Mark’s Trip Diary

These are Mark’s diary entries, with the newest entries at the top.

Mark Cedar Point!
Mark (August 13, 2007)

Last modified: August 16, 2007 at 19:13:43

0-120 MPH in less then two seconds, 400+ feet in the air! The tallest, the fastest, the most powerful, the funnest, and, (drum roll please), the first rollercoaster Frank and I did!

Katy Forgang wrote on August 16, 2007 at 20:50:22:

Ola Mark...you are almost home. I am glad you and your family are having fun. We miss you!!! I know you don't care.. but I care!!! You love only JENNY ahahahah. Are you coming on Monday to the Y!???! I hope so... Registration Day!!! Have more and more fun. Besitos, Katyta

Andrew Cheng wrote on August 17, 2007 at 13:07:53:

UR HOME AND ITS YOUR BIRTHDAY

Anita Dekker wrote on August 17, 2007 at 23:47:13:

I so want to go on that rollercoaster!!!!! That sounds awesome! Good luck on the last bit of the trip!

Mark SLC-Now
Mark (August 12, 2007)

Last modified: August 12, 2007 at 16:51:52

Salt lake city wasn't that fun, but driving from there to Denver was. Frank was flying, so I was an only child that day. We drive for a bit, stop at a SubWay for lunch, then move on again. After buying a UNO game. The UNO game we used alot in the next weeks. Well, we get back on the road, and drive to Denver. When we get there, Mom and I both try to call Frank. But, alas to no avail. We try again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. As you may be able to tell, we called him alot. He never picked up! We FINALLY get hold of him, so we pick him up. We go to Chilies for dinner, and notice a VERY funny sign. Curbside Pick Up Only. All others will be crushed and melted. Don't ya think they could be just a LITTLE nicer? Guess not... Well, we go to sleep in Colorado springs... Not much more to say.

KANSAS-NOW

This part of the vacation is not geared for me. I just want to say that. As much as Mom disagrees, Kansas-Nebraska is BORING! There is NOTHING to do there. After that, we went to cities. I don't like cities. I REALLY don't like cities. They are gray, boring, loud, bad smelling, and dirty. Not good. Well, we visit Topeka Kansas and we go to a zoo. That's the only thing that we've done for me since then. And a small pool in the middle of nowhere. SMALL. Well, we get to Iowa, and we go to the Higgins memorial. That was kinda cool. Then we go to Chicago. We visit the Sears Tower, it was a let down. Not a good view, cloudy, and boring. And expensive. A postcard cost 5 dollars! We leave and have lunch at a pizza joint. Where the ice cubes didn't move. Even when the water was gone, they stayed until you poked them down. We leave that and head to Mickey-D's place. And Chicago O'Hare. BORING. We go find a hotel then go nap nap. We wake up and head to Detroit. We get there and go to the Motown museum. Kinda interesting. We leave that and get a snack at an ice cream truck.We go and head to the Henry Ford Museum, but, we can't find it! We do eventually find it, and go there, but the Factory tour is over. We decide to head back again tomorrow. We go back to the hotel and go to sleep. Well, not really. We went to AppleBees for diner, and I get a children's menu to entertain myself. But still order of the adult. Sadly, I left the crayons in my pocket when my clothes were watched, so I ruined a entire batch of clothes... No make it up to my parents, I sneak out in the middle of the night and get Mom a flower. I sneak back, put the flower into a cup, and go to bed. I wake up and ask if Mom saw my flower. She said yes, and that she was not angry with me anymore. After that, we went to breakfast and leave for the Henry Ford Museum. We get there, take the tour, and go to lunch. I'll let Mom explain the tour, seeing as she wanted to do it so badly. We eat lunch, but the people mess up my order. They cooked my meat to medium rare instead of well done. I was to lazy to give it back, but I didn't eat much. I wasn't that hungry anyway. We go back to the hotel after a LONG time. Mom and Dad didn't want to follow the interstates... Grrr... Oh well, we get to the hotel and I start working on this entry while Mom and Dad catch up on their sleep. Cyas!

Andrew Cheng wrote on August 13, 2007 at 13:12:51:

finally with the writing a new entry!! woot! did ur dad reply to the one i wrote to him? w/e ill just go check :p

Andrew Cheng wrote on August 14, 2007 at 0:03:14:

weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee mark wake up! well i actually dont think ur asleep but wake up neways! urgggg this summer has sucked without you bandcamp started today and im sore my band director is CRAZY we had to do 100 jumping jacks 75 pushups and 50 crunches urg well enough of my complaining when r u gettin back? will u b back by the 26th? cause alot of us are thinkin about gettin together and seein rush hour 3

Mark Grivel wrote on August 15, 2007 at 13:13:15:

At band camp? why do you have to be fit to play a trombone? Did the dirtector do them too? or was he a wimp? Im getting back on my b-day. Figure it out. Hint: it's in august, and im on the last leg of the trip now. and facebook. Hmm, I'll think about the invite. Well, i want to go, but my parents control my life... ANYWAY... My ear hurts... Awww, so sweet! you miss me? =-D

Henk Smits wrote on August 15, 2007 at 13:54:50:

Heb de agains maar niet geteld, want zovee again is to much to me. Opa

Mark Calahbungah!
Mark (August 1, 2007)

Last modified: August 3, 2007 at 11:03:32

Weeeeeeee!!! Is the only thing I have time to say as I'm falling of a 33 foot, 10 meter platform! Well, that's not true... it takes SO long to get to the ground, it's incredible! It feels like forever, with the wind rushing against you, and the only thing keeping you from hitting HARD concrete is 19 feet of water. So, here I am, falling, and falling, ya know, you could almost read a book, or watch a fun TV show in the time it takes to fall all the way down.

Now, you might think that I just jumped off the platform in the picture, but I dare say, you are mistaken! Now, for the last picture, look closely at the light pole...

It's true, we are at Lava Hot Springs. There, the water is warmed by hot springs under ground, so, it is possible to have a 8X21X5 foot hot tub. And to have an Olympic pool heated. In fact, that is what they did! This unusual natural occurrence is what fueled Lava Hot Springs to become a touristy town. Okay, done with history, down to what we did. We got to Lava (as I'm going to call it from now on) at around 1:30-1:45 PM. Our main reason to come here was the pool, so, we find a motel, put our stuff away,and consequentially, learn about the hotel's pool. Well, hot tub. With the dimensions noted earlier. (8'x21'x5') So, we walk to the BIG pool, and first have our eyes set on it from close by. It was AMAZING! INCREDIBLE! PERFECT! Frank and I immediately want to jump off the towers, so we sign a waiver for that. 'Parently, someone died last year doing a belly flop off of the tallest one, so we need a waiver now...Well, we get it signed, and we see how tall the towers really are. Over three stories we are falling into the water. Instead of getting into the water first, we decide to jump off of the lowest platform, 15 feet off of the water. Well, we jump, and we get wet, FAST. Very wet... We get out again to jump off the second one, and it's just a little bit harder then jumping off the first... Seeing as it's ten feet higher up... Well, Frank and I both jump, and then it comes to do the third. The one that is 33 feet hight, 10 meters. Frank and I both mutually agree that we should do the second one more time, and we walk down one flight of stairs. We jump off, then we decide to brave the third jump. We climb up all the stairs and we stand at the top. Frank was the first one to jump, the brave soul. Then after a few more people, I go. It's a funny sensation, you just fall. You see the water getting closer, but it takes such a long time. SUCH a long time. But it really doesn't. When I was jumping off the second platform again, I counted how long it took someone to jump off the third. 1.5 seconds. The second platform, 1.1 seconds. The first? .9 seconds.

Well, the platforms weren't the only thing to do, there were water slides, a diving pool, diving boards, and a fun shallow end. It really was a BLAST. I had LOTS of fun. Well, we were all getting hungry, so we decided to leave and go somewhere for dinner. The service was okay, but the fries were... Ew... All soggy and *twitches*... Well, we left that and walked back to our motel, we all decide to go down to the Hot tub/pool that they advertise, because it's always between 101*-105*. Very nice... We then beg Mom and Dad if we can go to the pool at midnight, just because it is a 24 hour pool. They, after some persuasion, say yes, and we go back to the room. We watch some TV, and turn in. After setting Frank's phone to ring at midnight to wake Frank and Me up. Off to la la land. We wake up at the sound of Frank's alarm. This really ought to go in tomorrow's post, bus it might as well go here... We wake up, put on swimming trucks, an d head out. Mom and Dad don't come. We walk down to the pool and swim around for a while. After about a half hour, we go back, VERY tired. We change, and go to sleep. This time until morning.

Andrew Cheng wrote on August 11, 2007 at 9:14:05:

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEe tht looks like fun! too bad im scared of heights! :p and Mark are ya happy? im commenting!!!! :p make a new entry its been over a week buddy!

Mark Grivel wrote on August 14, 2007 at 12:55:30:

You're afraid of heights? I didn't know that!

Mark B-Days
Mark (July 28, 2007)

Last modified: July 28, 2007 at 13:30:22

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BIJAN AND MIN! (Yes I know Min's B-Day was a while back, but I can make a post for both of them now!) =D

And now I'm going to mention Andrew Cheng because he told me to this morning! By the way, Andrew, make sure you get Bijan to register so that he can see his b-day post thingy... These are the big horn sheep and the mountain goats I was telling you about.

Mark Animals (Two)
Mark (July 27, 2007)

Last modified: July 27, 2007 at 11:32:09

Just so you know, I'm going to list the animals that I've seen in the wild.

Black bear: 1**

Bald eagle: 4** We did get a picture of one in the wild, but it's WAY to far away.

Red-tailed hawk: 2**

Golden eagle: 3**

Harbor seal: 2**

Sea Lion: 10-15

Elk: 18

White tail deer: 4

Mule deer: 3**

Black tail deer: At least 75** They were along the road back from the Grand Cayon, to dark to take pictures.

Nine banded armadillo: 1**

Black tailed lizard: 2**

Mountain goat: 12

Big horn sheep: 12

Pika: 1**

Columbian ground squirrels: 17

Rosy finch: 3

Hoary marmot: 5

Total: 101-106 Without Black tailed dear, 175+ with.

.

*Foot note: We did see a herd of captive Alpacas. Google them, they are SOOOOOOOOO cute!

*Foot note: The animals in bold are the ones I added today.

*Foot note: The pictures are not necessarily of the ones we saw in the wild.

