Last week, we set off on an adventure that had been in discussion for two years and real planning for seven months. I had some anxiety leading into it. I have my own issues – bear paranoia, dirt paranoia, bug paranoia. Add Ethan’s issues to that, and you can have the perfect firestorm. I was comforted by the fact we would only be spending one night in a tent, and would have an RV the remainder of the trip. It was, however, with great excitement we pulled out of our driveway just after 5am and headed off on our big trip of the year. Eight days later, we arrived back home, dirty, exhausted, loaded down with memories. On trips, I find myself logging things in my brain and it’s easiest for me to spit it back out by the numbers. So here we go.
8 – Total days gone on vacation
1 – night in a tent
4 – nights in an RV
2 – nights in hotels
3 – National Parks visited
7 – states driven through
4 – Rain/thunderstorms
0 – Bear sightings (thank the Good Lord)
21 – bug bites, combined over four of us. Ryley somehow escaped.
7 – injuries, total. Michael cut his toe on the door to the freezer in a grocery store in Yellowstone. Ryley cut his hand on who knows what. I suffered the worst. A rock was in the fire pit and somehow exploded with the heat, and a chunk hit me in the face, leaving a small burn. Then I was going into the RV and I think I turned to ask Michael something. My left foot turned over, scraping the top of my toes, and I fell down the steps, landing at the bottom. I ended up with the scraped foot, a bad bruise inside my right elbow, and a bruise on my side. I also suffered a huge bruise to my ego. :-O
1 – Bison traffic jam as we were leaving Yellowstone.
5 – Close encounters with wildlife
253 – pictures taken (with the camera – I didn’t count the pictures on our phones)
4 – dunks in rivers/streams/lakes
3 – (at least) blond moments from Grace (no offense, blond friends). According to Grace, Maine is another country where they don’t speak our language. We will laugh about that one for years. It came up because a family across the way in the Yellowstone campground was from Maine.
3 – Moments of serious anxiety when we were driving. I have an irrational fear of going off the side of a cliff in a vehicle. There were two times we seemed *this close* to the edge. Michael blessedly knows my fears and handles it gracefully. On our second to last day, we were driving to Salt Lake from Wyoming and hit a bad wind/rain storm. I was sure the RV was going to flip.
8 – times we were asked “How much longer?” while driving home. No one asked it any other day, and we had A LOT of time in the car.
4 – hikes (2 in Zion, one in Yellowstone, one in Grand Tetons)
1 – Joke about why the bison cross the road (answer: because they can)
1 – apparently illegal fishing outing (season didn’t open until July 15 and we were on the “wrong” portion of the river on July 11)
3 – picnics by lake or stream
3 – times I simply HAD to shave my legs. Going too many days without shaving my legs reminds me too much of being on hospital bedrest.
2 – number of times I was nearly in tears….those moments when you look at your children and realize how quickly your time with them is passing, at exactly the same time you realize how very precious they are.
4 – days I was thankful for all the progress Ethan has made.
2 – Bottles of sunscreen used
3 – Bottles of bug spray used (along with one citronella candle)
8 – loads of laundry done when we got home
4 – hair washes needed for me to get the smoke smell out of my hair
Things too numerous to count: breathtaking views, laughs, moments I am so thankful we did this trip, vows we’ve made to go back, songs listened to while traveling, bison seen (and photographed – I am pretty sure I deleted at least 30 duplicate bison pictures), memories to cherish, times I was made aware the beauty of parts of our world.
We did have some glitches along the way, but they seemed to end up for the best. About four hours into the trip, I realized we had left our pillows at home (the kids had their pillow pets). We stopped at a WalMart in Mesquite to get new ones. I LOVE my new pillow! We arrived one day late in Yellowstone because pretty much everything in Utah is closed on Sundays and we weren’t able to pick up the RV until Monday. The campsite we had reserved at Grant Village had been given away. Thankfully, they were able to get us into the Canyon Campground, albeit for one night less than we had originally planned. We found that the Canyon area is much more beautiful (how that’s possible, I can’t explain) and there is much more wildlife activity. This also gave us a day to head down to the Grand Tetons for a night, which I probably loved more than anything else. One of our hikes along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone was pretty stressful for me and Ethan, but we survived. It was an amazing trip. I pray the kids remember much of it. I feel blessed to have seen all we did, and to have had this experience. Now to convince Michael we need an RV so we can go on more trips like this…..