July 31, 2018

The rest of July!

We parted ways with our epic boondocking spot somewhat reluctantly, but...we had other adventures, and grandkids, on our mind! 

Every year Mike meets up with his brother, Shawn, and some other guys to do a backpacking trip somewhere in the western states.  They've hiked in New Mexico & Wyoming and this time it was in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho.  It's usually a four or five day backpacking trip...includes lots of amazing scenery, lots of trails, oftentimes fishing...and carrying everything they need on their backs.  (That's the part that doesn't really interest me!)

While Mike was off adventuring in the wilderness, and taking these amazing photos, I caught a flight to Sacramento, where our daughter and her family had recently moved...to see their new digs, get in some play time...and to help with the 11 hour drive back to Idaho...with 3 kids!!!  (A different kind of adventure!) 

You see, we LOVE our family...and we really love that they love each other!  Allison hadn't yet met her new nephew, Ozzy, and the trip alone (with her 3 kids) would have been kind of daunting...so I volunteered my services!

Enjoying movie night!

I love her squinty smile!

Boys and Legos!

This way about midway in our 11 hour drive! Feeling kind of crazed, but happy!

Super Nana!
We made it!  The kids were incredibly patient and fun...it actually wasn't awful!  And...to have them all (SIX) together...was so worth it!


Happy Nana!

The babies!

My baby holding the littlest baby, her nephew, Ozzy.

We wore him out!

I love this.

Such great friendships forming between these cousins.

The big kids!

Ozzy boy!

Sweet boys.

Sweet cousins.
As is true of most family gatherings, the times we all just sort of hung out with no agenda were the best times!  The kids played all kinds of games, read books, dressed up, jumped on the tramp and swung on the rope swing, we walked to the neighborhood park, took turns holding babies, fixing snacks and wiping noses...it was all so good!

One day we took the kids over to a tiny little town nearby to visit the pool...

Silly faces!
Sweet faces!
Some of my favorite faces!

Judah Budda!

The guys!

I look like his Native American grandma?!

What a group!  I couldn't possibly love them more!

And while we had them all together we took the opportunity to have our friend, the uber talented and sweet Ashleigh, take some pictures for us...a Nana and Papa photoshoot!

Love this scene!

We have SIX grandkids...and they are each so amazing!
I don't have any pictures of our return trip to Sacramento...but we made it back in one piece in one very long day!  And then I flew back to Idaho for the last few days of our visit with these kiddos. 

Smirkingly adorable!
After a sad goodbye to our summer fun, we packed up Gracie Lou and headed out again.

And then, we were on the road again...

We were headed west, to spend some time with Mike's parents, knowing that his mom's health was fading.  We really do love our family and the fact that our house has wheels has sure been nice...it enables us to spend quality time with all of them, wherever they are!

July 30, 2018

July, the 1st week or so!

We have known Jenn and Brandy (@journeying_jacksons) through Instagram for awhile...having near misses in our itineraries since our winter in the desert...so when they messaged us that they would be in the area, we made sure to meet up!  They needed to get some work done on their truck so we gladly picked them up from the shop and took them to the bustling farmers market in town!  They were camped out at American Falls in a nice spot close to the water, so later that afternoon we drove out to hang out, meet their puppies, go on a bike ride and enjoy some yummy fire food that Jenn graciously prepared!  We have met the nicest people on the road!  

The next day, we drove into the Grand Tetons park, happy to be back at our favorite National Park!  We lived, for decades, across the mountain range and spent many of our weekends over here, photographing, paddling, camping, hiking...and we love it here!  We got a spot in Gros Ventre campground, unhitched and then drove up to a few boondocking spots to see what was available...

The gods were smiling down on us that afternoon because when we got to one of the best known, beautiful spots we were scouting out, the VERY BEST ONE was vacant!  You do what you need to do...we unloaded about 1/2 of our truck, including me, to hold the spot...and Mike drove back down to Gros Ventre to hitch up Gracie Lou!  We pretty much wanted to stay forever...

We hung out here, watching the sky and the light and the clouds and the mountains...and the stars...

We did pry ourselves away a few times, to grab a pizza at Leeks Marina and to paddle board sections of the Snake River, a couple of times...but mostly, we just enjoyed the quiet.

And, I took the opportunity to take some interior photos of Gracie Lou, since the windows were squeaky clean and the view out each one was incredible!

Seriously, this spot was heaven-sent.

One of the afternoons, coming back from paddling, we met a fantastic family traveling over the summer in their Airstream, the Bakers (@bakerstream)...and invited them over for a fireside sunset drink...along with other folks we met up there in the woods, Roland (@letsgoroland) and Gene (@dasbrik).  

The Baker family in our side view mirror!

We pulled over to get a picture and @wayoutwanderer, Chad & Amy, joined us! 
Saying bye to the Tetons...but we will be back!

An irresistible scene outside of Idaho Falls, Idaho.
After our week long stay in the Tetons, we headed back to Pocatello for the next adventure in July...I flew to Sacramento and then drove back with our daughter and her 3 kiddos and Mike went backpacking in the Sawtooths!

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