**No picture could be taken in time, sorry!

Mark Wild life, yet tame life.
Mark (July 26, 2007)

Last modified: July 31, 2007 at 18:49:34

First of all, I want to say that I have been looking forward to this for MONTHS. This park is the reason that I wanted binoculars. Which I got for my birthday LAST year. It's scary that the wild life here is not that wild. Take the marmots for example, they would come right up next to me and under the walkway to get the flowers. They weren't even scared when some kids yelled and screamed and ran right next to him! Scary... And the mountain goats! 7 of them were standing right a well traveled road, and one of them was sleeping! But, the one that's sleeping, sure does look happy! Positively gleeful!

We wake up at around 6 AM, well, we meaning Mom, Dad, and I, Frank 15 minutes later 'cause he was NOT looking forward to it... He never does... For some reason, he HATES the out doors... I don't know why... Anyway, we wake up, and head out. We are out by 6:25 AM. We drive to Glacier Nat'l Park and plot which trail we will do first. We choose the Avalanche Trail. The first part is a nice wooden, wheelchair accessible path, but then it gets to the part where the trail begins. It's about two and a half miles long one way and it is not for the faint hearted. The trail itself follows the creek. And what a creek it is. Beautiful!

We don't walk the whole way, but stop somewhere around the mile and a half mark. We only see one squirrel, so not much wildlife on this trail. Don't worry, we still have two more trails to go. We walk back and get into the car after a short snack. Meaning breakfast... We drive off to Logan Pass next. We get there around 10 AM. To look at the view, and we spot a family of mountain goats, just sitting by the side of the road, boy are they cute! The one at the top of the post looks so happy... We also notice a cute little ground squirrel that feels like posing for my dad. Over and over... Well, at least we got good pictures!

We continue to the visitor center, and we do the "Hidden Lake" Trail. It is a not strenuous trail that takes you to a lake that is supposedly hidden. Well, I'll say the truth, the lake wasn't as cool as I thought it would be, but the walk to it! Ohhhhh, can't wait to tell you guys...!

Okay, I'll warn you, you will want to visit Glacier if you here this. So, if you don't want to travel anytime soon, skip down to the paragraph after this one. Okay, now on the what we saw. Hm... If you want me to rattle them off, you are mistaken. Well, we started walking down the trail, and we see QUITE a few ground squirrels, and, on our way up we also see a few Marmots. They are cute, large rodents. But cute! After them, we notice five big horn sheep grazing on the grass not 300 feet away. They were incredibly cute!!! Well, after we pass them, we see two more running off in the distance, then three more mountain goats, walking right next to the path, one of them a baby. We finally make it up and at the top are even more mountain goats by the look out area. We decide not to take the route another 1.5 miles down to the lake, but are content with just looking at it. After endless ground squirrels, we had made it to the top, and now it was time to head back down again. On the way down we see many more marmots. Along with two more big horn sheep. The ground squirrels still out number the rest of the animals at 17. We arrive at the bottom, and sadly, have to leave.

On towards Many Glaciers. Supposedly, we are supposed to be able to see bears there. Meh, when we get there, I am a bit disappointed that there are no bears in sight. Nor mouse, or elk, or any others... Sad... Oh well, I still have a chance to see the Grizzlies in YellowStone. Theres always later... Humph. Well, after that, we head back to the motel room. There we eat dinner and go to sleep, very tired.

Mark Hello Glacier.
Mark (July 25, 2007)

Last modified: July 31, 2007 at 18:16:16

We wake up again and leave for Glacier. This time we are to make it all the way. We arrive at the Glacier area, but Mom needs to do laundry, and we need to hang out the tents to dry after the rainy nights. AND, we need to go to Glacier to get some info. We decide to let Frank stay at the Motel, drop off Mom at the laundry, then Dad and I head off to Glacier Nat'l Park to inquire about the best ways to see wildlife, and what trails we really ought to do. After that, we go back to the room. Well, not quite. First we have to pick Mom up from the laundry... But, after that is done, we head back to the room. After that, We break the news to Frank, we are going to go to the local pool! Well, we get there, and it's almost a letdown... Now diving boards... BUT, we noticed, that it had these fun foam mats that were in the shapes of animals, and a random blue mat... Well, we had to leave that at 8:15 because it closed then, but it was fun until then. We leave again, back to the motel. Then we have dinner of strawberries. We basically go to sleep after that...

Mark Goodbye San Juan.
Mark (July 24, 2007)

Last modified: July 31, 2007 at 18:13:57

Today we are to leave San Juan. I am sad, but at least we won't get wet in our sleep now... Well, I hope not... Not that I trust run-down motels in the middle of nowhere that much... What ever... Anyway, we get up early to catch the 8 AM ferry. We pack up tent, and Mom make scrambled eggs, YUM! After the eggs, we drive down to Friday Harbor, where we wait for a little bit. Then we head on the ferry. Because we got up so early, Frank and I decide to catch up on some sleep. Lucky us, we succeed, we crash on a bench that is in the sun, and sleep.

After a bit, I wake up to see Frank gone, and me having his pillow. I get up to find him, and start looking by where Dad is. Sure enough, he is there, so we talk a bit, then get to play cards. We play WAR, the stupidest, yet easiest game in the world... I almost won, but we had to get off the boat just before.

We get off the ferry and drive. Hm... That's what we always seem to do... Well, this time we drive all the way to Glacier Nat'l Park, in north western Montana. We have two days to do it though. I'm excited! Well, we drive, and there isn't much to say. But, when we get to the Motel, we all decide to not eat at a formal restaurant, because we are tired, and we want fast food. So, we stop at the local burger joint, and coincidentally, we all order the same thing. Medium bacon cheeseburger meal. And I dare say, it was the best burger I have ever had! It was really incredible! Well, after that, we have an ice cream, and I was also good. We then see some stickers that say things that are funny, that I have forgotten. So, if someone could help me remember those, I'd be happy. Thanks! Well, since we are 20 feet away from our motel, we walk back. Well, Dad and I do. Then we watched some TV, and went to bed. Good Night Amigos!

Mark Animals
Mark (July 24, 2007)

Last modified: July 24, 2007 at 15:17:31

Just so you know, I'm going to list the animals that I've seen in the wild.

Black bear: 1

Bald eagle: 4

Red-tailed hawk: 1

Golden eagle: 1

Harbor seal: 2

Sea Lion: 10-15

Elk: 15-20

White tail deer: 2

Mule deer: 3

Black tail deer: 6

Nine banded armadillo: 1

Black tailed lizard: 2

.

*Foot note: We did see a herd of captive Alpacas. Google them, they are SOOOOOOOOO cute!

Marijke de Zwart-Nes wrote on July 25, 2007 at 14:07:59:

Dag allemaal, Hier weer even een teken van leven van mij. Geniet nog steeds van jullie trip. En de foto's.....om je vingers bij aftelikken. Oh ja, vooral Eric, de groeten van een paar kleinkinderen van tante Liedje= Ivonne Palm- Hoekstra en Louis Palm en van mijn ouders. Liefs, Marijke

Eric Grivel wrote on July 28, 2007 at 12:43:04:

Thanks for the greetings -- if you enjoy reading about the trip, you should try being there :-)

Joke Honselaar wrote on July 29, 2007 at 5:46:56:

Hallo Eric, Nicoline en the boys, Vandaag voor het eerst op jullie site gekeken. Wat een geweldige trip zeg. Ik mag er wel een paar dagen voor uittrekken om alles te bekijken, maar het is de moeite waard. Ik ga vandaag voor een paar dagen weg, maar vanaf donderdag ga ik elke dag even kijken. Ivanka gaat 5 augustus voor vier weken naar CanadaWestbank, BC. Dus dan ga ik natuurlijk ook bij haar op de website kijken, maar zij moet die nog aanmaken. Voor nu, wens ik jullie nog een goede reis verder en tot de volgende keer. Groetjes van Henri en Joke. Tot mails.

Ilona Honselaar wrote on July 29, 2007 at 13:22:29:

hoi hoi nicoline :)

weet niet of je me nog wel kent maar schrijf toch even een berichtje. bevalt het allemaal nog in het grootte amerika :P zo te zien denk ik wel :)

ik hoorde van jullie trip van me ma dus dacht ga toch eens even kijken :) Het ziet er wel prachtig uit daar die natuur. ik heb verder eigenlijk weinig te vertellen dus je hoort nog van ons .

groetjes piet en ilona ( en onze huisdiertjes )

Nicoline Smits wrote on August 1, 2007 at 13:48:23:

Hallo Joke, ik hoop dat je het niet erg vindt dat ik je in het Engels antwoord, zodat iedereen het kan volgen? Yes, if you logged in for the first time today, it's going to take you a while to get through all the diary entries and pictures. Hope Ivanka has a great time in Canada. If she does set up a website, please post the address, so we can visit it. Good to hear from you all!

Mark San Juan
Mark (July 23, 2007)

Last modified: July 30, 2007 at 14:00:17

We wake up, DRY! Even though it was raining for the past 24 hours... Well, Frank and I go down to the beach after breakfast, and we spot two LARGE purple star fish. I get dad, and he takes LOTS of pictures, most of which he throws away later... That's my footin the picture, to show you how big it is.

We do eventually end up spotting three in total, here are two more:

After a little while, we leave for Kayaking. Well, we are supposed to. But, no can do. 'Parently, they never got our past 15 calls... What ever, we then go down to Roche Harbor and we get a self guided kayak tour. That was fun, but I did end up being a floating trash can, seeing as I picked up all of the trash I saw in the bay... Why can't people just wait to throw it away in a trash can... It's kinda sad actually... Well, we get back, we leave Roche Harbor. On the drive back, we stop and say Hi at an Alpaca Ranch. THEY ARE SOOOOOOOO CUTEEEE!!!! You have to see the pictures!!!!!

We get back to camp, and Frank starts pissing me off, so I go down to the beach alone just to get away... They piss me off so much sometimes........ After watching the sunset, I return to camp, and go to sleep.

Mark San Juan
Mark (July 22, 2007)

Last modified: July 30, 2007 at 13:43:45

Today it is raining. And we are going to camp... And it's kinda cold... We get on the ferry even though it is raining. And cold. BUT, I am happy that we are camping. So, we are on the ferry, and we stop at another location that I don't know the name of... Anyway, on that island, we see a BALD EAGLE for the first time in my life... In the wild anyway... Well, after another 45 minutes, we get to San Juan. We arrive at the campsite, and set up our tents. In the rain. After that, Frank and I go down to the beach. But, we do go to bed very soon, seeing as there isn't much to do...

Mark Hm... Not much
Mark (July 21, 2007)

Last modified: July 30, 2007 at 12:44:40

Well, as the title say, not much happened so, not much happened, so I wont write much... 'Cept, we got the last Harry Potter book today... But, I'll let Frank talk about that...

