The end of June and our long awaited trip to Idaho and Yellowstone is finally here.
It's the last week of Jeff's fiscal year end and he's been frantically working to tie up loose ends before we are off but we are glad to be gone and together as a family.
We were met with a 3 hour plane delay when we arrived at Long Beach so we drove to the Queen Mary to kill a little bit of time.
The kids had never been here (except when Ashley was a week old) so we wanted to show them some history.
The surrounding buildings were pretty much run down or closed up...hmmm...we went to the ship (which is also a hotel) and they wanted us to pay quite a bit to go in if you weren't staying at the hotel. Since we only had an hour and we said we were just looking for something to eat they let us go in.
It was interesting to see but I would've been irritated if I had to pay. Things are pretty plain, a little run down and most of all the food places were closed. The little overpriced "deli" didn't look appetising at all.
You could see remnants of it's glory days here in the shopping section and in the closed entrances into the indoor pool and restaurants that once were probably grand.
We ended up finding a Jack in the Box on the way back to the airport to eat an early dinner. We observed many interesting characters come in as we were eating including a guy that came in into the Jack in the Box eating out of two Little Cesar Pizza boxes.
Taylor encountered him again in the bathroom. When Taylor opened the door to go in he realized quickly that the bathroom was a one person stall as Taylor gets a full view of this guy sitting on the pot, pants down eating his pizzas. Taylor embarassedly stammered "Sorry" he only got a grunt in reply.
Our flight was smooth and uneventful. We flew Allegiant Air for the first time. Super low rates...lots of fees for everything else. Checked bags, every snack and drink on the plane, being able to pick your seat assignment and be aware there are no TVs or entertainment. But for the price it couldn't be beat.
We got to Idaho Falls at 11:30 at night and had to check out the view of the temple at night.
The next morning we thought we would see what Idaho falls was about. First we hit a Wallmart to stock up on drinks and snacks for our trip. We knew once we were in Yellowstone food options would be limited.
We loved that there was actually a waterfall in the middle of town.
Duh, maybe thats why they call it Idaho Falls!
The view of the temple through the falls was beautiful.
(If you can look hard you can see a flock of birds coming off the water)
The sound was deafening and it was awesome to watch. Amazing.
We hiked a ways down the river. Beautiful. I'm sure if we had this in downtown Riverside I wouldn't have trouble getting the boys out to hike rather than our brown Sycamore Canyon ;)
OK we were laughing at the Idaho Falls visitor guide.
Literally the top things to do in Idaho Falls...their claim to fame...their tourist draws are....
1. Fly cast fishing
2. Running on a trail
3. Pick a rubber duck to race down the river
4. Sit on one of the "sculpural benches" around town
5. Go geo-caching
7. Go RVing
8. Participate in their annual Jam festival (it's only 3 days though so you'll have to plan around it)
9. Discover a new world of dance
Well we found one of the sculpural benches to enjoy....we were wondering if the artist was intending to make it look like a giant backside or not...maybe it was just us.
After a couple hours in Idaho Falls we were ready to start our journey to Wyoming. But first we had to stop in Rexburg and went through the Yellowstone Bear World.
What is it you might ask. Well we went with a reccomendation from someone we met in the airport and found this place that was started up by a guy that wanted to give visitors the experience of seeing bears up close like they used to be able to in Yellowstone. (I guess they thinned out the bear population quite bit to keep people safe)
So it was a drive through safari of Yellowstone creatures...it ended up being a favorite of the trip because we never ended up seeing bears in Yellowstone.
We saw baby elk and parents...cute.
Big daddy elk.
And a white elk which I guess is super, extremely rare because it isn't albino it's truly just white. Anyway he was cool too.
Wild turkeys...yes kids this is where your Thanksgiving dinner comes from.
And of course our favorite was the bears.. There were tons of them.
They had these cool little hideout/houses that they were hanging out and sleeping in but there were plenty out and about too.
