Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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A Missing Jacket, a Skinned Knee and a Fat Lip (AKA Summer vacation part I)

on June 10, 2012

Wow! School is out (finally) and we wasted no time start our summer! Seriously. I don’t know that we’ve ever started it quite like this, but I have to report that unlike other vacations in the past this one was missing something (I’ll get to that later). By Thurs. both kids were out of school and on Sunday we were on the road baby! Take that summer! Right in the kisser!

Hubby’s job gives him 4 wks vacation a year. The problem: finding time to take it. I know I know. I’m all over him all the time to take his days, but so many times, the year ends and he still has vacation left. When he worked for Mervyn’s (I miss Mervyn’s) they were allowed to sell back any unused days. It was wonderful. But not his current employer. Use it or lose it.  And even though he’s taken some already this year, he’s still had a couple of wks left when we took this trip.  (their year is July to June, so you see our scramble) A few yrs ago, his parents moved back to Idaho, but we had a difficult time finding the time (shock!) and decent air fare (that’s the real joke these days). We didn’t want to drive- it’s two solid days’ drive-hard to give up that kind of time when you’ve only got a week.

I actually managed to find reasonable airfare and started planning our trip. The catch: we had to drive to another airport 1-1/2 hrs away (it saved us $400, I’d do it again in a flash). Ok, no prob. I can do 90 minutes for $400, wouldn’t you? Sunday we load up the car and head out at 9AM. Get to the airport, park, check in, grab a bite of overpriced airport food. Denver flight is 1-1/2 hrs. The crap part, we had a 4 hr layover in Denver. Boo. As we’re going to the gate for our connection, I spied a New Belgium Hub. New Belgium, in case you don’t know, is a brewery out of Colorado and they make my favorite beer, Fat Tire. Imagine my joy! They have my beer on tap and some really good food. Ok, that’s 2 hrs down, now what? we whiled away our time walking on the moving sidewalks and perusing the random overpriced shops. 1-1/2 hrs flight to Salt Lake City, pick up the rental car andcan it be? This time I spied In N Out burger! Dinner done, back on the road for the 2-1/2 hr drive to the in-laws house. Sheesh, for being a faster mode of transportation, it still took us 14 hours traveling.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Yellowstone National Park, I highly recommend it. We only had a very brief visit, but it was amazing. To think it’s a prehistoric GINORMOUS volcanic caldera is really pretty intimidating. If it goes off again, we’re all toast. But until then, we’ll just admire the beauty. We saw geysers (Old Faithful, natch), basins, paint/mud pots and lots of wild life. Antelope, elk, bison, and……wait for it….bears! Yes, a black bear was just walking along the road eating. And a bit farther along a grizzly. My sister-in-law was in the lead car and saw the hump on its neck that says ‘i’m a grizzly, don’t mess with me’. The crazy part of the bears, people were OUT OF THEIR CARS, some were even crossing the road and dragging their small children to get a  better look!  Seriously people, I wanted to yell at them ‘THIS ISN’T THE ZOO!’ but I didn’t, we just kept driving. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get a pic.

This is Firehole River, not far inside the West Entrance of Yellowstone. It was very full from the snowmelt.

We saw hundreds of these.

We’d prepared for cold weather (it snowed over Memorial Day wknd), wearing layers and fleece. Because my daughter didn’t have any long sleeves with her, I packed two jackets for her with the thought she could layer if necessary. By the time we made it home, we only had one. How does that happen? Nine people and no one saw what happened. Oh, I nearly forgot snow! There was actually quite a lot of snow. So we stopped and let kids have a quick snowball fight. That’s pretty fun, considering we only got about 2″ of snow this year!

This is West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake. Just one tiny little part of it, it’s a huge lake.

Going south from Yellowstone is an area I’ve always wanted to visit, Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons. Wow. They are absolutely breathtaking. I’ve seen mountains, been in mountains, camped in mountains, but these were simply spectacular. Huge, rugged and snow-covered. It was worth the trip and they were even more amazing than I’d dreamed they’d be. There are truly no words to describe being there and even though I’ve got some really wonderful photos, there’s no way they can ever do justice.

