Road Trip 2013 (part one)

Howdy, folks! Long time no see! We just arrived home from a two week road trip adventure that took us north through big, beautiful Wyoming and South Dakota. And this time Stephen got to come too!

They say home is where the heart is, and I believe that’s true. These beautiful rolling Ozark hills where my boys and I have made a life were a welcome sight (well, what I could see of them by moonlight, anyways) when we rolled back into town in the wee hours Sunday morning. After officially living in Arkansas half my life as of this summer (yes, it’s true!) I think I have finally allowed myself to start putting down some roots and have started to consider myself an Arkansan (Although Stephen, a 5th generation Arkansan, likes to tell me that it won’t be official until I develop a taste for sweet tea. Blech!)

And yet… no matter how long it’s been or how far I roam, there is something about my home state that gets me like nowhere else I’ve been. Like it’s in my blood or something. Maybe it’s the same something that, generations ago, stirred my ancestors to stop and put down roots in Wyoming when most everyone else was just passing through this harsh, rugged and “God-forsaken” landscape on their way to California, or Oregon, or Utah, or anywhere. Anyways, for me it starts somewhere in Western Nebraska, where the sky and the land start to open up and the distance between the towns starts to stretch. Mile marker after mile marker as the landscape unfurls, I feel it stirring. The openess. The distance from the worries of my life. The sense of my own smallness beneath that big, magnificent western sky. (I swear, everyone we saw was probably thinking, “what is it with this girl and her camera pointed to the sky?” 😉 )Then, Wyoming:

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug near Lost Springs, Population 4

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug (functioning) country school house at Shawnee

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Coal cars as far as the eye can see— simultaneously awe-inspiring and sickening. The trains pass by every day. All day. Around the clock.

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Old and new. Between Cheyenne and Laramie.

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We took in several adventures while visiting my family in Cheyenne and Douglas, including the Glenrock Paleon Museum, a small but interesting museum featuring fossils found in Wyoming with a functioning prep lab on site (that you can tour as well!). (And speaking of fossils and dinosaurs and whatnot, my sleepy little hometown is famous, y’all!)

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Miles was pretty excited about the prospect of growing up and playing with legos all day

And, of course, no trip to Wyoming would be complete without our Ayers Natural Bridge picnic tradition:

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We decided to spend the Fourth of July at Independence Rock. This huge rock sits in the Sweetwater Valley right next to the Oregon Trail. Travellers on the trail hoped to make it to this landmark by July 4th in order to ensure time for safe passage over the mountains before the first winter snowfall. Thousands of them (and others, coming later) inscribed their names on the rock, alongside ancient Native American petroglyphs. It is quite an amazing sight to see rising out of the relatively flat valley (and a little annerving to climb if you are scared of heights) But the view from the top? Oh. My.

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for scale


Jamie and Papa Craig

independence rock
this picture is from last time we visited. After our rattlesnake scare (more on that in a minute) and a nine-year old nephew with a panic attack, I got a little distracted and failed to get any photos of the inscriptions. Oops!

So, the rattlesnake scare: Miles jumped off a rock right in front of it. I mean, just a few feet, and it rared up and rattled at him. I was a little ways off, but it was LOUD! Stephen fortunately grabbed Miles (who froze) and pulled him back quickly to a safe watching distance and (once we all calmed down!) we had a very neat wildlife viewing experience.

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All this vacationing wears a guy out!

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more big, beautiful sky

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We did a little hiking at Laramie Peak (although not as much as I would have liked since we had all the little kiddos and Miles and I were a little effected by the high altitude). Beautiful.

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My eight year old nephew Ethan took this picture. Isn’t he quite the budding photographer? 🙂

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Bruce!


Ethan

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Jamie

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snapping a latergram– no coverage way out here!

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Have I mentioned that this place is beautiful? Seriously.

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After spending several very busy days, it was nice to have a lazy Sunday afternoon at my parents house before we left.

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learning from the best

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Next up, South Dakota, and a visit to my grandparents ranch!

A few road trip instagrams:

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