Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Have you hugged your hot water heater lately?

Update: Yeah! Scott to the rescue! Scott came in at about 11:00 and said he had gotten a message from the hot water heater guys. So he decided to try their suggestion and sand off the edges of the gas valve that leads to the igniter. Problem is, we have no sandpaper, but we found an old fingernail file. He worked for a bit, and then gave it a test drive. Wah lah! a viable flame that responds to the thermostat! I was able to make some lunch that didn't include grilling and took a hot shower. Thanks hubby!

If you haven't, you might want to. Ours has been on the fritz for about a week now. Another joy of living in the country: no one wants to come and fix things when they break down. It's not so bad, I guess. The dishwasher has a cycle that heats the water on its own, and I got some cold-water Tide for the wash machine. The kids have been soaking in the kiddie pool in the back yard, so they're relatively clean. But if you start to smell a particular funk when you're around the Glasscocks, that would be why. I guess I'd rather have no hot water, than no water at all.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Vacation Report Day #3

Thursday morning of vacation, we woke up to a breakfast of eggs, bacon, freshly grated hash browns, fruit and coffee. Man am I glad we opted for eating breakfast and dinner at the lodge! We decided to hike on Crandall Trail to Crandall Creek, which is where Scott's family used to have land and a couple of cabins. We hiked in, just over a mile, fished in a very fast stream, had lunch and then hiked back out. The kids did great: Haley and Adam were the pack-horses, carrying the backpacks with lunch and Ben and Alli were troopers! Alli walked most of the way in, and Daddy packed her most of the way out. She never would let go of her Barbie pole!

That afternoon, Allison was due for a nap, and I had some homework to do for my Esther Bible study, so we headed back to the cabin for a little quiet time. Dad and the three oldest kids headed back for more fishing at Lily Lake. They again slayed the fish! And if you guessed that the Lightning McQueen pole, caught the most fish, you guessed right. In two days of lake fishing, we caught 16 fish and all but four of them were caught with old Hot Rod, Lightning McQueen! Alli took quite a nap, and so did Mom and we were all refreshed for a great dinner of roasted chicken, roasted root vegetables, salad and strawberry crisp with ice cream for dessert. We strolled along the Clark's Fork after dinner and had a rock-throwing competition, which Dad won, going away.

After a great night's sleep, biscuits and gravy for breakfast, and good-byes, we packed up the Suburban and headed north toward Billings and the water slides. We enjoyed a drive up the Beartooth pass again, and descended down the hill to Red Lodge. A person can't travel through Red Lodge without a stop at the Candy Emporium, so we had a detour there and watched Ben and Allison's eyes widen in amazement at all the candy! Especially the salt water taffy which is a favorite of Ben's. We traveled on to Billings and lunch at McKenzie River pizza. We had to stop at the Mall (YES!) to get some football gear for Adam's camp in Helena the following week and then we took a visit to Action Farm toys which all the boys thoroughly enjoyed.

We finished up our trip with a stop at the indoor water park where everyone got into the action. I forgot my camera in the car, so I don't have any photos of that particular event, but suffice it to say, even I got into my suit and went down on the inner tube with Scott, something I haven't done since I was in college. Fun stuff. Benjamin was a little intimidated by all the activity and noise, but by the end of our time, I convinced him to go down the kiddie slides. Alli couldn't get enough, and Haley and Adam had a great time too, until there were no more double tubes available. By that time, we were all pretty water logged and ready to get home.

It was a great vacation! Something we need to do every year.

The pictures are kind of random because I can't get them to float here on the blogger screen, but here are some last day photos:

A water fall on the way up Beartooth pass.
Ben, fishing on Crandall Creek

Haley and the "Hot" Rod

Dad and the kids on Crandall Creek

A view into the valley from Crandall trail where Glasscock's cabins used to be.

Alli making mud pies.

Ben making mud pies.

MMmmm good lunch!

Mom and the little kiddos enjoying lunch.

Daddy packing Allison out of Crandall Creek. She was almost asleep, and still wouldn't let of of the pole.
Well that's about all the photos from the vacation trip. Thanks for taking a look back with us!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vacation Report Day #2

Scott and I woke early Wednesday morning, trying to make a game plan for the day as we walked to the lodge for a delicious breakfast featuring sausage and eggs in a breakfast burrito! The kiddos all slept in, so we were in for a quiet breakfast with another couple from Missouri who were touring Yellowstone Park. It had showered in the night, so the grass was wet and the air smelled damp and musky, like the mountains do, only intensified. We decided we check on possibly horseback riding, but because of the rain, the guide was a little tentative, so we decided on plan B: a trip to the top of Beartooth Pass to maybe find a lake to fish in.
After taking some breakfast back to the lodge for the kids, we readied for the day, loaded the lunch supplies, cameras, coolers, and fishing poles and headed out on the Beartooth Highway. The sun was starting to peak through the clouds, by this time, so the sun would shine through onto the trees, making shadows and then hide behind the clouds again. About 3 miles up the road, we started to see a little snow here and there and we saw a young cow elk, heading down the mountain looking around curiously at the sparse traffic. The longer we were in the car, the more snow we saw, and pretty soon the boys, who were bent on fishing, were starting to get a little antsy, especially when we saw the lakes that looked like this:

We made it to the top of the mountain, just in time to see two skiers, strapping on their skis and heading down the mountain making s patterns all the way down. (The light was bad, so I couldn't get a good picture). Part of the trip down the mountain was spent trying to determine how in the heck those guys were going to get back up to the top where their vehicle was parked.

