SUNDAY JULY 3RD | DAY ONE
I'm pretty sure the kids were more excited about going to Bryce Canyon than they were about going to San Francisco. Around 8:00 in the morning, while Darric was loading up the back of the truck, Kenzie and I took the dogs in my car to the Doggie District. Then we picked up Bryan on our way back. He got to join us on the trip. Which meant Mixter got to sit up in front, between me and Darric.
We stopped in Cedar City and ate at Dairy Queen (because Taco Time wasn't open). I may have been a bit startled when they decided to start calling orders out over the intercom. "Number 15". It was loud. We stopped to grab some firewood and then jumped on the freeway right as it started to rain on us. There was no rain in the forecast. But, it just couldn't help it. We took the longer way around (one minute longer). But that gave us more time to enjoy the weird radio station we discovered.
It rained on us as we arrived at the Bertrand's RV site in Ruby's Inn. They changed sites and then ended up switching back to #154. Dana discovered the sites where they stayed at last time had added grass areas. They looked a lot nicer, but they were all booked. We went and reserved a tent site so we would have somewhere to park. We also checked into our hotel. We got a room on the lower level again in the Elk Lodge, with a lake view.
After unloading everything, I passed out the new Scavenger Hunt lists to all of the kids. There was no prize to be won, it was just something (a little competitive) for them to do.
We went to the museum. Same one we went to last year. We learned from the owner, Bob (Jan's new BFF), that he was going to be closing the museum down. Something to do with taxes and him doing reality TV. I'm not exactly sure.
We checked out all of the animals, bugs and butterflies. Then headed outside, with Bob, to feed the exotic deer.
Back at the campsite, the boys chopped some wood and Darric built us a beautiful fire. I helped Jan and Darian make grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. Cheese, meat AND mayo?? Why have I never tried it like that before?? They were yum-o. After dinner, s'mores were made. And it was very necessary for Darric to keep the fire going so he had to make sure to stoke it often. Which meant bending over in front of Darian with his butt in his face. He bent over a little too far one time and his pants ripped right up the backside. Those happened to be his newer pair of jeans and the only ones he brought on this trip (he did have some shorts).
It was then time for everyone to mark an item off the scavenger hunt... recite your own cowboy poetry around the campfire. I was pretty impressed with the poems each person came up with. I think Cowboy Dave would have been impressed too. The topics included Darric ripping his pants, Darian's mini me (the bump/bite under his eye), my having to leave the museum a little early to use the restroom, Madi's missed serve, Kenzie's ringworm and her denial of having it and the guy we saw driving an old RV on our drive up.
We stayed around the campfire until probably 10:30 and then headed back to our hotel. Bryan stayed with the Bertrands and Deetu (that was the deal we made before we left).
MONDAY JULY 4TH | DAY TWO
Met at the RV site at 8:00 this morning. Max, Kenzie and I walked. Darric and Madi came a few minutes later in the truck. Jan made breakfast. Eggs, bacon, sausage, english muffins and Dana made pancakes.
*Darian's birthday was on the 6th, so we brought his present up there for him to open. Two shirts and some Mario socks.
* This is the tent site we got to park in. We put the tarp over the table so no one would take our spot, but on the third day, someone took our tarp. Those people camping back there probably took it when they left.
After breakfast, we drove down to Tropic. We were some of the first people at the park where the Fourth of July festivities were to be held. We set up our chairs and the kids went and played on the playground for a little while. They swang and spun around on the merry go round. And Madison fell off.
The parade started at 10:00 with the Cub Scouts leading the way. There were handfuls of candy thrown out to the crowd. Sometimes skipping our group though because the kids throwing the candy didn't recognize us.
The library on wheels threw out hypercolor pencils and Smokey the Bear and his friends threw frisbees. One of the firemen had a small hose in his truck that he used to squirt the crowd. A little boy came by on a toy horse that went up and down as it moved along. It was pretty funny. Another boy in one of the vehicles threw out snaps and scared the other kids that were riding by on their hover boards and scooters.
