Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Great American Summer Road Trip

Dear Mom,
We made it.

11 days. Oregon to Idaho to Utah to Wyoming to Colorado to Montana to Idaho to Washington to Oregon. Over 3000 miles.

Our first two days were just driving, hours and hours of driving. There wasn't a lot of "amazing" sights to see but the different terrain was interesting. The endless miles of road construction were not a lot of fun, but being able to drive 70 mph, or 80 in some places, made up for that.

We pulled into outskirts of Denver late Friday. The Boy had taken a flight there and arrived a couple of hours earlier. So he and the uncle, aunt and cousins went to dinner. They were nice enough to bring back some ice cream to the hotel for all of us. I was so wiped out from 2 days of travel that I just stayed in watching "Fixer Upper with Little K," while the others went swimming.

On Saturday the 'fun' times began. We went up to Red Rocks Amphitheater and took in some touristy action. The theater was pretty incredible. The rocks - even more so!

The wedding was that evening. We were a little leary when it began to thunder and rain as we drove to the venue. But within a half hour the sun was out and we were watching the bride walk down the aisle with her dad. The first niece on the Mr's side to get married ... it was slightly surreal. This was the first time in 13 years that the Mr and his two brothers were all together, with all of their children and wives. What a party!

On Sunday we continued the party - minus the bride and groom - at the Brothers house in Fort Collins. It was so hot, "but a dry heat" that the water balloons appeared, and the kids enjoyed a new game "Duck, Duck, Sploosh" - a great way to beat the heat!

We got to see some more gorgeous Colorado scenery on Monday when we went to the river with the little ones for a picnic. The older cousins, now minus The Boy who had to fly home, went elsewhere for some rock climbing.

It was finally time to say goodbye to that 1/3 of the family and head on north. We stopped at a gorgeous place for lunch - Ayers Natural Arch Park. So beautiful!

And then we were in Montana with the other 1/3 of the family. It was just an overnight stay before we moved on to further parts of Montana. There are so many beautiful spots in that state. Some with wide open dry brown land, and others showcasing the brilliant trees, rocks and mountains of God's creation.
Eastern  Montana may not be a green area, but it was our destination for part of the day. We visited some more family members up there, ones we hadn't seen since The Boy was a baby, and some we met for the first time. Let me say, Montana farming is nothing like farming in western Oregon! I think it's much harder. The girls sure enjoyed meeting some of their Montana farm cousins.

From there we headed over to Livingston where The Mr's mom grew up. The Mr got to relive some childhood memories as we drove around the town looking at memorable spots. From there we headed to the KOA campsite, which was amazing! Our cabin was right on the Yellowstone River!

Thursday was our day to tour Yellowstone National Park. I think by the end of the day the girls had had enough of geysers and steaming rocks and water and bubbling mud, but The Mr and I enjoyed all of the scenery. The wildlife was a little scarce - but we finally got some excitement on our way out of the park. A bear just yards from our vehicle:

Another day of driving after that to get to our next adventure destination - Silverwood Amusement/Theme Park. Little K had her first roller coaster ride ever and loved it. She wasn't quite as fond of the water rides as the others were, so she and I spent most of the afternoon in the wave pool and lazy river, while The Mr and the other girls rode the water slides.

What a trip. We packed a lot into those 11 days; we made some great memories; and yet, we were glad to be home at the end.

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