Day 23- Edwards Colorado

I slept really hard- a fantastic hard sleep. So lucky to be here. The kids were up at normal 6am for school.

After morning session we went on a hike with Rosie and Starr.

Can’t believe she lives here.

Franco has to play right even though a lefty because we didn’t bring our clubs. Molly loaned the boys her boys older clubs. So fun!!

While Smols took my boys golfing (am sure they were impressed by her D1 skillz,) I took Ciela for a chop-

She looks too old.

Another walk with our girls- Admiring the mountain lion/ cougar scratches on the trees in her front yard.

Later the boys went to collect lost golf balls by hole 2- where people miss the green and they fall in the ditch. Grayson discovered a massive coyote den at the very bottom. Molly later told us that the coyotes would lure dogs down to the den and then they would ambush it and kill/ eat them. 😳mica and Evie put on performances for us- the tango and various other dances.

Then the boys pulled out three teeth between the two of them. ?!?

Had to peel them away from Hungry Hippo to go to bed. We went to sleep waaaaaay too late!

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Passing the time while driving

The driving time FLIES if we are listening to an audiobook. Finding one that all will enjoy has been a challenge. But all four kids absolutely loved “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah. It is exceptional. There are a few adult moments that I skipped over but for the most part, aside from the curse words- it was an amazing book. They learned about Apartheid and his experience growing up as a mixed race boy in South Africa. His very existence was ilegal- his parents could have gone to jail for five years for being together because his mother was black and his father white. We all cracked up at the humor he found in the absurd experiences he had. The audiobook was read by the author and his delivery was exceptional- explaining his success as a comedian/ performer in real life. His stories of his childhood captured all our attention. We would get into a car and they would say “turn on Trevor!”

Once that was done, we moved on to “The Outsiders.” They are hooked but they prefer nonfiction.

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Day 22- Utah, Dinosaurs

After having excellent WiFi and finishing morning school at 10:30am- we went to explore Utah. The Dry Forks Petroglyphs in Vernal Utah- on private property… 200ft high sandstone cliff has petroglyphs carved into the stone dating back from 1-1200 AD.

The kids were questioning the authenticity of the carvings because the cliff was accessible to anyone. In their minds, anyone could have carved them.

From there we drove to Dinosaur National Monument Quarry in Jenson Utah. This was super cool. Located between Colorado and Utah- the quarry became a reservoir for the skeletons of the dinosaurs after flooding hit the area. So many dinosaur bones all gathered there and were discovered 100 years ago. In the 1950s they built a structure enclosing the most prominent wall of bones. That’s what we were able to visit.

It was wild seeing all these bones all in one place. And being able to touch them was even cooler.

After exploring the wall of bones- we went for a hike in the 80degree direct sun heat.

Then we hit the road for Edwards, to visit Molly.

We saw very few cars the entire time. We finished listening to The Outsiders.

The kids cracked up because the only cars we did see- were road workers painting the lines. We got stuck behind them for 20minutes. I didn’t feel comfortable passing them because I knew I would be crossing the wet yellow lines… but eventually we did.

The drive was beautiful. The mountains were red!

Four and a half hours and 213 miles later, we arrived at Molly’s home.

Just in time for dinner and bedtime stories. Mica won’t want to leave!!! Evie and Mica were instant buds.

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Day 21- leaving Jackson, Utah

School was SO easy when doing it from Jack Mac’s. PB banana smoothies for breakfast. While kids schooled, mom packed up the RV and all our gear. Did a quick RV clean and gathered the kids to go.

I was super bummed that we never got to rollerblade the bike route along the Tetons… so we did it after dropping off rental car. (Small hiccup with rental car- the rental agreement had Jackson airport as return spot but when we arrived we learned the Budget was in Jackson- blocks from where we were staying. We went to airport for nothing!)

The kids were SO happy to be on their blades again. We parked and I told them to blade to a tree I saw far in the distance. I couldn’t guess how far it was but I could not see them when they got to it. I loved how safe it felt because the bike route never intersects with anything the entire route. Beautifully paved asphalt with the Tetons as a backdrop. After returning they asked if they could go again… so I let them. After that return, gray begged for one more go… he was the only one to go three times.

