As a farming married couple, our vacations usually revolve around something ag related. One of my fondest memories of when we were dating was a road trip to pick up equipment in eastern Nebraska. I call it vacationing with a purpose.
Our latest trip, while not solely tied to agriculture, was for the 2015 Wyoming Global Tech Summit in Jackson, Wyo. (I blogged about that last time.). We were part of the agriculture contingent, so I think it fits our vacation modus operandi pretty well.
Participants during the 2015 Wyoming Global Tech Summit in Jackson, Wyo. mid September. Photo Courtesy of Governor Matt Mead’s Office.
Since both of us had been to Jackson several times, we skipped a lot of the regular attractions and sought out a couple sights we hadn’t seen before. While in this part of the world, you can literally stop every two minutes for a photo op, so you really have to pace yourself. It’s so gorgeous, but I didn’t go overboard with my paparazzi tendencies and was proud of myself for just soaking in God’s majesty.
Mead Family Ranch
We, of course, saw the Tetons. It was a great time of year to visit because the leaves were starting to turn. Unfortunately, the West has had a horrible fire season, so the air was pretty smoky and limited the clarity of our views. Even with the haze, it is always incredible to be at the foot of these mountains.
We also stopped to see the Moulton barn on Mormon Row. Probably one of the most photographed barns in the world, it is part of a series of homesteads settled in the 1890s. It’s inspiring to stand where these Pioneers once broke ground and endured back-breaking labor to survive.
Moulton Homestead on Mormon Row
Tyler by the famous Moulton Barn
Me in my pregnant glory (24 weeks, a.k.a. 6 months) with a pretty awesome backdrop.
It wouldn’t be a true Farmer Vacation without us investigating their irrigation system. Water was still flowing through the homestead properties.
The 1,756,892 picture ever taken of the Moulton Barn. That’s an approximate figure.
We stopped in Moose, Wyo. (yes, Moose) for lunch and visited the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor’s Center. Named for the late Senator from Wyoming, this center features spectacular views and interactive displays. Our main reason for detouring over to Moose, was to find the penny-smashing machine for a friend who collects them. We thought it was a fun reason to visit a place we’d otherwise not bother with.
Then we headed through Grand Teton National Park. For you married folks out there, you know how road trips can go. One person wants to stop at all the cool sights. The other person is worried the stopping might get out of control and we’ll end up spending eternity in northern Wyoming. So, all this to say, I wanted to get a really pretty picture in Grand Teton NP. There was a slight disagreement about it. The photo never happened. The end.
We then took a loop through Yellowstone National Park. We came through the south entrance by Lewis Lake, headed west to Old Faithful, looped up through Madison, Norris and Canyon Village, headed back down along the Yellowstone River, and went out the east entrance. We had many a bison encounter, saw a myriad of geo-thermal activity, and enjoyed gorgeous sights.
Because this was mostly a driving tour of Jellystone, we didn’t see a lot of wildlife. However, the bison viewing was abundant.
Yellowstone’s version of a cattle drive.
One of the reasons for hazy pictures. It couldn’t possibly be my amateur photography skills.
One word of caution to you fellow travelers out there. Don’t assume you can find a hotel room along the way. We had planned to stay overnight in Cody, but after stopping at five hotels and checking a couple websites, it appeared that out of 30+ hotels in this town, the only one that had rooms available was the Cockroach Inn. So instead of delaying our drive with a nice meal at a good sit-down restaurant, we grabbed some quick McDonalds and hurried down the road to Thermopolis where a bed awaited these weary travelers.
Hot Springs State Park
While I was none too happy about my vacation fare including fast food, the detour to Thermopolis ended up being a fun one. We took a little drive to see some of the farm ground outside of town. Then on our way back through town, we stopped at Hot Springs State Park. Tyler has fond memories of playing in the mineral pools as a kid. Although I’ve been through Thermop many a time, I’ve never actually stopped at the park, so it was long overdue.
The Wyoming State Park website says, “Over colorful terraces along the Big Horn River at Thermopolis flows water from mineral hot springs. More than 8,000 gallons flow over the terrace every 24 hours at a constant temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit.”
The Swinging Bridge over the Bighorn River. I’m afeared of heights, but I went across it anyway.
Then we headed back home so Tyler could get back to cutting and combining our beans, silage harvest, irrigating, etc. and I could get back to the 47 things on my to-do list.
After a long, stressful summer, it was so nice to get away for a few days. If it weren’t for Governor Mead’s invitation to the Summit, we probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere this summer/fall. I was desperate for one last trip together before Baby Girl Lauck arrives, and wasn’t looking forward to traveling in November when I’ll feel whale-esque. So hooray for vacationing with a purpose!
Where’d you go this summer?
God Bless You & American Agriculture,
He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. – Proverbs 2:8-9 (NLT)