Sunday, July 23, 2017

BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK- UTAH~ Day 4 of Billings Wild West Family Vacay 2017

Day 4: Tuesday, July 11, 2017

We got up early on Day 4 to head towards Bryce Canyon (southern Utah). Seems like it took about an hour and a half from Kanab, UT.  The scenery was still beautiful along the way.  We did not spend a very long time at Bryce Canyon.  If we had the opportunity again we probably would've spent an entire day here. We went in the Visitor's Center and then drove to two different lookout points.  We also did not know there were several really nice hotels near the entrance to the park.  Had we known, we might've tried to drive on past Kanab, UT on Day 3 and stay right at Bryce Canyon.

The pictures above were all taken at Sunset Point.  Bryce Canyon was so beautiful, yet so weird.  It can't really be compared to the Grand Canyon because they are so different.  The tall, skinny protruding rocks are called "hoodoos".  They are the strangest, coolest things about Bryce Canyon.

The pictures above were taken at Fairyland Point. 

Like I said, we didn't spend much time here, but we did get some beautiful pictures.  

From Bryce Canyon we started the journey north toward Idaho Falls, ID where we would stay for 3 nights to visit Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Jackson Hole, WY.   The blog for those days will be longer because we crammed as much as we could into those days.  

The drive up through Utah was pretty easy. Traffic all the way up southern Utah until the middle of the state was very, very light.  The speed limit was 80, so we made good time.  We stopped in a small town for lunch and kept going.  Once we reached the middle of the state (around Provo) all the way up through Salt Lake City and even further to Ogden, the traffic was very heavy. I would say the traffic stayed heavy for about 45 miles with city on both sides of the interstate.  

We made it to our hotel in Idaho Falls early that evening and had dinner at Famous Daves then went to Walmart to get food and drinks for picnics for the next few days in Yellowstone Park.

Day 4 was a great day.  Bryce Canyon was beautiful, but nothing will compare to the beauty of the next few days at Yellowstone and Grand, stay tuned.

Here are some helpful links for Bryce Canyon National Park:

XOXO~ The Billings

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Billings Wild West Vacay 2017: DAYS 1-3 Elk City, OK, Amarillo, TX, Flagstaff, AZ, Sedona, AZ (including Devil's Bridge) Grand Canyon National Park (south rim), Kanab, UT

I have had several people ask for our itinerary from our vacation.  It was really too much to put on Facebook or Instagram so I am dusting off the old blog that I haven't used in a few years. 

We actually didn't have a very long time to plan this trip.  We did not plan on going on a vacation this summer, but things worked out and we planned very quickly.  I did as much research as I could and then we just went. 

Some of you have asked if we made reservations ahead of time for hotels along the way.  Yes and no.  I only booked in advance our hotel at the Grand Canyon (Flagstaff) and our hotel at Yellowstone (Idaho Falls).  I will blog about the advantage/disadvantage of both of those.  I will include in this blog the things that were must do's, things we could've done without (or changed somewhat) and just all around aspects of the trip that many people have asked about.  Also, I may do a separate blog post about the things we did to keep the kids occupied on the long car rides (many have asked about this too).

Day 1, Saturday, July 8, 2017
We left Drummonds around 1:00 PM and drove all the way to Elk City, Oklahoma to stay the night.  Roughly 9 hours, 600 miles.

Day 2, Sunday, July 9, 2017
Left Elk City, OK around 8:30 AM.  We stopped at the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX.  Pretty cool and a nice break.

Kept driving through Texas (kinda boring) but the giant windmills (technically wind turbines) were very cool!

We drove through New Mexico to Arizona and made it to Flagstaff, Arizona before dark, 11 hours, 752 miles.  We had reservations at a Days Inn in Flagstaff.  It was just a plain hotel. Nothing to write home about, but clean and served its purpose for one night.  

Day 3, Monday, July 10, 2017
We started out pretty early this day to drive to Sedona, Arizona.  Our plan was to hike to Devil's Bridge before we had to check out of our hotel at 11:00.

We loved the town in Sedona and wished we could've stayed longer.  If we ever go again we will definitely spend more time there as well as Slide Rock Park.  The town was beautiful and the scenery was breathtaking.  

