Tomorrow we will start heading westward toward Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park , then the Grand Circle of National Parks in the Utah/Northern Arizona area and finally the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. We have planned for this trip differently than previous trips. Using Microsoft Streets and Trips we planned out our route and then we planned our stops along the way, even campgrounds. Of course, nothing is etched in stone so if need be changes can and will be made. We have some commitments that is dictating our travels somewhat. Tomorrow we will be in eastern Ohio and then Wednesday we'll have a shorter day to western Ohio for an overnight visit with Tom's sister and family.
We have had a 2 week period of Grandkids. We started out the first week with 12 year old Maddi and Parker who turned 3 years old that week. Finding things to do with kids of these 2 ages can be somewhat challenging. Aside from being around the house we did have a couple of days of hopping in the car and venturing out. We went to Hanover, Pa. for a hot dog lunch and then a visit to the Utz potato chip factory for a tour. Maddi had taken this tour before but she still enjoyed a repeat and Parker was really exciting seeing the "tractors" moving the stacks of boxed potato chips into the warehouse. Codorus State Park was another days adventure with a packed picnic lunch. The problem that day was Parker walking in the "dog poop" which actually was not from dogs but from the geese. And then there was the day at the zoo that Tom posted about.
As that week was ending we had another grandchild added to the group, Gabi, 9 months old on a Friday. Then on Saturday we packed the 3 grandkids in the car and drove to Strasburg, Pa. where we met up with our son, Todd, and his wife, Beth. Parker is a big fan of Thomas, the train, and goes wild for any trains. Tom and I had wanted to take him to Strasburg so he could ride the train there so we arranged for all of us to do just that. We first went through the train museum and then took the 45 minute train ride from Strasburg to Paradise, Pa. What an exciting time for Parker and for us seeing his excitement.
We spent the night in a motel in Elizabethtown, Pa. and the next day we all went to Hershey Park.
Leaving Hershey park Todd, Beth, Parker and Gabi went home to Virginia. Tom and I along with Maddi headed for our home. Maddi was with us until Thursday evening when we met Todd in Leesburg, Va. for Maddi's return to Virginia. It was a fun 2 weeks but we both said we were feeling our ages.
Today we took Maddi and Parker to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. It was a nice day but the temps were on the rise. From the parking area we rode a tram that took use to the actual zoo area. The zoo seems to be divided into three areas. The first big animal we saw was the Polar Bear in it's swiming pool. The next area we entered we saw a snake trying to eat a frog. The snake had one of the frog's legs in its mouth but that was as far as it had gotten during the time we watched. The snake didn't look big enough to swallow the frog, but it might have succeded after we moved on. Next we entered an area that had goats and other farm animals that the kids could get in a pen with and pet them. We spotted a train ride, but it was closed for lunch so we moved onto the next area that had African animals. During I walk threw parts of this area the train came by. Parker, our grandson, is wild about trains, but had never rode on one. The train depot was our next stop and we all rode the train. After the train ride, we stopped and ate lunch that was way over priced for what you got. We all did fine until after lunch when we all got hot and tired. Our final stop was to see the Elephants. Afterwards we got aboard the tram and headed back home.