These guys were playing? fighting? ...maybe a little of both.
We liked this white one.
You could drive through as many times as you wanted and one of the times we followed the feeding bus so they were all out on the road and close to the car.
Of course we followed our instructions to keep the windows rolled up and kept moving ;)
After our drive we headed to the gift shop, petting zoo and rides (all included in the price).
The gift shop was fun and Jeff and the boys found some really good homemade fudge to buy...a couple samples and they were hooked.
We went out back and they had the cutest baby cubs playing around. We felt like we were really close to them...much closer than our zoos....
well it was because of this electric fence. It was sad to see them pacing..one even got zapped while we were there :(
Most of the time they didn't seem to care too much though. They were too busy playing with each other.
Why you don't want to meet a bear out on your own...
Maybe we could fool them into thinking we were one of them ;)
The kids liked the petting zoo. Besides the usual goats...
We found a momma elk and her baby.
The momma like the food pellets but the baby try as we might was not interested in them...
She had her own food supply.
Jeff feeding the elk...
The elk using me as a salt lick...well lotion lick.
I couldn't figure out why this elk kept licking my arm until I realized I had put lotion on that morning. It was the funniest thing.
Go figure but the kids favorite animal in the petting zoo was this guy. A huge, squat pig with a window washer tail.
For some reason they loved him.
So we weren't going to do it but they were free so we checked out their rides. I went on a mini roller coaster with Ashley and Taylor and Jacob went on this ride. It was funny because Taylor kept pretending like it was scaring him and it was the wimpiest, slowest ride I've ever seen in my life. I think he was trying to get the worker who was running it to laugh and he wasn't cracking a smile. Maybe he didn't appreciate Taylor's sense of humor.
So then the boys went on this big teddy bear ride. It looked wimpy as it went around in circles but come to find out it's actually like the tea-cups where you can control it and spin it as well. So Taylor asked the girl working this ride if it could get going fast.
Well she gave them a push and Taylor span it and they were spinning crazy the whole time. Jacob was laying on his side laughing and Ashley was glad that she hadn't gone on it with them!
It was so funny to see all they bears placidly going around and the one with our boys in it spinning madly. They would've gone again but we were out of time.
On our way out of town we drove by the Rexburg temple.
We also drove through BYU Idaho to say we saw it. My sister went here and I had never seen it before.
They weren't kidding when they said there wasn't much else besides the school here. They were right. I think I've lived too long in big cities I couldn't imagine how spread out and sparse the part of Idaho we saw was. It was beautiful but I think it would be too far, flat and spread out for my taste.
Jeff asked one of the students if they ever get bored with not a lot to do there.
She said "Oh there's LOTS to do here! There's hiking, and kayaking, and running..."
(Sounds like Rexburg had the same kind of visitor guide as Idaho Falls )
From Rexburg we drove through the Tetons to get to where we were staying in Wyoming.
The Tetons were these amazing peaks looking like they just jutted out of the valley.
We were staying in Teton Village which was 10 minutes away from Jackson Hole. It's a little skiing community in the winter but in the summer it just had a great view of the tetons.
In pretty much all our hotel rooms we get two beds and Ashley ends up sleeping at the foot of our bed. Jeff came to the car when we were checking into our hotel and asked me if I wanted to pay a little more per night to get a loft with another bed so Ashley could sleep by herself. She was thrilled.
He came back to the car saying he didn't want to spend the money and Ashley was dissapointed....that was until we opened the room and she saw they circular stairs going to the loft.
She was very happy to have her own bed...(though the second night she woke up scared and I had to climb down and sleep with her)
The drive through the mountians to get there was gorgeous and full of waterfalls but it was a little precarious with 10% grades and slow and fast cars all trying to go up and down those grades. For now we were happy to be in Wyoming!
Our view from the stairs. Now Wyoming was still sparse and spread out but it wasn't flat. I though was beautiful!