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Vacation Recap, Part 6

After a lovely breakfast at the ranch in Wyoming, we got back on the road again for day 6 of our trip. Our first stop was the lovely town of Jackson.

Before we even got to Jackson, though, we got distracted! We happened to be by the Museum of Wildlife Art. Kiddo1 had seen a flyer for it earlier in the week and seemed pretty excited about it, so when I saw a sign for it on the road I had to stop!

Kiddo1 had a great time checking out all the art. The museum had an awesome sculpture gallery out front with life-size replicas of all sorts of local animals.

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Sculpture time!

Inside, there were several galleries of paintings and sculpture to feast our eyes upon. Baby2 enjoyed running the halls (the perk of visiting a museum on week days!) while Kiddo1 soaked in all the pieces. His favorite was this large painting of a wolf.

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One of the things we were doing on this trip was to try to find all the “World’s Largest” things we could. We already saw the World’s Largest Egg in Winlock, WA and, you could argue, the World’s Largest Superfund Site  in Butte, MT (even though Superfund is a US thing), so we needed to keep the momentum going.

Luckily Jackson did not disappoint, for it holds one of several Riley’s Believe It or Not museums which is a treasure trove of weird and large stuff.

Feast your eyes on these many large things, shown in small images:

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Big things

Clockwise from top right we have: the World’s Largest Bed Pan Collection, the World’s Largest Belt Buckle Collection, the Word’s Largest Cigar, and the World’s Largest Fishing Creel! All totally expected from Ripley’s, no?

What led us to this museum, though, was the main attraction. Presenting… the World’s Largest Ball of Barbed Wire!

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The main attraction should really have better lighting

Now we’ve really seen some cool stuff! Or something like that.

After the museum we needed to get some lunch and we were just about totally out of food. Luckily we found a great place for some burgers! It was called Liberty Burger and it had grass-fed beef burgers and game. It was nice to be able to find something right there in town that we felt good about eating!

We also got to go by the second grocery store that I was super excited to visit, Jackson Whole Grocers. I was glad I did a little reading about it beforehand because it had just moved and Google Maps was not at all updated yet. The new store is big a beautiful! I can’t compare it to their old one, but when we met up with friends later that night they told us it is a big improvement! We found a couple snacks – we didn’t need much since we were on our way to said friends’ place down in Pinedale, WY.

Pinedale is a very small town about an hour South of Jackson. It does have a brewery, though! We were meeting our friends from home who had moved out to Wyoming a couple years ago. We brought them lots of yummy Pacific Northwest beer. They showed us all the beautiful hiking and scenic viewpoints near their home. Kiddo1 floated in the river (I have a picture but it’s stuck in the lost camera memory card!) and Baby2 watched a little kid catch a fish! They don’t have much beer but they do make up for it with scenery! We had dinner at this sweet little place that is along a lake, the only access is a very long gravel road. How they manage to get good food down there is beyond me! Probably via boat on the lake.

While stopped in Pinedale we unloaded the car and cleaned it out so we could reload it again. No matter how well you pack there’s still a need to shift things around now and then! Surprisingly, though, the back of the van was in pretty good shape. We cleared out the bits of trash and dirty clothes but there wasn’t much! We did a couple loads of laundry (one load of clothes and one of diapers) and settled in for the night with friends, recalling our days of living in the same town and talking about how different small town life is for them. Even though it is different, they still super love it! It was nice to see them happy in their new town.

Tomorrow we start the last leg of the trip, making our way home.

Vacation Recap, Part 5

Day 5, over halfway done! I feel like I’ve been writing about vacation forever so I hope it is easier to read!

Today was full of more Yellowstone adventures! We made breakfast and cleaned up camp pretty quickly in the morning so that we could make sure to fit in as much site-seeing as possible. It was much cooler for our second campground breakdown than it was for our first one in Yakima! That definitely made the work easier.

We took a clockwise route along the main Yellowstone park road starting at Madison campground. There was so much to see! We stopped as much as time would allow, since we knew it would take at least a few hours to complete the whole loop in the park. Plus it actually took more time than we calculated because, even though they tell drivers over and over to pull over rather than stop in traffic when you see wildlife near the road, people stop anyway! We passed by a large herd of bison which was amazing but slowed us way down! But we stopped to appreciate it anyway.

Another time the traffic slowed way down and there were people pointing at something in the near distance, but we could not figure out what it was! Tons of people were stopping. I kind of wonder if there’s a “mod mentality” thing that goes on there sometimes: people see other people stopped so they stop to see what the other people saw. It it an interesting phenomenon there!

My plan was to show our Yellowstone adventures just in pictures, but would you believe it I can’t find them! We used our phones to take photos almost everywhere on our trip, but since Yellowstone doesn’t have any cell reception (which is both fantastic and frustrating) we took almost all our pictures with our Cannon D40. But somehow I’ve lost the memory card. I’m sure it is around the house somewhere… I hope! When I do find it I will update this post with all the amazing images we saw in the park!

The pictures would have showed a cool sulfur pit. It smelled really bad but it was all smoky and erie. And there was a bison just chillin’ in the middle of it all! Clearly the bison didn’t mind the smell. We saw a bunch of little geysers and hydrothermal features. I liked the places that had boardwalks so that you could get to the main attraction – they had to have boardwalk because the ground is too acidic to walk on! Funny that we saw two very acidic sites (the Berkley Pit and Yellowstone) but both are the way they are for very different reasons!

We could have spent another few days there easily, but we had so much to see elsewhere too! We noted the places that we want to come back to and the places we missed. We hope next time we can spend a couple days in the park and stay at at least two different campgrounds or hotels in the park so we’re not rushing around the loop the whole time.

After the awesome and super large Yellowstone lake came the Tetons, awesome and super as well! We had an excellent view of them both from the road and finally from our hotel for the night which was a charming little ranch about an hour South of Yellowstone. Quite a view! (You can tell we’re out of Yellowstone because we have pictures on our phones!)

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Getting stormy, just after we settled in at the ranch

We didn’t have time to try out any horseback riding or other ranch animal fun while we were there, but we did enjoy the full-service restaurant where we had filets, potatoes, and fresh salads before bed. Finally, a meal we didn’t have to cook in a place that had some non-super-processed foods! Which was great because we were just about out of food at that point!

We met a few fans and alumni of Auburn University while we were at the ranch. Mr. Handsome is a big Auburn fan, always wearing his fan gear everywhere we go, so of course we are bound to run into other Auburn fans here and there. They are always the nicest people to talk to. The conversations usually start with where everyone is from and how we all became Auburn fans. It’s always interesting to hear about the people who are often just as obsessed with Auburn as my husband!

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A lesson after dinner

We hung out in the lodge for a bit after dinner but we were all pretty tired from all the nature! I’ll write all about our more relaxing day 6 next time!