Then we hit the road. 276 miles and 5.5 hours to Vernal Utah. The ride was spectacular. Much of the route running along side rolling rivers. I kept hollering for the kids to “look out the window.”

We passed some previous fire sites and were sad to see so much destruction.

A highlight of the drive was coming upon ranchers moving their cattle.

There was a young girl in braids also working-

Our girls caught up on sleep.

More driving…

I am constantly thinking “where is everyone?” as I drive. The entire time, I may have seen a handful of cars. I have never once been in traffic except for about fifteen minutes outside of Chicago. It is surreal. No one is on the roads.

We knew we were close when we hit the dam-

Our first stop in Utah was at Red Fleet State Park. We arrived around 5:30pm and there was only one RV in the entire parking lot and one other car. A couple was kayaking on the water and loaded up to leave in that car as we arrived. I wanted to hike and explore- this park known for dinosaur footprints embedded in the rock. But the kids begged to blare on the open expanse of the parking lot. Again, surreal to be in this massive state park alone.

Ciela finished math homework in the RV and then joined us.

As the sun set, I loaded everyone back in the car to drive before dark. The rocks looked painted and reminded me of Salta, Argentina.

We arrived at the Vernal KOA just as it was closing. Franco helped me hookup. The boys lit a fire while Ciela finished more school work. S’mores as a treat and early to bed.

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Day 20- Jackson

The 5:50am wake up was particularly hard today. After school at Jack Mac’s we had a delicious brunch at Cafe Genevieve. Per Finley’s recommendation, we had grilled cheese/Mac n cheese with tomato soup. SO GOOD!

We hit up Orvis to buy Papa a fly rod. But of course we needed to test it out ourselves first. Daryl taught us how to assemble it and we drove to find some fishing spots.

Franco and I loved just exploring the river bed. We found another bone- a femoral head of who knows what animal.

We picked up the girls in town… loved Orsetto’s bear and were goofy with some sculptures.

Back to town to wash up and then Hole Bowl for dinner. Mushroom goat cheese pizza was the bomb.

These people are the very best!

Day 19 Jackson

We woke up with a chill because our heat didn’t work in the RV. We are not sure why. I was able to turn the generator on in the morning, get it going and warm up our rig in the morning. But it was as cold inside as it was outside (freezing) and thank Ryan for our awesome sleeping bags- we slept great and slept in until 8am!

Since it was still cold outside- the fire was turned on and we had breakfast. Daryl whipped up ham and egg burritos.

Franco so happy!

The sun came out and soon the temperature increased to the 70s. More fishing, exploring on the lake and beaver dam. Tony rolled in the dirt.

They perfected the drainage of the creek. Directing the water in three routes.

The girls painted more rocks.

Fisherman poking through the forest in this last photo.

The kids loved every minute of our camping adventure.

On our drive back to Jackson- we noticed the Tetons were obscured by the fire smoke. It felt worse than previous days.

We unpacked at the Virginian RV park and did five loads of laundry. The kids went back to the climbing park-

Football in the RV park.

Watched the Eagles beat the 49ers and went to sleep.

Day 18- Atherton Campground continued

Daryl loaded the boys and I into her pickup and we went in search of a river to fish.

As we walked down to the river- we can upon the remains of an animal.

When we made it down, we had t cross part of the river. The water was so cold, you actually experienced pain in your legs. Funniest feeling.

I was in heaven. Soaking up the sun while the boys and Daryl fished. Gus caught a trout and the boys practiced casting. Daryl with so much patience for them both.

While recovering a lure caught in the bank, Daryl found this stick, every inch of it carved by a beaver. So cool. Our official trip mascot.

We didn’t want to leave but knew the girls would be wondering where we were.

Came back to the girls painting their clay bowls and rocks. Cocktail hour on the beach.

Once the sun set the temp dropped precipitously. Daryl fires up her cooker and had tacos done in minutes.

They were soon devoured and we fired up the gas fire pit (wood burning not allowed because of risk of spreading fire.)

The kids started their own conversations while D and I tried to just listen in. They went around and wondered about what they would buy if they had three million dollars. Soon they realized they needed more so kicked it up to one hundred million dollars.

