook Trail had a car pull out while we were waiting in line to drive through the tunnel.

No one tried to pull in front of us and steal the spot so that made it even better!

The hike was great for the entire family.  Even our three year old walked the entire way.  The overlooks and vistas were unique and stunning.

While hiking back, Naomi and I jumped as we both saw a snake wriggle through the bushes. Both of us took off running after I picked up Tytus by the arm.  We didn't take the time to see if it was a rattlesnake or not!

It had a constant flow of traffic. It got to the point where if I stopped and waited for everyone to pass us that we would still be hiking

There were many natural playgrounds on the hike.

Hiking under an overhang was a unique experience.

With many dangers, we had to keep a very close eye on the kids.

It was a treat to see a bunch of Desert Bighorn Sheep.
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But the day didn't end there. We drove into Washington to get our groceries to find out there was no Sam's Club!  At least Best Buy had our camera's fixed and NOT ready to go. What?  I had called and confirmed that both cameras were at the store from being repaired and ready to pick up.  So when the Geek Squad worker told me one camera was at another store, I calmly replied,

" Sir, I confirmed on the phone with someone from this store, that our cameras were here and ready to go.  Now, I am not leaving this store without two cameras.  You might want to get a manager on this because I have a lot of small children and they get ornery real fast."

I didn't act rude, or be mean, I just stated a fact.  He looked at me and quickly got his manager.

Since there wasn't a Sam's Club, we went to Cosco.  I had a lot of favor there:)  Even though I didn't get a card or the groceries I had planned on, they did let me purchase a few groceries with the manager's special code and I got the pizzas to eat on the way home!

It was a great day.

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Buffalo Facts and an Awesome Song by an Anonymous Smith Kid in 2009

While updating past posts on my blog I noticed I have quite a few posts on the Black Hills of SD area and the massive buffalo.  I thought it might be nice to add some facts about the 

Buffalo - Bison  we saw while on our trip.

I immediately thought this would be a great assignment for my daughter, Hanna, who wrote an article about the subject and posted it on our online magazine - 

Not only did she write an article, but she made a Flick album and a slide show.

The slide show is put to a song that one of my children - who wants to remain anonymous- sang into a cellphone while we were driving home to the camper after a really long day touring Yellowstone National Park.
Also, read the posts on this blog about our adventures in Custer State Park and Yellowstone National Park.

The song is just terrible and gross, so be prepared!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Loading up and Heading Out … An Earthquake on Wheels

Loading up and heading out is no easy task. Besides all the work to be done in the camper, my dear husband has to load all of our “toys” onto the flat bed.  It is like a puzzle to put each piece into place and then hook everything securely. 

We have a Kawasaki Mule that sits on the front of the flatbed along with 2 more ATVs, 2 kayaks, bikes, and gear.


We used to have even more “toys”. This part of our trip we left 2 more ATVs behind, 2 kayaks, and most of the bikes.  It was hard to put them in storage and we do miss them terribly. Yet, we find we CAN live without them and it does make it easier to load that flat bed without all of them along.


When traveling my husband likes to say, “Our home goes through a 9.0 earthquake going down the road.” I remember when we lived in California when in the Navy. We learned quickly to keep glass dishes in lower cabinets and not on higher shelves. During one unusually large earthquake all of my wedding present glassware that I kept stored on the top of the fridge came crashing down in the violent shaking.  Now, I can take that knowledge and use it in my constant earthquake in our camper.


Hours are spent getting items secure and locked down. Everything has a place and must be there or it will be everywhere.
It is always scary to open the camper doors after a bumpy ride down some worn out highway. I remember following Shae down a road in Arizona.  It had huge dips in it for miles. I knew that when we opened the doors there would be stuff everywhere. Well, there was. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it was still a terrible mess.
DSCN1083The hardest part of leaving an area is saying good bye to friends and family. We had a great stay with my mother and Tom in Missouri. Even though we were only moving to a campground an hour away, my mother stood on her porch and cried. She hated that we had to go and is still counting the days until our return.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Capitol Reef National Park meets the Smiths!

We had a great time at Capitol Reef National Park in Utah.  It is one of my favorite places in this awesome state.

It this photo - from left to right

Cody - age 20

Sheri - age 39 - wife, mother of the six great kids in this picture

Josephine - age 5

Tytus - age 3

Hanna - age 18

Naomi - age 11

Shae - age 42 - husband, father of this adventurous family

Gabriel - age 8

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Enjoying a Night by the Fire

We are so thankful all the burn bans are off and we can enjoy a campfire outside our camper. This campground happens to provide really nice fire pits.

Hanna and Cody played music while the rest of us either relaxed or ran circles around the van.  No, it wasn't Shae and I who were running around the van!

Time spent as a family is one of the main reasons we sold our home and went out on the road. And thankfully, we have made the choices necessary to make amazing memories all over this country.

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