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The Mayer's European Vacation!

We were 4 days from leaving for Europe 2 years ago when Caty was diagnosed with cancer. Well, the trip is back on and we are very excited! We will go from London to Amsterdam to Germany to Italy to Switzerland to Paris and back to London. Then, the Tretheweys will pick us up and take us to their home in Glochester. We are excited about posting lots of pictures of castles and since I am obsessed with King Henry VIII, lots of pictures of everything he touched! Bon Voyage!

Diary Entries

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Location: San Antonio, USA

We are home! Our car has officially logged 5400 miles! That is a lot of together time in the car! The trip was amazing and we made memories we will never forget... however, it was just a wonderful feeling driving into San Antonio and pulling up to our house! Lola went crazy when she saw us, as did Nancy! (our dogs) Now it is laundry, chores, cleaning etc.. and so the fun ends! Thanks to everyone who checked our blog! It was a blast doing the blog and getting messages!
Love you all!

Friday, 13 July 2007

Location: Las Vegas, USA

Wow! Yesterday was a pretty good day! My mother-in-law gave me some gambling hints! She said to find the penny slots that are closest to the door of the casino and to put in $10 and hit "bet max". Well, I laughed and she said "No, and make sure it is a machine that makes a lot of noise... they put those next to the door to bring people in". Ok... whatever... right? I mean this is Vegas and nobody goes home a winner. But, last night I decided to try her little hint. Well, I put in my ten dollars, hit "bet max" and won $20. Ok... so coincidence I decided. Then, I "cashed out" and gave ten dollars to David while I put five dollars back in the same machine. Within 3 turns on that 5 dollars I hit the Jackpot and won $1502 dollars! Can you believe??? I had to call the casino people over... other "spectators" were watching... it was crazy! So, now I guess we have the gas money we needed! That's a lot of pennies! Ha... of course I will have to pay 30% to the tax man but they gave it all to me in crisp 100 dollar bills! Yippie! Ok... so that is it for now! I am off to my presentation this morning.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Location: Las Vegas, USA

Day 2 of Vegas and we are already broke! No.. not from gambling as most would think .. but from eating. My word... the price of food here is ridiculous! What happened to the good ol days when a hotel room and food was cheap because of all the gambling everyone did. Apparently, in booting out the mob and "cleaning" up the city they found out that they could charge for everything as families were coming! Tonight is David and my reception for the College Board consultants so we have to get ready and dressed up for a change. (That hasn't happened for 3 weeks... I actually have to put make-up on!) The kids and I took pictures of our new "body art" so make sure you click on the pictures and look! Tomorrow is my presentation of "15 lessons and labs for use in the AP Environmental Science classroom" and then we will be ready for our journey home! We went to Harry Potter yesterday and that was fun! Go figure... opening day and the first show and hardly anyone was there... come on Vegas... Harry Potter... get with it!
See ya!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Location: Las Vegas!, USA

Did we tell you that we loved the Tetons? It’s true. But I (David) am pretty much done camping. I have hijacked the blog and the trip. Today in the middle of nowhere Utah, I suggested we blow off Bryce Canyon and just drive straight to Vegas. Instead of moans and objections the entire family heartily agreed with my suggestion. As a matter of fact, as soon as I suggested it, Caty exclaimed that Jesus answers prayers quicker than she thought, and that she now has a testimony. So, we booked a couple of extra nights at the Flamingo where you will find me camped at the pool with drink in my hand while Courtney will probably be roughing it over at the nickel slots. The kids? We’ll probably let them just wander the Strip. On a serious note, after our decision to bail on camping at Bryce we discovered that southern Utah is experiencing widespread wildfires and as we drove through the thick smoke administering albuterol puffs to Colin we realized that there would be no way we could of camped there anyway so it was a good choice. So Zion and Bryce will have to wait for another trip. We still plan to visit the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam while staying in Vegas. Until next time, VIVA LAS VEGAS

