After hiking and Mount Rushmore (see part one), it was off to Colorado. We made it Paul and Carrie’s in Johnstown to see the new twins and have birthday cake for Mesa. Pretty crazy house, with all those babes.
The kids had a big blast hanging with lots of cousins around Longmont. Huge thanks to Hotel Ribbing for putting us up (and putting up with us) for so long. We really skipped the planner, and just went with the flow of each day as it came at us. It was great.
Uncle Carl took Hope and Zoey fishing, and we brought home two catfish. I hadn’t cleaned a cat in years, but eventually it was mission accomplished. We all hit the Denver Zoo one day too. Pretty amazing place, as far as zoos go. I’m not a big fan of seeing all those cages, but this was worth it.
For the weekend we headed to Colorado Springs with the Lemmons. Very awesome, relaxing, fattening times. Somehow even the scorching 95 degree heat has no effect on the forget-everything powers of that back yard. Thanks Mary Pat and Joe (and Andrew for letting us disrupt his sleep pattern a little). Got to hang with Erin and Carey a little bit, which is always fun. Great to see Dan, Aster and the boys too. Zoey found a new hero in Andrew when she heard he works for a pizza joint. Then he brought her home a cheese pizza, and she was ga ga.
We spent one afternoon on a family hike near Colorado Springs, after shopping for new hiking kicks for the three older girls. We climbed Mt. Cutler in Cheyenne Canyon, all six of us. Not a huge climb, about 500 feet in a mile. Mesa took a tumble and cut up her arm, so she, Zoey, Kiera and I caught a breather near the top, while Jaim and Hope finished the trail and saw the big scenery. The girls also discovered the joy of peeing in the woods, a comical highlight.
After a great weekend in Springs, we headed back north for a pit stop in Longmont/Johnstown before heading back home. Thanks to a couple traffic accidents and some poor navigation, we took a two-hour tour of Denver. It solidified our love of the wide open, no traffic life on the prairie. That traffic is sick.
Next morning Uncle Carl and I took a morning canoe paddle, then checked out the weather for our trip home. Not good. NOOA showed severe storms along our entire route home for the next 16 hours. Fun. So, we opted to wait it out.
This turned out to be a good thing, since that way we were able to spend a day with Paul, Carrie, Torin and the baby twins.
Sand Hills and Sickos
After staying up way to late talking and bottling some bourbon barrel stout, we hit the road at 4am. The girls all slept all the way to North Platte, NE. We grabbed breakfast and headed into the beautiful, unpopulated Sand Hills.
I got an unexpected little hike in along the way, and was amazed by the diversity of the flora and fauna. Would love to get back out there sometime and explore.
That mini hike–it was meant to be a diversion and some fresh air for a five year old hit by car sickness. Zoey seemed to feel good enough to hit the road again. Then we hit a tiny little town up the road, and she needed another stop. She did make it to the bathroom, but tossed breakfast all over the floor at a gas station (and on Jaimie and Hope’s flip flops). One more fairly long stop in Valentine, and she was good to go for the rest of the rip home.
The littlest traveller, on the other hand, was happy as could be almost all of the time. Even though she’s decided that nothing but Mommy will do at feeding time.
If I could sum up the ride home in a word, it would be “water.” It was everywhere, overflowing and rushing the entire Nebraska and South Dakota route. The other words I might use would be “unexpected beauty.” I was really intrigued and swallowed in by the Sand Hills’ unique terrain and diverse landscape. And, blown away by that drive from Mission, SD to Platte. Not sure how I missed it for 33 years.
It was really a super 12 days. And we came home to a freshly mowed lawn (thanks Jerry–you need to stop by for some cash), and a beautiful flower garden thanks to all the rain while we were away. Gratitude to the universe for getting us all home in as many pieces as we left. We even kept Hope out of the ER this time.
You can see hundreds more pictures from the trip on Flickr.com/joebart.