Mark Crater lake.
Mark (July 20, 2007)

Last modified: July 29, 2007 at 16:09:46

Well, I was kinda exited to see Crater Lake. They say that the water is REALLY blue there. Well, what they say is true. The water was incredibly blue! Instead of doing hikes there like we had planned, we just drove around the lake. Seeing as it was 58* and CHILLY, I'm sure you would agree with us... Well, in fact, it was SO cold, there were pockets of snow EVERYWHERE. And, of course, Frank and I HAD to have a snowball fight in mid July. Hey, you would too if you were us! Well, I managed to lose my flip flops in the snow both at the same time, so I was running about bare foot! COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLD!

And yes, I hit him that time.

After that, we headed back to Prospect. Frank and Mom, and Dad wanted to go to a fancy restaurant, so I asked if I wouldn't have to go. They said okay, and got be a pizza and a root beer. We went back to the room and got me settled, while they put formal clothes on. I watched Survivor Man. Luckily, Dad came in at the right moment twice just to do errands for me, like add more rootbeer to my cup. How nice. After that, they came back, and we all went to bed IN SEPARATE BEDS! iN OUR HOTEL ROOM, THERE WAS A QUEEN BED AND two TWINS!!! IN A SEPARATE ROOM! YAAAAAAAAAY!

Mark More big trees...
Mark (July 19, 2007)

Last modified: July 29, 2007 at 15:48:35

Yet again, more big trees... Can't wait till I get home where the trees are NORMAL sized... And with kitty... I miss kitty... Oh well... Well, we wake up in the SunShine Motel in Eureka CA. Today we are going to do a few hikes in the Avenue of the Giants, which, I will let Mom explain, I'm gonna explain the other parts. Here is where I relearn how to skip rocks. Well, Frank and I get wet by playing in a river. Well, throwing rocks into it. Giant rocks. That make BIG splashies... Well, after we get wet, we had planned to go and play in a pool. With a giant waterslide. But, of course, that didn't work out... It was only open for another half hour... Not worth paying 6 bucks for... Ah well, I'll live... So, we go back to the room and chill for a while... Ha, NOT! We then went to a lumberjack food place... Hm... I wasn't allowed soda... Wahhhhhh! Oh well... Gez... I just noticed... I've used epilepsies a lot this post... After that, we go back to the room. And chill for a while...

Mark Motel 6 is dirty...
Mark (July 18, 2007)

Last modified: July 29, 2007 at 15:26:36

The only thing I have to say is WTF?!?!? Meaning, What the Friendly?!?!?! There is a towel, filled with crap, outside my room! And for Andrew, "*cough*I think someone s**t on the towels, I think someone may or may not have s**t somewhere in the vicinity of the room with the towels area.." (Dane Cook)

And yes, it's true... sadly... The flowers make it better though! Well, we finally leave the motel and head north. Not without driving though Lombard Street and the Golden Gate Bridge. But, after that is done, we head strait of to Eureka. But, before we get there, we have to drive through the Avenue of the Giants, and drive through a tree. Well, almost through it... into, then back out again cause we didn't fit... Well, we tried... ANYWAY, we get to Eureka and find a motel. This time, it's A LOT nicer then the last one. But for some reason, the bathroom is sticky, well the floor is. In every hotel/motel/inn I've been at, it's like that... Why? Well, we go to a really nice little family owned restaurant, and I got a meal of logic. They said "Free refills only to large soda, and ever since, I have gotten a small soda and had refills. After that, Frank and I went to see the 5th Harry Potter movie. It was OK, kinda short though. It's around 11:30 PM when we go to sleep.

Mark San Fransisco....
Mark (July 17, 2007)

Last modified: July 29, 2007 at 15:03:32

We wake up at the Oakland Hotel ready for an exciting day filled with Tourist traps and jail! Well, the tourist traps were fun, but the jail sucked... In fact, well I tell you later...

We get up at the cruddy Motel 6, and I won't go into the details, but we walk to the BART station (Bay area Rapid Transport) and go under the bay to San Fransisco. Once there, we immediately notice a Cable Car. We get a day pass and head up the hill. We get off on (something) street and walk the rest of the way, now down hill, to the Fisherman's wharf. The cable cars were all full, so we couldn't get on another one. When we got to the Fisherman's wharf, we realize that the tickets to Alcatraz were sold out far into next week, so that's a no go... Like I said, the jail part sucked. Anyway, although we were kinda disappointed, we lived on. We walk down Fisherman's Wharf and we notices a store selling "Pommes Frites" and we all decided to get that when it was lunch time. We walked farther down Pier 39 and noticed all the tourist traps. Some of which were rather interesting. Mom told me that Dad had gone to look at the sea lions, so I went running off after him, trying to see them. As it turns out, not to many were there, because most of them had gone to Mexico to mate. We ate the fries and Mom and I went to see a street performer be REALLY funny. shortly thereafter, Dad and Frank joined us. We walked around on the upper level of pier 39 while we waited for the next show. I got to sit in the front row and he gave me a dollar for picking up a stick he dropped. He dropped it again later and told me not to get out of your seat, "You are way to expensive." After that, we decided to walk down to the turnabout. Where the cable cars are turned. We saw that the line was HUGE, so we decided to go to Giradelli Square first. Where, we noticed have a VERY interesting was to treat the people in wheelchairs... And if you're wondering, if there was another way down from there, there was. But it was also stairs... Ah well... Frank and I both get multiple samples, and ice cream. We leave to go to the turnabout for the cable cars, but the wait is still 45 mins, so Dad and I walk off to try to get better pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. We failed... But did get some other pictures... We get back just in time to get on the Cable Car. Our driver is the most generally pissed guy I have ever met I believe... It seemed like his Grandmother died, his dad had a stroke, his sister was caught with cocaine, his son was killed by drunk drivers, and his wife died in an abortion. He was just not a happy guy... He yelled at me for having a backpack on... And Frank and Dad too... But not at other people who were wearing them... We get off and take the bus to the hippie land. The summer of Love was held here. And they openly sell bongs in the stores... "Intended for legal use only" Yea right... Ya can't smoke tobacco with a bong... Stupid cops... We eat dinner at a coffee shop, then take the bus back home. Frank and I watch a hidden Camera show, Just for Laughs. Kinda funny... After that we go to sleep... GN!

Mark San Fran... Well... Kinda
Mark (July 16, 2007)

Last modified: July 29, 2007 at 14:10:34

Today we are supposed to head to Oakland Ca. Which is right next to San Fransisco.

We hope to see a bear on the drive over out of Sequoia Nat'l Park, but alas, no luck. One bear is enough... Personally, I wasn't very active that day... Watching movies from the back... So all I will comment on is our little detour to the beach! Well, just so you know, the water near San Fransisco is COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLDD! I nearly froze my toesies off! Lucky for us, we found a little river leading into the pacific that had been warmed by the sun for quite a while, so it was MUCH warmer. Yet still, some people were wind surfing there! And what ever it is that they were doing with the kites! We get into the outcove and splash around a bit. That is, until Mom and Dad get bored watching us have fun. Teh teh, just kidding. We leave and go to Oakland, which is just east of San Fran. It's funny how no one in San Fransisco calls it San Fran... Ah well.. We get to the motel, and it seems that it is NOT in a very good neighborhood... Seeing as there is a guard station at the entrance, and bullet proof glass at the office... We pile inside and go again. This time we head to dinner, at a Chinese place, near a WalMart. Which we go and look at... Mom and Dad buy propane, and Frank and I look for the movie, Hunt For Red October. We don't find that one, but select a few other movies instead. Absolute Zero, Guilty Conscience, Frequent Flyer, and Cellular. Something to do on the drives to come... And it only cost us $13! Yay! We go back to the room and watch some TV... Not much else to it...

Mark Big trees!
Mark (July 15, 2007)

Last modified: July 27, 2007 at 11:30:55

Well, like the title stated, I'm going to talk about big trees! Yay! Very big trees might I add. The biggest one in the world might I add. The ones exported over from America to New Zealand are SMALL!!! Haha!

We wake up in our tents after a stressful last night, but it doesn't get better. Mom, Dad, and Frank are all pissed that they don't get their coffee, because the valve broke or something to that effect... Anyway, Everyone is pissed, so the whole day starts off bad, but gets better, and FAST. We start our drive to the General Sherman tree, the largest tree in the world, and on the road guess what! WE SAW A BLACK BEAR!!! WE SAW A BLACK BEAR!!! Sadly, it was gone before we recovered from our shock and tried to take pictures. Darn... Oh well...

Well, we get to the parking lot for the big tree, and we realize that the 100 meters to the tree is not flat. In fact, it seems to be on a 75 degree incline... Well,we finally get there, and we sit around for the last bit of the ranger's speech. Sadly, we missed mos of it... This is when we really get to see the size of it. Even the "foot print" of the tree didn't show us how big it is, but it is HUGE! The pictures don't do it justice, it's that big! Anyway, the ranger finishes, and we move on. We do the congress trail, which has groves of trees that they named The Senate, House, Pres, but no Supreme Court, which I call the Justice league...

We finish that trip, and we go to the visitor center. I get a sweatshirt and an ice cream. Then we head to the museum. There, we look around for a while and decide to not take the four hour hike, seeing as we were all tired of the first one, and we were high up. We go back to the camp site and everyone but me takes a nice little nap. I gather fire wood and make a huge "log cabin" style fire. Well, I don't light it yet, because it isn't in the fire pit, but on a cleared sandy area. Mom wakes up, and yells at me for putting it there, she things the sand will catch on fore or something. By that time, everyone else is woken up, and Mom tells me, "If you want the fire there, go ask the ranger to say if it is okay or not." So, Frank and I head out to ask the ranger, but halfway we decide that well just move it into the fire pit. When wee get back though, mom had started another fire! You have no idea how much that pissed me off... We put it out and Frank and I build a smaller fire to make the hot dogs on. We fry the hot dogs and eat them. They tasted REALLY good. After that, I light the fire in the fire pit, and made it HUGE. During the course of all that, we did see a lot of fearless dear wandering about. One came within 15 of us to graze! We made smores, but sadly, one of my marshmallows fell apart.

After the marshmallows, were almost gone, I made a stick figure out of kindling, and put a marshmallow on top. I ate the marshmallow afterwards, of course.

After it got dark, Frank and I threw on all the wood and made a HUGE fire, we let it burn out after. Not after putting "Old faithful" (My "poking" stick) into the fire. To make sure that the fire didn't flare up again when it was ashes, I stayed out for a little bit. Or so they though. I took out my sleeping bag and slept next to the warm ashes. Middle in the night, someone was shouting, "Eliza, A BEAR! COME OUT ELIZA, LOOK AT THE BEAR!!!" They were rather annoying... Then I fell asleep.

