Road Trip 2012-Yellowstone National Park (5/26/2012)

Winter Wonderland @ Old Faithful!
(Click here for today's pictures)
Robby was the first to wake up in the middle of the night.  He woke up to the sounds of a muffled Campbell crying.  Apparently, she had rolled and rolled and then rolled underneath his bed.  He said he just tried to reach with his hand to get her but he had to get on his hands and knees and frantically search for her before she woke up the hotel.  She was not happy at all about being stuck under the bed but once she was asleep in his bed, she never moved until this morning.
My side of the room was a lot busier.  Keaton didn't want to be put down at all and never made it to her pack n play.  Around 2, she decided that sleeping wasn't for her and started fussing and arching her back. This went on for at least an hour and probably a bit longer (though it seemed like hours upon hours).  Milk wouldn't appease her and only me holding her would.  Finally she did fall asleep in my arms and after the third try I was able to lay her down beside me for us to get a few more hours rest.  Sometime during all of that, Anderson joined us in bed and he kept encroaching on my side pushing me and Keaton off.  I would shove him over and then gingerly move Keaton so as not to wake her.
Around 7, we woke up and I headed to the showers while Robby took the kids to Grannymom's room for baths (ha, she got the raw end of the deal and I got off pretty easy).  When I went to the showers I was the second one in line.  I must have just hit it our rush hour because when I left, I was the only one in the bathroom.  Graham had spent the night with Grannymom and Grandpa and the report was that he was a very good boy.  Grannymom and him walked all around the gift shop and he later told me all about it.  When Robby arrived Graham was no longer a good boy and got in trouble and had to come back to our room.  But by the time that I walked him back to Grannymom's room, he was our sweet little Graham again.
Oh, yes, somehow I forgot to mention what we saw when we woke up-snow! snow! snow!  Probably a foot of snow.  We were glad that we had to drive the loop yesterday and had marked that off of our list.  Robby called and listened to the road report and they were saying things like "more snow" and "snow tires" and "road closures."  We heard about cars on the side of the road and we heard people trying to book another night to their stay.  We were relieved that we didn't have anywhere to go today and could just enjoy the weather.  But tomorrow it will be a different story if the same thing happens again since we all have hotels in Montana booked.
After the kids had their baths and breakfast in Grannymom's room, Grannymom and Grandpa went on a tour about this Old Faithful Inn.  We pulled out the kids state notebooks and they colored on them some and also worked on their Jr. Ranger booklet while we sat in the lobby.  This hotel is just beautiful-old, rustic, it is just hard for me to put into words.  So much fun-actually since the snow has put a the tiniest bit of a damper on the Yellowstone portion of the trip, I am already making plans on coming back.  I think I have Robby convinced-though it doesn't take too much convincing for him to plan another vacation.  These rooms for this trip were booked in June 2011-we always have some trip that we are planning for.  
Anyway, after their tour was over, we went on the deck and took a few pictures with some of the snowmen that had been made.  There were snowmen quite a few places-all of these people must have come more prepared than we did.  I was expecting cool weather just not snow and freezing weather.  I probably wouldn't have worn shoes (without socks) that are not waterproof if I had known that it was going to snow, probably would have brought Campbell a warmer coat and probably would have brought everyone hats and gloves-but wee all survived (though I have quite possible lost a toe) (kidding-kind of).
By now it was around 10:45 and we went to the Visitors Center.  We could have walked there but the roads were looking clear and Robby decided that we could drive.  As we walked in, we heard that lady announce that all roads were now open-which really puzzled us since there was a road yesterday that was closed but it was open today with a foot of snow on the ground.  Our first stop in the visitor's center was a movie about the geological features of Yellowstone-Grandpa and I saw more of the back of our eyelids than the movie.  
Then we went to turn in the kids' junior ranger booklets.  You only had to do 4 pages of the booklet but since we had printed it at home, we had worked on all of the pages.  Reagan and Anderson took things very seriously doing their booklets and Graham tried hard.  Campbell colored on hers some but we didn't get her a badge today. Anyway, the rangers were impressed with all of the pages that the kids had finished.  They asked them what their favorite part of Yellowstone was and Reagan answered "the geyser."  When she answered, she had a slight question in her voice like she was trying to say the right answer.  Anderson answered the buffalo were his favorite and Graham said that bear was his favorite.  The rangers shook their hands and then handed them their Jr. Ranger badges as I wiped a tear from my eye (kidding).  They were all so proud of their badges and wore them all day long.
We then walked through the Visitor's center and discovered lots of interesting things in there.  I browsed the gift shop (I am good at that), stamped our books and then joined the others in their second movie.  This movie was a general overview of Yellowstone.  Afterwards, it was almost time for the geyser to go off, so we went outside to see this happen.  It was still very impressive but it lost a little something because the white steam/water up against the white snow made it more difficult to see.  We then walked back across the board walk and headed to get Grandpa's car.
At home when it is snowy, Robby is never happy to be snowed in so there would be no way that he could stand it if we were snowed in on vacation.  Actually, the roads were dry and fine so we headed off to West Yellowstone.  (Yesterday's mileage was 197)  Five years ago we ate pizza at a spot there and we did the same thing this afternoon for lunch.  I have the cutest picture of me holding Anderson at that pizza place.  We are in front of a pizza and his head is so big (and crooked).  So we recreated that picture today with now 5 year old Anderson. Here is a link to that picture when my Anderson was tiny and we were eating at the same pizza place. 
After eating, we walked through a few blocks of West Yellowstone.  The weather had gotten into the low 40s and the sun was shining.  And just as we became pleased with the weather, it started raining so we had to high tail it to the car.  
On our way to the pizza place, we saw lots of buffalo on the way here.  Seriously, probably hundreds.  The opposite side of traffic was stopped for nearly a mile in a buffalo crossing the street traffic jam.  And we saw just as many buffalo on the way back to Old Faithful.  The boys car saw an elk with horns but we never saw it in our car.  
We just had one stop on the way back to the lodge and it was at the Paint Pots were we saw steam vents, mud pots, a geyser and probably some other stuff that I don't know the name off (remember I slept through the geological video).  Back at Old Faithful, we unloaded the car in the rain which was turning to a wintery mix and then went to Grannymom's room for a few minutes before returning to our room. 
In our room, the kids played some and we viewed the erupting geyser from our window.  Then I took Reagan to the gift show.  She had heard me talking about wanting to go and had her own money to spend.  It was like shopping with a teenage-she immediately started acting so mature, proper and not kiddish-made me sad. She would have bought every stuffed animal in the place but I talked her out of a stuffed animal.  But she did see the smash your own penny machine and was so excited when I said she could do that.  
Next up was dinner in Grannymom's room.  When I say "dinner" you probably thought I meant something fancier than sandwiches but that is pretty fancy for us Dennies.  The kids finished painting-I had found these little sheets that come with their own paint for them to do.  Then we all headed to the lobby for one last hurrah with some ice cream.  After our ice cream, we walked around looking at a few things that Grannymom learned in her tour and then Campbell headed off to spend the night with Grannymom and Grandpa.  She was so proud to get to spend the night over there so hopefully all goes well. 
We made one last romp through the gift shop so the boys could get themselves smashed pennies too.  Graham asked if we needed to pay for those coins as we were leaving-so cute.  Back in our room, the let the kids play until they were exhausted and just about konked out before we laid them down.  Last check, it was still snowing not like last night but still snowing so we are crossing our fingers that all goes according to plan in the morning.

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