Friday, June 27, 2014

Yellowstone: the calm after the storm.

The road to Yellowstone was certainly paved with disaster after disaster, but it made the moments after much richer. Tuesday morning the whole dysfunctional family was finally together at the Madison campground inside the Yellowstone National Park. After exploring our campground a bit, we headed to our first sight-seeing adventure of the trip: Old Faithful. 

My mother-in-law had been prepping the boys for this magnificent geyser for months and months, and it was the most highly anticipated item on our To Do list. Since it only goes off every few hours, we waited and explored and pacified impatient kids and waited some more, but it was definitely worth it once she blew.

That evening we returned to the campground ready to cut loose and relax after a grueling start to our trip. We grilled food, ran off some energy, popped open a few corks and rested our weary bodies. It was definitely the highlight up to that point. Good old fashioned camping fun.

Wednesday morning, after a quick run to the in-law's hotel room for hot showers and breakfast--one advantage to their broken down RV--we set off on a long day of exploring waterfalls, also another highly anticipated item on Spencer's list. The fickle weather provided us with quite the show. Sunny one minute, raining and cloudy another, and then pelting snowy sleet the next. We donned layers, removed them, and then replaced them yet again through the course of the day. Hiking down steep paths to view the falls and then back up in these conditions proved comical. But oh were the sights amazing! We were even treated to a waterfall rainbow.

We rendezvoused back to the campground much earlier that day to quickly settle in to the casualness of campground life. Food, games, pictures and a rogue buffalo that roamed right on down the street, weaving through campsites as if it were any regular wilderness. Munching on grass, the wild creature was oblivious to the crowds lumbering around for the photo-op.

Thursday we concluded our sight-seeing at the Norris Geyer Basin and met for lunch at Bullwinkles restaurant in West Yellowstone before fetching the camper and making the short trek back to Cody, Wyoming, where the RV was being repaired. Miles before exiting the national park, we pulled over for the much anticipated moose sighting--something we were sure we had missed out on. Nothing like waiting until the last second.

That night we nestled into a hotel. After swimming and ordering pizza, we retired to our own rooms and finally slept soundly after consecutive nights in a camper with no working heat during 20 degree nights.

Friday morning we wasted time while the RV was getting the final repair work done by visiting the Buffalo Bill museum. Then when we were notified it'd be another hour before it was done, we grabbed some lunch at a restaurant. When it turned into another hour, we hit up a park. And so on....until finally at about 4:00 p.m. we were on the road back home. 

We drove into the night and then stopped to sleep at a rest stop. We spent the whole day Saturday motoring down I-90, stopping for fuel, potty breaks, food and to let the boys run off their energy. The last leg of the trip was brutal. The boys were hours past done being contained in a moving vehicle, having watched all their movies on repeat, colored and stickered dozens of coloring pages, and played with the variety of toys we thought to pack. Because of this, we swung off the interstate and pulled in front of my sister's house for a quick visit to relieve all of our frazzled nerves. The short trek home from there was a lot less painful. We arrived about 8:00 p.m., crabby and exhausted and ready to go our separate ways. Family togetherness is a beautiful thing, but so is some time a part. While the boys slept soundly in their own beds for the first time in over a week, Dave and I sank down on our beloved couches in separate rooms and stared at mindless TV. The mess in the truck and the unpacking and the laundry waited until Sunday. Oh, home sweet home. 

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