All 50 Road Trip-May 17, 2018, Day 6

(click here for today's pictures)

Jackson Hole, WY to Boise, ID

Last night, we did our laundry which worked out perfectly. Robby brought it back during the movie. I was barely able to finish putting everything back where it belonged when the movie ended. Everyone went to bed at a very decent time, it was quite possibly the earliest that Robby and I had been to sleep.

Robby and I were awake before 7. We got ourselves ready, and then the boys came down and started their breakfast. Whitman and Campbell were on the pull out couch in the living room. When Whitman stirred his first words were, “turn off the lights.” Anderson were quick to point out that there were no
lights on, it was just the sun shining in all of the windows.

Everyone had breakfast-leftover doughnuts and orange juice from yesterday, poptarts brought from home, and leftover ice cream sandwiches from yesterday. We straightened up the little cabin and then loaded the car. Robby was checking out right at 8, and soon we were on the raod towards Idaho.

We thought this was a 7 hour day but were surprised to see that it was just 5 hours. Tomorrow is the 7 hour day. The itinerary says 6 hours 55 minutes for tomorrow so the kids were relieved that it was not 7 hours tomorrow.

It didn’t take too long for us to cross into the border of Idaho. We jumped out for Campbell, Graham, Keaton and Whitman to take their state pictures. The states needed to visit is dwindling down for my crew. Robby had hoped to get Reagan to all 50 by the time that she was 10. Anderson is 11 so he missed the by 10 years old mark twice, but I still think we have been pretty successful since Whitman is only 5.

It rained for a few minutes on us but soon turned clear again. We turned on a movie, and the car was silent for a bit since the kids are all using headphones to listen to the movie. I drove us to Crater of the Moon National Monument. Even though we stopped once on the way for a potty stop, I was glad to get there to use the restroom again.

We watched the neat little video in the Visitor's Center and even grabbed Jr. Ranger books to work on at home. Then we headed around the park loop road. There is some construction so the loop wasn’t actually a loop and took a while. It is pretty amazing since the landscape is full of lava rocks-just like what Hawaii is going to look like when their volcano is finished erupting.

The first stop was at a splatter cone. We climbed up to the top of the cones and looked inside. Next we ventured on down the one way road to the Indian tunnel area. We had our picnic lunch there. The boys threw the ball around, and we pretty much finished off most of our picnic stuff.

Then we took a little walk on the trail. We didn’t really know what we were getting into except that it was .8 miles long. The trail had some lava tubes and caves. At the end of the trail, it stopped at a cave. The sign said that you could go down into the cave and crawl out a small opening.

Well, the next thing I knew, I was going down into the cave. Reagan and I switched off helping Whitman and Keaton. Keaton didn’t need too much help towards the end. Whitman used lots of self-talk to encourage himself while climbing over the rocks. It was quite a bit of climbing, and there were a few times that I wasn’t quite sure we were going in the right direction. I thought about leaving bread crumbs so we could find our way out.

The trail was 800 feet long and we were 50 feet underground. There were huge openings so most of it was bright. However, there were a few spots where it became dark. Graham told me to use my flashlight, but my phone was in the car. I guess I have gotten out of the habit of carrying it since it hasn’t worked really in a few days. The car keys were in my pocket, and they were the only things I was concerned about. I would take about two steps and then reach down to check if they were there.

I was thankful when we finally found our way out of the cave. I will say that I did highly doubt Robby’s spelunking skills. I was super concerned that we were going to have to return to our car back through that same trail. It was a smaller opening but really cool to climb out. Once we made it out of the cave, then we had to traverse rocky landscape, not a trail, while following the poles back to the trail.

This proved to be easier than walking in the cave but still difficult. You would be on some rocks and then beside you, there would be a 5 foot drop off. Whitman’s name was said at least a zillion times, “get Whitman,” “Whitman, freeze,” “hold Whitman’s hand,” “get Whitman.” He did good and is careful, but he is just a 5 year old boy.

Robby and I were remembering when we went to the Grand Canyon in 2013. Graham would have been about 5, and we felt the same way. He thought he could do anything, but seeing him tumbling into the canyon was all we could imagine. We even walked a few trails on the North Rim, Robby would have a death grip on Whitman and Anderson’s hands. Honestly, we probably should still have a death grip on Graham’s hand. Instead, he and Anderson were yards in front of us after we emerged from the cave.

The boys loved every bit of the trail. Me, not so much. Kidding, it really was fun. Last night, after walking on the trail that was a few miles long, Whitman was asleep before we even left the room after tucking him in. I am sure that he will be again tonight. I might be too!

When we left the cave area, we headed back to the visitor’s center to use a real restroom. We had to wait for a pretty long time because of the road construction. We pottied at the exit of the park, and then were on the road again.

It was a long drive to our next stop in Twin Falls I did see miles and miles of some crop growing. I would have to assume that it was potatoes. I actually think that it should be a law that all farmers have to put a sign telling what crop they are growing.

In Twin Falls, Idaho there is Shoshone Falls. Robby and I went there years and years ago. When we were there, the Shoshone Falls, also called the Niagara of the West, was just a trickle. It was almost enough to ask for our money back, if it had not just been 3 dollars.

This time, however, the falls were roaring and were incredibly impressive. It was nice to stretch our legs as we walked around the falls, and even nicer to find that they had real bathrooms there and not just the porta potties that were lining the parking lot. It is the little things in life. They were actually having their first laser light show at the falls tonight, but since it was just 5 and we had 2 hours left to go, we pressed on.

I passed out a snack, and then we stopped at a gas station for a bit more gas. Once we were back on the main road, we began another game of bingo. Graham won the first round of bingo and picked some candy from the bag. Reagan, Keaton, and Graham all won the big rounds of bingo winning a special prize-sit anywhere in the car for an hour, pick the next fast food restaurant, and one other really special prize that I certainly can’t remember right now.

By 7ish, we pulled into Boise. I had found a restaurant that had been on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The food was fine but the dessert was really neat. Since we are in Idaho, we had to have the dessert. It was an Idaho potato sundae. I thought it was a real potato at first with ice cream on top. Instead, it was ice cream shaped like a potato covered in cocoa powder. It was really neat but of course with 8 spoons, it was gone in seconds.

The next stop was the best of the day. It was just the blue Boise state football field. What made it the best stop was how the picture of the boys were gotten. The only way to see the field was to look over a 8 foot chain link fence. Robby just pulled the car up and told the boys to climb on the top.

You would have thought that they would have enjoyed standing on the very top of the car, but they were scared silly. It was great. You can see on their pictures that they are a bit terrified. They had to take turns taking pictures of each other while on the top of the van. Robby was on one side, and I was on the other ready to catch a falling Dennie boy. It was quite funny watching them.

The next stop was the capitol building. There wasn’t many folks out and about at 9, but the sun was still shining. We climbed the steps a few times, and then ran back to the car to drive the short drive to our hotel.

We checked in and despite not planning on doing the laundry, we ended up doing laundry. With 8 of us, it is just so much easier to do a small load every day rather than trying to do huge loads. We had a sip of coke and watched Chopped while we waited on the laundry to finish. I folded it and then the kids were able to put it in their bags.

Tomorrow is a longer car day, but it is interstate and we have a few less stops. Hopefully, we can find some neat things to do!

Current Dennie Kid State Count (May 17, 2018):

Reagan-needs Alaska
Anderson-needs Alaska
Graham-needs Alaska, Oregon, Washington
Campbell-needs Alaska, Oregon, Washington
Keaton-needs Alaska, Oregon, Washington
Whitman-needs Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington

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