Archive for July, 2008

Bighorn Mountains

 Millie up in the Bighorn Mountains.  She was such a trooper.

 No, this is not grass…this is the top of a bazillion tall evergreens.  This photo taken right before I passed out from lack of oxygen.  hee hee.

 Along the way we had to stop for a 10 minute break for construction, so of course we all hopped out of the car to make friends with the sign holder.  That is my dad way in the background (in the cowboy hat – he was in his glory) chatting it up with another carload of people.

  Here he is “pretending” to eat a bite of this girl’s sandwich.  Notice the “I’m laughing and crying at the same time” look of sheer PANIC on her face.  Please sir, don’t eat my sandwich…I’m on the top of a mountain with no other Subway restaurant to go to.  And I’m hungry.

 One side of the Bighorns is like travelling through Switzerland.  Then you head into the western part of the mountains and hit this.  Amazing.

 These shots were taken out the car window at 60 mph.  So, um, not the best quality, but still…

Piney Creek

After our amazing weekend in Sundance we headed further west, to Story, WY.  On the way we stopped in Buffalo, WY – which, you would think would be named for the giant animals that were all over that part of Wyoming…but no, in that crazy Old West way, the townspeople put a bunch of names into a hat and pulled out the name “Buffalo” – named for Buffalo, NY.  We wandered through the Occidental Hotel (a really cool old hotel where lots of famous people used to stay, including Butch Cassidy, Calamity Jane and  Teddy Roosevelt).  The historical element to this place was really fascinating – including the back rooms that were the brothel and the back staircase for the customers to sneak out!

Then we headed to our next bed & breakfast in Story, WY.  Let me just say, I would NOT recommend any of my friends to stay there…so if you hear me telling someone they should stay there, well, then you know how I feel about that person.  ha ha.  It was a bed & breakfast where breakfast was NOT included (shouldn’t that technically just be called a “bed”?), dog food all over the place, plastic over the beds which we were instructed “to make yourselves if you want tuh use ’em”, giant barking dogs outside (hence, the dog food), appliances all covered with towels (to discourage you from actually using them), unfriendly “hosts”  — only smile I saw was when we handed them the credit card —

 

Garrison tried to kindly express some dissatisfaction with our stay (I won’t get into all of the details) and they called him a “liberal” (as an insult?) because he was from New York.  Honestly, he just wanted toilet paper.  Is that so wrong?  Are the conservatives against toilet paper?  Maybe the LIBERAL use of toilet paper…

  Claudia, a little concerned about the big scary dogs…

  Stay away.  Far far away.  And don’t believe the bit about breakfast.  Unless you want to pay $5.00 a person.  We decided that for the 6 of us, we’d rather give our $30 to Perkins.

  Mimi & Pop Pop making the best of the situation…Actually the smiles come from the fact that we survived the night and are ready to get going to the NEXT location.

Sundance, WY

 When we were in Sundance, WY (the home of the Sundance Kid) we stayed in this Amazing Bed & Breakfast.  There were 3 log cabins, so each family had their own space and then we could hang out together outside at the picnic table or up on the mountains (the kids favorite spot to hike up to).  We watched fireworks up on the mountain until we started to freak ourselves out about snakes and coyotes.  Then we moved to the safety of the front porches of the cabins.  Garrison & Edison went into town and made friends with some of the “locals” who were shooting off their own fireworks up and down main street (not illegal in WY on the 4th).

  This is the view of 2 of the 3 cabins – my parents stayed in the “honeymoon” cabin that was tucked away a bit – from a short hike up one of the hills.

  We still needed our coffee and were thrilled to find this place in town.  You would understand how thrilled we were since Sundance has only  one street.  And the local population town signs said things such as “Aladdin:  Population 15”  The funny thing about this place was that it was closed the evening we rolled into town, so we went to one of the 2 only restaurants in town “the CRISPY TACO” – we had some tacos, talked to the owners a bit and went back to our cabins.  The next morning when we went into town, the woman behind the coffee counter said “Hey, you guys are still in town?”  It was the same owners from the Crispy Taco.  I think this is Garrison’s dream job…coffee in the morning, tacos at night….

    My Mom & I hanging out waiting for our lattes.

  My Sister-in-Law Heidi already enjoying her latte.

4th of July Spectacular! Rodeo AND Rupert!

The Fourth of July in Wyoming was amazing – we first started out by going to a real live rodeo.  A rootin’ tootin’ good time was had by all…

 

    

                               

My brother Mark with his wife, Heidi & their children Adeline and Ilya.

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Then the CRAZIEST thing happened….Jodie, YOU are going to love this!  We went into a bar & grille for dinner.  I’m sitting there minding my own business looking across the table at my mom and my niece and I catch a glimpse of this GUY who is SOOO familiar…then I hear his laugh and I think “holy crap!  I know who that is”  So I get out my camera and start taking pictures of everyone at the table so that this guy doesn’t think I’m creepily taking pictures of HIM.   Even though I was.  Look closely.  Behind my mom.  Look again and squint.  Do you recognize him?

    Yes, it is!!!!  RUPERT from SURVIVOR the pirate year! 

