Tag Archives: vacation

Christmas Hugs from Princess

Last week the whole Cleveland tribe surprised Grandpa Denny with a Thanksgiving trip to Branson, Missouri for his 60th birthday. We rented a house in the Ozarks, met the newest nephew (Cale), cooked lots of turkey, survived all-night shopping insanity, and hit a neat theme park in the wooded mountains called Silver Dollar City. An awesome adventure, even though we had kiddos in the van who thought it had been a long trip already by the time we drove past the Tea, SD exit on the way down (9 to 11 hours one way, depending on car sickness level).

At the famed Christmas Light Parade (held twice each night during the holiday season), Zoey made it big. The friendly Cinderella knock-off from the parade was really the main reason she showed up. When the parade princess reached down and gave Zoey a hug, it was like winning the Powerball.

Later, fully against Mommy’s wishes, Hope and I strapped into the Powder Keg–a screaming roller coaster through the woods in the dark. Scariest and most fun ride I’ve ever been on. Hope went for a second ride (this time with Aunt Jenna).

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Posted by on December 3, 2010 in Celebrations, Family, Kids, Vacation


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The Trip, Part Two: Colorado

After hiking and Mount Rushmore (see part one), it was off to Colorado. We made it Paul and Carrie’s in Johnstown to see the new twins and have birthday cake for Mesa. Pretty crazy house, with all those babes.

The kids had a big blast hanging with lots of cousins around Longmont. Huge thanks to Hotel Ribbing for putting us up (and putting up with us) for so long. We really skipped the planner, and just went with the flow of each day as it came at us. It was great.

Uncle Carl took Hope and Zoey fishing, and we brought home two catfish. I hadn’t cleaned a cat in years, but eventually it was mission accomplished. We all hit the Denver Zoo one day too. Pretty amazing place, as far as zoos go. I’m not a big fan of seeing all those cages, but this was worth it.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on June 27, 2010 in Family, hiking, Pictures, Vacation


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The Trip, Part One: Black Hills

Suppose it’s about time I post some pictures from our family vacation. It was pretty un-Grizwold like, fun and games really. Twelve days of nothing but family and free time–unplugged from email, the news, alarm clocks and meetings. My five favorite women on the planet, and me, seeing the sites and loving life. Ahhhh.

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Rapid City

We headed out in the rain for Rapid City on a Saturday. Along the way, we hit a detour for water over I-90. That’s a first. We pulled into RC to a whopping 51 degrees. Good thing the pool and waterslide was indoors. With a bar. 🙂

Sunday morning the rain let up for a few hours, so we hung out with Humpty Dumpty, Pooh, Dorothy, Cat in the Hat and hundreds of other fairy tale stars at Storybook Island. Maybe the kids’ favorite part of the whole trip. If you get a chance, and you have munchkins with you, check it out. Did I mention it’s free?

Then it was on to the famed Reptile Gardens, a private zoo full of snakes, gators, crocodiles, birds and lizards. They also have gigantic Galapagos Tortoises, and one of them was celebrating his 101st birthday that day. It rained the whole time we were there, but most of it is indoors our under canopies. We saw a dude wrestle some gators, a really terrific bird show, and a guy play with deadly snakes.

Sylvan Lake

We headed down 16A, past and behind Mt. Rushmore, toward Sylvan Lake, a gorgeous mountain lake in the north edge of Custer State Park, along the famous Needles Highway. It was foggy, raining and really cold for two days. We did have some sweatshirts, but we were planning for a June vacation, not March. Monday morning I headed to Custer to find some breakfast for us. The temp was 37 degrees. That’s about as close as I ever want to get to snow and ice on a summer vacation.

Despite the cold and rain, we did a get a bit of soggy hiking and rock climbing in. Then, on the morning we were set to leave, the sun came out and it was summer again. Glorious day. We took one last family hike, climbed some Sylvan rocks, and headed to Mount Rushmore.

Mount Rushmore

It was Mesa’s seventh birthday. Her birthday wish: to have a party at Mount Rushmore. We saw the great faces, hiked the long trail, looked up George’s nose, and celebrated with ice cream and a happy birthday song at the restaurant.

That wrapped up the first leg of our trip. We stuffed all our things and kids back into the van and headed southwest toward Johnstown, Colorado for part two.

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Posted by on June 27, 2010 in Family, Travel, Vacation


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Part 3: Live From Little Sand Lake

OK, so it was more than a week ago, but who’s counting?

The final recap in this series is mostly some pictures (there are many many more on our Flickr page). It was hiking (on trails and in the baby Mississippi), beaching it, reading, relaxing on the lake, swimming in frigid water, slip n slide, hot tubbing (with goggles), camp firing, birthday partying, and lots and lots of eating. Genuinely good stuff.

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Posted by on August 15, 2009 in Celebrations, Family, Travel


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Tasting Dorset and a Hike

Part 2 of the Up North Bartmann Family Gathering report.

The first full day everyone was together we hit a festival just a couple miles down the road called Taste of Dorset. We could sample great food from about ten different places, drink $1 beers, partake in minnow races, and try frozen monkey tails. One of those small town things on a highway, with no roadblocks… Good times.

That evening, we hit the Heartland Trail for a family hike at sundown. The highlight: bats.

More to come.

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Posted by on August 15, 2009 in Family, Food, hiking, Travel


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Road Trip to Onalaska

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We’re not quite in Griswald territory, but our recent trip to two weddings (OK, one was just a reception) and a family reunion was noteworthy. I won’t share all the details, but it went a little something like this…

  1. We barely got out of the gates before the Caravan began to spit and sputter. Somewhere on Highway 38 just west of Humboldt, we ran out of gas. Yes, you read that right. The most recent driver who decided against filling up when the empty tank warning light came on shall remain nameless for now. Luckily, we were able to coax our future sister in law into roadside service with a gallon of gas. On to Onalaska, WI…
  2. Roughly 172 miles from LaCrosse, WI, we had a freak accident in a construction zone involving a Sturgis-bound motorcyclist (with tattoos) and a high-flying plastic orange divider post. We lost a headlight only, for which we are still very grateful.
  3. The wedding and reception/dance were gobs of fun. Then it was on to cousin number two’s reception nearby. Great food and convo, and we hit the road for the Northwoods. Three hours later, when we stopped for gas (we do fill up occasionally before the engine stops) Jaimie realized she’d left her purse and all of our vacation cash at said wedding reception. How swell. Following some tense panicking and many many frantic phone calls, we learned everyone else heading our direction was at least  90 minutes down the road already. So, Jaim’s aunt mailed the to the post office in Park Rapids, where we were headed. Thanks Judith. We only had to beg and borrow for two more days waiting for the purse.
  4. The week at the lake was wonderful and pretty flawless. Just some lost keys, a boat that quit out on the lake, Hope falling into some quicksand, and sleeping on the floor on a leaky air mattress. The trip home was awesome.

(Despite all this big baby complaining, we really did have a blast.)


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Posted by on August 14, 2009 in etc., rants, Travel


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Finally Some Bad Axe Photos

We got home a couple days ago from our best vacation ever. As you might imagine, been busy digging out at work and in the yard. Still much to do, in fact…We spent a week at Isle O Dreams resort on Bad Axe Lake, near Park Rapids, MN. Check out the slide show below, and everything on Flickr.

The day before we left for vacation, I took Hope and four friends camping. Crazy, I know. And it was fun. It was a busy day–I went to a birthday party, a funeral and a wedding, and packed for a week’s vacation. And went to work for a few hours. One big day, yes.

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Posted by on June 9, 2009 in Celebrations, Family, Travel


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