The morning of our third day of travel was bright and sunny. We all woke up with a lot of energy and took our time getting ready in the morning. The kids got to watch a couple cartoons on the television and everyone took a shower and got all cleaned up before we loaded the car up and headed to the motel lobby for breakfast. The motel breakfast was substantial but hectic. The breakfast area was very small and had only about eight small tables for seating. When we arrived, I was taken aback by the mass chaos in front of us - all the tables were taken, there were children squealing, a huge long line for food, and lots of angry, hungry people looking very annoyed with the claustrophobic situation. Thankfully, an older gentleman got up from his seat just as we came in and motioned us over. The table he had been eating at was only a table for two, so we planted Matthew and Emma in the chairs while Paul went to round up food for all of us. Matthew and Emma enjoyed eggs, toast, yogurt, and muffins at their table in the sunshine. Paul and I ate standing up while taking turns holding and feeding Lucy. It was very relaxing. We couldn't wait to get out of there.
Finally, we were off to Yellowstone. Paul and I were almost giddy with excitement about our trip through the park. We both had been to Yellowstone multiple times during our childhood and had wonderful memories of all the fantastic scenery and wildlife we had witnessed during our trips. I remembered the roads being lined with buffalo and seeing huge bull elk stopping traffic. I couldn't wait to share that experience with my kids.
Of course, the children were very whiny as we made the relatively short drive from Cody to the park entrance. They were pretty fed up with being in the car at this point.
"You guys are going to see a lot of neat things today!" Paul told them, "It's going to make being in the car a little longer worth it! You're going to see buffalo, elk, and maybe a bear if we're lucky!"
The kids excitedly began discussing how amazing it will be to see a real, live buffalo. Matthew began talking nonstop about how this will be the very first day that he has ever seen a buffalo! We were happy to pump them up.
Driving through Yellowstone is always such an inspiring experience. The scenery is breathtaking.
At one of our photo stops, Emma insisted that I photograph her friend "Norman" the hamster. I complied, but after sorting through the photos later had to laugh out loud at this picture. I love how Emma is creeping in the background.
However, Matthew and Emma both found the hot pots and geysers absolutely fascinating. Their jaws were open the entire time we walked along the boardwalks that wove between the hot pots just south of Grant Village. They were fascinated to hear how early explorers to the area would take their boats to fish on the lake and then steer them super close to some of the hot pots along the waters edge and cook the fish right from the side of their boat over the hot pot. Matthew wanted to try that himself but we had to nix his ideas. We already had lunch plans.
One of the highlights of the day was getting to visit with my cousin Karla. She just graduated from college and basically signed on for the best summer job ever by working in Yellowstone's Grant Village. I had a blast catching up with her and hearing more about both her job and her plans after she returns to civilization! The kids enjoyed meeting her over lunch, although Emma was a bit of a pain. She was extremely cranky and in one of those moods where she needs to be catered to constantly because she does not possess the energy to do anything herself. She designated poor Karla to be her beast of burden for the afternoon and I was afraid that she would break my poor cousin's back. Emma is a chunk.
After we said goodbye to Karla, we headed to visit some of Yellowstone's geysers. This of course included Old Faithful who was particularly active today. We had a pretty good show. This was probably Matthew's favorite part of the whole day.
|Not Old Faithful but another neat, active geyser.|
A little further down the road, we spied a little marker that was very significant to our trip. We had finally reached our destination - MONTANA!
Of course, we still had about four more hours until Helena but that seemed like a small amount of time compared to the length of our previous drives. Before we knew it, we had driven through Big Sky, Bozeman, Townsend, and finally into Helena and into the waiting arms of parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts, nieces and nephews, cousins and friends. And the best part of our trip had just begun.