Monday, 09 July 2007

Location: Grand Tetons, USA

We LOVE the Grand Tetons! It is so beautiful here! We never saw them but apparently there was a bear that went through the camp at 11pm last night and a mother bear and cubs that went through at 7am this morning! Wow… so glad I decided to stay in a cabin in Yellowstone to stay safe from the bears!!!! We are exhausted! We decided to take the hike around Jenny Lake this morning rather than the boat across the lake and up to Inspiration Point. The boat would of cost $56 for all of us and that just seemed crazy! However, after the 6 mile round trip with the last ½ mile being straight uphill the kids were wishing their parents weren’t so cheap! I loved it and it was a beautiful view from the top. Deb… you would be happy to know that I have hiked the entire trip in my Crocks! They are awesome and actually make very good hiking shoes! The kids had fun swimming in Jenny Lake though it is cold water! I was only able to get in to my waist before my entire body was numb! David did the jump and dive really quickly trick and got out just as fast. Last night was fettuccine alfredo at camp so tonight we are heading into Jackson Hole to get dinner! There are a lot of rules because of the bears and cooking is a big pain. For example, you have to add water to your pots, then scrub in the pot and then walk to the bathroom and throw the dirty water into the toilet. Then, start all over until the pot is clean. And, you can’t wash the dishes in the bathroom… only at your campsite. Forget about it! Dinner tonight is in town and they can wash the dishes themselves! Tomorrow will be up early and off for another 9 hour drive down to Bryce Canyon in southern Utah. I will let you know how that goes afterwards!

Sunday, 08 July 2007

Location: Grand Tetons, USA

Hey again! Sorry.. but we have been out of pocket and out of Internet for a few days! Now we are in the Tetons and came into town, Jackson, for lunch and to restock on groceries. The last few days in Yellowstone were exciting... we saw Old Faithful, be sure to look at David's video, a pack of wolves that were eating a deer head and more bears! See the new pictures! Oh yeah. and a moose! The cabin was nice but we were ready to camp again... crazy! The Tetons are going to be cold ( the low tonight is in the 40's). Today ends our 2nd full week and we have now driven over 3000 miles. Feel free to contribute to the gas fund! Ha! Not much to say! Please keep the messages coming ... it is fun to hear from everyone! Love you all!

Friday, 06 July 2007

Location: Yellowstone, USA

Today we got to see Old Faithful! Very cool and we shot video that David is going to edit tonight and hopefully we can post that soon. The Internet speed around here is extremely slow and it takes about 30 minutes to upload 12 pictures! Let’s see… what is new… we got to watch a Grizzly Bear and her two cubs frolic around in the wildflowers last night and again this morning. That was too cute! The cubs kept chasing each other and tackling one another. We also ran across a young black bear eating flowers right on the side of the road which we were able to get some great pictures of. Colin keeps having bad nosebleeds because of the altitude and David has decided to grow out a full beard… gross! I told him he HAS to shave when we get to Las Vegas before the College Board reception for consultants! As neat as Yellowstone is, and as glad I am that I got to see it, the kids and I still like Rocky Mountain better! David isn’t sure which his favorite one is yet! We have seen most of the park… which is huge… 2.2 million acres. I had no idea it was that big! I also had no idea of the amount of geysers that were here. They are everywhere. We came into town today and had pizza and bought rechargeable batteries for my new camera because it is eating them up! We have two more nights here and then will take the tent out again for two nights in the Tetons and one night in Bryce Canyon. I hear all it is doing at home is raining so I’m not too sad to be away! We still have not seen any wolves or moose but hopefully will in the next couple of days! The bison and elk are like cockroaches… they are everywhere! Hopefully we will have Internet again soon… See ya!

