Sunday, June 01, 2014

Out There Having Fun

We spent this week on the road traversing westward from South Dakota to Washington.

Monday, May 26 – Hallie scored us a sweet gigantic room in Rapid City! As tends to happen while we are on road trips, the kids migrated from bed to bed during the night. Eliza started off with Mike and then found her way to Hallie and Landon in the other bed. Sometime during the night, Eliza moved over to Hallie and Landon’s bed. Mike woke up early, still on Eastern Time, and seeing the three of them crowded together, brought Eliza back over. He noticed that her pajama bottoms and panties were gone, but he didn’t think a whole lot about it as she tends to disrobe at night. However, when he walked into the bathroom, the scene in, on, and around the toilet told a different story. In addition to the poo on the toilet seat and all over Eliza’s panties on the floor, her pajama bottoms and quite a bit of soiled toilet paper were floating in the toilet bowl. Someone had a little accident during the night, apparently.Thank heavens none of the adults were met with her fate.

Here's a rough view of the day's route: 

We got an early start on the day and made it to Mount Rushmore in good time. Landon thought it looked smaller than he expected.

As we got closer though, the scale of the work became clearer.

(Mike's presidential moment)

We received poppies from some veterans who had set up a Memorial Day booth. We appreciate their efforts to help us remember the fallen today.

Loretta, Mike, and the kids took the Presidential Trail to the base of the monument, and Mike got a few more close-ups, including this one of George Washington through a gap in a large boulder. 

People are invited to go into the gap to get the shot; however, they are not allowed to go past the fences. Our kids found a loophole, or rather, another gap and crawled through to an area where Mike couldn’t see them. After asking them to come back, he first heard Landon yell, then Eliza scream, then a thud, and finally Eliza start screaming in a way he had never heard before. Loretta tried going through the small gap the kids had gone through but couldn’t, so Mike tried and (fortunately) succeeded in getting to the kids. Eliza had fallen down backwards a few feet from the boulder onto the pine needle covered ground between some other large boulders. Beyond a few scrapes and a lot of fright, she seemed OK. And, for the most part, the kids remained on the marked trail for the rest of our time there.

After completing the trail, we left Mount Rushmore and continued on our way through to Wyoming. We noticed several dead trees, and the scenery got less green along our way. Still, by the time we got to Independence Rock and the Mormon Handcart Historic Site at Martin’s Cove, the landscape kept up a steady green grassy carpet, quite the contrast from when we had come the opposite way from Utah seven years before. Spring warmth and rain works wonders on a landscape.

Devil's Gate in the background

At Martin’s Cove, Mike and Landon pushed handcarts, and we talked history with the missionaries. Then we packed into the car for the last hour or so to Rawlins. Eliza has had enough of traveling by car, and she let it be known before konking out for a few furtive minutes of sleep. After getting settled in at the hotel, Mike rewarded the kids with some pool time. They’re great sports overall.

As a final note to Eliza’s long day, she sprayed herself in the face with the sunscreen and had to get her eyes washed out in the sink. Not a happy camper, but no real harm done. Both kids fell right asleep without protest.

Tuesday, May 27 – We got a pretty good start on the day, getting out a little later than we had hoped but with the car’s luggage rearranged so that we had less baggage on top and the kids more comfortable. Sardines have nothing on us.

From Rawlins, we traveled through Wyoming, stopping along the way at the Little America Hotel for some ice cream and stretching time on the jungle gym.

After a food stop in Evanston, we finally crossed the border into Utah, where we plan to stay a few days with Loretta’s family before continuing our trek west. We made a stop in Marion to visit Mike’s Aunt Karen and take in the mountain air and scenery. There’s nothing like revisiting old familiar haunts and finding them for the most part the same as they were when you left.

We arrived at the Beaty’s in the late afternoon. After some visiting and decompressing, we had grilled burgers and spent some time visiting with the family’s horse Shirley and a few others in the adjacent pastures. The kids had a harder time getting settled down, but hopefully having a couple of nights in the same place will help them out.