The hike to Devil's Bridge (a natural land bridge) wasn't too bad.  We all made it and the kids had no trouble.  I was a little nervous at the very end because we did have to climb a little and walk up some makeshift steps made from red rocks.  From the parking lot the entire hike was about 4 miles roundtrip.  We were pretty tired by the end and very thirsty (we did take water on the hike).  Here is a link with more info:

Here are the pictures of the actual bridge.  Brian and the kids said the bridge was much wider than it looks.  I was fine not to go across it.  

The drive from Sedona back to Flagstaff was about an hour across a mountain, very steep and curvey.
From there we drove north towards the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It was about an hour and a half.  

It was very crowded and several parking lots were full.  We parked at the Yavapai Geology Museum.  There is a paved walkway for several miles all along the rim that seems to connect the all the parking areas.  

The picture that looks kind of like a lighthouse is actually a watchtower.  It is called Desert View Watchtower and is on the east side of the Grand Canyon.  It was built in 1932.  Here is a link from the National Park Service website with more info about it.  (Also, the NPS website was a HUGE help to me planning the trip and even while we were on the trip).  Please use it for maps, things to do and for alerts they may have in the areas you are traveling i.e. road closures, wildfires, etc.

We continued to drive up the east rim headed towards Utah.  This was a long drive, but the scenery did not disappoint.  

Lake Powell

This is Kanab, Utah.  We stayed the night a few miles from here. 

Stay tuned for Days 4-9!

The Billings

Saturday, November 2, 2013


I recently saw another blog post where someone made their own "Giving Tree".  Their's was a little bit more fancy than ours, but I like art projects to look homemade.  The kids had a blast and we talked about all the things that we are thankful for.

The kids used their best handwriting to write on their leaves the things they are most thankful for.
Arranging the limbs of our tree.

Just a fun, creative way to express how grateful and thankful our family is for everything God has given us.

XOXO- The Billings

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown

Today was such a bittersweet day for my family. Today we laid my sweet great-Grandma to rest. This lady leaves a legacy. Webster's dictionary describes the word "matriarch" as: a woman who rules or dominates a family, group, or state;specifically : a mother who is head and ruler of her family and descendants. Let me just tell you...this woman was the epitome of matriarch. After all, she is my namesake, as well as my mother's and my daughter's. My great-great Grandmother's name was Laura Elizabeth Tillitt, my Great-Grandma was Letha Elizabeth Milton, my mom is Laura Elizabeth Sparks, I am Amanda Elizabeth Billings, and my daughter is Anna Elizabeth Billings. Five generations. I think I have very perfect reason to be proud.

The title of this post is "Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown". This was the song played today. I had never heard this song before my Meemaw said it was Grandma's favorite song and she knew she would want it played. I did a little researching. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 9:25 that we will get a crown that will last forever. No doubt my Grandma is proudly wearing her crown in Heaven right this very moment. I have failed to mention something extremely important. Grandma was only 3 weeks and 1 day shy of her 101st birthday. Yes, that is right..101!!!! That is no small feat. Think of all you could accomplish in 101 years! I will tell you something she accomplished. She instilled the love of Lord in our family. My namesake took my Meemaw church, who in turn took my mom as well as her three sisters to church, who in turn take their families to church. Going to church is all well and good, but I'm telling you...THIS FAMILY LOVES THE LORD! We have Grandma to thank for that! So, no doubt, Grandma has MANY stars in her crown.

After the funeral we went to Grandma's old farm. The farmhouse has been turned into an office for a roofing company, but the lady in the office was so gracious and let us come in and look around. Mom and Judy were over the moon to look around and show us all the memories there.

These are all pictures of the land around the house

This is the farm house where my Great-Grandma and Grandpa lived and where my Meemaw grew up.

These are some pictures of some of the barns on what was once my great-grandparent's dairy farm.

This was inside the "milking barn". Not sure why I'm getting a look from Robin. Snapped a pic at the wrong time! LOL

more from inside the barn

Mom, Judy, Robin and Diane in front of the house.

It was a sad day, but also a very sweet day. It is always so much easier saying good-bye to someone when you know for sure they will spend eternity in Heaven. You may ask if I really believe that--if I really believe there is a God and a heaven and eternity. Absolutely. With every ounce of my being. 

 I am having some technical difficulties uploading a video of Grandma's great nieces and great nephew singing How Great Thou Art.  Please check back- I will figure out!