When the parade was over, we went to see if there were any performers on the stage yet, but it was just a man giving a talk on heros. We were shushed by an older lady as we stood in line for snow cones. Even though we weren't talking. The line wasn't moving very fast and then Jan pointed out all the kids that kept cutting in front of us, joining the group of kids that were already there.
We came and chilled in our chairs for a little while before we loaded up and went for some lunch. Clarke's Restaurant was now Rustler's. The food was still good. Darric's burger just wasn't as great as the one he had there last year. I'm pretty sure the mozzarella sticks were the same. Darian and I both ordered some to share with everyone.
We came back to our room for a little while. Tried to skip some rocks in the lake.
Then we went in search of some new jeans for Darric. Ruby's Inn didn't have any Wranglers (heehee) in his size, but I did find myself a cute Bryce Canyon pullover hoodie. We went across the street for some ice-cream cones. The ice-cream shop had been redone inside. It looked nice. Luckily, they still had the cherry chocolate chip flavor, at least for one of the days we were there.
We left there and took a drive into Panguitch to see if The Cowboy Store had jeans. And they did. I had Darric look to see if there were any geocaches nearby and there happened to be one right across the street. Max found it, hidden underneath an old fire truck. All of the kids signed their name on the paper. Another item marked off their scavenger hunt.
We stopped for drinks and snacks and went back to the RV site. Darric got a fire going and we roasted hot dogs for dinner. We also had potato salad, pasta salad and chips.
At 6:30 we went over to the rodeo. Jan got Dory Bah (I have no idea how to spell her name) to hook us up with a local's discount. And we went and sat on our bleachers. Unfortunately, there was no rain this time, so other people came and sat by us.
We watched bucking broncos, little kids ride sheep and cows, the sweetheart race, barrel racing and then bull riding. Another item on the scavenger hunt was to learn the name of a bull rider and cheer for him. There was one bull rider, Justin. The announcer asked if anyone knew him and Bryan yelled out over a quiet crowd "Go Justin!" It was pretty funny. Mackenzie cheered like a maniac for Logan. Bryan thought she had turned into a man by the sound of her voice.
After the bull riding was the ring of fire, our favorite. ;) There were only four guys foolish enough to play this year. One stood in the front, right where the bull came out. And he didn't move when the bull came running out, right into him, tossing him up. He fell on the ground and bounced a little. The guy next to him left his ring to pull him out of the way and he finally got up and got the heck out of there. The bull headed towards the third guy and he took off. Leaving the fourth guy the winner (so he took off too).
There was some calf roping and then we headed out to the parking lot to set up our chairs for the fireworks. They were awesome once again this year.
We came back to the campsite, got another fire going and just chillaxed for about an hour before heading off to bed for the night.
We paid the $30 to go into Bryce today. And then we made our way to Sunset Point to do the Navajo Loop Trail. It just took us a few extra minutes to get there, because I was in charge of navigation. Oops.
The kids got to mark another item off their scavenger hunt... find Thor's hammer.
We got to see Two Bridges and a lot of friendly squirrels. The entire hike was only 1.3 miles but it goes 550 ft down and then 550 ft back up. I'm pretty sure that 550 ft up at the end was a lot steeper. Next time we need to remember to go down that way.
It was warm outside. Luckily, most of this trail keeps you in the shade.
We stopped in at the Visitor's Center next. Mainly to see if that's where the Jackalope was that Jan and Darric remember sitting on as kids. I kept telling them it wasn't there. But, I couldn't prove them wrong because they had redone the museum. The wooden horse that I sat all my kids on when they were little wasn't even there. :( We walked around to cool off in there and Jayce asked one of the Park Rangers a question. (Learn something new from a Park Ranger was on the scavenger hunt) Most of the kids realized what he was doing and gathered around to listen.