Thursday, 05 July 2007

Location: Yellowstone, USA

Yellowstone- WOW! Like nothing I have ever seen in my life before! Yesterday, as we drove into the park and showed our National Park Pass we heard that there was a grizzly bear right there! So, we jumped out of the car and sure enough he was a big one! I got the best picture I could, which was of his back end! But, I think when you look at the picture you will get the idea of how big he was! (or maybe it was a she!) We continued on towards our cabin and saw an entire herd of buffalo! Then, as we drove farther a buffalo was walking along the road with traffic! I got a great picture of him! Next, we passed another coyote on the road and got a pretty amazing picture of her. She was eating road kill off the road and then she peed on it when she was done! Weird. We finally made it to our cabin, which was so adorable, and we were starving! So, we ate at the Roosevelt Lodge for dinner. The service was horrible but the food was awesome! We retired early after the all day drive and let the kids sleep in this morning while David and I drank coffee on the beautiful porch and read our books! Very peaceful! We then woke the kids up and got on the road to see more unheard of things. We had a picnic lunch under the forest and then saw three amazing waterfalls. (Tower Falls, Upper Falls and Lower Falls) Next, we went to Norris Geyser Basin and saw the strangest pools of sulfur (SMELLY!) and bubbling, boiling water I have ever seen. We took pictures and videos so don’t forget to take a look. We are now on our way to one of the towns outside of the park to get dinner and more bottled water. Tonight we plan on parking it at this one meadow where the wolves are supposed to play. We will let you know what adventures come out of that!

Wednesday, 04 July 2007

Location: Wyoming, USA

Today is a driving day. We woke up at 5:30, took down camp, got really good coffee in Estes Park, CO and are now en route to Yellowstone in Wyoming. A little known fact… Wyoming has 2/3 of the world’s pronghorn antelope and they are everywhere we look. The kids have entertained themselves by watching the DVDs after having not had a working DVD player for the whole trip. We had to replace a fuse on the dvd. It took the better part of last night to find it. The children have suffered these past couple of weeks without their in car entertainment. It sure is nice to have peace and quiet for a change. Wow! Wyoming is barren. Dinner last night with our neighbors at Rocky Mountain was delicious. We had stew and amazingly enough a pineapple upside down cake prepared in a dutch oven over coals. It was amazing and was much better than the s’mores that I have been preparing night after night. The girls exchanged email addresses and want to become e-pen pals. We are looking forward to four nights in a cabin and have decided that we love camping but will definitely invest in a pop up trailer before our next big trip. If anyone knows of a used one for sale, let us know. I’m sure we’ll have much to say after seeing Yellowstone. Keep checking in!!

Wednesday, 04 July 2007

Location: Rocky Mountain, USA

Today is our last full day at Rocky Mountain and we are going to have a hard time saying goodbye. This has been our favorite place, yet everyone tells us that Yellowstone is even better. This morning we stayed around camp and let the kids play with our neighbors (a family of five from Ft. Collins, CO) while we drank coffee and visited with the adults. For lunch we went into Estes Park and had delicious gourmet pizza and purchased some nice t-shirts. The kids had homemade candy from the confectioner. We are now traveling up Trail Ridge Road to play in the snow again and tonight are looking forward to cowboy stew with the neighbors; we’ll provide the s’mores. So far we have failed in our quest to see the big horn sheep, but we will hopefully have better luck tonight after dinner. We will pack the car tonight except for the sleeping bag and tent, so that we can leave early July 4th for our ten hour long drive to Yellowstone National Park.

Monday, 02 July 2007

Location: Rocky Mountain, USA

Tonight we came into town to do more laundry and take showers... yes, you pay $4 per person to shower at the laundry place in Estes Park.. wow! This morning we did a 2 hour hike up to Bear Lake and to Alberta Falls. We also drove across the highest through road in the country... over 12,000 feet high, Trail Ridge Road. Beautiful! Breakfast was bean and cheese tacos and dinner tonight will be sloppy joes! We are hoping to see Big Horn Sheep on the way back to camp tonight and if we do I will post those pictures tomorrow! Keep checking in!

