All of this quarantining business left us with a need to get away from our house and have a change of scenery! My friend told me she just returned from Yellowstone and it was a great time to visit because it was less crowded than usual. I had never been to Yellowstone. Dallas and I did a little research, realized we had three completely empty days on the calendar that next week, and behold! A family vacation was born.
We packed up and headed out. Our first pit stop demanded a photo:
The drive was so fast and easy, and before we knew it, we were in West Yellowstone. We enjoyed this sign:
until finally…she erupted!
We decided to walk the boardwalk around Old Faithful. Caroline bit into a Starburst on the way and her loose tooth came right out mid-chew:
I loved this little hike. I’m not sure if it’s because it was the first thing we did, so everything was so new and amazing to see, but, well, everything was just so new and amazing to see! We loved looking at the geysers, trying to come up with our own names for them, and then running ahead to find the next wonder to behold.
Luckily for us, Old Faithful decided to erupt again about forty minutes before the predicted time, so we got to see another explosion from a less-crowded spot:
And we took turn-your-sister-into-a-rabbit pictures:
Then Brooke learned how to take creepy panoramic pictures and that kept her busy for the rest of the trip.
After Old Faithful we went to Black Sand Basin to see the geysers there. It was getting really stormy and we were afraid we were about to get dumped on. There was a nice rainbow geyser there that I liked.
We walked around quickly to see everything:
Then we ran to the car right before the heavens opened and rain, sleet, snow, and hail slammed down on us. It was a pretty impressive storm.
We were worried it would rain out the rest of our day, but before too long the rain cleared up and Madison spotted some elk. We stopped for a closer look.
We ate dinner at Lake Village and walked through a gift shop looking for treasures. None found.
Then we stopped at Mud Volcano and saw Dragon’s Mouth Spring which was a favorite. We loved the steam coming from the cave and the groaning noises that felt like a dragon did indeed live there.
On our way back to our hotel in West Yellowstone we stopped by the Artists Paintpots which was another favorite. We liked the white stew/soup spot that gurgled and bubbled and made us feel like an ogre lived beneath it.
At the hotel the kids loved playing with the old fashioned phone:
The next morning we decided to get up bright and early and drive out to Lamar Valley to look for wildlife. We saw lots of bison, elk, pronghorn, and birds.
We were mostly searching for a bear…and we found one!
After driving around Lamar Valley we went back to Mammoth Hot Springs for lunch.
We liked watching the elk that roamed through the little town. We explored the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces. This was the hottest part of the hottest day that we were there and there were so. many. steps. so this wasn’t the most pleasant of all of our stops, but we made it through and this picture will give you the illusion that we all had smiles on our faces the whole time. I’m sure none of us complained one bit during this hike.
We found some rocks to climb:
We drove down to Norris and tried to stop, but that was the only place where we couldn’t immediately find parking, so we just continued on.
We went on to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. That was also beautiful. I loved how each part of Yellowstone was so different but so beautiful.
We loved the waterfall and did a couple different hikes to view it from different spots.
On our way back to the hotel, Dallas spied some cranes, so we stopped to look. (They’re behind Brooke right in front of the tree line.)
The next day was the day our kids were looking forward to the most – horseback riding day! We had to wait for our turn which gave the kids plenty of time to bond with the company’s pet dog:
And to walk on wood planks:
And to show off how Brooke can twist her leg in unnatural ways:
Finally we were able to hop on our horses and ride through the woods.
Brooke’s horse was a little stubborn, so her horse got roped up to the guide’s horse in front of her. This arrangement is important because it led to the highlight of Brooke’s vacation. The horse in front stopped to poop and somehow the rope got caught in the horse’s butt…? And the guide couldn’t get it out. So she had to call to the guide at the front of the line and ask if she had gloves. Which made that guide ask why she needed gloves. So the guide in the back had to say, “Because there’s a rope stuck in my horse’s butt and I can’t get it out. I’m going to need some help back here.” Which led to silence from the guide at the front until she said, “I was not expecting to hear that!”
Meanwhile Brooke giggled uncontrollably through the poor horse’s ordeal…and anytime afterward when she thinks about that story.
Luckily the guide was able to free the horse without compromising too much of his dignity and we were able to continue our ride.
Dallas’s horse also brought comic relief as he kept stopping to eat every chance he got and when he wasn’t eating, he was finding small trees to walk over to scratch his underside.
After horseback riding we were ready to head home. We decided to drive through Yellowstone and go home through the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole. This gave us the perfect chance to take these pictures:
We stopped at the Grand Prismatic Spring on our way out. The pictures of this spring look so pretty, but unfortunately, from the boardwalk, you can’t really see it. I was sad about that. Next time we go to Yellowstone we’ll have to hike from above so we can look down on it and appreciate the colors.
Dallas was amused by this poster every time we saw it, so we had to do our own version.
(To be clear – Caroline wasn’t really off the boardwalk. Dallas just Photoshopped her there. We were good tourists and stayed on the path.)
