Our Summer of Adventure – 2017

We are always trying to squeeze as much fun out of our lives as we possibly can.  This summer was no exception.  We own a construction business so summer can be a bit crazy.  We had 2 big projects to finish…we got a bit dirty over the summer.


We also had our daughter who lives in Iowa come for the month of July with her family.  We wanted to make it a summer of big and small adventures. Some of our adventures, cost money, some were free.  The important thing is to take advantage of the situation.  Remember….life is short so create a few BAMs along the way!!

We started the summer in June on a bittersweet note…as we sent our youngest daughter off to Alaska to work at a fishing lodge. We will miss her on our adventures, but she is having her own adventure on an island in the inside passage.

Jim and Cindy then headed to Iowa to visit their oldest daughter Jodi.  She needed some help with a kitchen re-model, but we also took the time to have some food adventures…

Iowa has awesome ice cream shops.

We enjoyed a free concert with a patriotic theme at the Oskaloosa town square. There was great music and a fun kid’s parade.  Wyatt loved helping put the chairs away.

After a week in Iowa, we drove back to Idaho with Jodi’s family.  We stopped at the confluences of the Hoback and Snake Rivers, near Jackson, Wyoming.  In the spring, the run-off creates a cool color effect as the two rivers join.

The Hoback Canyon is famous for it’s float trips and rapids.  We stopped for a short hike to Lunch Counter to watch the rafters.

No trip through Swan Valley, Idaho is complete without stopping at the Rainey Creek Store for a square ice cream cone.  Since it was the 4th of July week-end, we were one of 17,000 people who got ice cream over the 4 days.

Our town of Idaho Falls, has a company that sponsors our fireworks show.  By  the number of rockets fired,we are the largest 4th of July fireworks show, west of the Mississippi River. The fireworks are very near our building, with our flat roof being an excellent place to watch.  We invited a bunch of friends…ate, played, games, and enjoyed the fireworks.

We blocked off the parking lot…Whitney was our “bouncer”.  We also celebrated our company’s 25th birthday (it was hot and the cake melted).  The food was yummy.  We had 45 people for the barbecue.

Then we played “Parking lot hockey”….

We had a bean bag toss for the kids and music from a local radio station.

We had a wild game of kickball.

Jim used our construction lifts to get people to the roof to watch the fireworks.  We had about 75 on the roof, and several others in the building and in the parking lot.

The fireworks were awesome….the show was 31 minutes long.  You could listen to the music on the radio that was in sync with the show.  There are over 17,000 fireworks shot into the air and 3,000 ground fireworks.  We had a great vantage point.

After the main show, we had our own fireworks display in the parking lot.  Lots of fun to let the traffic dwindle.

2 days later, we headed west to Mackay, Idaho.  There is a great ATV/UTV road called the Mackay Mine Hill. Stop at the local grocery store to pick-up an interpretative map for only $1.00.

The hill has many of the original mine structures but there is still active mining occuring, so be cautious on the roads.

The map tells you the history of each site.

The views of the valley were awesome.

We had a brief downpour, so all piled into the UTV and then headed on to the restored  cabin of one of the settlers.  It is one of the only structures that is safe to enter.

The back side of the road, it not suitable for cars, but we had fun on the UTV and ATV.

Back in Mackay, we loaded the equipment and headed towards the town of Arco.  Approximately 5 miles north of Arco, there is a cool arch that you can climb too.

There is a fairly steep path leading to a view of the arch.  From there, the trail disappears over shale rock.  There is also a “small” wall to climb with a rope.

Jim and Cindy stayed behind with the grandkids, but still had a great view of the arch.


Wyatt was very distressed by the scrap on his arm and a sliver in his hand, but he was trying to put on a happy face.

With our “climbers” safely back from their trip to the arch, we headed down the trail.

We saw a pronghorn and a deer on our trip back to Arco.

With the sun setting and a group of hungry explorers, we stopped at Pickles in Arco for dinner.  They have a great seasoning salt, so we had to replenish our supply.

To finish off our busy week, on Friday night we went to the dinner show at Mountain River Ranch.

There was a gunfight on the Rock Bottom Springs street.

The horse-drawn wagons arrived to take us to dinner

We found our assigned table and sat by the sweetest lady.  She and her husband loved to come to Mountain River Ranch.  Her husband passed away, so she comes every Friday night during the summer to relive the memories.