Monday, 02 July 2007

Location: RockY Mountain National Park, USA

I'm not going to have any new pictures yet, but just a quick update. We are in Rocky Mountain and it is BEAUTIFUL! I was so tired of desert! The kids played in the snow yesterday and we slept under giant pine trees. I also didn't die of heat. The kids have made friends with the neighbors again and this time at least there is a little girl Caty's age. Finally! Today we will hike Bear Lake and Cub Trail and see what else there is to see. Yesterday we saw a herd of elk lying in the snow. Those pictures will be posted soon! Off to deliver ice to the campsite! Love you!

Saturday, 30 June 2007

Location: Arches, USA

105 degrees… are you kidding me? I have never been so hot in all my life! The only thing I can image it to be like is going outside in August in San Antonio and lying down on the asphalt! Besides that… Arches was awesome! To think of the power of water and how it can alter the landscape is amazing. We decided to do the driving tour instead of hiking in the heat and just getting out at the overlooks caused me to gulp down 2 bottles of water. Yikes! We were booked to camp there and decided that was nuts! Caty may become a lawyer someday, because she did an excellent job convincing both me and her dad that it would be best if we got on the road to “get closer to Rocky Mountain”! The coolest it was going to get according to the ranger station would be 70 and that would be in the middle of the night. The kids did earn their Junior Ranger badge and we are now driving to Colorado. We don’t know how far we will get tonight but will just “cheat” again and pull into a hotel along the way. We were going to have a 7-hour drive tomorrow to go from Arches to Rocky Mountain National Park and will now have much less depending on how far we get tonight. I think we will do some research on Bryce Canyon tonight if there is Internet access to see if the heat there will be just as bad… if it is then we may make another change for that part of the trip! Colin has entertained himself today making videos with his sister. His first directing attempt! He started with an action filmed but decided halfway through to make a comedy instead. He wants Mr. Randolph to help him edit it when we get home!!! Have fun with that one Mike! After a brief stop for ice cream at the Shell station we are on our way and hope to have more updates soon! Ta ta for now!

Saturday, 30 June 2007

Location: Mesa Verde, USA

Today brought us to the last of our “cultural” visits to Indian ruins. I must say that we saved the best for last. Bandalier was amazing… Chaco Canyon even better and Mesa Verde is the icing on the cake! I have never seen anything quite so fantastic as the way these ancient people used what they had to create an entire community on the side of a cliff. It was hot and the kids got a little whiney, but both kids said they learned so much they never knew. They got their 3rd Junior Ranger badge and took the pledge once again. They are officially on each other’s nerves and are driving us nuts! The campsite in Mesa Verde was beautiful and had good amenities. We were able to take hot showers, do laundry, buy needed supplies and have an all you can eat pancake breakfast all at the campsite. The kids made friends (again) with the children at the campsites next to us and Colin is having a very hard time leaving his “new” friends everyday. He gets teary eyed each time we leave. This morning we are on our way to stand in the four corners and then are going to make it to Arches National Park this afternoon. According to the lady at the laundry mat who had just come from there, it was 105 degrees during the day and never cooled off at night. We shall see how we do! Keep checking our blog and we will update it as often as we can!!

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Recent Messages

From Catyy
heyy guys,, were doing this all over again but in england so keep up while we blog! love you alll
Response: :)
From L. Meredith
What a great trip...I want to go on vacation with you know how to have fun!
From Dave and Kim
Welcome Home!
Can we say that if we're in another state? The blog was so fun. Love you guys.
From jane
Welcome Home. Know you each have many tales to tell, anxious to hear them.
From tracy & family
That is the greatest joy...being home! I'm glaad you all had a succesful trip and are home safely. Thanks for blogging! It was a blast checking in everyday.
From Sally
Awesome pictures guys. Wish I was there. And the tatoos are great. I think I want one like courtney's. :)

