What is the beauty of quitting your job? Not having to ration any sick or vacation days, and thus being able to guiltlessly blow them in one sweep your last month.
As a result of this blessed connivence, Chris and I booked tickets to Wyoming with our favorite card-paying neighbors Dan & Jen (we spend our time preparing for retirement by playing Canasta and eating dessert). The plan was to show Dan & Jen all the beauties and adventures Wyoming had to offer in five days, and I think we pretty much covered it.
Prior to leaving, we prepared two lists. The first was a "To Do" list and the second was a "To Eat" list (my family has a miraculous ability to make food taste so good). We did a very good job at covering nearly everything on both lists.
With our lists in hand, we loaded into the butt of the plane. Us mere coach passengers shouldn't have to be seen or heard by those in first class.
We had to get a photo with the pinto bean horse... naturally. They are native to the Billings, Montana airport.
Welcome to Wyoming. Fortunately that's not my hometown, but it's not far-off. And once there, we enjoyed the following...
Activity #1: Exploring.
We drove to the top of Eagle Rock, a cliff that overlooks Dad's farm land. It offers a fantastic view and was the perfect place to take Dan & Jen first.
It's popular for teenagers to declare their fleeting love by defacing Eagle Rock.
Following Eagle Rock we drove into Lovell--the pokiest town on the map--and ate at the greasy but delicious Switchback Grill.
Meet the owner. Hanging on the wall near the soda fountain are newspaper articles featuring his heroic acts with titles like: “Restaurant Owner is a ‘Lifesaver’” and “Local Man Fixes Car and Delivers Baby”. His good deeds range from dislodging a Lifesaver from a toddler’s throat to delivering a woman’s baby on the side of the road and then using her pantyhose to fix her car. For being such a do-gooder he is awfully grumpy.
The décor is priceless. I’m pretty sure they used halved potatoes to “sponge paint” the walls. The rope lighting and cowboy wreath add a nice touch.
Activity #2: Making Spudnuts.
We went to Wyoming with a 4,000 calorie-a-day minimum, and I think that Grandma's homemade spudnuts (a.k.a. donughts for you city folk) put us well over our goal.
To the oil...
To the tummy.
Dan was the one who added homemade donuts on the "To Eat" list, so this was his special treat from Grandma. However, after a HUGE dinner, none of us had much room in our tummies. Grandma gave Dan an extremely hard time over the fact that he couldn't stuff down a third. Her words exactly, "Well.... I have never heard of anyone stopping at two." And then she slyly tried to steal his plate and add another when he wasn't looking. It didn't work.
After spudnuts everybody's happy.
Activity #3: Snowmobiling.
Amazingly that after just a 2 hour drive from warm, sunny Powell we found ourselves up to our hips in 3' snow.
We snow machined to the top of this VERY high hill. The snow was so white and untouched it was really disorienting, but you can tell how high up we are by the puny trees in the background.
Poor Chris after we got stuck for the billionth time. By the time we got home we were exhausted from shoveling our machines out, start pulling our engines, and yanking each other out of the waist-deep snow.
Activity #4: Eventful Evenings
Spying on the baby coonies (the ones we raised last year). We also saw deer, ducks, cranes, and pelicans.
Eating most delicious dinners.
Wearing dorky eye-ware to Thor--3D of course!
Activity #5: Archery.
Activity #6: Horseback riding.
Meet Carl Jones—ex rodeo star 1978 (check out the belt) and the last living cowboy. You have never seen a more weathered pair of hands than the two Carl has. He also has quite an impressive vocabulary. Apparently curse words are essential to telling a good story (which he has no shortage of).
My mom recruited Carl to take us horseback riding but he opted to stay with my mom and talked her ear clean off for a good two hours while we rode. He is full of stories, and how could he not be? Seeing that he is last living cowboy and all.
Mama--Carls' favorite. I guess she's pretty likable. :)
Activity #7: Shotgun shooting.
The object is to test each others speed, steady hand, and aim by shooting clay pigeons (bright orange clay disks) that get launched into the air.
Dad showing Dan & Jen the ropes and a lesson on basic gun safety (don't point it at anyone).
The gun had a hard kick (incase you can't tell). I felt like I was getting punched in the shoulder by The Rock, and we all had sufficient bruises had we wanted to stick to that story. Notice the shell in midair--nice shot Jen.
Activity #8: Billings Temple.
Chris and I had the opportunity to visit the temple where we were married nearly a year ago. One down.... an eternity to go. Dun, dun, dun, dun.