You have to sing for your dinner…

We all had stamps to indicate whether we were having beef or chicken and the food is served chuckwagon style.

Dinner was excellent and we had ice cream for dessert.

We were then entertained with a singing variety show…

Wyatt escepially liked the song about Mountain Dew.  Whitney and Wyatt both enjoyed the music and making friends.

The evening came to a close with a final song and wagon ride back.  Wyatt got to sit up front with the driver, who gave strict orders to “keep your butt on the seat”.

Wade and Jodi had gotten engaged on December 26, 2007 at Mountain River Ranch.  They decided to re-enact that moment.  The kids just wanted to pet the horses.

While Whitney and Wyatt were in Idaho, they took swimming lessons at a nearby pool.  Diving board day is a big event!!!!

While the kids stayed in Idaho Falls and enjoyed the swimming lessons, the adults headed to Yellowstone for a 5 day hike.  You can read about our adventure in our Yellowstone Hiking post.

We had fun eating at various restuarants.

There was time to help Poppy fix the plaster around the front door…

We went on picnic and learned how to fly a drone.

The Blue Angels show was at our airport.  We bought our tickets early and saved $12.00 a person.  We went a bit early and looked at the various displays.

It was hot but we had brought umbrellas for shade.

The presentation of the American flag was cool.  It was brought in by parachute.

There were lots of stunt planes.

And fighter jets and the transport plane called Fat Albert…

But the Blue Angels were awesome!!!

They were loud and fast.

The next week we went to the free fishing night.  The fishing poles and bait were provided for us.

It was lots of fun and Whitney and Wyatt were getting really good at casting.

However, we had not even had one bite.  It was getting dark and Jim said everyone take one last cast.  Wyatt caught the biggest fish of the night….Jim.  We tried to get it out, but it was a barbed hook, so off to the emergency clinic.

We took advantage of a free concert by the river and enjoyed a pizza picnic.

After the concert, we walked the Greenbelt around the river.

We walked on the floating bridge and enjoyed the sunset.

We enjoyed riding in the Jeep without the doors.  Wyatt thought his monkey could “fly” as we drove.

We enjoyed one last UTV ride before Jodi’s family headed back to Iowa.

We over-looked the valley…

There was pretty scenery, dinner at Big Jud’s and a mean game of table soccer.

We played at the park and sat in the hot tub.

We sent our Iowans off with a sad good-bye and back to work long hours.  We found time to attend a Kasey Musgrave/Willie Nelson concert in Utah.  The show was great until altitude sickness hit Mr. Nelson and the show was cut short.  However, it was great to him sing even for a short time.

We were back in Utah a few days later for a Jeff Foxworthy/Larry the Cable Guy show.

We had a great surprise, when the show ended with Eddie Money.  He plays one of our favorite songs, “Two tickets to Paradise”.  It was awesome when Jeff and Larry came out and sang with Eddie and his daughter.

For a birthday present for Jim’s dad, we took his parents on a UTV ride.  It was extremely dusty but we had a great afternoon of riding, scenery, and food.

Our final Idaho summer adventure was the Total Solar Eclipse.  We were fortunate that it came right over our city.  We had a party on the roof of our building.  We started with juice and pastrie and closed down the parking lot so the kids could ride bikes.

We used our “elevators” to access the roof.

We made paper plate masks for our eclipse glasses for added protection.  Everyone decorated their masks.

Once we had everyone settled on the roof, we watched as the eclipse progressed.

As it grew near, we saw the shadow bands/ snakes scurry across our roof. There were some crazy double shadows and the nearby pigeons went to roost as it became darker and the air temperature dipped.  Then we were in totality.  It was fantastic.  We whooped and yelled, but noticed that except for our cheers, it was deathly quiet.  We experienced 1:47 of totality.  Everyone commented that was the fastest 1:47 ever.  Check out our totality video on our facebook page: click here.

Here are the before eclipse shirts and the after eclipse shirts….

It was an event that we would definitely liked experience again and a terrific way to end our summer in Idaho.  We mentioned that our youngest daughter was working at a fishing lodge in Alaska.  Between our summer adventures, we worked some long hours and finished our construction projects early, so we are leaving to drive to Alaska to pick her up. We will be exploring Canada and Alaska, so stay tuned for future blogs about our Alaskan adventure….