Our trip to Yellowstone was just the diversion we needed to break up the monotony of having nothing to do because of COVID. Dallas and I are already dreaming of when we can go back.
This is the story of how two of the most undeserving people scored some of the hottest tickets in town three times…mostly through sheer dumb luck.
Have you ever heard of the TV show Psych? Dallas and I used to love that show years ago. At the time, we never knew of anyone else who watched it. I got out of the habit of seeing it, but Dallas still kept up with it, and I’d catch him watching episodes here and there.
Fast forward to the end of last year. My friend posted on Facebook that Psych: The Movie was about to be released and there was to be a movie tour with a stop in Salt Lake. Also, tickets were free. I had no idea that a movie was even in the works, but I thought, “Huh. Dallas loves that show. I should try to get tickets and surprise him.” I hopped online and nabbed a couple of tickets without any trouble.
What I didn’t realize at the time was Psych had gained a very devoted cult following in the years since it first aired. In fact, this movie tour was part of a fan contest. I can’t remember all the details, but it was something like the city with the most social media engagement would be selected as one of the cities where the movie tour would stop. Salt Lake fans (through no help from me, obviously) had blown the competition out of the water, thus giving us one of the coveted tour stops. This meant that I had gotten tickets that probably should have gone to someone who, you know, actually participated in the contest and helped Salt Lake win.
I didn’t really realize any of this at the time. I just knew we were going to see the movie, and it would be a fun date night. And I was right about that!
On the appointed day Dallas and I joined many other Psych-Os and took our seats…but not before we took a picture with the pineapple glasses they gave everyone:
(For those not in the know, they hide pineapples in all the episodes of Psych, so pineapples have become a symbol of the show.)
I was already suffering a bit from impostor syndrome as I found myself amongst some of the biggest Psych-Os in the country knowing that I hadn’t even been bothered to keep up with all the seasons of the show. That feeling was made worse when they began the evening with a trivia game. They asked what I thought seemed like very obscure questions about the show, and people knew not only the answers, but there was one girl who could answer the question AND state the episode name and number in which the answer could be found.
After the trivia game they showed the movie. We enjoyed our complimentary popcorn and drinks as we watched the show. The movie was fun to watch, but the best part was seeing how much everyone around me was loving every second of the film. The audience laughed, cheered, and clapped throughout the show. It was so fun to watch the movie with people who you knew were appreciating every minute of it.
After the screening they had a couple of the actors and a writer or producer come out, and they chatted about the film and answered questions.
All in all it was a really fun night for the die-hards and even the fair-weather fans in attendance.
Our next story starts much like the previous one. I was on social media again (Instagram this time) and saw that a friend had posted that Hamilton tickets were going on sale that morning. She had several computers already booted up and on the website waiting for 10:00 when the tickets would be available. “Huh,” I thought. “I’ve been wanting to see that play. Maybe I should try to get tickets.”
I hadn’t even heard that Hamilton was coming to town. I assumed I was too late and wouldn’t have a chance to get tickets, but I realized I could log on right then and still have a shot, so I decided to just try. Before I knew it my computer alerted me that I was in and could buy tickets. Yay! I was excited for my good fortune, but again felt a bit undeserving that I got the tickets…especially when I learned that my friend whose Instagram post was the catalyst to my getting tickets didn’t get tickets herself. Bummer!
Nonetheless, Dallas and I had a great time at the show. Much like our Psych experience, everyone around us was so excited to be in the crowd. We were sitting by a teenager who knew every word to every song and was on the edge of his seat the entire time. The enthusiasm of the crowd added to the whole experience.
The play was energetic and impressive. The cast did a great job and Dallas and I were amazed with the insanely clever rhymes and word play in the songs.
In those previous two performances, we were the oblivious idiots who had no idea what was in store. We were the ones who felt slightly out of place amongst the zealous fans we found ourselves rubbing elbows with. However, for the third show, the tables had turned. I was the extreme fanatic.
I caught wind that the Hale Centre Theatre was doing The Scarlet Pimpernel. I grew up watching the Jane Seymour movie. In college I committed the words of the music to heart and saw the play a couple of times. This may be my favorite musical of all time. I knew this would be a show I couldn’t miss.
I bought tickets a year in advance. I marked the day on our calendar. As each month passed I did a happy dance and told Dallas how much time we had until the big day. Finally, the time came to head over to the Hale Centre Theatre’s beautiful new facility. We took our seats and this time I was the crazy person on the edge of my seat with unbridled excitement causing leg twitches and bursts of loud, happy sighs as I took in the stage and the scenery. No, I would not play the role of impostor this time.
In fact, I realized I might be in the running for the biggest fan in attendance as I leaned over to Dallas and said, “Do you think I’m the only person in this theater who has a Scarlet Pimpernel song as her ring tone?”
The Scarlet Pimpernel was amazing. The Hale Centre Theatre always does a fantastic job with every production they do and this was no exception.
We loved our theater experiences this past year! I’m definitely going to have to work on sliming my way into some more performances this year!