Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Goin' Out West

We started our journey to Jackson Hole last Tuesday and arrived on Saturday. I have no clue how Kyle got me to agree so quickly to driving across the west with a one year old! Yes, it was CRAZY, but overall it was a really great trip. For those of you who know "activity Kyle", we saw and did it all and made lots of memories along the way! 

On Tuesday we journeyed from Oxford to Kansas City. Our first stop was in Hardy, Arkansas. It is one of those "if you blink you miss it" towns. It was a good place to stop for lunch and fun to capture the moment with Big Hardy and Lil Hardy. From Hardy, AR we drove to Kansas City where we had dinner at Oklahoma Joe's, a famous BBQ restaurant that is located in a gas station. The bbq lived up to it's fame! It was some of the best I have ever had. We spent the night in Kansas City. 

Kyle, Hardy, and Me in Old Hardy Town

Big Hardy and Lil Hardy in Hardy, AR

Smiling on the first day of the trip

Oklahoma Joe's

On Wednesday we drove from Kansas City to Omaha, Nebraska. Our first stop was the Omaha Zoo. I was not feeling the greatest, so I rested in the car while the three men and a baby conquered the zoo. They had a ton of fun, and Hardy loved the gorillas. From Omaha we drove to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where we stopped for pizza at a local restaurant. This is the point in the journey where I really began to feel like we were in the middle of nowhere. After dinner we drove to Interior, SD where we spent the night. You probably have never heard of this town. I had not, but the Badlands are located here and it is pretty much the only place to stay. Oh, I wish I had a picture of the "motel"...if you can even call it that.  Need I forget to tell you too, that I was sharing this room with Kyle, Lil Hardy, Nick, and Big Hardy--yes, me and four boys! The fun was just beginning! 

Omaha Zoo

Welcome to South Dakota

Thursday morning was spent touring Badlands National Park. We all really enjoyed this park. It was so unique and I had never seen anything like it in my life. If you are ever near here, not sure why you would be, but you should check it out. It is definitely worth the drive. After touring the Badlands, we made a stop at the world famous Wall Drug Store. This place was loaded with character, and was more like a small town than a drug store. After enjoying some ice cream and buying a few souvenirs, we left Wall's and made a pit stop to see a field full of prairie dogs. I am certain there was a sign that said "please do not feed the prairie dogs", but judging by the size of these dogs and their friendliness with us, we were not the first people to give them a snack. Just wish my hubby had not chosen my expensive granola! It's safe to say though that Kyle and the boys enjoyed these fun little creatures just as much as Hardy did. From there, we drove to Mount Rushmore. This is a sight that I have wanted to see my entire life, and in my opinion it did not disappoint at all. It is one of those sights that looks just like the pictures, but to stand before it and see it with your own eyes is really something special! As if we had not seen enough in a day, we made one last stop at Wind Cave National Park. This park probably would not make my top 10 list, but we enjoyed some good laughs watching Big Hardy flirt with our tour guide Blythe who took her job way too seriously. We finally called it a day, and drove to Bowman, North Dakota where we spent the night. 

Kyle, Lil Hardy, Big Hardy, and Nick
at Badlands National Park

Me, Kyle, and Hardy

Hardy, Kyle, and Nick 

Kyle and Me

The Badlands 

Nick, Hardy, and Kyle

Kyle and Me

Kyle and the wild goats

Kyle, Hardy, and Me

Hardy having fun in the Badlands

Kyle and Hardy at Wall Drugs

Hardy checking out the cowboy

The whole gang: Nick, Hardy, Lil Hardy, Kyle, and Me

Prairie Dogs

How could you not feed 
this cute little guy?!?

First sighting of wild buffalo

Mount Rushmore

Kyle, Hardy, and Me

Hardy, Kyle, and Nick

Nick was hoping for Hardy to 
take his first steps at Mount Rushmore

Kyle and Hardy at 
Wind Cave National Park

Hardy checking out the rocks

And somebody was ready to get out 
of the cave...

Me, Lil Hardy, Big Hardy, and Nick

Friday morning we visited Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We took a very short hike, and quickly discovered that we could see just as much in the car, so we drove our way through the rest of the park. Most of Friday was spent in the car, and we arrived in Bozeman, Montana just in time for dinner. This was a really fun city, and one I would enjoy visiting again. There were a ton of shops and restaurants downtown, and we had an excellent dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. After four days of travel, we retired to the hotel pretty early for some rest and relaxation. Oh yes, all five of us are still sharing a hotel in case you were wondering! 

Kyle, Hardy, and Me at 
Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Kyle, Hardy, Nick, and Hardy

Wild Horses

Yep, he is crazy!

Our quick hike

Day 4 and still happy

Saturday morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast in Bozeman, and then headed up to Big Sky Montana. This resort was beautiful and I would love to go back some day. It was pretty cold so we snapped a few pictures, and headed on our way. From Bozeman, we drove through part of Yellowstone National Park to get to Jackson Hole. We will be touring the rest of the park during our time in JH with the students, but what we did get to see already was stunning. This park is huge and at every stop we made there was something that wowed us! After 5 days in the car, 2000 plus miles, and a lot of Baby Einstein, we finally made it to Jackson Hole on Saturday evening!!! We did it! Road tripping across the west with a one year old is not easy feat, but for all we got to see and do it was totally worth it! I must say that Hardy did really well, and Big Hardy and Nick sure were troopers too! We had some late nights driving, and they would even entertain Hardy in the morning by singing and playing their guitars. I am incredibly thankful for all the memories we made, and I am even more grateful that I have 3 weeks in Jackson Hole before we get back in the car again to head south!

Bozeman, Montana

Kyle, Hardy, and Me at Big Sky 

Yellowstone National Park

We are all crazy now!

Hardy loves the buffalo

Kyle and Hardy watching the geyser

Absolutely gorgeous!

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