Lots of pictures here, consider yourself forewarned.
(Sidenote--are blog posts like this, the equivalent of inviting people over to bore with your travel slides in the 1970's?)
For all the romantic lore and songs of road trips, there is a lot of this sort of view. Rain, snow in Ohio.
The first day, we drove about 14 hours, stopping in Effingham, Illinois. We had planned on stopping in Saint Louis, Missouri, but right before the Effingham exit, Gilbert stated throwing a fit about something and Elsie got carsick.
It seemed like a good time to stop.
The second day, we drove from Effingham to Hotchkiss, About 18 hours or so. We got into Hotchkiss a little after midnight, so we crept into the bunkhouse, where we were staying and crawled into bed without even seeing anyone.
The bunkhouse upstairs, which is where the kids wanted to sleep, but I ruined their lives by not letting them. I wasn't sure how Gilbert and Elsie would do waking up in the middle of the night up these stairs.
The bunkhouse is pretty cool.
Orianna working on her schoolwork on the buffalo rug.
Thursday night at Grandma's, meeting Major, the newest nephew.
Everyone and their blue solo cup
Friday morning, Papa saddled Taffy, for the kids.
Lily, Taffy, and an airplane
Papa and Aislyn
The ranch front driveway
Papa and Blaide, who likes to wear shorts.
Papa and Gilbert
Lily and Bud
Grandma Dawna and Aislyn
Papa and Gilbert again
Blaide cuddling Bud
Justin and his Elsie girl
Mick trying to get Elsie to wave to me.
And she grudgingly did.
Major's first horse ride
Lily's second turn. Taffy is a very patient horse.
Papa and Gilbert
Taking Major for another ride
Major found a new teething toy.
Elm trees budding
Supper at the Lodge after the viewing
Someone was moving sheep on the 'dobe hills
The grandsons, minus one. They were all pallbearers.
All the grandkids and great-grands.
They wanted a picture with all the kids and grandma, but she didn't want to sit down. So....
Everyone just stood up. She had been cold, so she was wearing Jerad's suit jacket.
Trying to get everyone in there
All of the Danny Cotten family
Grandma wanted to hold Elsie, but Elsie is a little heavy for her. So they helped her hold Elsie.
These guys love Grandma quite a bit.
The funeral and reception were in the school gymnasium, so the kids played basketball after the tables were cleared away.
The siblings and their mother.
Mick and Kent in front,
Nila, Cari, and Dana in back.
Grandma and Kent.
Grandpa's boots and flowers
This was the spray they had on Grandpa's saddle, which was on top of the casket.
These next four pictures are of the picture board. I didn't get the best angle on them, but it gives you the general idea.
After the funeral, we all went back to Grandma's for a little bit.
Elsie talking to a snuggled up Grandma
Grandma having a Major snuggle.
Reading notes and flower cards
Elsie and Jerran were good friends
Aislyn and Elsie got in some good cousin time
Love this pink girl
The kids played in the clay, and got about four inches on the bottom of their boots, which made them walk like bigfoot. They dragged it out onto the steps, making a large mess. They referred to it as "the sticky mud" for the rest of the time.
I took these pictures on the wrong setting, so they are a bit off, color wise.
I like this picture for some reason.
Orianna and Ashli hanging out
Where the kids and I hung out. The sunshine was glorious.
Our view from the patio
This was how warm it was, no jackets and barefeet.
But it wasn't so warm that they couldn't cuddle up in blankets
Or make wet footprints from the melting snow.
Evening light. Everyone was back to making music.
Gilbert and Major. These poor boys, along with Brylan, are in the minority in the cousins.
Aislyn, Gilbert and Elsie being entertained by some computer thing
Isn't he perfectly adorable?
Ashli and Lily after a busy day.
Grandma braiding Cari's hair. It is funny the things the brain remembers, when things start getting forgotten.
Elsie and Bob had a great time together.
Grandma, Lily, and Nila
Hanging out at Jerad and Mandy's the night before we left.
Going over the mountains. It was a grey day.
The buffalo sign right before you enter Wyoming on I-25.
The real deal
Calving season is in full swing, which you can tell from all the smaller black smudges.
We went to Mike and Diane Lerwicks for Wednesday night meeting. Cody has been helping them calve out, so we spent the night with them and got to see Cody some more. He came down to Hotchkiss for the weekend and went to funeral with us too, which was very nice.
Kenny and Gilbert
Diane, Elsie, and Cody
Kenny, Gilbert, and Mike
Orianna, Anna, and Hattie
We left Lerwick's around five the next morning, setting off for Iowa, to see my cousin, JoAnna
Driving into the sunrise and Nebraska
After having a tire blow out near Lincoln, Nebraska, which took up a few hours, we didn't get to spend as much time with JoAnna and Pat as we wanted, but we managed supper together, and then we went to a local mall to hang out. Actually, we went to Barnes and Noble, thinking there would be cushy chairs to sit on while the kids looked at books. I haven't been in a Barnes and Noble in years, and apparently they abolished comfy chairs awhile ago. JoAnna saved the day by discovering a kids play area right outside Barnes and Noble in the mall. We sat on cushy seats and talked while the kids went crazy.
JoAnna's companion, Pat Johnson, was in Colorado just a year ago, so she and Justin caught up on news, while JoAnna and I had a good chinwag about life.
With our JoAnna friend.
Justin and Pat
After we left them, we drove through the night and got home around three the next afternoon. Nina, my best pal, was up north for the weekend, and it didn't look like we would be able to see each other much, but we stopped by and I ended up doing a quick grocery shopping trip with her. It was terribly nice. Way too quick, but better than nothing!