Family Vacation 2012
|Living History Farm, Des Moines, IA|
|watching Elmo in the back seat|
|Brigham Young was here.|
|Rocky Mountain National Park|
|Estes Park, CO|
|Arches National Park|
|Hiking to Delicate Arch|
|Mason, Clay, Zach, Marvell|
|Nicole and Serena|
|Scottish Festival (Rootbeer)|
Mason with his Grandma and Papa Jones
Rather than flying to Utah as we usually do this time of year, Mason and I did a long road trip of about 3,500 miles. We left home on June 2, 2012 and drove to Des Moines, Iowa. We saw a lot of farms and wind turbines. The second day we drove to North Platte, NE. On the way, we visited some of the Oregon Trail that the Mormons travelled on the way to Utah. My nephew Tanner Jones is serving as a Mormon missionary in the Omaha, Nebraska mission. We did not stop to see him, but I waved at the sign to Council Bluffs, IA where he is currently assigned. I was happy to get out of the plains. On day three we reached Estes Park, CO. We spent the afternoon driving and taking short hikes through Rocky Mountain National Park. The next day we drove the scenic route through Boulder. I really love Boulder, so we stopped to briefly check out UC-Boulder. Then we continued on to Gypsum where we spent the night visiting my cousin Krista Thorne Mayne and her family. The next day we did a whirl-wind tour of Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park. Mason and I hiked up to the Delicate Arch. The hotels in Moab, UT were full, so we drove on to my parent’s house in Riverton, UT that night. We stayed eight days with my parents, and we visited with our cousins and my aunt Luci Thorne. Zach, Nicole, baby Serena, Mason, and I all had fun at the Scottish Festival at Thanksgiving Point. My dad turned 79 on June 7th. We had a little party for him, and we had a Jones family party on June 10th. My dad really enjoys seeing his nieces and nephews and their children, some of whom are in college now. Mason really enjoyed the party because we had Happy Birthday Cake. He spent the evening sneaking his fingers into the yellow frosting.
My cousin Krista and her children came from Colorado, so we got to spend more time with them. My cousin Kimberlee Thorne recently moved back to Utah from Argentina. It’s been 17 years since I’ve seen Kim, and it was wonderful to see her again and meet her sons Alan and Dylan. After visiting with Kim, it seemed like no time had gone by at all! Aunt Luci treated us all to a day at Lagoon (A Six Flags Amusement Park). Going to Lagoon was one of the thrills of my childhood, but I wasn’t sure how Mason would do. He typically gets overwhelmed and scared of the noise, and he’s always refused to go on any rides. Much to my surprise he did go with me on some rides, and by the end of the night, he was riding the kiddy rollercoaster and some kiddy rides alone. I was so happy to see him smiling and waving to me. Watching Mason have a good time was the highlight of the trip.
Our week in Utah drew quickly to an end, and my nephew Zach Jones drove back with Mason and me to Wisconsin. We took a different route home, and we drove through Wyoming, and then stayed the first night in Scotts Bluff, NE. The next day we made it to Wind Cave National Park and took a two hour tour of the cave. There is more than 168 miles of cave under one square mile above ground. After our hike through Wind Cave, we drove on to Mt. Rushmore, SD. It was raining that day, but we had a break from the rain just long enough to see the evening patriotic program. The next day we drove to Wall Drug in Wall, SD and through Badlands National Park. I was tired of staying in hotels, so I kept driving and we made it home to Menomonie about 11:30 pm. We all took a day to rest then headed to the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN on Monday. This was our second time visiting the Minnesota Aquarium at the MOA, but it was fun to watch Mason and Zach enjoying the sea life. Mason now goes up to the tanks and watches the fish. We were all fascinated by the Jelly Fish. Zach could have stayed longer at the MOA, in fact, I think he could have moved in there.
On Tuesday, Mason started summer school three mornings a week, and on Friday Zach left us to return to Utah. We both enjoyed having Zach with us, and we hope he can come back and visit soon. Now there is less than two months left before fall semester starts. I’m enjoying my time with Mason, and he’s enjoying the time with me. He didn’t want to get on the bus yesterday, he wanted to “stay home and snumble (snuggle).”