Mark EATM!!!
Mark (July 14, 2007)

Last modified: July 24, 2007 at 22:47:41

So, today is MY day. The Premier Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College. The college that I'm going to go to. So, today is my day to explore. And, guess what! I'm exited as all h**l!

It really is "America's Teaching Zoo."

Well, We get there about a half hour early, so we wait. And wait. And guess what! You can hear a B-day party going on inside, so you get to learn a few interesting facts. IE: The kid who's B-day it is is named Timmy.

We FINALLY get into the zoo, and the first thing we do, is watch the ending of the program that was showing. Yay Baboons!

Next, while we wait for the 12:00 show, we explore the zoo. We see bald eagles, lions and tigers and mountain lions, and golden eagles, and water buffalo, camels, monkeys, birds, you name it! It was AMAZING! I less then threed it! (<3ed)

The monkey cage was really fun, one of them was giving us a show, trying to show off. VERY funny! Sadly, you can't smile, 'cause the monkeys think that's aggression... Ah well... Sadly, we couldn't go into the monkeys farther then this cage, because some monkeys were having hierarchy issues... Who would have thunk... The monkeys really were fun to see. I even got to ask a student what it was like at EATM. They said it was REALLY hard, almost as hard as getting a doctorates degree! Ah! Thankfully, you no longer have to be at work feeding the animals at 5:30 in the morning... Hm... Time for more monkey pictures! well... one more... Okay, I lied, two more. But one of them isn't the same monkey. Can you guess which?!

That's right! third one! (In the row, fourth for all the monkey pictures...) There was also a dog in one of the monkey cages... Hm... Identity crisis ya thing?

Well, after the exiting show from the monkeys, we went to go see the REAL tortoises! Well, tortoise... All we saw it do was eat... but what ever... ANYWAY, Frank, being Frank, decides to take some lemons, which I think we still have... But now, guess what! It is time for the scheduled show! Yay! I'll list the animals we saw in this one in order. Goat, tortoise, dog, Madagascar hissing cockroach, red tailed hawk, and a golden eagle. I thing the most impressive was the Red-tailed hawk, but the funniest was the cockroach... The trainer actually managed to drop it right in front of Mom! She (Mom) was scared out of her mind!

Please, there are WAY to many pictures to go through and post here, so I urge you to go and look at them. I'll post the picture that can link you to the first one. The fist picture is of the start of the EATM day, then next at the 12:00 show. The third of the one a clock show, for a heads up. Capice?

Mom and Frank head off to get us all SubWay, seeing as it is after noon, lunch time! and Dad and I walk around the zoo again. This time, we stop at one of the parrots. The trainer was training this one! It can do a karate kick, turn around, and MAN Y other things! When the trainer had to leave, I tried to get it to do something, by saying the verbal commands and making the gestures. But, alas, to no avail... Well, that's not true, when we were about to leave, it said "Herro!" It was rather funny...

We head back to the monkeys, but they are tired I guess, they don't perform again... We do stop to ask a trainer where Taj, the Bengal Tiger was. That was the animal that I want to train when I get there, and still is. Well, maybe one of the servels, or baboons now... He said that Taj's cage was behind the mountains lion's cage. I might have seen a glimpse of him, but I can't be sure... We head back just in time to see Mom and Frank come back, with FOOD! They managed to mess up my order though... They forgot it or something... So all I had was bread, chicken, and mustered, and a small soda, with a bag of chips... ANYWAY, across the path/road, we see two trainers talking with a gray parrot, so I go over to watch and ask questions. Very informative.

It is one a clock! Time for the one a clock show! Yaaaay! Again, I'll give you the animals in order. Flying squirrel of sorts, skunk, golden eagle, and servel. I'd have to say, the servel was both the coolest, and the most impressive. I mean, it was just AMAZING! you'd have to see the pictures to see how pretty the animal really is, but I have to say, he was PRETTY. (Yes, the reason I have not yet said beautiful [ other then that] is because I'm to lazy to figure out how to spell it...)

After the servel made it's astounding performance, sadly, it was time to go... We had to leave in time to make it to Sequoia Nat'l Park. For good reason too! I was 28 miles away!!! Dorst Creek! Hm... Dorst in Dutch means thirst... Hm... ANYWAY, on the way, we see a sign that say "Watch for wildlife" Well, at the time I thought, "Okay... I will...", but I can't wait to tell you what happened the next day! We set off, and are set back. We come to a 20 minute stop light... Greaaaaaaat... Well, I decide that it's no use to wait that long, so I start out along the road. I had hoped to see some wildlife, but to no avail... Mom, Dad, and Frank catch up, and Frank is astounded at how far I walked in 15 minutes! What ever...

We get to the campsite sing in area and the ranger gave us the "bear speech". Pretty entertaining... We get to the actual campsite and Mom starts making pancakes. Frank and I go and get firewood. Well, chop it off a fallen tree anyway... With a borrowed axe. Frank and I start a fire and Mom gets POed. at us because she was standing in the smoke. Not like we could help it!

The picture on the left shows how close Mom is to the fire... We watch the fire for a bit, then put it out with sand. We wanted to make a fire tomorrow night as well, so no need to make it a mud pit. We get into out sleeping and off to dreamland! Good night!

Henk Smits wrote on July 25, 2007 at 5:47:04:

Jha, making a fire is labour, jou have to find some wood and it must be dry, because wet wood wont going a fire. Het goed maken van een houtvuur is een kunstje dat je alleen kunt leren door het te doen, je moet klein beginnen en het moet makkelijk ontvlambaar zijn, droog mos of droge bladeren volstaan voor het aansteek vuur, ook houtschilvers doen het goed, en pas als het goed brand gaat het groter hout op het vuur. Zo nu kun je zonder papier een vuur aanleggen, dan ben je niet afhankelijk van news papers. Groetjes van Oma en mij.

Mark EIK! FRIDAY THE 13TH!!!
Mark (July 13, 2007)

Last modified: July 24, 2007 at 15:09:18

Hm, well, today didn't start off very well at all... At 5:45 in the morning, I get riped out of bed. Do you know why? We need to race Frank to Los Angeles... Us being in a car, Frank in a plane. Lucky us, Frank has to fly to Seattle first. Hm, gives us a head start. We drop Frank off at the Airport and head off. I moved EVERYTHING to the back seat, so the middle bench had ALL the leg room. I actually could take a nap before lunch. We eat lunch at a Jack-in-the-Box, for reasons still unbeknownst to me... You should see the place mats they have at Jack-In-The-boxes all over, they are funny... We head off back to LA and after a short while, actually got there! We take a detour, being3 hours early. We head off to Beverly Hills. I really wanted to see the PD, since I was watching Beverly Hills Cop I-III on the way, but alas, no luck. I did get to see Rodeo Street, Sunset Street, and others. I even got to see the Hollywood sign! Well, from REALLY far away... ANYWAY, we get to LAX with plenty of time to spare, we even think that we saw Frank's plane arrive, but no, different plane, same time of arrival, same brand (Alaska Air)... What ever... ANYWAY, we get Frank from LAX and head up north. In Monte Carlo, we stop to go to the beach. First ever time seeing the Pacific Ocean! And touching it too! Yay!! We go straight through the mountains there, and go eat dinner at a weird smelling Oriental food place... Sad thing is, I forgot my hat there... and we were already 30 minutes away when I remembered... We get to a Motel 6 I think and crash. I guess superstitions really aren't real... Good night!

Mark Pres. Hover... But not really...
Mark (July 12, 2007)

Last modified: July 24, 2007 at 14:37:33

Well, the Hover Dam is interesting, but everyone one here should know by now that I'm not into that stuff. So, I'll let Mom explain that part. She can give it more justice then I can anyway... ANYWAY, after we get back from the Hover Dam, we didn't do to much... Well, Frank and I didn't... We went to the pool while Mom and Dad stayed up in the room. So, after Frank left, I got bored and left as well. This was say, 5:15. Neither Frank nor I wanted to go explore anymore, so we begged Mom and Dad to have their nice little "Parents Night Away From The Annoying Kids." Not really much to say... We go get a pizza for Frank and I and some soda. We get back, we get settled, and then Mom and Dad leave to go explore Vegas. I don't know where they go and why they went there, but what ever... Frank and I stay in the room and watch TV and use the internet. Hm... Now that it comes to that, when was the last time I checked my email... 5 days ago? 6? 7?! At around 10, Mom and Dad come home and we all go to dreamland. Yay!!

Mark VEGASSSSSSSSS
Mark (July 11, 2007)

Last modified: July 24, 2007 at 14:12:46

Hm, as the title MIGHT say, we come to Las Vegas today! I'm not going to talk about the boring stuff, meaning, no talking about the car ride. Luck you guys! I'm going to start right t entering Nevada. WE SAW OUR FIRST CACTUS THEREEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even if Cacti don't entertain you as much, I felt really good finally seeing one. I don't know what they are called, but what ever... What I'm going to be typing about is about 5:00 and later. I won't be saying how Frank and I got a hotel near the airport and how we jumped in the pool as soon as we got there, or how we had a diving contest in 6 feet of water, or how we all pilled into the car and drove off to the strip. So, now that I'm done NOT saying that, we can get on to what I was going to say.

What would that be you ask? Well, a simple answer my friend is what you want, correct? Okay, the answer, to everything, including life and the universe, is... FORTY-TWO. Forty-two?! May it be possible that you know not the question? I will help you make a computer greater then myself, one thats merest operating parameters I am not even worthy to calculate! *10 million years later* The question is... .... .... ... What do you get, when you multiply nine by six? How is that 42 you may ask? Well, go through all the bases, starting at base 11, and tell me what base this question is in. I'll give you a hint. It's not base 7.

ANYWAY, no more Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy quotes, on to what else I need to do. Meaning, type more of this.

We head off to the strip, and the first thing I notice is that there are A LOT of limos... I mean, they are EVERYWHERE, it's crawling with them! We drive up the strip, and start heading back down. I just want to say, there are LOTS of wedding chapels! There is even a drive through wedding chapel! Amazing... I finally get the AT&T commercial about the two kids going to Vegas, and the Mom worrying that they will get married... Funny... ANYWAY, We drive back and Frank and I want to go up into the Stratosphere and have a BALL!!! The building itself is 1000 feet up and windy. Frank and I want to do the rides, so we convince Mom and Dad, and they agree! I guess that they feel bad about us being in Vegas and not being able to do ANYTHING, seeing as we are not yet 21... *crys* But don't you worry, the rides were AMAZINGly fun!

The first one we did was called X-Scream, and what it does is: It puts you into a car and drops you down the ramp until the end, giving you the feeling that you are about to fall off, the it jolts, scaring the bahjesus out of you. Then it does it again. And a third time. Then it does some other weird stuff to scare you. Tell the truth, it work! My mom had a heart attack! Might I add that you are 1000 feet off the ground?

