End of the Journey…for now!
After three weeks on the road, traveling through 15 states, having loads of adventures coupled with many new experiences; this past week we delivered our grand-kids to their parents in Florida. Some highlights of the trip were kayaking, and sliding down the sand dunes at Bruneau Dunes State Park in southern Idaho,
playing Ultimate Frisbee with the Proffer kids and their friends in Moscow, Idaho, going to Silverwood Theme and Water Park
north of Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho. The “Stunt Pilot” roller coaster was the hit of the day with the kids repeating the ride at least 20 times!
From Idaho we journeyed on to Augusta, Montana with an obligatory stop in St. Regis for Huckleberry milkshakes. The Strain family was waiting for us with welcoming arms and the grands got their first lesson in firearms safety, shooting at targets with a .22 and then a .44 rifle. A stagecoach ride was part of the day as Ephraim and Elyssa Strain own and operate Zion Stage Line and happily took us all on a stagecoach ride around their property.
From Montana we went down to Yellowstone National Park and the kids were fascinated with the eruption of Old Faithful Geyser, but thought the hot springs and the paint pots were smelly and not very appealing.
Even though there are signs throughout the park warning us not to feed the animals or get to close to them the only animals we saw were one lone buffalo. No moose, elk, or bear which we kept looking for, but were no shows.
We spent two, WINDY days camped at the Buffalo Bill State Park near Cody, Wyoming. Good thing there was plenty of things to see and do in Cody! The Museum of the West is a must visit, we could have spent several days there checking out all the exhibits. Our grandson, Jacob, bought himself a cowboy hat and has been proudly wearing it ever since.
The west has a way of getting into your blood, even if you have grown up in metropolitan Australia!
We took the grands to their first ever rodeo which was a smashing hit, especially when all the 12 and unders were invited to come onto the field and chase two calves that had ribbons attached to them. Jake did not capture a ribbon, but never-the-less he had a grand time. In Cody, Wyoming, livestock excrement is referred to as “guacamole” and the kids were repeatedly cautioned to avoid the “guacamole”!
Mount Rushmore was next on the list. The grands watched a movie about the sculpting of the mountain and learned the four presidents featured and a bit of history about each of them. Jake refers to them as “the heads” and bought a postcard featuring “the four heads” to send to his best friend in Australia.
We went from Mount Rushmore to the Crazy Horse Memorial, where, even though this monument is nowhere near completion, we all were quite taken with the scope and sheer size of this undertaking. The history, the museums, the artifacts, the Mission Statement, the Indian Bread Tacos, everything made this visit quite extraordinary. We all especially enjoyed the presentation by two Lakota Sioux Indian women who gave us a splendid history of their tribe and the area and then performed a “Hoop” dance for us. Imagine dancing with 22 hoops all at once!
As we were driving across South Dakota a stop at Wall Drug, in the town of Wall is a must. A tourist trap, yes, it is, but still fun to wander down the board walks and look at the assortment of hats and boots and jewelry and everything else displayed to capture the imagination. Jake bought a pocket knife that had his name carved into the side and Izzy purchased a couple of rawhide and turquoise bracelets. I am proud of the kids for spending their money with much judicious prudence.
We spent the last weekend of our trip with our good friends the Dose’s in Iowa. We shared the Tabernacle Journey with the fellowship group and had a joyous time together eating and talking and catching up. Got to meet little Olive Patton for the first time since she was still in her mommy’s tummy when we visited last. Little kids now grown up and more little kids to get to know; we wish we could have spent more time with everyone, but someday there will be no more parting and we do so look forward to that time!
Our last stop was with our friends the Hershey’s who live in the Kansas City area. The Rees’s and the Hershey’s, our very own version of “Reeses Peanut Butter Cups”!
Our sincerest thanks and deepest gratitude to all who hosted us on this journey and supported us with their love and prayers and blessings!! We love you!
P.S. On our way to Florida, because of Jake’s new-found fascination with fireworks, in particular fire crackers, (thanks to Garrett!) a stop at Shelton’s Fireworks was a must. Oh, and did I mention Buc-ees!