Saturday, August 14, 2010

Scenes from Day 1 of our Summer Vacation

Our official Family Summer Vacation 2010 kicked off on Friday, July 30th as we departed from the farm at 8:00 AM. We had the van stuffed to the gills with camping gear & supplies to support us on our 8 day adventure to Yellowstone National Park. The first stop was to pick up our RV Rental in Mandan, ND at 11:00 AM; however, our GPS Navigator "Amy" failed to direct us to the proper location and we wondered around a residential area for about 15 minutes trying to get to our destination. Kind of a rocky start for an 8 day trip, don't ya think?

My parents planned to meet up with us later in the day as well as my brother Russ & his family. We had to do a little bait & switch tactic with our Bella. We weren't "officially" allowed to have a dog in our rental RV, so my folks took her the first part of the trip. For the record, we don't really think of Bella as a dog, she is more of an accessory than anything else.

It took us almost an hour to get all of our supplies including the hitch with the bike rack moved from the van over to the newly dubbed "Rolling Turd". I haven't seen the Robin Williams' movie RV, but Abby has and said the name came from that show. There were also a lot of instructions on how to operating the massive rig and understand all the lights, bells and whistles. Looking at the sheer size of the Rolling Turd and I was already apprehensive about its maneuverability for the next 1300 miles.

We got on the road by noon & headed for Medora. The interior was extremely roomie. Abby quickly claimed the larger couch and Kippy got the love seat. Steve felt very confident as the driver and slowly I was able to relax and enjoy the adventure.
Our first tourist stop was to see Salem Sue, the largest Holstein cow in the world. When the decision was made to take the Rolling Turd up the steep hill, we didn't really consider whether or not there was adequate space to turn the 33 foot rig around. After exploring and taking pictures of Sue, I ended up having to ask several people to move their vehicles while Steve began the process of turning around. I am sure it was a comical sight, but pretty stressful for both the driver and the navigator. Our first major hurdle was a success!
We continued on down the road until we reached the Painted Canyon and were able to meet up with my folks and Miss Bella. The views were breathtaking and a welcome change from the prairie. We made a brief stop in Dickensen for groceries and headed on to Medora to get checked into the Red Trail Campground. Russ & Kristy arrived at the same time and we got all three rigs situated next to each other and appropriately set up. It was very good for us to be nestled between two experience campers because they provided help, insructions and also some missing gear to us.

It was mid afternoon and we had some time for touring before the pitchfork fondue & musical. We chose to check out the Chateau de Mores, which gave some interesting history on the origination of the town of Medora and the cattle industry in the late 1800's.

The highlight of the day was definitely the Pitchfork Fondue and Musical. Although we had to stand in line for the food in the HOT, HOT, HOT sun, it was delicious and a very unique experience. Can't say enough about the Musical. Our seats were amazing - right down in front. Noah, Kippy & Nixin went on stage to try to learn to clog and got a fun souvenir for their efforts. I was stunned that my shy 5 year-old nephew, Nixin, would even want to go up on stage in front of the sold out crowd. There was a special performance from the Magician, Jay Mattioli, which was fantastic. Abby said, "Mom, when I try to figure out how he did those tricks, it makes my head hurt!" It was rather late by the time we got back to our Rolling Turd and just as we settled in to sleep, there was a major rainstorm and we were ever so grateful that we were not in a tent!

*NOTE: Recaps from the remainder of the vacation is on hold until our home PC is repaired and all 1000+ pictures & videos from the trip are restored {as well as my sanity}.


the mom~ said...

can't wait to hear and see the rest!

Charlene said...

sounds so much fun so far!! We have thought about renting one of those RVs, but we got as far as "thinking about it"! We will see how the rest of your trip went with the RV before any decisions are made!

Lori said...

What a great vacation! I am in love with your pictures!

Kathy said... was a very eventful start to your trip! Steve looks so happy eating meat!