The next ride that we did was called Insanity. You sit in a 2 person car and get moved out over the building. You then start rapidly spinning. Makes you dizzy AND scared.

After that we walked back down the tower and out through the casino. I wanted to gamble in Vegas, so I asked my Mom and Dad to do so. We won a $.25 coupon! Lucky us! It only cost us a dollar! And guess what! It was only redeemable at that casino! Surprise!

After that, we go down to Fremont Street. The old Strip. And what a Strip it is. Incredible! Amazing! Just a few words to describe it... ANYWAY, we head down Fremont Street and see a few live performers. One of them was making paintings in 10 minutes! Not impressed? Well, he was using spray paint! They really looked incredible.

At around 10 PM, the light show started. That where they turn off ALL the lights and the roof becomes a show all by itself. It's never the same, yet ALWAYS awesome.

After the light show, we head down back to the hotel and crash. And burn. Well, we fall asleep quickly...

Henk Smits wrote on July 24, 2007 at 5:55:55:

Hi Mark,its the same whit jour brother, imiss some dats out of jour diary, but not so many as out of Franks diary, do jou write them in the future. Opa Smits

Mark Canyons...
Mark (July 8, 2007)

Last modified: July 18, 2007 at 18:50:06

Well, I wake up to the stressing sound of stressed parents stressing... Not a fun sound to wake up to... Ah well, what's in store for me today MORE then makes up for it... Today we are going to hike in Bryce Canyon Nat'l Park. The shuttle arrives at 9:00 pacific time. Or maybe it's mountain time? ARGH! So many time zones... So hard to keep track... So hard to keep off ADD attacks... ANYWAY, we get on the bus, and head out to Bryce Canyon. We hike for MILES in the canyon, and get really tired. We go up, then down, then up, then down, ect... Kinda like a yo-yo... Well, after that, we go back to the lodge and I get ready for the afternoon. I'm going on a bear hunt! Just kidding, it was a joke, for mom... I'm going on a horse trail! With real horses! Wahwoo! (Inside joke...) I leave the lodge and head out for the trail. Hm, 20 minute ride, but very scenic. My horse is named Dandy, and is very nice. We hike along the trail for a few hours and we encounter a cowboy's roller coaster, where the horse goes down a bit then back up a bit in a half pipe like fashion. It makes the ponies go fast... ^.^ we head back along the same trail, and I get driven back by someone who I doubt is even 14... What ever... On the way back I talk to another Dutch person, in Dutch. I get back to the Inn and Frank and I go to the pool for a while. Nice and chilly after 105 degree heat...

Mark Humph to Waoo!
Mark (July 7, 2007)

Last modified: July 13, 2007 at 12:29:53

Humph, I wake up tired and grumpy, NOT a good night sleep. We wake up at Powell lake where we get ready to go. I takes us around a half hour to get ready,but soon we head out. We decide to not take the ferry out for reasons unbeknownst to me... Not like I really care though, I'm chillin' there watching Pirates of the Caribbean II in the back. Well, I miss most of the ride and by the time we get to Bryce Canyon, I'm still watching the movie. Or, rather, the bonus features of the movie. Including the directors commentary... ANYWAY, I'm sure this doesn't interest you, so new subject now. We get to Bryce, and of course, Frank and I want to go swimming, and they have a pool! AND a hot tub! Wahwoo! (Inside joke... =D) We jump into the pool and swim for a bit. For dinner we head out to a fast food joint (=D” [Yes, inside joke again...]) where we all order there same thing... Bacon cheese burger and a medium soda. After that, we head back to the room. Well, Mom and Dad do, Frank and I go to the pool again. ^.^ We come back and go to sleep. Not much more... GOOD NIGHT AMIGOS!

Mark Gooseneck SP
Mark (July 6, 2007)

Last modified: July 11, 2007 at 14:26:26

We leave MesA Verde (I put the "A" noticeable just for Mommy...=D) and head out. Darn, I really like it there, great scenery! Supposedly, we are to get to Gooseneck SP today... I really do love the scenery... It's just PRETTY! ANYWAY, we head out along the 20 mile, winding road that we went up to get back to the interstate. After hours of driving, we finnaly make it to the Vally of the Gods. I have to say, Dad made a GOOD choice in making us go there, it was INCREDIBLE! If you want, which you do, I'll show you the pictures!

Hm... In one of the picture you can see a hand and a phallus... Subliminal messages much... If you don't know what a phallus is, go to wwww.dictionary.con

We leave the Gods (thank God... ^.^ [Just for Dad] =D ) and head for Goosenecks SP, which, might I add, is just a flat plateau with a hole in the ground for a bathroom... We chill there just about the rest of the day while foreigners come and go one by one... We met other Dutch peeps too! We stay there until we mutually decide that stay there is a bad idea. We had not yet set up our tents, so packing wasn't hard. Do you know why we left? 'Cause there was a storm abroin' and, when you are out on a plateau, you don't want lightning, seeing as you are the tallest thing there... We left and we were heading out on a road that was just c-r-a-z-y! 15 degree incline, narrow road, switchbacks, falling rock, gravel, raining, and no guard rails! It can't get much worse then that!

After the road, we decided to head to Lake Powell, seeing as we were ALL tired, grumpy, pissed, annoyed, and wanted to go to sleep... Dad, being Dad, was worried that we hadn't payed yet, but we were gonna tomorrow. We went to the camp site. Frank and I opted to sleep in the car, while Mom and Dad put up their tent. It sucked. I didn't sleep that well that night at all. Oh well, there are 55 more that I could sleep better...

Andrew Cheng wrote on July 14, 2007 at 23:20:45:

the word you're looking for is abrewin'

Mark Mesa Verde
Mark (July 5, 2007)

Last modified: July 9, 2007 at 11:30:23

The four corners were pretty cool, but the best part was probably seeing a kid fall of a rope he was sitting on and break his head open... Meh, it was kinda funny, served him right... After that, we moved on to Mes Verde, Table Green. It was PRETTY! We saw the cliff palace, and we had to climb 100 feet straight up, which was REALLY fun! For dinner, we went to the buffet. Out the window, we saw a coyote! I've never seen one of those before! Save in zoos... After dinner, we went to the lodge, and behind our balcony, we saw deer! They were about twenty feet away, just chillin' there! Well, after that, we crash... And burn... Sleepy, sleepy, sleep...

Nicoline Smits wrote on July 11, 2007 at 0:30:29:

Oooh, Mark made a typo! It's Mesa Verde, not Mes Verde!

Mark Grivel wrote on July 11, 2007 at 13:32:33:

...

Mark The 4th baybuh!
Mark (July 4, 2007)

Last modified: July 9, 2007 at 11:21:02

Ahh.. I wake up to see a note on the table, It said that Mom and Dad went back to the Painted Dessert and were gonna go shopping. The left us a $5 to get the pancake breakfast. The pancakes WERE good, and after that, we went, well, I went to the pool. Frank stayed and chilled at the room. Mom and Dad Came back to tell us that they were gonna go again, and that one of us had to stay at the cabin. I went back to the pool to chill, while Frank worked with the laptop. They came back and Frank joined me, we went to play on the spinny thingy again. We were joined by two other kids and kept spinning. We spent the entire day lazing around in the pool and other places. Dinner we had hot dawgz and for a snack, we had chips and soda. I didn't see any fire works, well... I saw two, but not a show, I didn't really go to watch... Ah well, there's always next year... At 10:30 we go to sleep. Of to dream land!

Frank Grivel wrote on July 9, 2007 at 11:47:44:

Ooooh.... Markie make a typo... "Of" needs to be "Off" :)

Hermano Minor, what is you doin'? (Yes, inside joke)

Mark Grivel wrote on July 11, 2007 at 13:39:00:

I dunno! What was I doin'? Waoo! (Yes, still the inside joke...)

Andrew Cheng wrote on July 14, 2007 at 23:13:01:

mark!!!!! next year come to my house,well if im at my dads house tht is...this year we did a fireworks show IN THE RAIN!!! it was SOOO COOL!! we made the rain change colors!!! :):):)

Mark VLA
Mark (July 3, 2007)

Last modified: July 9, 2007 at 11:07:44

The Very Large Array is, dare I say it, properly named... It is LARGE We get there and a sign tells us to turn off our electronics... Darn... Ah well... We get there and I see a little movie introducing it all. We walk around the gift shop and info place while dad buys a tee-shirt. It's rather funny one too! Something about the big bang... Hm... I'll just post a picture of it... Ah! I got what it says: "The universe exploded out of nothingness 14 billion years ago. All I got was 100 trillion interconnected cells, a self-aware consciousness, and this lousy T-shirt!"

While Dad and Frank explore the VLA site, Mom and I wonder what's wrong with a bird that can't fly away. I'm sure there is something wrong with it, I can pet it! I find a stick to pick it up with and Mom spots two nests! Which one do I put it in? Well, I try the first one, and it doesn't want to go in. I think, must be the wrong nest... Mom notices another bird in the second nest, so I am a little scared to put it in the other one, in case the birds start fighting... Well, I try and it seems that the birds are BOTH happy, the one I picked up walks into the nest and starts cuddling the other bird! How sweet! We leave VLA and head to the Painted Dessert and Petrified Wood thingies...

One word: sucky... It was BORING! It just did NOT entertain me... It was WAY to hot as well... Well, after 19 hours of that, we continue to Holbrook. We enter the camp sites that we rented for two nights and Frank and I go to the pool. It's a nice pool. We get out and play on the spinny thingy with some other kids and get DIZZY! Weeeeeeeeeee! Well, I fall off after a bit and get a HUGE boo-boo... *crys* After that, at around 10 PM we turn in. Good Night!

Mark The pictures-caverns
Mark (July 2, 2007)

Last modified: July 3, 2007 at 10:44:33

Mark Dad, can you...
Mark (July 3, 2007)

Last modified: July 3, 2007 at 10:26:30

Hey dad, can you make this picture my picture for the site? I really like it! ^.^ The numbers are: 20070630-171340 Thanks SO much! Meh, I just think that this is a good picture of me! ^.^ Again, thanks!

Eric Grivel wrote on July 3, 2007 at 22:48:04:

I did, but I'm not sure if it is much good...

Marijke de Zwart-Nes wrote on July 4, 2007 at 13:25:22:

Hoi hoi,

Wie is nou wie?? Sorry, geintje!! Wat ik me afvraag, vervelen die lange autoritten niet? Naar nederlandse begrippen is het aantal kilometers, die jullie rijden, ontzettend veel. Trouwens, wat een ontzettend mooie foto's van de grotten. Echt waanzinnig. Zie weer uit naar de volgende up-date van het reisdagboek. Liefs, Marijke

Eric Grivel wrote on July 5, 2007 at 13:07:49:

Hi Marijke, thanks for your comments and compliments on my photos. It's perfectly OK for you to write in Dutch; we still speak it at home so all four of us can read it. I hope you don't mind me answering in English, though?

