S: Summer 2008
BC: Created By: Katelynne Rettig Financial Support By: Zachary Rettig
FC: Mid America Death March | 2008 | California Nevada Utah Colorado Nebraska Iowa Missouri Kentucky Arkansas Kansas South Dakota Wyoming
1: Merry Christmas Mommy and Daddy! | Love, | Katie and Zack
2: We left Martinez on a chilly morning in July. We boarded the train with much anticipation of the journey that was in front of us.
4: The Sierra Nevadas
5: California - Nevada | After leaving Martinez we headed straight for the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which were beautiful (obviously!).
6: Nevada - Utah | Salt Lake City!
7: The Great Basin desert was a long and boring journey. Good thing we got to sleep through most of it!
8: Colorado | After a whole night of nothing but dirt and truckers, we finally made our way to Grand Junction, Colorado; Gateway the Rockies!
10: D E N V E R
11: We were only here for an hour, but it still left a lasting impression.
12: East Nebraska | We woke up to the sound of the train whistle and cornfields as far as the eye can see. We were almost to our destination!
13: The "N" for Nowledge!
14: Omaha at Last...!
15: After two whole nights on the train we arrived in Omaha, Nebraska, desperately needing to steady our feet! After eating breakfast at a local bakery, we headed off to see Rosenblatt Stadium (Home of the Omaha Royals), Boys Town, and Creighton University. After a few hours, it was time to head off for...
16: Des Moines - Iowa | Des Moines was first on our agenda after Omaha. It was a warm day in Iowa when we pulled up to the state capitol in our newly rented Dodge Durango. Although we didn't go inside, we had fun taking pictures in front of this monumental building.
18: University of Iowa | Go Hawkeyes! | We stopped by the University of Iowa on our way to LeClare. We got a good look at Kinnick Stadium, home of the Hawkeyes! Sadly, this is where camera #1 broke, so from here on out we had to use the tiny camera.
19: Along the Iowan Highway | While traveling in Iowa, we came across many intersting and funny roadside attractions. These included the world's largest truck stop, a swinging jungle bridge, and even the "future" birthplace of Star Trek's Captain Kirk! Of course, the Iowan experience wouldn't be complete without corn as far as the eye can see!
20: We arrived in LeClaire that evening and had dinner at Sneaky Pete's. We left a penny on the railroad tracks for it to get smashed by the train. We came back the next morning and we had a souvenir penny!
21: Amish Country | The next morning we headed out for Kalona, hoping to catch some Amish people in their native habitat. Here we visited a museum of an old time Amish town and an Amish market where we bought those towels that mom hates.
22: Twilight River Boat
23: Cruisin' the Mississippi! | We had lots of fun sailing along the Mississippi River on the Twilight Riverboat, from LeClaire to Dubuque, and then back the next day. We played bingo with old people, listened to Mark Twain talk, and even listed to some kid play the autoharp. Zack and I got a chance to steer the boat all by ourselves! The bartender, Bob, was also fun to talk to. I even made a new friend; Harm!
24: Dubuque... | The Twilight took us to the city of Dubuque for one night. That evening, we walked around the city and took a stroll on the Mississippi. But, when I went to put my feet in the water, the mud engulfed my feet and we almost lost both of my shoes! I washed my feet in a nearby fountain and all was okay!
25: ...Dyersville | We took a cab from Dubuque to Dyersville, where the movie "Field of Dreams" was shot. Our cabbie even showed us a beautiful church, and the shortest train track in the United States!
26: When we got back from Dubuque, we made our way to the Buffalo Bill Museum before heading off for Missouri. It is said that Buffalo Bill spent a great deal of his life in LeClaire.
27: From LeClaire, we drove down into Missouri. First stop, Hannibal! | Missouri...
28: Hannibal | Hannibal, Missouri was the home of world famous author, Mark Twain. His books, Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, were both based on childhood experiences in the small town of Hannibal.
29: The first night we took a walking tour around the town. We saw the outside of Tom and Becky's houses, and even pretended to whitewash the fence! We walked to the top of Cardiff Hill, where Tom Sawyer and his friends would play. In Hannibal was a riverboat that looked just like the Twilight! Lastly we saw a lot of hillbillies and the birthplace of Molly Brown.
30: Tom Sawer's House | This was actually Mark Twain's house, considering Tom was is a fictional character based on Mark. | Huckleberry Finn's house was a little shack a few blocks away
31: Becky Thatcher's House | Just across the street from Tom's house was Becky's house, the real life home of Mark's childhood sweetheart.
32: Mark Twain Caves | We explored the caves where mark twain had played as a child.. There were so many, all very dark and cold.. After this little excursion we headed off for St. Louis.
33: St. Louis... | The Gateway Arch | When arrived at St. Louis in the early afternoon, we visited the Gateway Arch, and earned our first Jr. Ranger Badges! We took the tram to the top, where we were able to see all the way to Illinois!
34: Go Cardinals!!! | We went to a Cardinals game and had fun eating hotdogs and cheering. Whenthey beat the Phillies and our night was complete!
