Friday, August 23, 2013

Watermelons, Rhode Island, and the End of the Road

We made it. All 5160 miles. In that time we consumed 45 mini bags of Goldfish (along with a lot of other things), paid $0.51/gallon for a tank of gas, watched countless movies in the car, and took 563 pictures! However, we did not see any cars licensed in great State of Rhode Island. This was a big disappointment. When we made a similar trip in the Summer of 2010, Delaware alluded us until we got home and saw a Delaware plate parked just blocks from our house. No such luck this time. Before we got home we did go on one last boondoggle. It happened to be at location of our first boondoggle.
That's right. We went back to Hermiston to have lunch and get some more of that delicious melon (although we saw some today at Costco too...) Oh well, it was fun and lunch at the farm store was fabulous.
We really like them! After a relaxing day (except for the Costco trip) and a potluck at Lilly's school, we cracked one of them open and we were all delighted to enjoy that sweet, cool crunch in our own backyard! Even Nora and Gator got to enjoy a little!
Nora likes watermelon too! Her gums have been bothering her today. What better to help soothe them, right?!? Although she just scratched her soar gums and sucked the juice out of it, she liked it! A lot!
I've decided to continue the blog. I won't post as frequently as I have been, but I will try to do something once a week. I think you can 'follow' the blog and get a notification when I post or just check in now and again. Thanks for keeping up with us! We'll see you soon!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Grand Finale!!

Yesterday was a great way to end our "Big Trip." We started out in Bozeman and stopped for lunch in Missoula, MT. In Tom's words, "Since I got out of the car, I've just felt at home." We had a great time. The kids spent a couple of hours riding the carousel (third one of the summer) and playing at the Dragon Hollow Playground at Caras Park.
Then, thanks to a great recommendation by an old rugby friend and Missoula native, we enjoyed Wednesday Out to Lunch in Caras Park. This is a great downtown Missoula event with live music, food carts, and local vendors that happens every Wednesday around lunch time in the summer. We each got lunch from our vendor of choice and even got to watch a couple of surfers try their hand at a standing wave in the Clark Fork River.
After lunch we headed for a quick, driving tour of the University of Montana and the to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho to see our good friends the Weedas. Lilly and Maizie have been friends since they were about 9 months old. You may not believe it, but these girls have a bond that surprises us all the time. When Brad, Char, and Maizie moved to Coeur d'Alene in June the girls had a rough time adjusting to life without one another every day. The Weedas found a great spot! They've got 10 acres outside of town and lots of fun projects underway. Our kids could not have been more excited to see familiar faces and get out in some open space! Garrett and Brad invested some serious time building a gold panning station so Brad can prospect in their creek bed and Lilly and Maizie fell right back into step! After dinner we took a hike around their property (the girls wore princess dresses) looking for turkeys and deer. It was so quiet and relaxing with a beautiful view!
This morning we went into town and had breakfast before we hit the road for HOME!
It has been a wonderful trip. Our kids are amazing travelers and having three weeks to spend with them has been such a gift. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that EVERYONE is excited to see Gator and sleep in their own beds!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Big Sky Country

For those of you that don't know, Tom and I always talk about moving to Montana when Uncle Sam stops weighing in on where we live. So, today's drive through northern Wyoming and Montana was really delightful! We stopped at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. It was very interesting and enlightening. We all marveled at not just the facts of the battle, but the ability of the troops to mark graves and return just 2 years later to retrieve fallen soldiers for burial near their homes.
We are spending tonight in Bozeman, Montana. Tomorrow we are off to see Lilly's best friend Maizie Weeda and her new house in Idaho! License Plate Update: 49/50 states seen (Missing: Rhode Island. Arg!) Also seen, 7 Canadian provinces and 5 tribal nations.

Monday, August 19, 2013

There's Gold In Them There Hills!

Today we bid farewell to Tom's parents (and niece, Sadelle, that Lilly conned into staying the night) and headed north to I-90 in Sioux Falls. Once we were westbound it definitely felt more like our trip was ending and we were heading home, but we still have some fun up our sleeves.
We stopped for lunch in Wall, SD famously known for Wall Drug Store... Nora rode a jackalope (see lots of tricks), Garrett finally found a buffalo he likes, and Lilly almost got eaten by a T-Rex. Forgive my Wall Drug picture quality, we had to rely on the phones.
We stopped for the night in Deadwood, SD. This morning when we told Lilly where we were going she decided she'd rather stay the night in "Alivewoods." Since that wasn't an option we checked into the hotel and addressed the most pressing item on the agenda, gold panning. We also got to take a really cool tour of a historic mine.
After the tour we got down to business and panned ourselves some gold. Garrett was the lucky winner...
Lilly announced that she liked these "Deadwoods" and wanted to live here with Garrett when she grows up. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool basking in our new found wealth (obviously!) Tomorrow we plan on more westward progress and roadside adventures!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My! That's a BIG family!

It has been a great few days in Iowa. We have seen a lot of family, enjoyed mild weather, and had made our way to most of Tom's favorite Sioux City eateries! Here are a few of the family and friends we got to see.
Several years ago Tom and Judy started a collection of the kid's hand prints on stepping stones. This year we managed to add our three kids to the collection...
We rounded off the week with a large family picture today. For about an hour this morning 27 Mahaneys were in one place in Sioux City. The photographer did a great job managing the group and the preliminary shots look great! Tonight we celebrated the August birthdays (and Tom's, since he whined about never getting a birthday party at home) and enjoyed some sparklers after our cake!
Summer in Iowa definitely has a remarkable feel. It is a beautiful year and the mild August temperatures have made it all the better. I'm sure we will all be a little sad to leave tomorrow morning, but we do have a few more exciting stops before our 'big trip' comes to an end!