We stopped to make reservations for the ATV's. And then went across the street to eat at Ruby's Inn at the Cowboy's Buffet & Steak Room. Most of us ordered the buffet. Except Max, he ordered the mac and cheese. Darric was very happy that they still had the meatloaf.
Our ATV reservation was at 1:30. We were there 15 minutes early like we were supposed to be. We got our bandanas, helmets and goggles on and then jumped in our ATV's. And then we sat and waited for another 15 minutes in the sun while the other group of people that had a 1:30 reservation slowly got their crap together and snapped a few selfies. Yeah, we gave them the stink eye.
We did an hour tour this time. With a new tour guide, Crazy Frank was no longer there. We drove to the rim again and got some pictures. We saw a bunch of cows and a bunch of pronghorns. (We learned that pronghorns can run really fast and for a long time) The beginning of our tour was pretty calm, then we went up in the mountain and found some short, steep hills to drive up and down. It was pretty fun.
Another item on the scavenger hunt was to get a picture with Crazy Frank, but since he wasn't there, the kids got a picture with the new guy instead. They called him Safe and Sane Sam.
We stopped in for ice-cream cones and decided to go and do the Mossy Cave hike. Not all of us wanted to hike up to the cave, so we stuck to the creek while Darric and Kenzie took Bryan to see it. They also went and walked across the log and climbed down next to the waterfall so he could get the whole experience.
There were more people there than usual.
Jan taught Jayce, Max and Darian how to float down the creek. They didn't get very far. But they were all soaking wet by the time we got back to our trucks so I'd say it was a success.
On our way back we grabbed drinks and some more firewood. Tonight Kenzie tried to build the fire and Madi had to take over, doing a great job at it. (I thought the base that Kenzie built was pretty good too)
We had walking tacos for dinner tonight. I browned some hamburger and we added it to bags of chips (Doritos and Fritos). Then topped those with lettuce, cheese, hot sauce and sour cream. For dessert, we had Kenzie's red, white and blue rice krispies treats.
Almost everyone has their own pocket knife now. So we spent a lot of our free time sitting around whittling. (it was also on the scavenger hunt). After we ate, we were all sitting around whittling for awhile and all of a sudden Kenzie stands straight up holding her finger. Someone asked her if she cut herself and she nodded yes. Then Jan took her right into the RV to wrap it up and stop the bleeding. Bryan went in to help. Jan needed some super glue to glue it shut and Darian volunteered to drive and get some. With or without an adult going with him. He was in save-Mackenzie-mode. He grabbed a wad of cash from his mom's purse and jumped in the truck. Luckily Dana jumped in with him and they were off.
Bryan snapped a picture before Darian returned with the glue and they sealed it shut. And then everyone else was put on restriction from all sharp objects for the rest of the night. Some water pong was played while the rest of us just hung out around the fire. Then Madi fell in her chair. I think it kind of folded up on her. Darric had to help her out.
WEDNESDAY JULY 6TH | DAY FOUR
We were up fairly early again this morning. Packed everything from our room up then headed to the RV site. We had breakfast. Same stuff as yesterday. Then we packed up the rest of our gear. Darric strapped everything down real well since we didn't have a tarp to cover it all up with. We stopped for gas and drinks and then headed for Panguitch where we stopped at the little Indian Store. They had updated things there too. No creepy mannequins on the porch this time. The girls and Bryan all got these stone necklace things. And Kenzie also got some honey lotion.
Our truck took the longer route to Cedar City and we met up at Arctic Circle for lunch. Some of us got ice cream for the road too.
When we got back to town, Darric unloaded the truck while Kenzie and I went to get the dogs and drop Bryan off at his house. Then laundry was started, coolers were cleaned out and hot dogs were BBQ'd for dinner. No pizza this time :(
If all those pictures weren't enough... here's a video I put together of our trip... (not sure how that handsome guy made the front of the video, but I like it)