Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Padre Vacation

This summer perty darn near came to an end without an "official" camp out: we'd not been on a "family camp out."

(i.e.  one involving me, Padre's camping gear, and more than 1 night)

Such as this pic from last year. Me. One night.
The whining from Jaden picked up speed when he saw pictures of me as a kid, crying on a hike somewhere in the Tetons. I was around the age of 6 or 7 when Padre thought I was big enough to have my very own back pack, carry a sleeping bag, mat, and my clothes into the 7 mile hike into Alaska Basin.
"Look," he said, pointing to the pictures. (which I will add later)
 "You at least had a childhood where you could camp, and freeze outside in the bear infested wilderness. What do I get? A bunch of sports camps, playing with my friends.

You got to do a paper route every day so you could buy your own clothes.What do I have to do? Mow lawns on occassion and save my money. Pay for things that I want. I didn't get to take cold showers outside by next to a picnic table every night before bed!
I don't even have my own sleeping bag.. " he  pointed to a pitiful pic of a sleeping bag hanging below my green Kelty aluminum framed pack and added: "look you are carrying yours up a mountain."
"How fair is that?" he harumffed.

Totally unfair.
I thought as the tortous event rekindled in my brain.
These pictures were only the begininng of what fueled his fire of ambition to nag and saw to it that we saw some more suffering before the summer was out.

 Before you feel too bad for him, please know he had slept in a tent on a Father/Son outing, played daily with his buddies, boated and waterski all over Gem Lake, fished, hiked and went on some of the coolest outings with his cub scout group, that I'm tempted to nominate his leaders to the
National Boy Scouts of
But I have to admit, every trailer pulling away from the curb pulled by the truck slowly trudging up the small hill that is our street coaxing the boat, motorbikes and 5th wheel in the direction of FUN did make my heart a bit sad and envious it wasn't us that was going out -
With family. With lots of time to spend fighting in the car with each other until you can settle into a spot without someone touching you and listen to your play list whilst gadgeting with your Ipad, and texting your friends/sweethearts like mad.
Not that I know what kids do these days on long excursions

As a family, we hadn't been able to forge a trip with these kind of nuances and J longed for the kind of extended camp out that, with Padre, involves forgetting necessary items. Or necessary items getting destroyed by the smaller folks and that item happens to be something very new or very old and very special. Jaden needed the Padre-type camping to seal in his memory for all time, to share with his children and instill in him the desire to buy or borrow equipment of Padre's to continue the tradition.

Jaden hadn't been able to come home this summer with millions of mosquito bites, a sunburn baked into his skin and smoke buried into the threads of his clothing and being.

He didn't get to see the daunting Grizzly Bear, in all its glory amongst its natural habitat.  Feel the emotions well up with excitement when visitors from around the world stop their car off to the side of the narrow National park road and peer into the pines to see a silver haired mad man running, or hopping on one foot, because he's sat down on the searing black poker stick seconds from being emerged from the fire pit, the charred marshmallow oozing down the back of his Wranglers.

Since this grey tipped Grizzly had not yet been seen, lots of over time work,
mom and I set our minds to creating a situation to pull off  the best camping trip with out involving a tent, cots or sleeping bags, and any fires whatsoever.

And do this as effortlessly and quickly before school,


This is what we came up with:

Don't let the grave of the man whose name became our destination fool ya.

A drive through the park, minus tents and Coleman lanterns, just the car beneath our feet and
a hotel awaiting our arrival in Cody, Wyoming was all us old folks could pull off.
In just two days.
Seemed easy enough while looking at a map. Pack some extra underclothes, a swimsuit.
And we are set.

Luckily, this trip didn't involve us taking a stage coach because immediately into the "vacation", it became apparent that leaving the city of IF, for me, wasn't such a good idea.
I know.

I should have looked back on my trips across town with Padre to Sam's Club or to run errands as a deterrent. I should have looked at how difficult it was to take the heavy kitchen trash out to the garbage on the side of the house.

