2016 as a whole was an incredible year for us! We packed it full of fun and adventure. We got to do a lot of traveling and meet up with so many of our favorite friends! So here are some highlights from each month.
After settling in to the new year, Jordan and I parked Dessa at the Cote’s and jumped on a plane headed to Arkansas. We spent a couple of weeks at the Ranch with Wendy. She is always such a gracious host and we had plenty of time to play around on the property. Jordan burned trash, built a dam for the pond, mended fences and of course went fishing. I had fun helping Wendy with Crooked House Herbals, playing in the garden, and organizing stuff around the office. I also got to go to a Farmer’s Market with her! We got our Xterra, White Lightning, up and running and did some much needed maintenance. She has been parked here for two years while we were figuring out our life. Ha! We are so thankful to Wendy for keeping an eye on her. After a couple of weeks, we said our goodbyes, jumped in the car and started making our way back to Cali! We even made it back in time to go to my best friend’s baby shower. It was a true blessing!
At the end of January, Heaven gained another angel, our sweet Mamma Judee. I had the privilege of spending a couple of weeks with Levi, Nate, and Danny as Jon and Sara had lots to do in this time of mourning. I was incredibly grateful that our schedule was so flexible and that I was able to do that. Plus, Aunty will never complain about more time with her boys! Also, during this month, Jordan flew to Denver to meet up with Luke, one of our great friends. It was a fantastic weekend to go because Denver had made it to the Super Bowl. So the boys went downtown and were surrounded by all the madness of the fans. To top it all off Denver won!!!
We parked Dessa out at the Colorado River for a month, just outside of Parker. Jordan spent the month working for Surgical Fibers. During the day he was on the phone and then in the evening we went for bike rides, boat rides, and fished of course! It was a great place to be if we had work to do. We also made some quick trips home with the Xterra for Jace’s birthday party and Scott’s birthday. In the middle of the month, Jordan took off for a long weekend to Phoenix to watch the Dodger’s Spring Training with his dad. At the end of the month, Dad and Lynnette came and camped with us for his birthday. I made him a big corned beef dinner and brownies with ice cream for dessert. He took us out on the razor for a great adventure out in the desert!
April was an incredible month, our friends flew down from Montana and we had a two-week road trip adventure up to Montana. It was great because they helped drive the car up so everyone always had a driving buddy! But before we left we got to celebrate our God-daughter, Lainey’s baby shower with Tyler and Chelsea. On our trip up north we stopped at the river for some relaxing, then out to Quartzsite for some rock hounding, cruised through Sedona, roamed around Canyonlands and Arches, explored Moab, played in the Utah desert for a few days, spent some time in Salt Lake, and then booked it home to West Yellowstone. It was an incredible trip and we were so excited to get back to our mountaintop summer home!
We started back to work at the Slippery Otter and finally got an RV spot over at Fort Jax (one we have been trying to get into for a couple of years). It was a busy start to the season as it was the 100 Year Anniversary of the National Parks. We threw birthday parties for Charlie and Mckelle and got down to Hebgen as soon as possible so Jordan could catch some trout. We always enjoy our time away but man it sure feels good to get home! At the end of the month, over Memorial Day weekend, Jordan flew back to Cali for Ally’s High School graduation. I would have loved to go but it was a big weekend at work so I had to stay back. We are so proud of Ally and can’t wait to see what this next year of college will bring to her!!!
This month was packed full of work and every camping trip we could possibly take in between the busy schedules. We are working a lot this year but it’s been fun getting back into it! We snuck out to Hebgen a couple of times to get some fishing and campfires in. Towards the end of the month I went up to Bozeman to pick up Luke from the airport. We were surprising Jordan with his visit. It was so fun to see his face light up when Luke walked in the door. We had Charlie come down from Gardner and we all went out to Cliff Lake. Mckelle and Mikhalya met us out there also to make a great group for the weekend. It definitely was one of the best trips of the summer.
As always this is one our favorite times of the year to be in West Yellowstone. We stocked up on fireworks and had amazing 4th. We watched the parade, music in the park, hung out with friends and had a huge family dinner. I made a crockpot full of ribs, mashed potatoes and a big ol’ salad! It was seriously delicious! We finished the night off with our fireworks and then watched the town fireworks from Carlos’ roof! It was the best view in town! It was also a big month for us because we bought a boat with Mckelle. A 16 foot Bayliner! It took some time and a lot of help from gracious friends to get her going, but when she did go, it was GLORIOUS!!!! Our summer just got 10 times better. We got her cruising across Hebgen and had some great fishing trips.
