Thursday, July 8, 2010

Life is a Highway

Recently, we took a crazy trip. A crazy road trip. Well, only crazy if you were having a 17 month old tag along. On a Tuesday, June 1, we started driving south. Our plan was to drive about 15 hours and make it to Sheridan, Wyoming. Instead, we went 21 hours and made it to Ft. Collins, Colorado. Why in the world were we going to Colorado? To buy a new vehicle!! Yep, you read that right. We traded in our 1996 silver Toyota 4Runner Limited for a 2010 silver Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition. She's a beaut, Clark! Although we greatly miss our old 4Runner (Lee even shed a couple tears), the time had come for a newer, shinier model.

We stayed with Aunt Elsie (Cora's Great-Great Aunt) in Denver. It was a lot of fun being at her sweet little house. I haven't been there for quite some time. Cora and Reggie LOVED her house. Her irises and peonies were in full bloom. I am pretty sure Cora smelled every single flower in her yard. Reggie spent the entire day basking in the sun.

Cora and Aunt Elsie enjoying the lovely morning in her backyard.

The forest of irises. Aunt Elsie has every color of iris under the sun. Her yard was full of them! She said they were even prettier the week before. I had a hard time believing her. :)

Wouldn't it be great to be 2 1/2 feet tall so you could walk down a path where irises were taller than you?

In the evening, we met up with Aunt Carol and Uncle Larry for dinner. Lee had been dying to take Cora to Casa Bonita. Casa Bonita was an experience I'll have a hard time describing. You walk in to find a cafeteria style Mexican restaurant. Seriously. You then meet up with a hostess type person who shows you to your table. If you're married to a charmer, you'll get the best seat in the house. Lee told the hostess that we came all the way from Canada to see the famous Casa Bonita waterfall. If she would only be so kind to get us a table close to this waterfall, that would make our trip. Sure enough. We might as well have been sitting in the waterfall!! The cafeteria style dinner actually wasn't too bad at all. The entertainment was fantastic. There was a diver who was doing all these fancy dives over the waterfall. Cora was amazed by this. She would peer over the edge to see where he had gone. Moments later, he'd scale the rocks back up to our table (nearly 30 feet above the pool). Cora would sit back in Lee's lap and stare at this crazy human-like water creature that kept reappearing. The most funny part of the night was when a large gorilla visited our table. We all high-fived the gorilla before glancing over to see what Cora thought. Her eyes were shut as tight as they could be. She then slowly opened them to see if the gorilla was still there. Sure enough, he was. He then did what every gorilla should never do. He leaned in for a high-five from Cora. Instead of a high-five, he got a big ol' stream of tears. She was not liking this hairy thing in her personal space. Despite the tears, it was one of the funniest things I have ever seen her do. Of course, we didn't remember the camera (or the batteries were dead. I can't remember now).

The next morning (June 3) we started another portion of our crazy drive. Nope, we did not head North. We headed East. We began our 8 hour trip to Omaha, Nebraska for Anne and Justin's marriage ceremony. The drive proved to be quite eventful. In fact, I have to say it was one of the most exciting times I have ever had on this stretch of I-80. And believe me, I have driven it plenty.  First, our dearest beloved Reggie, was almost left behind. Not on accident either. He decided to roll in a dead animal only a mere 1.5 hours into our trip. We still had 6.5 to go. In our new vehicle. Our brand new vehicle. He smelled like a rotting skunk. I wanted to drop him off at a crematorium. Lee wanted to throw him into the lake. Cora thought it was hilarious. If you haven't figured us out yet, Cora rules the roost. So, Reggie got to stay. :) We covered the seat with a blanket (thank goodness we had one!), rolled down the windows, and went on our way.

This stretch of interstate always reminds me of my Grandma Marcia because her ashes are buried in our family plot in Minden, Nebraska. Her ashes are buried by her parents (my greats), and her son she lost to leukemia when he was just a wee one. My dad has shown me where she is, so I always try to stop if I am passing through during the day to say hi. I also have a bit of another motive. There is an ornamental evergreen growing right next to my great granddad. My dad and I have been asking the grounds keeper for the last 5-6 years to trim this stupid tree back because it is blocking Granddad's headstone. Everytime we come back, the tree is still there and is always much larger. So, nonchalantly I say to Lee, "I wonder if anyone ever cut back that tree." He kind of shrugs and says, "I doubt it." As we are getting close to North Platte Lee says suddenly,  "Pull off at this exit!" I pull off. He tells me to drop him off at WalMart, instructs me to gas up the truck, and then come pick him up. I do as he says and am patiently waiting in the parking lot. What is he up to? He comes back to the 4Runner holding a machete and hand saw and says, "we're taking care of that ::insert about 4 expletives here:: tree once and for all. I bust out laughing and then tear up. This was one of those moments when I remember exactly why I married this man. He is truly my Rambo. We stopped at the cemetery to find that the tree had completely engulfed my great granddad's tombstone and was blocking the majority of the my great grandmother's now. Lee was working up a sweat just looking at what he had gotten himself into. I decided that I was going to go find the grounds keeper and get mean about things. I went to the garage looking for him when a highschooler came running up to ask if he could help me. There is no way I could be mean to this kid, so I just said he needed to walk with me so I could show him my problem. I take him up to the tree and say, "This is my great grandmother's headstone. Do you see how this tree is obstructing it? Well, get down on your knees with me. Do you see that headstone waaaaay under there. That there is my great granddad. I have been asking for quite a few years now to get this taken care of. Do you think you can mention this to your boss?" He says, "No need to. I'm going to go get the chainsaw right now." So a very short story turned quite long, the tree has finally been trimmed. And we didn't have to use a machete.

Anne and Justin were married in Lincoln, NE on Friday, June 4th. Anne looked beautiful! It was an intimate gathering at the courthouse and then carried over to a lounge close by for some late night fun. We had a great time and were so happy that we could make it. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

On Saturday, we spent the day with my Dad. Cora played in the corn field the whole day. She followed "Pa" everywhere. She helped him fill the bird feeders. She jumped on the trampoline with him. We hung out in "Sascha's Happy Place" and just took in the fresh air.

Lee taking Cora out back to the creek and the giant mulberry tree.

Grandpa and Cora heading out to fill bird feeders in "Sascha's Happy Place".

In the afternoon, Anne, Justin, and our friend Ali came over to catch up. Later on, Dad grilled dogs and hamburgers. We roasted marshmallows. And, we shot bows and arrows. We laughed the entire night. It was so much fun. It was a perfect day. Actually, it was a perfect weekend.

Cora is quite enamored by Uncle Justin.

Getting some love from Aunt Anne and Ali.

Cora really enjoys hanging with the big kids.

Ali and Lee catching up. It's been a while. ;)

Every little kid needs a ride on Gar before heading to bed.

Sunday, June 6th we started the last leg of our crazy road trip. We headed back to Edmonton. We made it home on Monday June 7th. In one week we drove over 60 hours. In less than a week, our brand new vehicle was no longer new. We started with 14 miles on the odometer and soon had 2500 miles on the odometer. What a whirlwind of a road trip. But every minute was great.

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