Then they began sharing riddles and jokes. Each one patiently listening to the other. Peightals such awesome kids. It was Finley who finely called it a night at 9:30pm and we all disappeared to bed.

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Day 18- Atherton Campgrounds Jackson Hole

Everyone was so happy to sleep in until 8:30am.

We met up with Daryl and the kids and drove to the campground. There is still some smoke obscuring the Tetons… but the Yellow of the aspen trees in full color.

BigE next to the MacPeightals.

This was our first time boondocking- ie not hooking up to anything, water or electric. Thank goodness for Daryl- she helped show me the ropes.

The kids immediately went to the lake and showed our guys how to find the good clay beneath the top layer of sand by the creek. They dried it out by rolling it in their hands, and shaped it in to bowls to dry in the sun.

The kids spent hours clearing the creek as it emptied into the lake.

The Peightals also showed our guys their fort in the brush- and bear skat- notice the berries.

Then Daryl appeared with sandwiches for everyone. I don’t know how she did it. One second she was there and the next she appeared with tons of food.

We hit the law again, this time for swimming. The water was so cold that the kids wore life vests so that they had protection from freezing up once in. Teddy was the first to climb to the top branch of the sunken tree- balancing and then leaping. Gus and Gray followed.

Finely and Ciela tried to see who could let in the frigid spring water longer. Then the girls went in the lake-

Daryl took Tony for a lap.

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Day 17- Jackson Wyoming

Rise and shine for school I. The library parking lot.

So proud of these guys. No complaints about waking up at 5:50am and trying to school from inside a minivan. When they library opens around 8:30am- the WiFi is so slow it becomes inoperable. Daryl saved us again by letting us school from her kitchen. Then home for lunch.

We met for football on the field in front of Daryl’s Parents home. Alex and Jessica’s kids- Lotte, Nell and Gunnar as well as Daryls kids- Teddy, Finley and Gus. Their friend Q also joined. Moms hung out while the kids played two hand touch (sort of tackle) football. So so so fun!

We explored town some more and went back to the RV for dinner.

The kids begged my to take them to climbing wall park not far from the RV site. They climbed until they couldn’t see anymore.

Back to the RV for movie night- we watched Bridget Jones’ Diary. We cracked up at the absurdity of her character.

Everyone so happy to sleep in Saturday morning.

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Day 16- Jackson fun

I love this town. Truly the first time in a long time that I can imagine myself living in another town. Jackson’s population 1/3 of Westfield but doesn’t feel small because of the tourists. I love the artsy feel. The creativity in the stores. The quality of the restaurants. The access to incredible hikes and bike trails. The Tetons and Yellowstone so close. And of course the MacGregors are here and just awesome.

We started the day in the library parking lot, in the dark. I pre-heated the car so they didn’t feel the cold. So proud of these crazies for not complaining at the 5:50am wake up.

At 8am we headed to Daryl’s house because her kids already off to school and didn’t feel like imposing as much. The kids were ecstatic to meet Tony- our new favorite breed of dog- Spinone Italiano.

They were happy to give him love while they worked.

Mica psyched to send Rye messages- she took this photo of our RV park and sent to him.

After finishing school at the Mac’s house, they loaned us mountain bikes to go on a ride. Ciela went shopping in town with Sofi because she couldn’t fit on a bike (and had been so excited to walk the town.)

Daryl went on a quick ride before and realized Mica had never been on a bike with hand breaks and gears. She taught her on the fly.

Then we went out towards the elk refuge.

We stopped by the Miller House for lunch and then kept going. Mica needed another pit stop at the top of the hill.

When we got back the kids were home from school. Gus was teaching them how to flip on the trampoline.

Then we went to town and hit a few stores. Made was moms favorite but the kids discovered the toy store at the basement of the Tee store.

We washed up in the RV and enjoyed dinner outside at Cafe Genevieve. It was beautiful outside and the kids loved the watermelon lemonades. Sofia and I preferred our cocktails. Burgers, mushrooms, bison chili, Brussels sprouts and the corn hash were favorites.

We left with full bellies and happy hearts. Love this town.