It was in a way a dreadful month! Yellowstone was on fire! We had eight surrounding fires and the air was full of smoke. Some of the fires had gotten so bad that they shut down the South entrance to the park. At first we were much busier at work as all the tourists were getting rerouted to our gate of the park, but after the fires continued to burn many people canceled their trips so we slowed down quite a bit which made the days’ drag on and on! In our spare time we took our boat, Daisy Jane, down to Hebgen to try to get rid of the “senioritis” that always comes at the end of the season. It was one of the busiest seasons Yellowstone had ever seen and we were definitely feeling it! (Over 5 million visitors!!!)
Football season is here and it is quite a big deal in our little town. Every Sunday we all meet for breakfast and then head over to Carlos’ for some great food and football watching! We threw a little birthday party for our boss Casey on one of the Sundays which was a lot of fun. We love September because it means we are done with work for the season!!!! It’s always bittersweet on our last day. We truly love our job and really love the people we get to work with. We are all family! But the best part of this month was after our last day Shannyl flew up from California and we got to show her around Yellowstone and then take her out to Cliff Lake. We brought Daisy Jane and a couple of other friends too. It was seriously the best goodbye celebration we have had! We saw some incredible sights out on the lake, caught a ton of beautiful trout and crawdads, cooked up feasts over the campfire, played games and laughed so much. We sadly left our summer home at the end of the month to start our big trek east. First stop, Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands. So incredible to see both of these sites that have been on our bucket list for a while!
Always a busy month and this one was no exception. We cruised from South Dakota through North Dakota then in to Minnesota with a quick stop in Deluth. It was such a cute little town and we saw our first cop riding on horseback there! After that we went through Winter, WI where Jordan used to go to Trap’N’Fish every year. It was so awesome to finally see the place where all his memories were made. Door County was next and we were in awe of its beauty. This is our first time seeing all the Great Lakes. Our brains couldn’t even wrap around their vastness!!! At one point I asked Jordan to taste the water to make sure it wasn’t salt water! Haha!!! From there we went down to Indiana to spend some time with Luke and celebrate my big 29th birthday! After that is was back to Illinois for Trap’N’Fish for the boys and Trap’N’Chick for the girls. The boys took our motorhome this year and Kellie flew out to meet the girls so we could have a fun weekend and tour Chicago. We took a recovery day after all this excitement before heading back to Wisconsin to visit the DeVries. They graciously offered to watch our motorhome while we flew back to Cali for Jordan’s dirty thirty birthday! After some visits with the family we headed straight to Cabo with a big group of friends to celebrate. It was an incredible week and we came back with a couple more days to visit with family before heading back to Wisconsin to continue our travels in Dessa.
After the past couple of months, we were ready for some down time! So we took the days slowly through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and then traveled down the western coast before heading into Ohio. We met up with the Dalrymples there. It was so fun to catch up with them. From there we went through Pennsylvania, played on the Shores of Lake Erie and then made our way to Niagara Falls. We spent time on both the American and Canadian side! Which means we went to all three countries in North America in one month! After that we drove across New York and stayed in the Adirondacks before going into Vermont and New Hampshire. The weather was starting to get colder so we had to book it if we were going to get to Maine before the snow came! So we hurried our way to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. We ate the most delicious lobster dinner. Something we have been dreaming of all summer long. Acadia was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and I wish we would have had two more weeks to spend in Maine, but I guess we will just have to come back. We made our way south down the east coast and met up with my Uncle and then some friends in Jersey. Thanksgiving was spent in Plymouth, MA, which is pretty fitting if you ask me! We cooked up an amazing dinner and spent the day resting and watching football. As we made our way south to dodge the weather we were able to go to Gettysburg but not before a quick stop with our friend from Yellowstone who was also in MA.
We made a quick stop with some old friends from Lake Arrowhead who now live in Virginia, to catch up and share all our childhood memories. Then off briefly to the Dakotas and Congaree National Park before hitting Florida. We spent a couple of days in St. Augustine and then headed further south to Fort Myers to visit my grandparents. We enjoyed our time there and then put Dessa into storage so we could fly back to Cali for the holidays. It was a whirlwind of a couple of weeks but we thoroughly enjoyed bouncing around all of our loved one’s homes. We always miss everyone so much when we are gone. We had some much fun playing with our 11 nieces and nephews, spending time with our parents and siblings. We also got to squeeze in time with some of our closest friends. It’s crazy how fast two and half weeks goes by when we both have such big families. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. We ended our year with our best friends and our God daughter in Temecula. It’s been a four-year tradition that we really enjoy!!!
(A brief reflection on the year coming in the next post!)