Six weeks ago I commented to Ray that the next six weeks would fly by. Ray, of course, mocked me and rolled his eyes. When his eyes righted themselves however, July was gone. Stacking trips to Montana and Silverwood and adding a possible trip to Vegas all in the month of July seemed like a logical choice three months ago in order to say goodbye to everyone, take a fun theme park trip and actually get the trailer out for some camping, and see my pregnant sister (and possibly a new baby). Sitting in a hotel in Las Vegas on August 1 and returning to packing, watching/waiting for flights, fantasy football handoff, life/house handoff, work send-off lunch, poker party, game party, and open house all in our remaining three days is just a little bit overwhelming. But it was worth it! Here are a few highlights…
Family was definitely the highlight of our trip to Montana. A majority of my family from my dad’s side lives in Montana and we had not been back to visit in a couple years. We got to spend some time with my grandma along with numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. The number of relatives is always a little mind-boggling for RJ and Ty. In Bellingham, we can count the number of relatives in the area on one hand. In Butte, however, it’s a whole different story. My dad was one of eight children, five of whom still live in Butte. Those aunts and uncles all have children (my cousins) and many of those cousins have children. And that’s just the direct relatives; there’s second and third cousins everywhere! I have fond memories of huge family gatherings when I was growing up with everyone crowded into my grandma’s house. We got to recreate that a bit as we celebrated RJ’s 15th birthday along with his cousin Lexie’s 14th birthday.
Our visit happened to coincided with the Montana Folk Festival so we got to spend a couple evenings listening to music under the Original headframe. (For those not familiar with headframes… a headframe – also known as a gallows frame – is the structural frame above an underground mine shaft, of which Butte has many!) What an amazing venue for an outdoor concert!
We also took a trip up the East Ridge (along the Continental Divide) to visit Our Lady of the Rockies. Our Lady of the Rockies has been an icon on the Butte mountain top since I was in junior high school. As the pieces of the statue were being lifted to the top of the mountain via helicopter, our class was taken outside to watch the placement of the pieces. Our Lady of the Rockies is a 90-foot statue dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the third tallest statue in the United States and was built by volunteers to honor women everywhere, especially mothers. The statue is filled with dedications to loved ones and rosaries hang from every possible bannister, hook, and grate. While touring the statue and chapel, we were able to find the dedication to my grandfather, who was a volunteer on the project, and the dedication to my mother, who passed away in October 2013.
Idaho Camping/Silverwood Theme Park
I think we crammed camping in this trip just to prove that we do use the pop-up tent trailer in places other than our backyard! Ray found a nice little campsite at Round Lake State Park in northern Idaho just 20 minutes away from Silverwood. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate enough for us to take advantage of the small beach, stand-up paddle board rentals, swimming, or fishing for more than about an hour. We did do a bit of exploring in Sandpoint, Idaho. Although we got a bit wet, we explored the main drag shops and found a local brewery that had fabulous beer and food. If you haven’t tried it, visit Mick Duff’s next time you’re in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Silverwood theme park – the main attraction for travel to this locale – was a bit of a letdown this time around (for me anyway). The park itself doesn’t open until 11 a.m., making it hard to get in all the theme park rides and the waterpark in one day; my favorite rollercoaster was closed for maintenance the whole day; and the weather was not quite hot enough to make the cold water of the lazy river enticing, even with the swim up bar!
I was very sad when my sister let me know that her due date was the week after my anticipated departure date. I made her promise to send pictures every day so I wouldn’t miss a thing! As it turns out, baby had other ideas on when he wanted to make his debut in this world. Kingston Anthony made his appearance three weeks early on July 27 weighing a mere 4.9 lbs. Mom and baby and doing great and I am sacrificing packing time to spend these precious first few days of life with baby Kingston (and my sister, of course).
Just four more days in Vegas and then I’ll head back home to speed pack and say goodbye. With any luck on flights, our next blog post will be from somewhere tropical!