BC: Thank you Mimi and Poppy for the trip of a lifetime. Haley, Alec, Sam, Angie, Lena, Sebastian and Aidan.
FC: Our Wild West Adventure 2011 | Destination Unknown Poppy, Sam, Sebastian Lena, Aidan, Alec and Mimi
1: July 2011 | Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (aka the arch) | The Great Adventure began the morning of July 11th. Each day one child was Grandchild of the day aka GOD. This entitled them to select one location to eat, be the first in line, select a seating/sleeping companion and get spoiled rotten. Sam was GOD on Day1. This day involved 8 hours of driving to the first destination - St. Louis. | Gainesville, GA | Cody, WY | Anderson, SC
2: Day 2. GOD was Aidan. This day started with a tram ride in the Gateway to the West. Although the ride in the tram was tight and a little scary, the view from the top of the arch was breathtaking (see Alec's photo below). It was a great beginning to an amazing adventure.
3: Next up, a Tom Sawyer Riverboat tour. The Captain liked our shirts and recognized each of us by name. We then drove some more and worked in the notebooks Mimi created for each of us. We ended the day swimming in the indoor outdoor pool.
4: Day 3. GOD was Lena. We drove many miles due to flooding detours. We visited the Corn Palace, Sorry no pictures. By this day we had driven thru six states. Day 4. GOD Alec. We visited Mitchell Prehistoric Indian village and Wall Drug, SD.
6: That night we stayed in a rustic cabin in the Badlands of SD. Alec and Lena took a nighttime tour. Aidan, Sam, and Sebastian played hide and seek. | The next morning we played and hiked in the Badlands. This was a favorite stop for all of the Grandchildren. They explored high and low and pretended to be Outlaws.
7: Mimi was worried about Rattlesnakes, but we only saw a snake hole. We did see prairie dogs and goats. On Day 5 GOD was Seabazz as he liked to be called on this trip. We left the Badlands with much regret and traveled on to Mt. Rushmore.
8: Pretending to be excited to see Mom/Haley | Alec and friend | A first look | On our drive we saw one buffalo and lots of Donkeys. We were able to get out of the car and pet some of the animals, but not the buffalo. We learned much about the history of Mt. Rushmore. | Lena and
9: Perfect Weather | Quite a Crew | President Washington represents the struggle for independence, Jefferson government by the people, Lincoln freedom for all men, and Roosevelt World Leadership by the United States. | One lone Buffalo | Sam
11: Young Explorers | We ate lunch at Mt. Rushmore and waited for Haley to arrive. Poppy and Alec hung out while the rest of us hiked the base of Mt. Rushmore. Lena and Baz explored an Indian teepee and Sam played with buffalo horns. We also found a small crack between two rocks where you could see George Washington's face. That night we traveled to Spearfish in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
12: Geographical Center of the United States
13: Day 6. GOD was Seabazz again. We drove thru Spearfish Canyon where Dances with Wolves was filmed. We stopped to view a beautiful Waterfall and explore a mountain stream. It was then on to Belle Fourche the geographical center of the United States. Traveling in a 12 passenger van we crossed the Wyoming border and traveled on to Devils Tower.
14: Devils Tower was the first US National Monument. We saw climbers at the top and repelling down the side. We also found a dead animal.
15: We stopped and ate lunch before entering and Sam rode on a horse. Haley and the children hiked around the base on a very hot day. The tower is actually a volcanic neck and is around 225 million years old.
16: Next we traveled to Gillette, WY where Mimi, Poppy, Haley, Shannon and Chad previously lived.
17: The kids were great in the car and entertained each other with games and music. | We spent the night in a hotel with an indoor pool and attended church at Gillette UMC. The Tarno family was attending that day and remembered Mimi and Poppy
18: After church we stopped in Sheridan for lunch and Sam met a "real cowboy". | We traveled through Tongue River Crossing on our way to Cody, WY.
19: We crossed the Big Horn Mountain Range and stopped at the visitor center. The views were beautiful.
20: The kids graciously posed for MANY pictures. Poppy and Mimi explored the trails and fields of wild flowers. The weather was once again perfect so it was possible to see miles from the top of the mountain range.
21: After leaving the visitor center we found our first SNOW. Alec and Lena had a contest to see who could keep their foot in the snow the longest - Alec won. They also enjoyed throwing snowballs in JULY.
23: We arrived in Cody in time to eat at Adrianos Italian restaurant and attend the Cody Night Rodeo. The boys tried unsuccessfully to pull a bandana off a calf. | The rodeo clown told jokes about a sassy parrot and warned us to be nice to the baby bulls because their daddy was outside the gate. | The boys posed on a bull named Hollywood and a wild horse almost made it into the stands.
24: The next morning we were up early for our adventure in Yellowstone.
27: We left Cody thru Red Rock Canyon and found more snow on the way to the east entrance of Yellowstone.
29: Our first stop in Yellowstone was West Thumb Basin. The smell was bad, but the geysers were awesome.
31: We walked the basin and had pictures made at the edge of Yellowstone lake. Yellowstone is the first established National Park and is over 2 million acres is size. We enjoyed the mudpots and deep crystal clear geysers before heading to Old Faithful for lunch.
32: Old Faithful
33: We traveled back to Cody for a Gunfight and supper at the Irma Hotel. Buffalo Bill and Rooster Cogburn were gracious enough to pose for pictures and sign autographs. Sam bought a cowboy hat and real lasso and Angie arrived that night.
34: After 2 nights in Cody we left for Thermopolis, WY. We stayed in a motel in one room that slept 10 people.
35: We drove through a buffalo preserve and stopped to view The Devil's hole. | We went to swim in Thermopolis springs where the natural water temperatures can exceed 104 degrees
36: Our last adventure was a trip to the Wyoming Dinosaur Dig. We toured the dig site where "Jimbo" a Supersaurus was excavated. We also were able to find sharks teeth, belemnites, ray teeth and fossilized dinosaur bones. Alec held a dinosaur vertebrate. Very Cool.
37: At the end of the day we traveled back to the waterslides for more fun. The smell was still a little overwhelming, but we were adapting. Poppy rode the waterslide the first day, but took it easy on this day. Mimi swam with Sam. Most of us jumped from the high dive and fun was had by all.
40: We enjoyed eating at many places, but ordering on the phone at A&W was a treat. We left Thermopolis via Wind River Canyon. Many hours were traveled and memories made on this trip of a lifetime. Thank you Mimi and Poppy - We love you always and forever.