 But it was our LAST attempt at a family vacation!
Sacrifices and plain denial had to be implemented as we tossed our luggage and sound judgement in the car.
Without going into a huge amount of detail of why it was so hard to go, I will just say that it wasn't until we reached Cody, that I really felt that I fit in by the way I walked and the locals did.
The pain I suffered also wasn't a deterrent to Padre's slow driving, pulling over for every sign along the way to show J, or one upping me on complaining.

 The standard Yellowstone Sign Picture just for pure torture.
(see top picture)
Dad, we already have several of these.
 I whined after enduring the two hours it took just to get to West Yellowstone.
"I know but the sign is new."
Padre knows because he frequently passes it to reach the businesses he serves for his work.

But once you have ONE of these, isn't it enough? I plead from the back of the seat.
"It is tradition."
Mom said, her voice trailing off into a forest of spindly pines.

It is.

And as an avid scrapbooker, history/journal keeper, I am the first to admit these moments are important.
 But, reader, what you need to understand is that we have several of these pics...

 from the SAME year -
And multiple Entrances.
After the traditional photo was taken with Padre's tri-pod, we piled back into the vehicle with some degree of hope that it wouldn't be too far to Cody from this point.

How wrong I was.

A beautiful geyser somewhere along the way.

Faintly, I recall going passed Norris and Canyon junction. But it was hard to tell as I was laying on my back, because inside, I felt akin to being cut by something like this saw below, but the jagged job was done on the inside by an uncertified Doctor from this time period.

Sitting up, I felt like I was riding my bike with this saw as a seat instead of the tractor seat.
Without even a doily for cushioning, I was in some serious

So I lay there,
in the back of the car, staring at the gray ceiling above me and fighting off
feeling like a pirate with scurvy minus Dramamine on the
high seas.

After reading this sign AFTER the trip, I wondered why I didn't just get in one of the springs like the Indians did to treat their wound and sickness. There are some new rules since the Shoshone used this practice.

So I'd swallow back the accumulating sickness, wipe my upper lip and brow of the sweat that was attempting to bring equilibrium back to my body as I felt every bump we passed over with quivering muscles all in the effort to get out there and do some good 'ol campin.

  Jaden erupted over the minutest details from the middle seat. Things like:
"Mom! Did you see that Mountain Goat?? Look it's trying to climb up that rocky ledge with its kid."

click, click, click.
he worked the camera from the middle seat.

I sat up and couldn't help but think: "Ah, how cute."
"Look at all these buffalo!" he shouted as a troupe off of Dances with Wolves panned out in front of us.
" It's like the olden days when the Indians had a whole valley full of buffalo to go after and shoot with their bows and arrows."
I nodded,  mildly impressed. Recalling all the buffalo herds I'd seen in my life with Padre.
With most kids back in school- I hate to give this tip- the drive was not crowded. It felt like we had the calm waters, lazy buffalo, Mountain Goat family and lone Moose to ourselves.
And though I jest about these things, create tall tales- this is what I wanted to see- my son taking in what I was able to take in as a child; the outdoors
and the wildlife.

(This is of a different moose than the one J. saw that day because we couldn't get a good shot of it. But still one taken in the park earlier in the spring.)

I would arrange my pillows so that I too could gaze at J. as he was enthralled with the beauty of Yellowstone.

And had to admit he was right.

It gets your heart beating for some reason.

I grew up being able to go to the Park, often, was healthy enough back then to complain about long walks around the geyser board walks, but J. never does.
Okay, back to the exaggerating, tall tale parts of the attempted "campin trip":
When you are not in the best of shape it can be a real struggle. Especially on those who are driving you to your destination....
(This is part of an old strip of cabins but don't let the dry, sagebrushed desert fool ya into thinking it's a bad destination. On the contrary!)
"Remind me to never bring her on trips."
Padre quipped to Mother as he crunched on some pig skins.
"Well,, I don't think she anticipated be nauseated, in pain and needing to stop so much on this trip."
"What's nauseating, is making a pit stop every time we get going down the road." Padre chimed and chuckled at his joke, inhaling some pigskin dust that made him erupt into a semi close asthma attack of sorts.
What he said was very true. Pig skins and all. I did NOT want to visit every gas station, Park Ranger Station nor latrine from I.F. to Cody, Wyoming.
You don't set out on  a trip with those sorts of expectations.
Stopping to take in a mural or statue, yes.