Imagine coming around a bend and seeing this. Amazing.

We stayed in Jackson a night. It’s a really cute little old cowboy town. There are lots of log buildings and heavy wood used to give it all a real western feel. We went to the Million Dollar Cowboy Saloon. Holy cow! This place is old school. All of the wood was knotty pine that had been lacquered to a really deep brown, glossy finish. There were silver dollars IN the bar top and the bar stools, well, they were saddles, stirrups and all! Across from the saloon is the town square. The entrances to the square itself are marked by 20 foot high elk antler arches! It was just a cool little town. From what I understand there’s some really incredible skiing there in winter. And in case you get the idea of buying a home there, unless you’re independently wealthy, it’s not happening. Just for grins and giggles I picked up a real estate magazine.  Ha. For a few mil I could have 3 bed 2 bath condo.  It’s always fun to dream, but until I win the lottery….

Yippee kay ay cowgirls!

There are four of these and they’re about 20ft tall!

OMG I nearly forgot. Moose. We were hoping to see bears and moose. Day two on our way out of Tetons National Park, we came around a bend and there were several cars parked in a little pull out. There was a man with a camera that had a lens on it as big around as my thigh. Of course that means there’s something there so we stopped too. At the base of this hill, in a little grassy area right next to a stream was a female moose laying down and according to the people there, she was in labor. She’d pant hard, look at her behind, and relax. And do it again a few minutes later. Unfortunately we had no way of knowing how much longer it would be and didn’t have time to stand around to wait. Back in the car. On the road called “Moose-Wilson”, now I know why. Driving through the mountains on a rutted, dirt road, feeling like we were the only ones around is pretty cool. Another bend and we’re out of the trees, and in another field, we spy another female moose out for lunch. We were really excited. For a short visit, we saw quite a lot!

this is the mama moose we saw. I wasn’t nearly as close as it seems, I zoomed in to get a better look at her.

The weather was perfect for our entire trip. And then it was time to come home. Another 14 hour travel day. Did I mention the hail storm? Yep, the airport where our car was parked had a hailstorm blow thru and my car got some hail damage. Judging from the size of the dents, I”m glad the windows weren’t shattered!

Now comes the really incredible part. I didn’t say anything while we were gone b/c I totally didn’t want to jinx it. I think you may have read my posts about previous vacations. Something always went wrong. Be it delays and missed connections, or a puking kid. Not once were we able to take a trip without something going wrong and vomit playing a role in our trip. I waited until we were home and did my own little happy dance. Minus the missing jacket, a skinned knee (my boy) and a fat lip ( my girl during a game of hide & seek in the dark), our trip went perfectly! I was so freaking thrilled! Little blessings, I know. But hey, I’ll take them when I can get them!

Did you notice the title? “Part I”? things went so well the first time around, and with all the vacation hubby’s got to burn (plus a bonus!) we’re taking kids to Florida next month! I so hope I can share good things with you all about our trip then too! That would make my freaking year! How sad is it when you’re thrilled about no one puking?

One last shot, me and my honey.

Me and my honey at Signal Mtn, behind is us the Grand Tetons and Jackson Lake. Stunning. Our thing is the arm stretch, he’s gotten quite good, don’t you think?

2 responses to “A Missing Jacket, a Skinned Knee and a Fat Lip (AKA Summer vacation part I)

  1. The wife and I just finished about 5 days of camping in the Teton’s at Jenny Lake. We absolutely love it there…some of the best views on the planet. And we also had a young male elk who visited our camp site daily. So cool.

    Hope you have been doing well while I’ve been away from blogging. Cheers!

    • It is absolutely breathtaking country. I’d like to be able to spend more time there next time. Jenny Lake (the little bit we were able to see) was spectacular. the wildlife is so incredible, to be so close to them really made our trip!

      thanks! I’ve been away as well. Need to check your refurbed site!

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