You ask about the distances we drive. Yes, we do get tired for driving after a while, which is partly why we had a "rest day" yesterday (July 4th). At some point you just don't want to spend a whole day in the car. But you have to realize that driving in the U.S. is not comparable to driving in Holland. It's a huge country with enormous distances; people are used to driving far. Driving is much less stressful than in Europe. In Holland, driving from Delft to Enkhuizen (something like 100, 120 kilometers) is tiresome; driving 200 miles here (300 kilometers) is a breeze. Of course, it helps that both my wife and I enjoy driving. And, the scenery changes all the time, it is amazing how varied this country is.

Andrew Cheng wrote on July 11, 2007 at 23:02:19:

pretty pictures!!! i really like them! :) btw mark heres somethign for your enjoyment well quite a few somethings! :-p

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXbgSMT-0j4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYxu_MQSTTY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGrTvNzGCZE&mode=related&search=

yea thts some funny stuff tht should have u chuckling!

Mark Grivel wrote on July 13, 2007 at 10:45:51:

Just an FYI, I don't get internet access on the road... Only when I'm at a hotel with a pool and a TV and the whole shizam do I get the chance to read and watch this stuff... Thanks for the funnies though! ^.^

Mark Hm, gotta catch up...
Mark (July 2, 2007)

Last modified: July 9, 2007 at 10:37:03

Well, it's been a few days since my last post, so I better get typing! Hm... Where did I leave off? Oh yea!

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After the half day driving in Texas, we see the Gulf. Well, we minus Frank... I decide to let him see it, so I ask if we can stop. We do, and Frank and I run across the road in a suicidal manner and walk through the pointy thorns to get to the gulf. In flip-flops... YOUCHIES! They give poor little Mark boo-boos... Ah well... We get to the gulf and walk in. We decide to get our swimming trunks and take a dip. Mom and Dad agree with us and come in. The water is GREAT, the waves are nice and big too! PERFECT! After that we get back in the car and head off. We drive until we get to a pizza place and eat. I had Tortellini... ANYWAY, we keep driving until we get to a ferry. We drive across. I got wet... Wee water! We find a motel, which, sadly, only had one smoking room left... it smelled like SHIT! Pardon my French... -_-

We wake up, SURPRISE! Like thats never happened before... Right... [/sarcasm] We take some muffins and head out. We drive, drive, drive, and keep driving until we get to Johnson City. There we go see the Johnson's house. After that we go an Exotic Zoo. That was FUN! We got on a tractor and drove around. All the animals were in the open, only a fence keeping them in. We drove until we got to a very sweet camel. In fact three camels, two bison, hundreds of deer of all kinds, emus, ostriches, elk, and other assorted birds and what not. We got to feed them. I REALLY enjoyed the ostrich, but Mom and Frank didn't... Who would have thought? ANYWAY, after that we went to Pedernales State Park. That was for dreamland. But first we needed to set up the tents. After that we all do our separate things. I go and explore the nature trail, VERY pretty. After I come back, I ask Frank and Dad to come with me to the river. Frank comes for a bit, then leaves. Dad and I go on and take a few pictures. We then head back and return to the camp. Dad and I go back to the nature trail, I wanted to show the outlook to him. It was very pretty, overlooking two waterfalls and a bunch of plants. It was dark by the time we got there, so Dad didn't see very much. Ah well. I had to lead him back though. We didn't actually follow the path (don't tell him that =D) and walked through the underbrush. It was quicker. Ah well... We go back and go to sleep. Not much to say there...

We wake up and think "OH CRAP! MY ALARM DIDN'T GO OFF!" We rush to get everything done and head out. On the way out, we see a very cute nine-banded armadillo. I've never seen one of those in my life before! Unfortunately, we couldn't get any pictures of the armadillo, but take our word for it please. We continue heading out and we start driving. We drive for at least 400 miles before we get to Carlsbad, where the caves are. To get there in time to explore the caves, we must be there by 3:30. 4:30 is when we arrive. Everyone, including Frank, wanted to see the caves. But wait! Isn't there a time zone! Didn't we go from central time to mountain time?! YES we did! So it's really 3:30! We can take the tour! YAY! We go down into the cave, 80 stories under, and Dad takes pictures. At times, it was pitch dark. The only reason Dad's pictures show up is because of his tri-pod. He can let the shudder stay open for 1.5 seconds. I'll show you the pictures in another post. Be patience please... Thanks! ANYWAY, the caverns are PRETTY!!I mean, they are just AMAZING And when we left again, to bring Mom and Frank to the RV and Cabin park we rented, Dad and I drove back. We both REALLY wanted to see the bat flight. Did you know that Mexican Tailed Bats are the size of your thumb? And that they can eat their body weight EVERY night? And do? And that there are 300,000 bats in the cave. That's the weight of your thumb x 300,000 = the amount of bugs the bats eat A DAY! And you thought bats were bad... ANYWAY, we watched them all swirl out of the cave, and what a site it was! I have never head a crowd of 100 people be SO quiet, as to not disturb the bats. A few bats even flew straight over the crowd doing aerobatics. One even flew over my head by about an inch, SO CLOSE! Sadly, to not disturb the bats, no electronics were allowed. Nor cameras. Not like good pictures could be taken anyway... But oh well! After the flight, we drove back to the RV park that we were staying at and had dinner. At 9:00 PM, 11:00PM eastern. I played a little bit with the camp cat, she was VERY sweet, and turned in. Sadly, I couldn't check my email before the night. I faded off to dreamland in the top bunk of the bunk bed, Frank asleep below me.

I roll out of bed at around 8:30. Well, not roll, that would hurt... I'm lying awake on the top bunk of the bed and wonder how to get down without waking Frank up, who is sleeping below me. I get out and eat breakfast of two sandwiches. I go and brush my teeth and come back. Frank is up now and I see if he wants to come with me to the game room. He says yes and we head off. We do make a pit stop in the petting zoo first. ANYWAY, we continue to the game room, and I challenge Frank to a game of ping pong. SURPRISE! I pwned him (beat him). After that we play at the basketball hoop thing. The thing that stops the balls from going down after the persons credits are over is broken, so Frank lifts it up and we take turns making, and missing, shots. We have a game, well, not really a game. We each get 100 shots, and we see who gets the most. Frank gets: 27/100, I get, drum roll please, 49/100!!! I win by a staggering... Hm... Oh, screw it, you do the math... Wait! I got it! By a staggering 22 baskets! Yay me! Mom calls me and tells me that it's time to go. We pile into the car and drive. And keep driving... We stop in the middle of nowhere at a hotel with a POOL!!! Frank and I immediately wanted to jump in, and this time, WE COULD! We leap into the pool and swim around. We decide to go across the street to the Wal Mart to get some goggles, but they sucked... what ever, they were only one dollar...

Mark Day Seven - To Houston
Mark (June 29, 2007)

Last modified: June 29, 2007 at 16:10:07

Is it 8:30 or 9:30? Dunno, it doesn't make it easier that we went across a time zone, so here it's 8:30 and home it's 9:30... Well... Not much happened as of yet. Yet being 4:02PM Central time... We left the hotel and drove. Did I mention that we drove? Oh yea, we drove. And guess what! We're STILL driving... We stopped for lunch in Eunice and that's 'bout it. We did go see a small Music Hall of Fame. Meh, not much to see. We had lunch at Nick's. Still not much to do. They take their time with foreigners... Some locals got to the restaurant after us, go their food and FINISH it before us! They PAID before we GOT our food... Yea, screw you too Nick's! Well, we left again. Not much to say... We're driving again. We also JUST drove over a TALL bridge. Hm... No tengo mas ideas. Meaning: I don't have any more ideas. What to write...? How 'bout... NOTHING! I'll write some more on a more interesting day guys! Cya then!

Nicoline Smits wrote on July 1, 2007 at 11:46:59:

Well, at least "Nick's" gave you an idea of what it feels like to be discriminated against.... I agree with you, though. Let's hope it was just a slow waitress and not something they do on purpose.

Andrew Cheng wrote on July 2, 2007 at 18:02:54:

haha you seem bored... poor you! What mean people at Nick's! hmph you should sue! errrrm how would i include a video i want to send to you to pass your time?

Mark Grivel wrote on July 4, 2007 at 18:50:06:

Hmmm... Email? Or include the YouTube Link?

Mark Day Six
Mark (June 28, 2007)

Last modified: July 2, 2007 at 18:26:01

I get out of bed at 8:30. Mom says that we have to go down to the French Market to eat breakfast, while I here am starving. How cruel. We walk for 20-30 minutes and get there. When we arrive, I see why Mom told us to walk here. We had a kind of French Dough nuts, delicious. They really were good. Way to much powdery crap on top though.

After breakfast, I feel regenerated so we again start walking down the street. We the "Jazz National Park" So we head in and learn that there will be a presentation at 3:00 today. We all agree to make the time to come and see. Afterwards, we head out to the ferry and see if we can get across to the other side of the Mississippi to see the Mardi Gras Thingy. While waiting for the ferry, Dad and I make some funny faces to pass the time:

Turns out, after a 10 minute walk in the 95 degree day with 85% humidity, that it was far to expensive to take the tour of all the floats they had. $17 each is to expensive I guess... Whatever... We walk back to the ferry and return to the French Quarter.

We walk through a mall; the "RIVER WALK". I eat a slice of pizza along with Frank, and we head out again. We walk for about 15-20 minutes and end up at the WWII Museum. I meet a VERY cool person there. He is a WWII vet. He was one of the people that steered the landing boats on D-Day. The only reason he's alive is because of Andrew Higgen. His museum we will see in Nebraska.

After the WWII Museum, we went to the Jazz thingy. I didn't think to much of it, but what ever, I'll live. It wasn't really jazz, it was Creole or something like that. I clapped when I was supposed to to, but what ever. I'll live if I don't like one thing this trip. If I didn't, I'd be dead in Atlanta... Ah well...

After that, we all went back to the hotel. Only with a short stop to get the tee shirt that I saw yesterday. If ya' wanna know what it says, go look in yesterday's post. ^.^ We got back to the hotel and Frank and I played in the pool. Hehe... We went back to the room and watched "The Sixth Sense". What a good movie. Gosh Mom snores... Well, that is after she came back from her and Dad's night off. They went into the city to do god knows what. Well...

That's about it for today, thanks for reading!

