With 18 grandchildren in tow at Bear Lake for most of July, we have realized a few years ago that we needed special time with those great kids in smaller groups. So far we have 5 groups that fall in natural age groups. We’ve been waiting with baited breath to take our first three-day trip with the three oldest grandchildren when the oldest turned twelve.
As Max turned twelve on June 3rd, we were set to take that first ever Motor Home trip with he and sister Elle 11 and cousin Ashton 9 on July 12th…better known as Group 1. We left straight from church at Dingle. For all the world i can’t find a picture of us as we stepped into my sister’s giant Motor Home to embark on a great adventure with these three great oldest grandchildren, but just taking a look at what we could see out of enormous windshield will give you an idea of the size of this moving house:
What a fun and crazy bunch:
We had a wonderful time wending our way through Star Valley, complete with Ancestor stories, then Jackson Hole where we spent so much time with our kids, especially during the UEA school holidays.
That night we parked in the parking lot of Teton Shadows, the place where we owned a condo for 30 years, which brought back so many fond memories.
The next day we saw fabulous scenery
and the kids entertained themselves on the long drives with taking pictures of themselves in the RV, loving looking like something from transformers? star wars? iron man?
and playing the guitar
and learning a song from Grandfather about the things they were going to learn on that trip. To the tune of "I Love to Go a Wondering" except the words were, “I Love to Go a Motoring with Grandfather and Gram. And as we go we laugh and sing, into my head they cram Religion, Politics, Ancestors, Fama la ha, ha ha ha ha, Family, Religion, Ancestors, Politics" (try singing that in your head…we’ll demonstrate the next time we see you). Needless to say many interesting conversations followed!
The kids loved the frequent stops along the way to explore the beauties of nature:
Photos by Elle:
After a ridiculous amount of construction on the roads, we arrived at one of the great wonders of the world: Old Faithful. We ran to buy sweat shirts for souvenirs and also because the kids were freezing and saw Old Faithful blow off once before we had dinner at the Grand Old Faithful Inn. We tasted buffalo and had so much fun in that historic old building, the scene of one of the most poignant moments in The Awakening, Grandfather’s novel from long ago.
After another shooting off of Old Faithful and some mighty good ice cream at the ice cream parlor, we settled into our “house” parked on an outer parking lot where we settled down to read a book we had bought from the author in the lobby of the hotel…a children’s story about Yellowstone Park called, The Eye of the Grizzly, when we looked out the window at the meadow beside us to see two enormous mama buffalos with their babies just outside our window:
We immediately decided that this was the place to stay and had just settled down for a well-deserved night’s sleep when someone banged on the side of the RV AT 11 p.m.. It was a Park Ranger who informed us in no uncertain terms that we could NOT park there for the night. When Grandfather asked politely where we should park, he said that RV’s were not allowed to park anywhere in Yellowstone Park except for a few isolated places that had been already fully reserved months in advance. Oops!
We had planned NOT to go back through all the construction and delays we had experienced during the day but to go home another way. But in looking over the map and our timetable, we decided that back the way we came was the best way…and that it would probably be much faster in the middle of the night without the long lines of cars and constructions workers out with their signs to stop us.
Were we ever wrong! In the middle of the night was the very time that these guys DO their heavy construction. So with that along with a crazy driver full of road rage who stopped right in front of us after passing us in anger because we had been going so slow through the mountain pass, watching for animals to jump out of us in the middle of the night and nearly killing us all, we arrived safely back at our usual parking lot at Teton Shadows at about 2 a.m.
The next day we journeyed on to Jenny Lake, where we had a fun boat ride across the lake
and a hike up to Hidden Falls
Complete with a few teaching moments by Grandfather
Especially with Ashton who somehow got lost during our ascent.
It was a gorgeous hike and a most memorable day:
That night the kids were lamenting the fact that we had to go to Star Valley for the night so that we would be closer to home the next day. The water pump had gone out at the Lighthouse, and the “fixers” were coming at noon the next day. The reason they wanted to stay was that as luck would have it, the new Harry Potter movie was coming out that very next day with the first showing at midnight! People were already lining up at the Jackson Theatre at 2 p.m. We slummed around Jackson for a while and of course, went to our beloved Billy Burgers for giant burgers before heading for Star Valley.
As much as the kids wanted to see that movie the kids were good about seeing the necessity of being back to the lake early and were so good about it. We had called to see if Harry Potter was on in Montpelier and I was quite sure that there wasn’t a movie theater in Afton, where we planned to spend the night.
When we got to Afton, we parked the RV on Main street and when Grandfather went into a store to ask if there were any theaters in town we looked across the street and what should we see but this….
The kids threw their arms in the air as if it was D Day and were over the moon as Grandfather went across the street and bought the tickets. We tried to get them to take a little nap before they left, but they were just too excited!
We started lining up at 11 p.m. and it was SUCH fun to be there with a packed house of men, women and children, all hysterical about Harry Potter. Sadly, Ashton just couldn’t stay awake! Max and Elle did all they could to keep him awake but after about the first 45 minutes, he just couldn’t be aroused.
We sleep-walked him back across the street to the RV afterward:
Was he ever mad when he woke up and realized that he’d missed it!!! It was pretty funny…and fun because we know he’ll get to see the rest at a later date! What a lot of fun that kids is…as are magnificent Max and elegant Elle!
We arrived home the next day just in time to meet the plumbers having had an adventure that none of us will ever forget! We decided that the official name of Group 1 is now THE OLD FAITHFULS because these three are not only the oldest of all the grandchildren but are going to be an example of faith and strength to all the other kids of Eyrealm. We are so blessed to have these three stalward examples of goodness and creativity to show the way to so many other cousins of Eyrealm who will be looking up to them and following in their footsteps!
“THE OLD FAITHFULS”