Monday, June 13, 2016

The Great Moon Road Trip of 2016

4,650 miles.  15 days.  10 states.  13 bears.  4 moose.  Hundreds of bison.  Over 600 photos.  The laundry is done and we're mostly unpacked.   What a trip!   I want to share some pictures, but man, it's hard to narrow them down.  But here's a little glimpse into our crazy road trip! 

Vacation Part 1:  Buena Vista, Colorado - cabin
This is Chris' favorite place on Earth.  His grandparents built a cabin years ago and the entire family has enjoyed it since.  We got to spend a few days with Chris' parents and our niece Lucy.  We had so much fun together. 

Mountains! 
 
Chris' happy place....drinking coffee staring at Mt. Princeton.
 
 
Shopping Fun.
 
 
 Cottonwood Pass.  So. Much. Snow.
 
Family Pic.
 
We met two guys in their 60's who were climbing up to the top of the mountain to ski down.  They were planning to "hook a ride" back up to the top to do it again, then hook another ride back up to get back to their car.  Crazy!
 
Pizza fun!
 
Swimming at the hot springs.


 
Kayaking on Cottonwood Lake.
 
 
We lucked out and hit Buena Vista during their annual Paddlefest!  There was so much going on down at the river and the kids had a ball! 
 
Learning to paddle board.  I watched several adults tip over, but our kids did great!

 
 
 
 
They loved trying out the hamster balls! 
 
 
Everyone had a great time in Buena Vista!  

Vacation Part 2:  Boulder, Colorado - wedding
Next, we headed up to Boulder for Chris' brother's wedding.  Anna was sick the day we travelled.  And I will spare you the details, but it was bad.  Really, really, bad.  Luckily it lasted less than 24 hours and we were back in action!  I didn't get many pictures, but it was a beautiful couple of days. 

Before the wedding! 
 
Giant Jenga was a big hit! 
 
 Cousin Lucy looked beautiful at her daddy's wedding!

Vacation Part 3:  Yellowstone! 
This vacation was about 5 years in the making.  We've dreamed about taking the kids to Yellowstone.  Every year we said, "maybe next year we can do it."  Well we finally did it!  And Chris already wants to go back!  It's the most amazing place ever. 
 
The Grand Tetons!  
 
Our first night we pulled into our campsite, set up, and started dinner.  And a herd of 30 bison walked through the campground, about 20 feet from us.  The next morning we heard grunting outside our tent and they were passing back through.  We quickly learned the bison kind of rule Yellowstone!




We hoped we would see bears.  And man did we.  We saw 13 bears.  3 Grizzlies, 4 black bear mamas and 6 baby black bears.  At our first sighting, we got WAY TOO CLOSE!  We were right by our car when the mama turned and came in our direction.  We had to rush to get in the car, but the bear was seriously within 20 feet of us.  I stopped taking pictures at that point because getting the kids in the car became a priority. 

Mama bear and one of her cubs.  This one got VERY close to us! 

 
This man was fly fishing and there was a bear just across the river. 

Another mama bear and her two cubs. 


On our last morning we were able to see 4 moose.  They were a bit far away, so the pictures aren't great, but they were really beautiful!  We also saw elk, deer, pronghorn, coyotes and one snake! 

This guy was across from our campsite! 

So many cool things at Yellowstone!







 
Max at the campsite!
 
We definitely need more time to explore Yellowstone! 

Vacation Part 4: Badlands and Home.
On our way home, we headed directly east through Wyoming and into South Dakota.  Chris wanted to check out the Badlands.  We passed through the Bighorn Mountains, and I'm just going to say that pulling a trailer through those mountains was a bit of a challenge. 

The Badlands.



 
One little note about our travelling.   We spend a lot of time in our car.  So our kids (and our dog Max) really are very good travelers.  Two of our travel days we decided to skip the motel and just pull off at a rest stop and sleep in the car for four hours and then keep driving.  Chris is a champ.  This is how we slept.  Nice!

 
There are really great rest stops across the U.S.  One of them had a little chapel you could go in.  Very cool.  

 
Sophia gave a good sermon!
 
We had a really fantastic time on our road trip!  And I know it was worth the wait getting to Yellowstone because now our kids are old enough to remember it!  And I know all of us can't wait to go back soon! 
 

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