Mark Notin' new
Mark (June 27, 2007)

Last modified: June 29, 2007 at 17:04:10

Well, first off, I'm not going to do an entry for the whole day, just the afternoon/ evening.

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We are busy driving across a lake. Why? 'Cause it's 26 miles of coolness. What lake is it? Ponchatrain. Well, something like that. So, we're driving across this huge lake when a huge typhoon hits, we get swept off the bridge. Thankfully, we are able to swim to New Orleans. Well, that Louisiana for ya. Well... Not really... That's a lie. Everything is fake. Well... That's a lie too... Driving across the lake is true. And it is 26 miles long.

Mkay...

We get to New Orleans and TRY to find our hotel. I won't go into the details, but street names are not common here... Nor are signs in general. We find the hotel, unpack, and all that jazz... Haha pun, get it? all that JAZZ; the Mississippi is where jazz was created... Yea..? Ringing a bell?

ANYWAY

We leave the hotel and head to Bourbon Street, the MOST sinful place on earth. They have porn HANGING OUT THE WINDOW, "Big Ass Beers" being sold in every story, and Tee-shirts that say "Fuck milk, got weed?" I got one that said: "I got Bourbon faced on Shit Street"... So, we go eat at a restaurant that had musical instruments as lamps. We leave the restaurant and head back to the hotel, on the way, we see a group of people preforming. It really was rather good. We left and I found the cheapest shop that sold the shirt I wanted, only $13! We go back to the hotel and go to sleep... Ah, sleep.

Mark Day four - Down the Mississippi
Mark (June 26, 2007)

Last modified: June 26, 2007 at 17:18:18

Why am I laying on the ground? Next to a sleeping bag and an inflatable mattress? Oh yea! I've been camping! I wake up to find that everyone else is already busy doing what they need to do. I am startled to find my Mom taking the rain shield off. When you just wake up to your roof being ripped off, you would be startled too! I promise that. We are at the Holly Springs National Forest, in the Chewalla Campgrounds. I get out of bed, and the first thing I notice is that I didn't get very many bug bites! Maybe one or two, but thats it! The next thing I notice is the Stray dog noising about, I still say he is VERY cute! I get out of my tent and have breakfast. Two bagels and a chocolate bar that I got as a gift exactly one week ago. I miss the Y... Ah well, I'll live. I'll come and visit! The dog is under the table in the picture to the right I believe.

After breakfast, Frank and I go down, with the dog, to the playground. Mom doesn't like dogs, so she told me to bring him. This is when I make the leash. It's very useful! Frank and I sea-saw while the dog lays near-by. Mom and Dad go and take a dip in the water.

I roll up my tent, and clean my stuff up. Mom assigns me to fill up all of the water-bottles. We meet a really nice woman named Trish. I have a conversation with her while filling up the water bottles. Frank came back from taking a shower and told me that the Game Warden was here. The Game Warden was supposed to take the dog to the pound. I took the liberty to take the dog by his leash I made and walked him up. He left immediately. I think that is what made me not miss the dog so much, I know that he is in a good place that people will love him. It actually made me happy to see him go.

We were soon on our way, driving on State Route 4. It was very scenic according to my parents. I was laying in the back dosing. There was nothing else to do anyway. We arrived at where ever we were headed at around noon.

We then went to the Delta Blues Museum. After that, we took our time getting to the Quiznos near there. We took the Subs we got, Honey Mustard Chicken for me, and went to the laundromat. This is the first time that we have gone to one of those on this trip. We leave the laundromat and head south. We continue driving and driving. Yet we still are driving. A short shower doesn't stop us either, we keep driving. We do take a short stop to view some cacti. They were VERY tall. Almost as tall as Frank. We are now driving on SR 1. I come to the end of my story as I am now typing what is happening. Not much of importance anyway.

More pictures coming soon, my Dad is driving, so he can't upload his pictures that he just took quite yet.

~

Mark

Anita Dekker wrote on June 28, 2007 at 5:09:06:

I am so jealous. That camping spot by the lake would be worth staying at. How did you come across that? Just by chance? It is so neat to read your trip diaries from three different perspectives. It makes me laugh to think you are all on the same trip, but you have atotally different perspective. And Mark, I stick to my previous comment, you are a natural writer. I reckon you must take after you mum. Good writing matey.

Nicoline Smits wrote on June 28, 2007 at 18:44:36:

We just decided to skip Memphis and try camping instead, and the park happened to be almost exactly on our route (well, it a detour of about 20 miles, but what the heck). Part of the fun of this trip that it's not the sort of pre-digested sort of road trip you sometime see tourists condemned to, you know, "If today is Tuesday, this must be Paris" or wherever they happen to be going. That's why we only made reservations for a few selected spots, so we'd be free to change plans.

Mark Grivel wrote on June 28, 2007 at 20:13:02:

Actually, I believe that Mom and Dad had tried to find a place like this. Thanks for the compliment! ^.^

smitha wrote on July 3, 2007 at 12:36:33:

Mark,

You write well. Liked reading all your entries. Have a great rest of the trip too.

Mark Grivel wrote on July 4, 2007 at 18:52:55:

Thanks!

Terrye Ashby wrote on July 5, 2007 at 18:05:16:

Eric - I hope you broke the news to your son about what really happens when dogs go to the pound. :( I'm really enjoying the blow by blow description of your trip. It sounds like a wonderful time. We can all live vicariously through you as most of us will never, ever have such an experience!

Frank Grivel wrote on July 31, 2007 at 12:13:41:

Mark knows, but the dog will at least get treatment and food. It might get lucky and even get an owner. Who knows. But, yes, Mark knows what happens.

Mark Grivel wrote on July 31, 2007 at 17:11:45:

Yes he does.

Mark Day three, On to Mephis
Mark (June 25, 2007)

Last modified: June 26, 2007 at 16:32:51

*Yawn* I wake up, this time I did sleep next to Frank. Not very pleasant, 'cause he smells. Anyway, I wake up, and have 3 bagels for breakfast. Yum, bagels. We head out. We are supposed to come to Memphis today, Thats far away, 7 hours of pure driving time... Well, we get in the car and start on our way. I sit in the back and watch Beverly Hills Cop III. We stop for lunch at the side of a road. We eat bread and a can of chocolate milk. Dad manages to step in some human crap. For snack after lunch we have a cantaloupe. Everyone loves cantaloupe!

We head out of Alabama with me in shotgun, I'm supposed to map read. Ah well, keeps me entertained, I love having conversations. We do notice some very interesting signs, where do we go now? We enter Mississippi and take pictures of the welcome sign.

The drive is boring, but I am the first one to hear that me might go camping in a national park in northern Mississippi. Holly Springs National Forest is what it was called. We camp in the Chewalla Camping Grounds. We meet a VERY sweet stray dog, he has no owner. We think that someone left him at the forest 'cause they didn't want him anymore. How could someone live with themselves know that they left their dog somewhere!? Anyway, I entertain the dog and he seems to love me. He even sleeps next to my tent at night! What a sweet dog! I even ended up making a leash for him! He always obeyed my commands and never went into the tents.

We leave to go to Oxford for dinner, Mom is in the mood for BBQ. On the road, we notice how VERY green it is in Mississippi! Oh, so green!

We find a very nice restaurant called the Rib Cage, in which the food was delicious! We even get complimentary cups! We go to a very nice private owned book store as well, if only we had that in Ellicott City! We have some very yummy home made ice cream, and head out.

It's time to go back home. Well, not home, but the campsite. I'm sure that kitty misses us by now, we have been gone for 3 days. We arrive at the campsite and basically go to sleep. We crossed a time zone, so we are one hour behind. It was 9:05 there, so 10:05 at home. We all go to sleep, and the stray dog comes and lies next to my tent, what a sweet dog!

I really do miss Kitty... I hope that she has become a little nicer to Ms. Bonie... We want her to know that she has not been abandoned, and that we still love her. But how can we tell her that in a way she can understand? Anything short of going home I will do.

~

Mark

Craig Cecil wrote on June 29, 2007 at 15:37:35:

OK, now the story of the stray dog really got to me, since I am a huge dog lover. Now, for some time I will be wondering about that dog :-(

Eric Grivel wrote on July 1, 2007 at 10:11:08:

Hi Craig. Yeah, even though I'm not too fond of dogs myself, I felt really sorry for the little thing. I have to warn you, though: Mississippi is not a state for you. We saw one dog wandering around after another. I'm assuming they were stray dogs, they were just wandering along the side of the roads. We never did figure out if this is something peculiar to Mississippi...

Mark Atlanta, Day Two- 21:19
Mark (June 24, 2007)

Last modified: June 26, 2007 at 11:35:15

I wake up in my sleeping bag on the floor of a hotel room. Frank is not a hygienically clean person, so I'd rather sleep on the floor then next to him... It's about 8:00 AM and a start ambling around, I'm not yet awake. After a few paces I begin to ask Mom what's for breakfast. She makes us cereal. Dry cereal, without milk, we don't have it. I also have a boiled egg. After breakfast, we start talking about what we want to see today. It's going to be upper 90s today, so we keep that in consideration. We settle on this: First we go to Martin Luther King house, then Atlanta Airport, then at last we go to the "Gone With The Wind" stuff. We get out of the hotel and head to the MLK house. We get there and walk around a little bit. Mom wants to go to the church, but thankfully, we talked her out of it. We head to the house and follow a tour. We aren't allowed to take photos inside, so I can't show you those.

We continue and go to the Freedom center, outside of which is the MLK and his wife's tomb. We stop to see the tomb and cool off a little with the water.

After we leave the MLK house, we head to Atlanta Int. This is for Frank, he really loves to see airplanes and what not. We, after some searching, get to the top of a garage where Frank and Dad go see some planes. Mom and I stay behind to watch the car and not have to listen to Frank.

Sadly to say, after we leave, we can't seem to find the "Gone with The Wind" Stuff. We try to find a guest services; impossible. The signs said to look in the mall. Wrong mall. We look in the other one only to find a sign that said: "Guest services relocated to" To where? We asked each other Nowhere. They removed guest services...

We do eventually find the things, but, guess what? They're closed! Poor Mom! This was the only reason she wanted to visit Atlanta! Awww... We head back to the hotel dismayed. We take a long swim in the pool, and get the shower fixed by a VERY nice plummer.

We all had a tiering day, so we fall asleep quickly. Goodnight!

~

Mark

Mark Day one-8:47 AM
Mark (June 23, 2007)

Last modified: June 23, 2007 at 9:32:33

My alarm goes off, it's 2:55 AM. The first thing that goes through my head: Oh my god oh my god! Today is the DAY! I get out of bed and I start waking up. At 2:57 I start gathering all of the trinkets that I couldn't pack yesterday of necessity. I get my phone and my watch and what not, and put them into a pile. My sleeping bag on the other hand, I could not yet pack, it needs to be rolled up first. I know how to roll one up thanks to my mom, who showed me a trick. That done, I sat at the end of the bed waiting for my mom to come into the room, signifying that the day has begun.