Love ya'll
See you soon
From mike & DEB
That's the biggest smile I've ever seen on Dave!
Response: haha.. yeah
From Jane
Haven't you heard? There's nothing free, or cheap. Can't beat good ole TEXAS. We're use to the best, and cheap. Make you appreciate home. Have fun, it's vacation time. Love you.
Response: yea looking forward to Texas prices and Alamo Cafe
From Mike & DEB
OK so Dave's post was about the funniest thing I have ever read.....coming from an aliterate thats not much, but it was very funny. Another good reason for aliteracy is that I will not be dissapointed with Harry Potter movies because I will have no idea what is left out...If you go through Roswell, I couls use a 2-4 inch green alien figure--I'll pay you back.
Response: No worries... I read the book and the movie was all new to me! I am either illiterate or I read way too much!
From Connie
Very Funny!
That's life in the US - one extreme to another and you didn't even have to drive very far. Yeah, I have been watching endless news and seeing all the wildfires and record high temperatures out west and wondering how it would be when you all got out there. I saw this morning that in Utah the grass was so dry the goats wouldn't even eat it. (I know, too much TV for me.)
Well, have lots of fun! Vegas is the place to do it! Check out the rides at the top of the Stratophere. One is a roller coaster and the other shoots you up into the sky. John rode the later, I was way too chicken. And just in case you miss sweating and hiking, there are a couple of cool parks right outside of Vegas. Have a poolside drinkie for me.
Miss ya'll,
Response: We have a picture of the sun that is eerie because the smoke was so thick the sun looked like mars! We had to leave the air conditioner on recirculate to be able to breathe!
From Deb
Yippee!! Crocs rule! Whoa, sounding very Steve Irwin there (sure do miss him!). Glad to hear that your feet have been comfy & cozy in your Crocs :-)

The Teton pics were just beautiful, especially loved the ones of Caty & Colin smiling together & the one of them walking. Don't ya love when you can catch those little moments that quietly affirm that, yes indeed, they [siblings] do love each other??? Ahhh!!!

Hope the Vegas "wild" life doesn't get too scary! LOL. Enjoy your stay & make sure you get some good pics of the Hoover Dam! Be sure to remind Colin that part of the 3rd Percy Jackson book, the Titan's Curse, takes place there!!

Missing you guys, be safe!!
Response: Colin remembers! We watched Harry Potter yesterday and he was mad because they left SO much out of the movie that was in the book!
From tracy & family
Well I'm so glad you were'nt "all that" with the 21 days in the wilderness. (Although the wildfires make for a good and valid excuse)I'm at home feeling like an under-achiever with my microwave and running water.

I can just see you all at Vegas. The Griswolds, I'm sure! Y'all will be camped out there for a while, uh? That will be nice. I just watched a show on the Travel Channel about Vegas and they were eating at all the chi-chi restaurants. By the way, I don't have to pack or pay for gas when I watch the Travel Channel. Also went to see Oceans 13 (set in Vegas). Don't try to cheat the house.
How hot is it? We are feeling warm here with a slight breeze.

How was Harry Potter???? We'll go this weekend.

WE WANT A VIDEO MONTAGE OF VEGAS. Go renew your vows or David grow some chops.