Unless you have Crohns and in a flare- no.

Isn't this a stellar bust of John Colter?
Jaden, with the middle seat to himselfm happily snapped pictures of the wildlife, and the animals outside the car, too  despite our setbacks. He was pleased to get outta Dodge- even if it meant having to bring me,
 I found later that an infection amped itself up during the vacation which explained the low grade fever and extreme pain. It was a miracle that we made it, cause I would have caboshed any stops that were unnecessary, Like the road side signs that tell the stories and history of the surrounding area.
Luckily, Padre is stubborn and Jaden is sweet.

and oblivious to a degree of the real pain  it was and made those stops. Padre took pictures and read the signs that dabbled the road sides to all the way to Cody without paying too much attention to the moans from the back seat.
And I am so grateful because it brought the past alive to Jaden.
The occasional herd of buffalo roaming across the road, the backed up traffic made up of out of towners, that made you come face to face with a large headed bison standing nonchalantly next to our car, were all taken in stride.  
And I was glad I didn't need to "go" at any of these traffic jams.
Amazingly enough, we made it to Cody. We stayed in a hotel off the beaten path that was clean, affordable and even had a pool for Jaden to cool off in.
I hesitate to tell anyone about it, for fear they will spike their prices. But their hospitality and CLEANLINESS
forces me to reveal:

The Cody Legacy Inn.
The GEM of the entire trip:

This museum is amazing. Granted I only went inside to use the bathrooms a total of three times. But when I heard Jaden describe what he did, saw and then viewed the pictures from the camera-Oh, my.

 My teacher/history heart fluttered. The sad irony was that, just across the street was a hospital. They didn't take my insurance. The whole trip could have been different.(and added a couple thousand dollars to it) Jaden told me the museum had wheelchairs. But that was my problem. I could NOT even sit with my situation. Recall the ol saw from above.
It was a tragedy.
And I'm still trying to understand why it had to happen.
But listening to him tell all about it,
Oh! It was worth every bit.
I had visited the center almost 20 years ago but NOW they have renovated it and are still renovating
to make it one of the best museums to ever be built, in my opinion!
Please check it out!

Who can say they spent an evening walking around an Indian camp?

The movie:Night at the Museum must have been some inspiration because once I saw these pics... wow!
Included  was an outdoor show with different birds that flew over the audience and did some other cool tricks. 
Below is Jaden using the interactive media that allowed him to hear the sounds of animals and view them in their habitats.

Heck, there was even a beaver lodge cross sectioned that stood upon a glass floor with real fish swimming beneath it!
Unfortunately, most of the rooms didn't allow pictures taken or else I could have really "sold" this museum.

After a day of J. enjoying this, and me in the car swatting away flies (there was a merciful breeze) we went back to the hotel and J.
dived into the pool while I sat and watched the sun go down, casting a pink hue against the rugged rocky cliffs jutting out of the ground as you enter Cody.
Earlier in the day they had been the sandy yellowish color that may have contributed to why the French guy called it the Rock Yellow River.

Talking with people from different countries around the pool was interesting and finding out what they like about the area. Which has felt like my back yard because Padre was always into taking us out to "camp" and take in all the history around these parts.

Don't get me wrong, I was ready to actually not dawdle around the next day, book it back to I.f. but Padre made sure J. saw and did the important stuff.

What kid doesn't want to Lasso? Ropes are good souvenirs and we are glad we didn't opt for the fake arrowhead in one of the shops at the Irma hotel. Because you can lasso in the country
or in town.

So we got our trip in. Now we are
School is back in Session.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive