Tennessee- May

Knoxville – We went to a church in a coffee shop down town. We went to a blue grass folk festival. We also went to a NSRA car show and got to do ride alongs in the auto rally cross track.

Pigeon Forge- Grandparents and a cabin stay. Touristy town with a lot of amusement activities but we spent time in the Great Smokey Mountains ⛰

It’s been 11 months since we have seen family. We FaceTime and talk on the phone a lot but it’s not the same as being together. We sure miss them. The comfort being at our parents house, the kids being with their grandparents and cousins. Scott and I getting to be with our siblings and nieces and nephews. Staying in contact is hard and especially for the kids. They grow so fast and are always changing. BUT we get to see our family soon!!! I (Cari) will be flying to Spokane we met my new niece. I will get to be with by family. I will have Aveyah with me so they will get to see her and toddlerhood ways. Scotts parents will fly to Tennessee to be with the boys and Scott. When Aveyah and I fly back his parents will still be there so we get to see them and they get to see Aveyah and get their hugs and snuggles.

I made a separate post about being home and my niece. Find that here Plane ride=meet Niece

First Flight. Wright Brothers

Two wrongs don’t make a right but what do two Wrights make?

We spent several hours learning about Orviel and Wilber Wright and the pure determination and will power they had that drove them on their crazy adventure to flight. We learned so much about them and the extreme challenges and events they had to endure in the years it took them to build, test and eventually fly the planes they created.

From where they lived to were they built the plane and tried to fly was a 7 day trip that involved train rides, boat rides and miles and miles of walking. For a time they had to pack their plane in pieces during that travel. The plane parts weighed over 100 lbs. Dayton to Outer Banks NC. Eventually they were able to move and build a shed to build and store their plane in. The lived in a tent but the humidity was so bad they couldn’t stand being in it but the mosquitos were so bad they had to be in it and covered with blankets.

The hill they packed their airplane glider with a rutter up to was 90 feet up. They had to walk across the field and up the hill every time they tested it. Guess how many times they did it? 1000. Do you think they had folks help them? Yes they did. That’s some determination!!

Long interesting story short they had a guy in their bike shop build a engine for their glider plane made the journey back to Outer Banks with the engine and spent months and months working in the plane and trying to fly. Then one day they did. 4 times with the longest flight being almost a minute.

We got to run down the strip where they flee stopping at easy marker where the flights landed. We got to run up the hill that they hiked those 1000s of times and we got to pretend/ see the event happen with the statues replicating the picture that was taken of the moment of the First Flight

Padre Island and Corpus Christi Texas

We spent a little over 2 weeks here after we randomly decided to come down here to escape the freezing temps coming to the Austin Area. We didn’t want to deal with, nor prepared to deal with those types of temperatures. We stated at Padre Balli City Park. It’s not much right one because of hurricane damage. They are making a nice area with pave sites and grass. Currently it’s just a old paved parking lot with picnic tables. BUT the ocean is only a sand dune away. It’s right across from Mika’s seafood on the pier.

You can enter Padre Island National Park and drive 53 miles of undeveloped ocean coast line all whiling looking for tons of shells and sea turtles. We drove it twice and 4 wheel drive is a must. We had to pull a truck out that got stuck. We had several times we thought we may get stuck. I watched a video on what to do in the area from Day Tripper. He had great information.

We met another family who had a kiddo the boys age and those boys spent every second together out there exploring and making caves. The family has paddle boards and let Scott and I take them out into the ocean. It was a blast and so peaceful being out there with nothing but water around. It was still and quiet and kinda blue. I was kinda nervous because I have a weird mental fear of what could be under me. It was worth it and overcoming fear is a powerful thing. I won’t let it hold me back or miss out.

New Mexico

SNOW?!?!! )

Nope…White Sand

We were trying to jump at the same time Lol. I really wanted to get a cool jumping pic of us all. Couldn’t get it so I just decided to be silly.

When we got here we decided to stay at an escapee co op park since we are members. I called and they had openings so we headed that way. We showed up and were the first family to a stay there. The lady in charge welcomed us and said that we are the future of Xscapers and that they need to be used to families amongst the RV communities. They even introduced us to everyone at the happy hour. I was nervous but everyone said they loved seeing the kids around.?

Carlsbad Caverns.<<< era died before we were even halfway thorough exploring. And it's hard to take pictures in a cave. <<<<<<<<<<<<< n!!

9 kids 3 families

Wyoming to Colorado

After our vacation in The Grand Tetons we decided to head to an area where the smoke was not so thick. I know there are a lot of fires, our lovely state (MT) is burning up with the majority of fires near Missoula. The smoke was so thick at the Tetons we couldn’t even see the gigantic mountains from the main road. Also Scott’s back pain had returned and we knew that driving would be rough and slow going again. We also knew that some friends were in Colorado at Fort Collins so we wanted to make our ways towards them and hope it worked to get together.

On our way out of the park we saw a grizzly bear, which was awesome because we decided that a grizzly would be the only animal we would actually pull our whole rig over for. We got out and watched the bear eat for a while and took a few pics. It was pretty cool to be that close ( safe distance still) to an animal so big and powerful.

We made it as far as Rawlings, WY and stayed at a Walmart. I was really bummed that Scott was in pain, we were in a parking lot in a dinky little town on such a special day that I had so many fun ideas for. It was Aveyah’s first Birthday and our 12th anniversary. We made the most of her birthday with a cute outfit, a spoon of whip cream and a cute little pallet garden for some pictures. Instead of dinner our time together Scott took some Ibuprofen and we drove Saratoga WY where Scott had looked up some Hot springs to soak in. It ended up being an amazing place. We camped right next to the lake that was surrounded by reeds which the boys turned into their jungle. The lake had pelicans! I thought those were only at the ocean. The hot springs were HOT and the Lava Pit was about 117 degrees. We hung out in the cooler pool that was about 104. The boys really liked the river that the hot springs drained into. It was the perfect spot to spend hours at. Brayton had a very hard time with the smell and I had a hard time with how slimy everything was and the algae floating and touching me; it was dark and I kept thinking something was on my leg, and I became very itchy.

We talked with one guy that had done a lot of traveling and exploring around the world. He was very encouraging about out whole family being able to travel over seas and how awesome it would be to do that. Scott and I enjoyed talking with him and sharing a lot of stories, faith, and encouragement. Scott went back each day we were there and that guy, Rob, was there every time. They had great talks about faith, life, good times and bad times. It was awesome to see how God can work through pain. Scott’s back pain lead him to search for hot springs and it just so happened that he got encouragement and was encouraging to Robert each time ( random times each day) at the hot springs.

We finally left to head to Fort Collins to see our friends The Gustafson’s. The fun, and short story here is that maybe a year ago, while we were is Spokane, when Aveyah was born, we said we should do a GMR (Gustafson, Mickelson, Rice) reunion in Colorado. At that time we had no plans to be in Colorado so we didn’t plan it more then that at that time. Funny thing is that The Rice’s are also in Colorado doing a back packing trip in Buena Vista. So that day ( Thursday) we were all in Colorado and all headed to Fort Collins to see each other. The reunion was going to happen after all. It was the first time some of us have even meet others kids. David, Micah and their 3 kids stayed with us for 2 nights in our trailer. It was doable with 11 people. We all met up at New Belgium Brewery where we were a crowd of 6 adults and 9 kids who were all 8 and younger. Fun times!!!

Now we are staying at Horsetooth Reservoir while Scott works for the week and we wait for an amazon shipment to arrive. I guess when you live in stick and bricks you take amazon prime and ability to get shipments quickly for granted.

One theme of our trip should be daily thunderstorms. Each day we have had rain, wind and thunder and lighting storms. Some have been pretty crazy but others have just blown over and the sun comes back out. We went to Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. It was beautiful and 12,000 feet.

Checklist for our trip Colorado-Wyoming

  • Drive the 8th of 10 most dangerous roads in Colorado. Douglas Pass Road.
  • Truck over heated on that pass twice.
  • Went to Dinasaur CO, but the exhibit was closed 🙁
  • Dodged Antelope with our rig, thankfully all the free range cattle stayed off the road.
  • Breweries visited: 0
  • Coffee shops visited: 1
  • Number of states we have seen on license plates: 27
  • Went to Jackson Hole Wy. Downtown was too croweded so we had no desire to shop or walk around. It was hard enough driving our rig through downtown. So thankful Scott is an awesome driver.
  • Went to Grand Tetons National Park. Spent 5 days exploring it.
  • Hikes 7 miles total, boys included, only Aveyah got to be carried.
  • Picked huckleberries.
  • Boys found a snake at Snake River and named it Slither.
  • Left Grand Tetons becuase it got so smokey we couldn’t even see them from the road.
  • Wildlife we saw: 2 moose, mamma black bear with 2 cubs, lots of buffalo,  pronghorns, and a male grizzly bear. Oh and lots of chipmunks!
  • Spend 10 days on vacation not having to travel and work.
  • Made lots of good memeories of adventuring.

Here are a few pictures. Zoom in, the Tetons are there somewhere. Getting their first Jr. Ranger Badge