We headed back down the mountain and turned off onto a road that led to two lakes tucked up on the side of the mountains. We first headed back west, to a lake Scott vaguely remembered going to with his dad when he was a kid, but the gigantic boulders and narrow road between trees eventually got too rugged for our Suburban, and we turned around carefully and headed back to the north and east to a place called Lily Lake, complete with gravel road, restrooms, a boat ramp, and picnic tables. There was only one other vehicle there, and they took off shortly after we arrived so we had the place to ourselves. There is some advantage to going to the mountains when everyone else thinks there's too much snow and cold!! It turned out to be a pretty nice day with temps in the mid-50s, and the sun feels quite a lot warmer at that elevation.

We stayed near the ramp for a while, as everyone got familiar with their new fishing poles. Alli with her Barbie pole, Ben with his Lightning McQueen rod, and Adam with his new Cabelas pole, complete with a slick mini-tackle box. Any guesses on which rod caught the most fish?

Ben proved to have quite a knack for casting, and the rubber tire lure that came with his pole sailed way out 15-20 feet. Adam's reel was a little tricky, but he started to get the hang of it. Haley practiced on whichever rod happened to be idle for the moment.Alli's butterfly got snagged in the trees, so Haley volunteered to carefully balance on the log to retrieve it.

We decided we'd pull up to a camp site and make some sandwiches for lunch and then find a little better place to fish, away from the logs, and branches and tall grass. Maybe it would give Dad a little break from untangling line and attaching fresh lures!

We find a spot about a mile to the north east that had a big rock that was anchored into the water. It was perfect!

Even though there was no wind, beautiful sunshine, a quiet still mountain lake, and beauty all around, Adam was not quite satisfied. There were no fish biting! I explained to him that catching fish was usually the just the side-benefit of all the above mentioned things. When fishing, it was best just to enjoy the day, the people, the surroundings and then if we caught fish, that was just an added bonus. He didn't really seem to agree with that, but we adjusted our expectations, and set about casting and reeling, casting and reeling. Eventually the knot came loose on the wheel-lure on Lightning McQueen, and Ben was pretty upset. I wasn't about to shed my clothes and make a dive for it, so we decided to put a hook on his rod, bait it with a worm, and see what happened. While Scott was untangling Ben's line and getting it ready, I decided to help Adam with his, and after getting everything untangled, I half-heartedly cast the line and got my finger caught in the process. I kind of laughed and tried to reel in the line, when it got snug, and Scott made a comment about catching some kind of a log. I tried again and it came, but it was no log: I had a fish on!! I reeled it in and made everyone else kind of disgusted. After all, they had been casting and reeling, casting and reeling to no avail. I snagged a fish on my first try!
After that, we started to pay a little more attention and then put a bobber on Adam's line so he could tell when he got a bite. After a little practice, everyone was catching fish...even Ben caught one but didn't want to reel it in, so Haley did it for him.
Dad even got to try his hand at a little fly-fishing, while everyone else took a bit of a break. He got several to rise and try his fly. It's a little tough to get much quality time in fishing, when you're busy fixing and baiting hooks, so we really appreciate Daddy sacrificing what he really likes to do so his kids could learn to enjoy fishing too. I think he enjoyed having the opportunity to teach his kids and watch them have some success.

By about 4:30, everyone was ready to head back to the lodge to get cleaned up in time for dinner and get in out of the sun and fresh air. We took a group photo with the camera perched on top of the rock; and I even managed to get down off the rock in time for the picture without breaking my ankle, something we were sure would happened. They don't call me Grace for nothin'!

Then we hiked through all the trees, across the creek hopping on rocks, back to the camp ground and got loaded for the drive back to the Lodge.

At the top of the hill heading out of the lake, there's a beautiful view of Pilot and Index Peaks. We got on the highway and by that time, 2 of the 4 children had fallen asleep, so we decided to drive toward Cooke City and back, to give them a much-needed nap. Then it was time for dinner. Wednesday night, Shelley made spaghetti and meatballs, salad, corn on the cob, and German chocolate cake and coconut-walnut frosting topped with ice cream. Yummmy! We all headed back to the cabin for a game of Monopoly, which Dad won and Adam a close second, and kettle-popped popcorn. What a great day!

P.S. We'll have the answer to the fishing pole question on Day 3's post.

Finally: The Vacation Report Day #1

We headed out, Tuesday, June 9th, for our trip to the Beartooth Mountains of Wyoming. Everyone and everything was loaded and we were on the road.

Here are Ben and Adam in the WAY back

The Girls, sharing the ipod

We got to Billings in time to check out the new Cabelas and find some new fishing poles for Adam and the little ones. Then it was off to Fuddruckers for lunch and 3 more hours of drive time before we arrived at Hunter Peak Ranch, west of Cody, Wyoming. We ended up going south at Fort Rockvale and took the Chief Joseph scenic highway because the Beartooth Pass was closed due to snow. It really is a "scenic highway". We saw lots of cattle, mountains, trees, snow!, and a beautiful view of the river from a rest stop. It was pretty chilly, but a well needed break from driving.

Bridge over the Clark's Fork on the Chief Joseph Highway

The sun was really shining when we arrived at our destination, so we took advantage of the beautiful surroundings and played a little volleyball to stretch and get some exercise after the trip. Allison and Mommy stretched out on a blanket with some books and the cameras.

Haley and Adam, challenging Dad and Ben

Ben trying to get it over the net!

Looks like Dad's on his own.

Allison, reading and watching the game.

After a wonderful dinner of rice, roast beef, broccoli salad, and apple pie ala mode, served by Shelley in the dining room (no cooking or dishes for Mom woohooo), and a walk down by the river, we headed back to our lodge for a little relaxing after the long trip. We stayed in the Pilot Peak Lodge, where the boys slept in the loft, the girls on the fold-out couch, and Mom and Dad in the bedroom. The lodge was complete with a kitchenette, so we unpacked our lunch supplies and hit the hay to be ready for the rest of the week.