35: Granite City... | Eww!! | That night we pulled in to Granite City, where we saw flaming factories and scrapyards.
36: The next day we went back to St. Louis to visit the Budweiser factory. We saw the Clydesdale horses and how the beer is made. The whole time the smell of hops filled the air.
37: The Budweiser Factory
38: Kentucky! | That night we drove over to Kentucky, where we stayed at the best KOA of them all. We had a great time swimming, catching fireflies and going fishing in the pond.
40: Branson! | We drove over to Branson, Missouri, the Musical Theater capital of the south. We saw a Riverdance show, called The Spirit of the Dance and stayed in the beautiful Châateaux on the Lake. We took a side trip to Arkansas, just to say we've been there!
42: Lawrence | We visited Lawrence, Kansas, where the University of Kansas is located. We saw war sites and stayed in a KOA.
43: University of Kansas | Rock Chalk Jayhawk! | We visited the University, where we saw the campus and Athletic center.
44: Go Royals! | Kansas City, Missouri | We went to a Kansas city Royals game. It was only Dad, Zack, and I, because Mom wanted to stay home and do laundry. It was good weather when we got there, but on the way home there was lightning and thunder! Once again we ate hotdogs, but this time, Zack and I were put on the big screen! The Royals beat the Red Sox that night. On our way home we sang the whole 99 bottles of beer on the wall song. It was a good night.
45: Kansas - South Dakota | Traveling along the Lewis and Clark Trail
46: Sioux Falls
47: After a long day of driving we reached Sioux Falls, where we saw beautiful scenery, and a KOA with a mini golf course!
48: The Corn Palace | We visited the Corn Palace on our way to Pierre, where we ate corn on a stick and learned all about corn!
51: Wall Drug | While in Pierre (Pronounced Pier) we saw the the South Dakota state capitol and a military museum. We had Dinner at Mad Mary's and stayed the night at the Governor's Inn. The next morning we left early and stopped by the Wall Drug, which had been advertised for miles and miles, before the Corn Palace even! There we saw a giant dinosaur, and much more.
53: Mt. Rushmore | Later, on our way to Wyoming, we stopped by Mt. Rushmore, where we earned our second Jr. Ranger Badges! We saw more Amish people and had a great time.
54: South Dakota - Wyoming | Driving across Wyoming was long and tedious, especially because most of the time our view consisted of dirt and blue skies. Luckily, we had the chance to eat Mom's birthday lunch at "The Broken Wheel" truck stop and restaurant!
55: When we finally arrived in Jackson Hole it was late and very dark.
56: Grand Teton National Park
57: At the Grand Teton National Park, Zack and I earned our third Jr. Ranger Badges. We took in the breathtaking views of the mountains, and even saw a brown bear and some buffalo. A little church and some rain were also part of the trip.
60: White Water Rafting | We arrived at Dave Hansen whitewater trips, where we first took a scenic cruise down the Snake River. I even got to steer the boat, but led us into some shrub... oops! During this trip we were graced with views of the mountains and wildlife, such as moose.
61: After the scenic trip, we took a bus to a different part of the river, which was faster and wilder. This time, everyone had to paddle, and we all got soaked. Halfway through our trip, it started to hail, and i got bruises on my legs from the cough-drop sized ice balls pouring down on us!
62: Jackson Hole | During our time in Jackson Hole, we had a chance to see the town and all it has to offer.
64: Yellowstone National Park
65: We visited Yellowstone National Park, where we earned our fourth and final Jr. Ranger Badge. We saw Old Faithful Geyser, and lots of beautiful scenery and wildlife.
68: Horseback Riding | We went horseback riding with the view of the beautiful Tetons as our backdrop. It was an all day affair, with a lunch break on the trail. Mom said that that was the last time we would ever find her on a horse! Zack was the only one of us to ride a stallion, which he had some trouble controlling. At the end of the day, all of ours butts hurt, but it was still a good time.
70: Bobsleds | On our last day in Wyoming, we thought it would be fun to go down a giant dry bobsled. We had to go up a ski lift to get to the top of the lift, and raced down on little bobsleds. Unfortunately, the second time I went down I went too fast around a turn and wiped out, leaving two huge scars that i still have today! I decided to go down once more after i fell, because it was so fun!
72: Also on our last day, we took a drive and saw many buffalo. That night we had the best dinner of our whole trip at the Cadillac Grille. I had lamb, Zack had elk, Mom had buffalo, and Daddy had steak. It was so delicious!
74: bye, Wyoming | Good | ! | As our trip came to a close, we were all sad to see it end, but we had many experiences gained. Saying goodbye to Daddy, who still had to return the car to Omaha, we got on the plane with memories of a summer well spent.
75: Yee-Haw! | "Wait! Just one more picture!" | ~Katie | "Who wants to hear my gremlin voice?" | ~Zack | "Not much longer now..." | "Are you sure you don't want me to drive?" | ~Mom | ~Daddy