This is a beautiful site, isn’t it? We love to be on the road again. This past summer we took our annual family camping trip in the Grand Teton National Park. You can see that we are following some canoes. That’s my brother-in-law Clay and his family in front of us. If you read my journaling of our Yellowstone trip in 2010, then you know we spent two days at the Grand Tetons during that trip. It was so lovely that all of us knew that one day we would go back. This was the day (in the photo). It was time to get out of our homes, our jobs, and for goodness sake—the Texas heat. I had a major writing project due the day before we left, so packing for me this time was blurry and burny-eyed. I was working on a little sleep and a lot of caffeine, but I followed my trusty camping list. Before I could blink, my project was sent, we were loaded, and this was my view, baby. We’ve been watching Cake Boss a lot these days so if I start to write like Buddy talks, you’ll know why. Forget about it.
We drove straight through the night. C’mon, you know you would be disappointed if we didn’t! By morning, we were in Colorado with several hours to go. I’ve decided the term far doesn’t just have to do with distance. If you look on the map, Wyoming is very far from Texas. But, if you drive that whole way with four kids….well, it just gives you a whole new experience of what far really means. Far. Far and away. I loved that movie by the way….especially the clothes washing scene.
We stopped in Denver at the REI store just like old times. We met up with our family who lives in Denton. I bought some chocolate. My husband bought a new sleeping bag for our oldest daughter. It was actually fortuitous that he counted the bags before we got to Denver. There were only three kid bags. This worked out great for Matt because there is nothing he likes better than to buy camping gear. Wow. He’s really good at it. He knows all about the specs on gear and what you want and what you don’t want. This is not my strength. I was happy to leave him in a long sleeping bag conversation with the REI employee and look for chocolate I would want to eat around the campfire. I found this Sea Salt Dark Chocolate that was really good. He came out with a nice bag for Anna, and she was happy. I am happy to tell you I did not get peed on this time at REI.
With our group complete, we were back on the road. We drove and drove. We stopped at a KFC/Taco Bell/Gas station. These places are weird, and there are too many choices. But the kids were happy. We rarely eat at KFC, and we ate there pretty often while we lived in Indonesia. I know it sounds weird, but KFC brings up nostalgic memories of our overseas life for my oldest girl. She just wishes American KFC’s served rice.
We finally made it across Wyoming, and we began to move into the mountains. It is amazing to me how beautiful places are still so very beautiful no matter how many times you encounter them. It began to rain as we entered the Grand Teton National Park, and the van windows were becoming cold. I began handing out our new rain jackets which everyone was excited about including me since it was my first new rain jacket in 15 years.
The rain cleared a bit as we moved closer to the Colter Bay Village. We had a nice Group Site reserved in the Colter Bay Village which is close to showers! Yeah! It was a bit cold, damp, and dark as we flashlighted around looking for the perfect tent site. Once we had everything set up, the kids were ready to get in their bags. I made sorry PB&J sandwiches in the dark on the back of the van ledge. We shoved them in, washed them down, brushed our teeth and put kids in bed. My brothers-in-law Will and Cole and my husband were sitting around a small fire when I came out of the tent. Everyone else was exhausted from the travelling and had already succumbed to their cozy tents. I couldn’t miss this first fire, so I sat on the wet log-bench and stared wearily into the fire.
I listened as the brother laughter rolled out. I smelled the smoky wood. I saw the stars. I felt my shoulders relax, and I took a deep breath. I felt like….I was home.
To be continued…