Response: We are the Griswolds... you should of seen us after 3 days of no showering with dirt all over our bodies as we walked into the Flamingo!
From scott & viv
It figures! Just when I thought it might really be possible to do a real old-fashioned camping trip with my own brood, the truth comes out. Prettier looking than doing, huh? Oh well, we still love you, and we're still green with envy too. Hope y'all have loads of fun and rest in Vegas, even if it's not the most family-centered town in the nation (my opinion -- Viv). I'm calling you the minute I send this, so be prepared. TTFN
Response: We just spent the afternoon down at the pool after watching Harry Potter and there are more kids in the pool area than adults.. so you can find family-centered fun if you look for it and stay away from the other! It is all in how you work the experience~!
From Jane
Sorry you missed Zion, but Bob always said "it's something to come back to" I no you'll have many tales to tell. Enjoy, have fun, be safe. Love to all. and hello Caty. and Colin.
Response: We are happy to be clean and sleeping in a bed. See ya soon.
From Connie
How nice to see all your smiling faces. Looks like a great trip!
Response: Enjoy Greece!
From Lenore
I am glad you liked the porch at Roosevelt!!!!
Did you do the steak dinner?
Response: No steak dinner but the porch was awesome!
From viv and scott
Hey Court,
Again with the beautiful pictures! It almost makes me want to be outdoorsy; but I know I'm more of a looker than a hiker. WHo knows, some day I may surprise us all.

Anyhoo, the house we think we're buying should be listed at and at (or .org). THe address is 3744 Slippery Rock Ct, Noblesville, IN 46062. THe MLS # 2675404. If you find it, let us know what you think. Talk to you soon. Love ya' all.

Response: Ill look it up tonight!
From Mom Gwynne
I think you kids are doing a magnificent job of documenting your travels and really living in the 'wilds' of our beautiful country. We are so blessed to be able to take kids into these areas so that they really know the wilderness of the early pioneers....David, I am so glad you don't resent your old mom for packing you up in bags and taking you on trips whenever and seem to thrive on this and I am pleased!!. This is all a very spitiual experience and you will see even more of the spiritual connection at Zion....

Love, Mom
From Lynn
Hi, all. The only thing that I can say at this point is, I'M MIGHTY PROUD OF YOU! You are doing it... the whole tamale. Plus you have missed 2 weeks of rain around here. So keep on keeping on. Stay safe and God Bless. Love, Lynn
Response: Good talking to you tonight!
From T
Hey! It was great to talk to you today. Keep up with the pics and vids. David your editing is outstanding. You may have found your next calling.
Keep warm.
Don't spend/loose too much moola in Vegas.
Look forward to more updates.
Love yah.
Response: Love ya too!
From GranCarol
It's me again! I looked up our trip to the canyons and found the trail that Randy and I took through Brice. We did the combination Navajo and Queen's Garden Trails. It is 3 miles, takes 2-3 hours and is rated moderately strenuous, but if we old-fogies could do it, you all surely can. We went down the Navajo Trail and then branched off to the Queen's Garden Trail, traversed the canyon floor a bit and then took that trail back to the rim. You catch the Navajo Trail at Sunset Point. I do hope you get a chance to do this. It was a highlight of our trip!

Have fun!
Love, Carol
Response: Thanks! We will do it!
From tracy & family
You ask and you shall recieve. Thanks for the very creative videos! I hope you didn't skip a meal because you were editing video shorts? "Stop Dave!", what was going on there? David, you know you don't mess with an artist when they are creating their art.

Caty and Colin, do you still get excited to see the wildlife? Or is it- "Oh yea, another bear."? Are you going to wear your Ranger Badges on the first day of school? Is it fun meeting the different kid campers from all around the states?

We'll stay posted. Keep on trekking.....
Response: Caty is still humiliated that we are making her get the Ranger badges... we have to keep it on the down low!
From jane
Finally! I checked every minute of the day w/no results. Great pictures and videos. Don't you agree, Yellowstone is one park worth revisiting. Enjoy.
Response: Hi Jane... glad you got on!
From Debbie
Enjoyed watching ya'll's videos on Mom's computer...very interesting and fun to watch. Chuck has been keeping up daily from his place too.

Safe travels!
Response: Hi Debbie!
From Jen Perry
Hey campers! I love the video of the bears and the pictures too. I have been to Yellowstone and to the Smokey Mountains twice and have never seen a bear. You are so lucky! I told Steve that we need to take the girls there one day. I have enjoyed reading your blog and looking at the pictures.
Response: Hi Jennifer! Keep in touch!