Mostly everything is packed so not much work is to be done. Frank goes downstairs to fiddle with his MP3 player and dad and I go pack the sleeping bags. Mom does what ever mom does in the morning, mainly make coffee and other things. She props the doors open with weight so that Kitty can't get stuck behind one of the doors. She gives Kitty food and sets the table. Dad and I put the sleeping bags into trash bags and put them in the overhead container. We zip it up and go inside. We had already put away the trinkets. We tell Frank to finish up while dad goes and drinks coffee. I go and play with the cat for one last time. She seems to really enjoy it. Frank comes upstairs in a bad mood, he can't get the MP3 player to work. It might have helped to get an MP3 player a little earlier then the day before the trip...

Dad, Frank, and I pile into the car and get comfortable. Tensions begin to rise as we wait for mom. Who knows what she's doing. Finally, mom comes to the door and dad tells her something, I don't know what. We pile in and the journey starts.

I try to get some shut-eye at the start of the trip. Not going to happen, but worth a try. I tell mom and dad, "Wake me up just before sunrise. I want to see it." They say okay and we continue heading down the streets. Just before our first rest stop is the Virgina Welcome Center on I-66, Frank wakes me up, I had been sleeping! "The sun is starting to rise." He said. We come to the visitor center and have a bagel. I just woke up, so naturally, food was welcome. We change places, Instead of: Me in the back, Frank in the middle, Dad driving, and Mom shotgun; It becomes: Me back, Mom middle, Dad driving and Frank shotgun. We barrel down the highway as Mom and I have a conversation. It was a meaningless one, just a time-filler.

We start heading down the road again. I don't notice a difference in space, but Frank does. Shotgun has more room then the center isle, who would have thought? We continue driving until about an hour later, we come to another rest stop. I-81.

The seats change again. Well, not for me, but the rest of us. I'm in the back, Frank in the center, Mom driving and Dad shotgun. Frank says he's happy that he has more leg room now. Frank and I start watching Beverly Hills Cop II and we are peacefully enjoying it when yet again, another rest stop. We get out to get gas and Frank and I start cleaning the windows with the sponge things they have. Not like they're clean, we probably just made them dirtier... Nevertheless, we keep at it until all the windows are clean. Dad, Frank, and I walk to the picnic table at the other end of the gas station. I notice it was dirty, so I went and explored up the steep hill until I came to a platform. Nobody eats there, so it was VERY clean. Comparatively of course, I wouldn't have eaten off it. We have a snack and we pile back into the small, small, small mini-van. This time I moved. Mom had back,, to try and get some shut-eye, Frank had middle again, Dad was driving and I had shotgun. Ah, the leg room!

We start off again, and I begin typing this story. I notice a sign that states: "Speed laws enforced by aircraft." AIRCRAFT?! Can somebody please explain how this works?! Does a plane have a megaphone, yell at the person that is speeding and say, "PULL OVER, PULL OVER! Thank you, now please wait while I land this plane at the nearest airport. Can I trust you to stay there while I drive back in a police cruiser? Thanks so much! I'll be back in an hour and a half or so! Cya then!" Somehow I doubt the integrity of some people. I bet that 95% of the people pulled over like that would just drive off... Meh, whatever... But still, some one please explain this to me. Thanks!

Mark

Anita Dekker wrote on June 24, 2007 at 20:53:44:

Mark, you are such a great writer! You really pull me in when I read this. That is really cool. Well done. I look forward to reading more of your adventures. One term you will need to explain to me, what is "shotgun" position in the car? That has to be a USA expression. Honestly though, well written piece right there. I hope you got a good night's sleep!

Mark Grivel wrote on June 24, 2007 at 21:06:16:

Shotgun is the position right next to the driver's seat. Thanks for your appreciation!

Shannon T Ranson wrote on June 26, 2007 at 12:09:57:

shotgun = front passenger seat.

"According to a number of sources, the idea of calling shotgun most likely arose from the days of stagecoaches. The driver of a stagecoach generally had to concentrate on controlling the horses and following the trail. Security was usually handled by a second man seated next to the driver, who often wielded a shotgun for protection. This shotgun position did offer a few privileges, so passengers on stagecoaches without a designated shotgun rider would often ask the driver for permission to ride in the "shotgun" seat.

The modern practice of calling shotgun has little to do with security, but everything to do with comfort. Calling shotgun successfully usually means having some influence over the audio system and climate control, although the driver may have the ultimate power of veto. The shotgun rider may also have to assume the role of navigator, as well as become a second pair of eyes when looking for landmarks or interstate exits." (http://www.wisegeek.com/in-a-car-what-does-calling-shotgun-mean.htm)

Eric Grivel wrote on June 28, 2007 at 22:13:04:

Hey Shannon, how's your new position going? You don't seem to be too busy, writing these large explanations :-) But kidding aside, thanks for your elaborations. We don't get to Google things on the road...

Shannon T Ranson wrote on June 29, 2007 at 15:01:08:

Hey Eric. Too early to comment on the new position. Lets just say for now it seems eQA will be as complex a project to manage as iAppeals or even ERE. I spent this week meeting staff, learning, and reading. It's very quiet over here, so when i feel myself getting sleepy, I check out ya'll diary. Happy Travels!

Shannon T Ranson wrote on June 26, 2007 at 12:07:06:

hahahaha great read!

Shannon T Ranson wrote on June 26, 2007 at 12:13:59:

Mark,

"Officers fly back and forth over a pre-determined section of highway. The VASCAR system (Visual Average Speed Computer and Recorder) is used to determine the speed of the vehicle. VASCAR's not much more than a glorified stopwatch but it's fairer to motorists than radar. Radar records your speed instantaneously and doesn't take into account the fact that you could be decelerating. But VASCAR takes the average speed over a certain distance.

When a vehicle is caught speeding, the officer in the plane radios to another unit on the ground which actually makes the stop. "

(http://www.readthehook.com/Stories/2003/05/29/newsAirWarSpeedLimitReally.html)

Mark Grivel wrote on July 2, 2007 at 15:13:50:

Oh, thanks! That makes much more sense then my explanation... ^.^

Leia Cain wrote on June 27, 2007 at 7:18:03:

Mark your description the aircraft radar is hilarious!! I was in tears.

Mark 2 MORE!
Mark (June 21, 2007)

Last modified: June 20, 2007 at 14:48:46

Only two more days! Getting excited now!

Nicoline Smits wrote on June 20, 2007 at 16:41:56:

Why are you adding comments ahead of time? I guess we all know how to count down...

Mark Grivel wrote on June 20, 2007 at 18:08:27:

Cause counting is FUN!!! 3-1-2-5-8-7-4-9-0!!!

Curses Big Bird "Why can't I count right!?!"

Katy Forgang wrote on June 23, 2007 at 8:19:30:

Hi guys.. this is just a "hi" for all beautiful family, and a special "ola" to Mark. Have fun!!!! Tchau, Katyta (YMCA)!!!

Jacob Goode wrote on June 23, 2007 at 17:37:06:

good luck on your journey, peace from jake

Mark SCHOOL'S OUT!
Mark (June 20, 2007)

Last modified: June 20, 2007 at 14:39:27

Well, today was the last day of school! No more middle school kids for my parents! AND only three more days until vacation! Woo!! ^^

~ Mark

Mark ???
Mark (March 3, 2007)

Last modified: March 3, 2007 at 20:45:33

U wanted me to make an entry daddy???

May I ask you why???

Luv,

~Mark Grivel~

Mark FUNNY!!! ^_^
Mark (February 25, 2007)

Last modified: February 27, 2007 at 20:50:53

THIS IS SOOO FUNNY!!! You have to watch this movie! It actually made me fall out of my chair laughing the first time! Movies like this one, from YouTube, will definitely entertain us on our vacation 2007. If anyone has any other funny movie that they would like to share, please don't hesitate to include them in the comments! Everyone can use with a few laughs now and then.... =D ^_^

Regards,

~Mark Grivel~

Mark Grivel wrote on February 28, 2007 at 7:36:42:

Woot! Coments work!

Great job Dad!

I can now add comments w/o 'int&' instead of a space! Well Done!

Happily,

~Mark Grivel~

Dad is:

..._________

../..............I

./.NUMBER...I

/______......I

...........I.....I

...........I.....I

...........I.....I

...........I.....I

...........I.....I

...........I.....I

...........I.....I

...........I.....I

...........I.....I

.______I.....I______

I...........................I

I________________I*. . . . . ^_^

.

.

.

WAY TO GO DAD!! WAHOO!!!

.

.

.

. *Disclaimer: The '.'s are so that the spaces in between the 'I's, and before them as well, don't get deleted. -_- ^_^

Nicoline Smits wrote on February 28, 2007 at 18:52:01:

Glad you think Dad's #1 as well :-)

Eric Grivel wrote on February 28, 2007 at 22:57:30:

Nice ASCII art...! Glad you're happy with the result!

Mark I have a question?
Mark (February 24, 2007)

Last modified: February 27, 2007 at 20:50:53

Hey Dad, can you please change my image to this one?* I kinda wanted something that showed one of my interests..... Like Kitty for instance! Yay Kitty!!! I can't wait until the vacation! I'm actually now starting to get excited!!! WOOT! But no, I think this picture is better for me, more original you see, and everyone knows how much I REALLY LOVE KITTY! She's my second favorite thing/person in this whole world!!!** Just to show everyone, I added the picture here: -> -> -> -> ->***

* Here is the link to the picture if you need it for getting it for my blog picture: http://washington/cgi-bin/photos/phdisp?imageid=20060414-202620)

** Shannon Patterson is my number one favorite thing/person in the whole world! (Kinda obvious think you not?)

*** The only real reason that I added the picture was to try out the new function; adding pictures in my posts. Happy Dad? I am! ^_^

Thank you!

~Mark~

Mark Yay!
Mark (February 23, 2007)

Last modified: February 27, 2007 at 20:50:53

Wahoo! I can finnaly add my own diary entery! ^_^

Thank you Dad!!!

~Mark~

Mark God....
Mark (January 1, 1970)

Last modified: February 27, 2007 at 20:50:53

Gez... I'm really old if this were today....

Regards,

~Mark Grivel~

Rusting wrote on July 11, 2007 at 5:08:51:

heey Mark, hoe is 't bij jullie we hebben nu ook vakantie en we gaan naar Frankrijk. de groeten aan iedereen van mij.

-xxx- michelle HVJ