Friday, June 26, 2015

Wisconsin-Minnesota-South Dakota-Utah-Nevada Part I

Wow, how is summer vacation almost over?!  I am so sad about this!  I haven't even posted about our summer trips so I better get started!  This year we traveled out to Nevada, but stopped and did some things along the way. 

Before our trip we headed up to Lois' in Maryland to celebrate Rhett's 2nd birthday.  I don't know why I am lacking in pictures in this department, but I am.  That night Lois and Jeff had an adult session of Stake Conference, so Lee and I watched the kids and took them to the nearby park.  We drove the Mercury up since the Honda was having problems.  The AC did not work in the van on that drive, and it was quite warm in there!  Lee has been driving it that way for a few years now!  I did think of the pioneers and how we were still riding in luxury...compared to a handcart or wagon.
June 13 2015 Lois'

We headed back that same night.  On Sunday the kids built a fort.
June 14 2015

And we celebrated Father's Day a week early since we would be in Nevada on the actual Father's Day date.  Thanks Lee for being a great father! Our kids adore him. I am so thankful for my dad and for Lee's dad.  We are so blessed with great fathers all around!
Celebrating a week early--Happy Father's Day Lee! Our kids are blessed to have you as their father! @lee_robertson80

Leading up to our big western states trip, we had some vehicle drama. If you didn't know, yes, we have two mini-vans, and quite like it!  We didn't feel comfortable driving our Honda because of the big mountain passes we would head over....because it needs a new transmission.  We didn't want to get stuck in some state for three or four days and miss even more work while waiting for a new transmission to be installed.  We didn't even know if we would leave on our trip when we planned.  There is more to the story than this, but I won't bore you.  Basically we decided to get the transmission replaced, and while knowing our alternator was bad, we drove to the transmission place with both vans and the Honda died.  We had the Honda's alternator fixed (towed to a shop back in town), and the A/C on the Mercury fixed. The A/C didn't cost very much to "refill"-about $150ish.  Sorry Lee that we didn't do that years ago.  We thought we were saving ourselves money by not fixing the A/C.  But going 3-4 years without A/C was ridiculous!  We drove "Lee's Van" to Utah...our 1997 Mercury Villager boasting about 240,000 miles.  We knew it would be fine transmission wise since it's on its third transmission! 
Both of the vans had problems this morning, but the Mercury is now "well" enough for our trip out West. Since we decided to take it cross country we had the air conditioning recharged. Lee has been driving without cool air for a few years now. #yayforairc

We did leave when planned and headed out Monday night after Lee was done with work.  Early Tuesday morning we took a 10-minute detour (and A LOT of toll fees later!) to Michigan. None of my kids have ever been there.  I am not sure how we'll swing Hawaii and Alaska, but I want all of my kids to visit the continental United States before Clark leaves for his mission.  Hopefully we can squeeze in Hawaii and Alaska in there!  I've been to all 48 states thanks to our 2013 trip to Washington State (just need Hawaii and Alaska!). 
Did a five minute detour this morning to visit Michigan! Another state under my kid's belts. We didn't stay long, but we did cross the boarder making it official! #roadtrip2015 #thanksforhumoringmelee @lee_robertson80

Out of order, but before we left on our trip our kids wanted to spend some of their money on some treats...
June 15 2015

We drove by Chicago too which was fun!  We finally made it to our first stop...Wisconsin!  I lived in Barron, WI from 1st grade to almost the end of 8th grade.  I took a lot of pictures of this trip, but my phone's screen cracked and in an attempt to fix it on our own, it broke.  And now I can't access my pictures!!!  But thanks to Lee and my sister Deborah, whom we met up with in Wisconsin, I have a few pictures.

This park was near our home in Barron.  It's also where the city pool is--up the hill and on the left of Lee.  Shanna is on his shoulders.  I LOVED going to the pool when I was little and went as much as I could! 
June 16 2015 Barron (4)

We drove around Barron for about an hour and saw some sites.  Here is the building where I attended church.
June 16 2015 Barron (2)

My mom wrote a weekly column for the local paper.  In the seven or so years that we lived there she only missed one weekly column.  It was the week her mom died. 
June 16 2015 Barron (3)

Here is the house we lived in on Mill Street.  It has a nice big yard and when we were little my dad had a HUGE garden. I remember many hours in the garden, mowing the lawn, and playing out back in the sand box, or on a fort type structure.  The front porch wasn't there before and when I was younger the house was painted brown. 
June 16 2015 Barron

I also showed my family the elementary school and middle school I went attended.  And we couldn't leave without driving by the Yellow River to see the little beach area where we kids would sometimes play.  Once when my dad was gone, my sister Lena fell into the river near the riverbed and cut her leg on a piece of glass in the river...I think?  If I remember right she had a leech on her and ran home screaming about the leech and didn't register the horrible cut.  She had to get three or four layers of stitches...that is how deep the glass went into her leg.