He was still wearing that gross tie dye shirt and honestly, I’m not sure how many times he has showered since survivor.  Dude, we’re not on a deserted island anymore.  Oh well.  I was still a bit star struck.

 

My dad & Rupert.  Who would have ever thought they’d have THAT picture.

You know you wanted to meet him too….

devil’s tower – (bear lodge)

Going to Devil’s Tower was like the holy grail of the trip for us.  The whole idea of going to Wyoming started with a picture of Devil’s Tower and Edison saying that he wanted to slide down it.  Leave it to the white man to name it “devil’s tower” when the Native American people groups all had a name for it that involved a bear (it looks like a giant bear scratched its claws along it).  So my dad kept telling everyone “we went to bear lodge today.”  Or when asked “have you seen devil’s tower yet?”  He would belligerently say, “no I didn’t see Devil’s tower, but Bear Lodge was amazing.”  There is a slightly less than 2 mile hike/walk around the base of it that we were able to walk with the kids – but the coolest thing was seeing the people rock climbing up the side of it!

    

 

It is seriously impossible to get a nice family photo of us.  It’s like photographing wild boars.

       Where’s Edison?  (Mom looks annoyed)  

 

   Garr & Claudia look good – once again Mom & Edison are being goofy.  I think I was pointing at the camera and telling my dad how to work it.  “Hold the button Down!”

                              

      Scratching my head.  Sun still in the son’s eyes….

    This one will have to do.

 Now this old gal always photographs well.

  This place is too cool.  We have a very creative God.

South Dakota, Part 2

  We started off the day with a trip to Mt. Rushmore.  If you ever go to Mt. Rushmore, do NOT go on the day of their annual fireworks where people start arriving at 4 a.m. to claim their spot.  People are quite aggressive on that day.  So we didn’t stay long (in fact we didn’t even get out of our cars – so this photo was snapped out of the window as we drove slowly by…)  Click.

  So on we went to the Crazy Horse monument.  The kids actually liked it there despite the looks on their faces.

  This thing is so gigantic.  I think the specs were that the Mt. Rushmore faces could fit in his head 4 times or something crazy like that.  Crazy like Crazy Horse.  🙂  This place is a “work in progress” and so they were, er, working on it still.

  Cool Native American dancing in the back.  Edison particularly enjoyed the “chicken dancer” [I am not entirely convinced he was trying to represent a chicken]

  And as if that were not enough tourism for ONE DAY!!!  We ventured on to Deadwood, SD – a fun old (gambling) cowboy town. 

This cowboy singer was actually quite good.  He and Claudia became buddies b/c she was SO excited about his music that she started wiggling, clapping, dancing, and singing along.  I don’t think that cowpoke had seen that much excitement from an audience member (who wasn’t drunk) for quite some time.

South Dakota: Part 1

The third day, although we technically only had 3 1/2 hours of driving time was THE LONGEST day of the trip somehow….Because we had such a short amount of driving time we dawdled…and the kids (to be more exact, Edison) started to get a little stir crazy.  So in a moment of desperation we pulled over at an exit and wound up at the some weird PETRIFIED GARDEN.  Being tired travellers from the expensive east coast, we thought the admission cost of $5.00 a person was a bargain.  And then we walked into the “backyard” full of petrified wood.  Where I ended up getting the hysterical laugh/cry giggles.

  ooooo…petrified moss….

It is in the middle of nowhere, er Kadoka, South Dakota and you go into this dark little building – pay your admission price to THE GRUMPIEST OLD MAN ON THE PLANET who will gruffly tell you to “go on in the back” You then open  up an old creaky horror movie door and enter a big fenced in back yard of tree stumps/rocks/things to trip over.  I’m not sure what I was expecting.  After all, petrified wood is just, um, petrified wood…but still…

 

  Here we are, trying to get our money’s worth…

 

           Claudia, very interested in this particular petrified log…

  

And lest you think I am the only one who was a little creeped out by this place, enjoy this review I found online concerning this place…

I had a creepy feeling going  to the location because it is in the middle of  nowhere and there was nobody at the gardens except for us. I kept having this crazy thought that the guy who sold the entrance ticket will come out with a shotgun and start firing at us….but, that didn’t happen. So, it’s all good.”
 

Probably not as glowing of a testimonial as the petrified garden people were looking for, but beggars can’t be choosers…

 

My dad did leave bleeding because he accidentally walked into one of the “displays” while carrying Claudia.  He testifies that the wood REALLY is as hard as a rock.

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After we had our fill of this, we got back on the road and were drawn into WALL DRUG (the semi-famous crazy big tourist trip in another middle of nowhere place — their billboards are funny and start over 100 miles before you get there, so that by the time you get to their exit you feel like you are “old friends”).  Amazingly enough, through the joy of cell phones we found out that my brother Mark & his family were also lured into Wall Drug & so we all found each other and ate dinner together there – then travelled onto our hotel in Rapid City, SD.

 

   6 foot jackalope – cousins Adeline, ilya & Edison

  Pop Pop gets in on the action to run through the water fun.

  Fake Mt. Rushmore wall.  🙂