Wednesday, May 28 – We went to Salt Lake today for visits with Landon’s birth mom Natalie and Christine and Brian and their family with a visit to Temple Square and City Creek Center with Loretta, Lori, and Zoie.

We started by visiting Natalie, her fiancé Brian, and their kids. We met at the Taylorsville cemetery where Ambrosia is buried and then let the kids go play at Taylorsville Park.

We then had shakes at Arctic Circle before driving over to where Mike and Hallie used to live in downtown Salt Lake by the university. The neighborhood has changed in seven years.

Following our drive down Memory Lane, we went to Temple Square and City Creek Center, where we met up with the Beaty’s and where the kids first visited the Visitors Center and then got themselves thoroughly soaked in the water fountain.

An unusual sight: open windows in the temple as it gets its semiannual cleaning (?)

Following our time at City Creek, we ran a few errands including leaving some photo books with Natalie before going to Christine and Brian’s house. It was another perfect afternoon for outdoor grilling.
Eliza may have found a new admirer in J, here. 

The pictures don’t do it justice, but we saw a beautiful sunset on the way back to Erda, where we ended the night with a fancy nacho fest.
Darn camera phone. 

The boy channeled his inner Harry Potter.

Nachos done right! Go big, or go home.

Thursday, May 29 – We bade farewell to the Beaty’s in the morning, but not before Eliza went out by herself to visit with Shirley and her friends one more time.

Once we got the car packed and everything settled, we headed northwest through to Idaho and on to Oregon. 

While we basically did nothing but drive today, we did appreciate the changing scenery that became progressively drier as we moved deeper into Idaho and then more alpine as we continued north into Oregon past the 45th Parallel. After passing through Boise and getting into the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, we snaked through the windy roads along the ridges and valleys of the Snake and Columbia River Watersheds. We ended our trek in Pendleton, Oregon, famous for its Round-Up each September.

Friday, May 30 – From Pendleton we headed west along I-84 as it followed the Columbia River Gorge and skirted around Mt. Hood to Multnomah Falls, where we met up with Riley, Breanne, and Porter. 

We took in the falls and had a picnic lunch before following them back to their home in Ridgefield, Washington.

Hey, hey! Smokey Bear came to the falls too! 

Our timing was such that we had a hard time taking any pictures of the falls without going blind from the sun overhead. The pics don't do the falls justice. 

The iconic Benson foot bridge. We happened to arrive not long after it had been reopened after sustaining damage from a falling boulder. 

Saturday, May 31 – We ended the month with a day for the kids spent not at all in the car. Not one mile driven. Bliss! Instead, we played outdoors, watched TV, ate both wholesome and junk food, and otherwise just decompressed.  
Playing ball in front of the Maygrens' lovely home

Sunday, June 1 – After a quiet morning at home, we went down to the Portland, Oregon, area for the afternoon. We visited the Portland Temple and walked around some of the famous attractions downtown.

Eliza fell asleep on the way to the temple, but everyone else went to the Visitors Center.

The spires and domes look quite a bit like minarets. 

In Portland, we went to Gorrin Bros. Hats' Nob Hill store.

Some good lookin' boys right here!

Walking around town, Landon had to find things from which to swing, with Eliza following suit.

From Nob Hill, we drove through the Pearl District and past Powell's World of Books on our way to Voodoo Doughnut.

Riley bought some favorites and we got another couple of doughnuts to try after dinner.

While waiting for the boys, Eliza noticed a picture on the wall of an adult bookstore next door. Pointing at the painted lady gazing out a faux stone window, she said, "Look, Mommy! A princess!" Um, yeah. Something like that. Maybe a queen. 

And on that note, we put another week of our road trip to bed. One more week, and we're in our new Camarillo home! Hopefully Fergus will remember who we are. 
Seems content enough right where he is. Hmmm.


Jenny Bruner said...

Great pics. I look forward to visiting you guys!

Jenny Bruner said...

You guys really put the where in wherever. Great pics. I look forward to seeing you guys again.

Michael Owens said...

Thanks! We'll have to find some time soon to come down to your neck of the woods and play. Eliza has never seen the Santa Monica pier or 3rd Street, so maybe we can try that again.