2011, overall, was a very painful year with more bad memories than good. However, there were some travels and celebrations that are also memorable. My blogs were neglected during most of the year, though, as I struggled to regain my equilibrium following the loss of my Dad. Before the year is over, therefore, I want to capture as many of the memories as possible.
Other than driving back and forth to Rice Lake a lot during January, we didn't go anywhere but did enjoy the celebration of Ian's birthday with a party. We started with some really good food playing at Ian's house, and then we moved to the bowling alley for an afternoon of good competition, birthday cake, and opening presents!
Ben was playing a golf tournament in St. George, Utah and we decided to all pile into Debbie's car (6 of us in a car designed for 5 people) and drove up for the day. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful view of the mountains around St. George. We made a stop in Mesquite to gamble and have lunch, but our luck was not to great there.
A really fun trip!
Our annual Wisconsin Dells birthday weekend was the second weekend in March and, as always, a totally fun time. It's fun for the kids to all be staying together so there's plenty of playing and snacking, and being able to go to the water park just down the hall makes it a special weekend.
We decided to drive out to Utah in early May to attend Ben's college graduation and just have a fun journey, in general. The drive out was boring (of course) as we passed through miles and miles of nothing, but staying in Layton for a few days was really fun. Mike and Jeff went golfing while Debbie and I went shopping, then we all worked together to get things ready for the graduation.
Despite rushing to get to graduation, we were way too late and completely missed the ceremony. Problem: Ben hadn't planned to go at all and decided at the last minute that he wanted to "walk". So, I asked a nice young man if Ben could borrow his cap, gown, and diploma just so we could get a nice photograph which really worked out great. We got a good picture, had fun in the process, and didn't have to sit through the graduation ceremony. Then, we went to a local bar for a drink.
As we moved through the park, the rushing water in the rivers was beautiful due to the high water, and the geysers were really steamy. We had lunch at Old Faithful Inn (somewhere that I definitely want to stay at some point in the future), and went out to catch the geyser. It was "faithful": right on time. Hard to get good pictures, though, because that hot water hit the cold air and the whole area was blanketed in steam.
Not sure how many types of animals we saw: buffalo, moose, elk, mule deer, mountain sheep, Jeff saw a bear, and we saw a wolf -- which I thought was the coolest of all. I even got a necklace at the gift shop with a wolf on it as a reminder!
The route that we wanted to take East out of the park was closed earlier in the day due to snow so, instead of heading across Wyoming, we went up through Montana. In the end, it turned out to be a really cool choice!
More to come in Part 2...