Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wyoming and Black Hills, Summer 2010

Our annual trip back to the area where my husband and I grew up, had a lot more adventure than we had bargained for. This year we drove just over 4,000 miles and along the way we were nearly struck by lightning, had a brother-in-law suffer 3rd degree burns, My Mother in Law broke her hip - twice, the brakes went out on my car and my son was almost swept off in a flood of hailstones and rainwater, there were tornados but also a 105* day when my Mom burned her feet on the side of the swimming pool. There was a white water raft trip, with only a little white water but enough to get me bruised when my son's oar whacked my arm. There was also the news that my Mom needs a deep squamous cell carcinoma removed from her hand in a surgery that is predicted to take 2 1/2 hours.

The beginning of this trip was a plan to celebrate my in-laws 60th anniversary with a family re-union at a 4-H camp (Rentable for private groups) in Custer State Park in the Black Hills where my husband and I had worked during our honeymoon in 1984 at the Black Hills playhouse. Just before we arrived Mimi broke her hip and had surgery to pin it, but the day we arrived she broke it a second time and was ordered to no weight bearing for 6 weeks. So she would not be coming to her own anniversary celebration even though everyone made it in to see her at the hospital - just wasn't the same. Growing old is not for wimps.

We camped in the Columbia River Gorge on the way there, and in Bozeman, Montana after getting stuck in the I-90, no motel or campground madness we finally set up tents at 1 AM, to the joy of the people trying to sleep near-by.

The Black Hills portion of the visit was lovely of course, and the campground and cabins and kitchen were a delight. Seeing my 10 year old niece for the first time since she was 7 was a shock. Hiking in the hills was perfect. But as we gathered around a bonfire, the lightning got closer and after it exploded overhead the dog ran away and my BIL fell into the bonfire with his hand between two flaming logs. The next morning we heard that 16 people had been struck by lightning in the Tetons, and we were all closer than we ever want to be again.

Then back at my in-laws in Newcastle, WY My son (17) borrowed Grandpa's truck and left to use his 3 day fishing license when the tornado sirens started blasting, and before he was home the truck was lifted on a stream of hail until it wedged in a cattle guard.

Going around the Bighorn Mountains to show my family one of my favorite spots in the Pryor Mountains we found my brakes dead and the Dam at yellowtail closed anyway "Permanently for National Security Purposes"

In Cody to visit my Family, and over to the Hot Springs in Thermopolis on a 105* day, then up through Yellowstone to the amazing Hells-A-Roarin outfitters to be their guests at a lovely cabin and treated to a BBQ and Campfire and trailrides. Oh, Amazing place, Gorgeous Views, gracious and friendly family running it. Never can say Thanks enough.

Homeward bound we had two vehicles given to our two teens and so we drove the final 1,400 miles in a 3 car caravan and now my 16 year old thinks he can drive anywhere now that he has driven through Portland.

Family is worth every adventure they bring your way, but we arrived home, limp and exhausted - just in time for the fair and band camp.

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