Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wyoming and Colorado, Day 1 & 2, {Sabbatical SW trip}

 I haven't posted for a solid month due to all the traveling we've done and then the paralysis that came with the enormity of photos I took, but I'm finally ready to tackle the 1,500 pictures (but don't worry, I won't post all of them - Ha!). Like I said in my last post, Terry has a ten week sabbatical this 2017 summer and we planned a large two week trip to Utah and California. There was a great deal of planning and cooking and cleaning that went into our trip (because we rented our house twice) so for the first two weeks of sabbatical, we were nonstop busy preparing. But finally, the day came, Friday June 16, 2017, and we loaded up the new van.

After gassing up and stopping at the bank to deposit all the kids' money, we were finally on the road. I think I posted "adventure awaits!" 

In order for the new van to really feel like our van, the day before we had to add new Star Wars stickers to the back of it. This time Terry chose Obiwan instead of Han Solo, I am the same (the only other option was slave Leia...), Noah chose Chewie but I had to make him shorter, Evie is the same, Samuel is more like Yoda in his temperament, and Ezra is more like a reckless and violent Storm Trooper. Now we were ready for our trip!

It wasn't but a couple hours into our trip south through South Dakota and west into Wyoming when Ezra fell asleep. He only recently turned four on May 31, so though he's old enough to skip a nap, given the opportunity he will fall asleep. I have photos of him doing this practically every day on the road, something I was thankful for!

Our first overnight stop was only five hours away in Wyoming at Table in the Wilderness, where we have visited and taken students many, many times. We all love it there. Best of all was a free meal with the campers, plus catching up with Dan and Sandra. The boys played box hockey and foosball. 

It was pretty adorable how Samuel joined this group of high schoolers. 

Evie spent her evening playing with Dan and Sandra's youngest, Julia. They attended Kids Camp together last summer and had no problem picking up where they left off. 

Terry and Noah played cards, the Littles ran around, and Evie and Julia played. 

They thought they got into some poison ivy so they washed their legs with dishsoap. 

Around sunset Terry drove the kids to the cabin to get ready for bed. There goes our new van! I stayed back to take few photos because I love this view of Sheep Mountain but wish I hadn't stayed - I dropped my phone on the gravel and cracked the bottom of the screen. :( 

Walked by the chilly and mosquito infested pond on my way to the cabin brooding about my phone the whole time.

All ready for bed! After light's out Julia got homesick and wanted to go back to the lodge. Everyone but Evie slept terrible that night. The Littles were up a couple times to go to the bathroom, the beds squeaked, we got hot, etc. Evie bounced awake and pronounced, "I slept so great!" while the rest of us were still growling. At least we got that first bad night out of the way. We all slept much better the rest of the trip.

When we were originally planning this trip, we were just going to take interstate 80 over the Wyoming mountains until Salt Lake and go south from there since that's the fastest way. However, my day, who has taken many motorcycle trips throughout the mountains of Colorado, suggested a much more scenic route. We went south from Laramie and crossed into Colorado on Highway 230 towards Walden.

It was beautiful. We drove through the forests and trees and wound around big curving roads, far superior to interstate driving. 
The back of Sheep Mountain.

Past Walden we had mountains to the west and the east and everything was so green and lush. I loved this part of the drive. This whole day was gorgeous.

Then we took Highway 14 and 40 south to Kemmling. From there we turned southwest and started on this questionable gravel road which turned out to be the mother-load. It was amazing. It was called CO Hwy/Rd 1/Trough Road and it ran along the Colorado River going through this gorge with mountains on both sides. We stopped halfway down and took a picture.

Looking south over the edge of the guardrail.

And north where the river was coming from. That railroad would be so fun to ride. 

When we got to the bottom of the mountain road and were even with the river, I had one of those experiences I've had in the past in Colorado. The mountains do something spiritual to me where I'm just over-awed and dumbstruck and humbled and by the enormity of the Lord God and my spirit just bowed low in worship. Man, He is a big, good, perfect God. 

We stopped a couple more times along the river to watch some of the white water rafters go by. 

This was my favorite part of the whole two week drive. We saw some beautiful sights but I guess I am partial to mountains. Ezra fell asleep. Ha!

Finally we got down to Walcott and Interstate 70. We beat all the construction and came out right next to the Colorado River as it courses down the mountains with high cliffs on either side of it. This part of the drive was also amazing. I wish interstate driving was always like that. But when we came down on the other side of the mountains it became more desert like and the temperatures soared to 100. We drove into Grand Junction for our very first Airbnb experience in a basement apartment. Our hosts Pat and Susan came down to greet us and were very friendly. The next morning she even took our photo.

That night was the first time we had to completely unload the van, something we would become quite adept at on this trip. We had to bring in two coolers filled with my food and put it all in the freezer and fridge, along with all the luggage. We watched the new movie mom had got Ezra as a late birthday present, The Lego Batman movie. It was hilarious. Not as good as The Lego Movie, but still very good. Then we ate a delicious homemade chicken pot pie. Not a bad night! Most places, except the following night, had only two beds and Noah and Evie would share one. 

The Littles would be left to bunk on the floor. Not bad for our first and second days of travel.

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