That night we headed to a campground in the Blue Hills where we camped a couple times when we were younger.  After dinner and setting up camp we started out on a hike.  It was getting dark and the trail wasn't that great so we decided to try again the next day.
June 16 2015 Barron (5)

June 16 2015 Barron (6)

That night Lee took some of the older kids out night canoeing. Thanks for bringing the canoe Deb!  The next day the kids went out canoeing again.  Late morning we headed back on the hike again.  Let me tell you, this was an epic hike that none of my kids will forgot!  The trail turned out to be worse than we thought--as in not properly cleared.  Also, the ticks didn't get the memo to leave us alone.  We ALL found at least 6 or more ticks on ourselves.  We found them all over the place and kept finding them!!!  After lunch we headed on our way.  We had a great time meeting up with my parents and Deb and Matt and their family for this leg of our trip.  Thanks Deb for talking me into heading up to Barron!

Wednesday night we drove on to Minnesota.  We arrived ahead of schedule so we did some driving around that night as opposed to the next morning.  We drove around Walnut Grove and showed the kids where I lived from the end of 8th grade through high school.  I also visited Walnut Grove during college breaks, and mine and Lee's first Christmas together.  We also went to Walnut Grove when the girls were about 3 months old.  And yes, it's the exact same Walnut Grove where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived when she was a girl.  Remember the book on the Banks of Plum Creek?  I stopped and said hi to Faith McGuire.  She works at the local grocery store and her daughter was in my class at school.  On my way out of town a cop pulled me over.  Thankfully he gave me a warning...and he remembered my family from when we lived there several years ago.  My parents moved from Walnut Grove in 2004, I think.

We then drove to Westbrook, about 15 minutes away.  That is where I attended high school.  This picture is of me taking a picture of my high school.  Like I said, I am relying on other people's photos!  I stopped to see a good friend, but sadly she was out of town! 
June 17 2015

We haven't stayed in a hotel as a family for a few years, but that night we stayed in one in Marshall, Minnesota.  We went to church at a branch in Marshall.  I should have driven by the church building, but didn't even think about it!  Rats!  This hotel actually didn't care if we all stayed in one room, plus the pool opened early and we all enjoyed swimming by ourselves! 
June 18 2015

That morning we headed up to Hanley Falls to see our good friends, the Bennetts-Rhonda, Erin and Brandice, and Bette Harman.  Bette is Rhonda's mom, and Erin and Brandice are two of Rhonda's nine kids.  Rhonda's son Damian, one of my friends, was born about a month after me.  We actually lived in Minnesota when I was born and we lived in the same branch way back then.  When we moved back in 1994 my parents already had great friends there!  I loved seeing these ladies and wish we could have visiting longer!
My parents and I loved visiting these beautiful ladies today. It was so wonderful to say hello to Minnesota friends! @rhbennett @erinb104 @brandiceb @ltbartholomew @lee_robertson80 #roadtrip2015 #marshallbranchfamily

Of course we kept on driving after seeing friends and early evening took a nice detour through the Badlands in South Dakota.  So pretty there!
June 18 2015 (2)

June 18 2015 (3)

June 18 2015 (4)

Our destination that night was Mount Rushmore and we made it! 
We made it! Well, to Mt. Rushmore anyway. #roadtrip2015 @lee_robertson80

June 18 2015 (6)

June 18 2015 (7)

June 18 2015 (8)

June 18 2015 (9)

We reserved a cabin about 45 minutes from Mount Rushmore (my fault...didn't realize I could get something right by there, I looked mainly in Rapid City). Well, we didn't want to drive all the way back to the cabin. Plus we drove yet another hour out of the way to go on the Pig Tail Bridge.  By that time we decided to just forgo the cabin (and lose the money we spent on it!) and head to Utah instead of getting another place to stay for the night.  Lee took the second leg of the trip and was in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming when the gas light went on.  It stayed on forever.  He kept praying and praying to make it to a gas station before the van ran out of gas.  Heavenly Father heard his prayers and he made it to one!  It was about 1 or 2 in the morning.  Not a good time to be stuck in deserted Wyoming. We have a 20 gallon tank, but filling up 18 gallons is crazy!  I am so glad the van didn't automatically shut off like it's done once before when the gas was too low. That happened in Missouri.
June 19 2015

Well, this is where part one ends!  It was great showing my kids where I "grew-up"!  Not sure if I'll ever take them to Smithfield, Utah.  When I was about two we moved from Minnesota to Utah.  We lived in Smithfield while my dad taught food science classes at Utah State University. We lived there about 4ish years? We moved to Wisconsin when I was in first grade.  My dad left the academic field and took a research and development job at Jerome Foods in Barron, now Jenny-O.  (Hopefully my facts are straight!)  I enjoyed visiting Michigan and Mount Rushmore too along the way.  Only six more summers together before Clark goes on his mission!  Lee and I have plans for the next several summers.  Hope you all are enjoying yours!


Unknown said...

Awesome post Ruth! You have NO idea how happy I was to have you there! Why did the cop pull you over?

Daniel said...

The house in Barron doesn't look right. I distinctly remember a big ditch in front of the house next to the road and no curb. I guess the ditch was filled and the curb added since we were there...

Lois said...

Sometimes Ruth's foot gets heavy

Lois said...

Great post, Ruth. Sorry you lost your photos.

Nostrebor said...

Great post - hopefully we can get those pictures off your camera.