Friday, October 18, 2013

day six of vacation: the end of our stay

Our final night in the park was pretty eventful: rain and then HAIL! It was early on in the night time when the hail began and it lasted for quite a while. It surprised me how loud it was, even on a tent. 

The girls were pretty scared, especially at first. So we "slept" 4 people on our air mattress...I was SO glad we didn't exceed the weight limit! (Those things must have a weight limit, right?) When the girls were finally sleeping and after the hail was gone Eric got up to move the girls to their own sleeping bags and that is when he heard it: The howl of a wolf!! He asked me if I heard it and at first I hadn't, but then it happened again! Wow! That was cool and a little scary at the same time. He sounded far off-- that is how I was able to get back to sleep again :)
Good-bye Yellowstone! The next morning we packed up and headed out. 

Shadow Portraits L-R:    Mark. Payton. Chloe. Eric. Linda. Audra. Jenn  

Lewis Falls with the Koois in the foreground. Yes, Payton is taller than I am, but for the record it looks like I'm slouching here.

 At this point Eric and Payton were still looking forward to their bike trip, so every time we passed a cyclist Eric mentally took in his gear and compared it to what Eric and our friends ride with. Eric and Payton did bike a few mornings in Yellowstone-- they had to keep their legs ready for their long trip which was looming close. One of the mornings they biked 24 mi. and the other time was 20 mi. 

      After much ado about the Tetons we're heading through! 

"All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all. Each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings, he made their glowing colors he made their tiny wings. The purple headed mountain, the river running by, the sunset and the morning that brighten up the sky."
-Cecil F. Alexander, 1848
 A beautiful view of the mountain range they call the Tetons and the meadow in front...
--Framed just a little bit differently--

Looking for animals again! And guess what....
We found a moose! It was our token moose for the trip. We were hoping to see more, but very thankful to have gotten to see one!! This was what we overlooked while we ate lunch. 

The pedestrian sign that was outside the visitor's center in the Teton National Park. 

Jackson Hole Wyoming. The boy scouts in the area collect the antlers off the roadkill and make these impressive arches for the 4 corners of the city park. It was pretty cool to see. I guess at some point these arches are auctioned off at a fundraiser.
We had some time to kill so we hung out here while Rod and Linda waited in line for our group at the Bar J. If you have never been to the Bar J, you'll want to plan to stop there next time you're in town. More on that in a moment. 

"Traffic". I was just loving the scenery. 

 These osprey nests were across the road from the traffic. Ahh, nature.
Well, we never saw moose here, but we were warned. There were houses along this road, too! Can you imagine having a moose show up in your yard? Out by us the signs only talk about the traffic...

We're heeeere!

See all those cups? There are about 700 cups there. How do you fill 700 cups of lemonade, quickly? With a hose.

As you can see, Rod and Linda were near the front of the line-- we had some pretty good seats. This is what they call a Chuckwagon Dinner. The food was excellent! 

The food was also in abundance! They said it was "all you can eat"-- but after all this I'm not sure anyone needs to go back for more. 

Chloe, showing off her ribs. She chowed down on them, and nearly finished hers-- that was all she could eat she was so full. Do you see P's rack in the back of this picture?! 
His rack of ribs was bigger than Chloe's and he really tried to finish it, but in the end he could not. 
 These guys were our after dinner entertainment. A fiddler, 2 guitarists, and a string bass player. These guys could sing 4 part harmony like you wouldn't believe. They kept us captivated until nearly 10pm! Even the kids attention was glued to the stage. Family friendly and fun for all of us. 

Donnie played the steel guitar, banjo, guitar and dobro. He also liked to play the strong, silent type.

After the show was over, we were really leaving. Our plan was to drive through the night, 15 (fifteen!!) hours to get to my parent's house. The short story here is that I wasn't feeling well before dinner and after dinner I started to feel lousy again. Eric was wonderful. He drove 8 hours straight. At one point I attempted to tell him I could drive, but it was really good that I didn't. The kids were troopers and slept most of those 8 hours. (They will tell you, if you ask them, that they don't sleep in the car. Don't believe them!) When he couldn't drive any farther, I took over for a mere 2 hours. After sleeping hard for 2 hours Eric was ready for the final 5 hours. He got us to Ripon, shortly after noon the next day. 

Praise the Lord for good driving, directions, and alertness so that we were able to cover so many miles. The kids haven't asked about our next adventure yet. Perhaps they still remember allllll the driving we did this past summer? I think they would be up for it again though. The drive may be long, but what we see and do has always been worth it! 

Have you been to Yellowstone? What was your favorite part? I think my favorite part was the trail we hiked to see the Grand Prismatic Spring...and also the drive we took around the valley and up to a high point. It was so pretty to see all the different views of the valley from up there. 
Where do YOU think we should go for our next adventure? Suggestions?? Seriously-- leave answers in the comments or on fb! Thanks!

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