Thursday, July 30, 2015

One Grand Adventure: Part 1

We just got back from one very grand family adventure.  Like all great adventures, some of our trip was fun, some was super challenging and all was new and unknown. Here we go!

Here is our happy crew as we embark on said grand adventure.  We were so happy!
All the excitement and anticipation finally got this one.  He was out!
Our first day (the 18th, if anyone is counting) we drove from Albert City, cut through Minnesota and drove halfway across South Dakota.  As we were driving, we decided to stop and snap a picture by the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD.  I remember my grandparents sending me a postcard from there when I was a kid and I thought it'd be fun to see it (although we didn't go inside).
We stopped for the night just outside Kennebec, SD.   If I look a little shell-shocked, that's because Addilyn, who had been feeling a little car sick all day, threw up all over the back seat about 3 miles before we got to our campsite.  I then spent the first hour or so trying to clean up the van with lake water and paper towels.
Here's our crew at our first campsite of the trip.
Another view of our pretty little site.
We had some awesome views of some storms to the south of us. Luckily, the radar showed that they were heading straight east and our chance of rain for the evening showed 0%.
For our first camp meal, we had meatball subs. They were actually really easy to make and really good.
Tyler seemed to enjoy his.  Unfortunately, we were all still a little bit queasy from the ride, etc so none of us were too eager to eat a lot.
Our sleeping arrangement.
Now just a minute ago, I mentioned that the weather forecast for the night said there was a 0% chance of rain for the night.  We decided that it was probably safe to leave the rainfly off and enjoy the gorgeous view of the stars that our very secluded campsite afforded us.  We could see the Milky Way really easily and way more stars than I remember seeing in a very long time. We went to sleep gazing at the stars and enjoying a gentle breeze. It was wonderful.
We woke up an hour and a half to two hours later, to lightning in the west. We checked the radar and saw a strong storm cell heading directly for us.  Tyler and I quickly got up and put on the rainfly and threw anything from our campsite that might blow away into our van. Then we climbed back into our bed and waited.  The storm hit and it was a doosey. There was no hail but quite a bit of rain and wind. Tyler spent the maybe two hours of the storm, pacing around the tent making sure no one was getting wet.  We had only a very small leak, from the wind pushing rain in the zipper around the door.  Other than that, everyone was dry.  Surprisingly, the younger two boys slept right through the storm. As for Tyler and I, we got to sleep after 3 am.
The morning was just as beautiful as the evening before had been. We enjoyed a quiet breakfast.
Tyler even got some fresh coffee.  It took a couple of tries to make the coffee without it boiling over.
As Tyler and I packed up the tent and the got everything back in the van, the three oldest went and sat on the dock.  If you look closely you'll see Elias standing at the start of the dock; he was a little nervous at first.  Once Addilyn and Asher started throwing rocks in the water, Elias was over his fear and fully participating.  I was fun to watch the kids lug the biggest rocks they could find on the shore to the end of the dock to throw them off.  There were a few of them so big that I was surprised the kids could carry them. They may have gotten eaten up by chiggers (or maybe that was when they were collecting sticks in the tall grass for the campfire) but I still think they all had a good time with this.