Incredible how a summer fills up, innit? Especially because we know we're leaving the country, we're making a concerted effort to accept invitations and get together with folks we might not otherwise have. So over the July 4th weekend, we packed up Tor and made a 22-hour drive out to Crested Butte, Colorado, for a wedding: a friend from grad school in Wyoming and her fiance whom we'd never met. They live in Australia now, working in oil, so it was a "see them now or in a really long time" situation. We stayed a night at Ah-Bee and Pakka's house, where we dropped Mr. Dendro, and then camped at a reservoir in Utah after a ten-hour day.
|Pondering the many uses for tent stakes|
|Right before an "I'M TOO STICKY" freakout|
|Yep, we just whack him on the shins whenever he whines|
We were cagey about the drive, but Tor acted like a seasoned pro. Good for him to have a real long 'Merican road trip under his belt before we go to Oxford, where people never want to go to Scotland because it's *gasp* a five-hour drive. Lars got a phone holder so he could watch YouTube when there was network access and play a monkey-themed matching game when there wasn't. On the ways there and back, we also sang "Little Bunny Foo Foo" about 45 times, played "I spy with my little eye," read countless books, used our fingers as adult spiders who taught Tor's young finger-spiders how to spin imaginary webs, listened to every toddler CD we own, tried an audio book (Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit--not well received), and generally lived for his afternoon nap so that we could listen to our own audio book (Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale--gripping and unsettling). Lars also introduced the jolly concept of the 50-mile M&M.
We rolled into town on the 4th (only to find extreme fire danger and a fireworks ban--wanh waaah). This particular gathering was attractive not only to celebrate our friend's nuptials, but also to see the many buddies we have in common from Wyoming (now mostly from Texas, drawn by oil as well). We all stayed at the same charming hotel, a 14-room "guesthaus" with a hot tub and sauna, ladder golf, muesli in the morning, and fresh cookies at 4 p.m.
As soon as we got to town, we headed out for a short hike before a pre-wedding meet 'n' greet. The three of us were delighted to stretch our legs and give Tor a chance to interact with people other than his highway-zombified parents. Lars carried the cooler full of beer and discovered at the top of our hill that these "friends" had added several rocks to his load. Merriment ensued.
|Astride the godfather...|
|...and astride the already long-suffering baby brother|
|Smartypants picked the bed with the mountain view|
|Overseeing an afternoon hot-tubbing post-hike|
|A creative approach to ladder golf|
The next day, we had the whole morning free before Tor's nap and the evening rehearsal BBQ, so we took a six-mile hike up to a mountain lake. The guys fished and we all admired the flowers, which didn't really show up in the photos.
|"I prefer a fishing cudgel"|
|Da-Da gamely carried Tor all the way there and most of the way back, since he started nodding off about a mile downhill|
|Kid can definitely outrun me at this point|
|Chilling the drinks|
The rehearsal dinner and wedding were both lovely and picturesque, and also kid friendly. The rehearsal dinner was at a park pavilion next to a huge playground, and the couple brought kites and Frisbees for the kids. We grabbed Tor a "Green LANTEREN" kite for his first kite experience. He held the string while I unrolled it a bit and another guy held the kite, then I told him to turn around and run as fast as he could. He looked confused, but he obediently dropped the string and took off. After we all stopped laughing, we explained to him what went wrong and he got the kite up in no time.
|Cleaning the counter|
|Refusing to be contained until the bride actually came down the aisle|
Godfather Josh, his fiancee April, and the three of us drove up to another lake the morning of the wedding and fished a little. Tor whiled away a good hour chucking rocks into the water, which may have contributed to the paucity of nibbles.
|Sunhat: Great for the skin but not for the photos|
|Picnic lunching downtown|
And then it was back in the car! We drove 11 hours the first day to a glorious campground in the Ruby Mountains of eastern Nevada, where the third time was not the charm for Lars's fishing, but Tor was eager to reprise his rock-throwing.
|Fishing via depth charge|
|Learning the ropes|
|Eurovan mattress + pillows + comforter: Hardly camping at all|
He was under the weather, with a slight fever and a barking cough, so the night wasn't our best. The next morning we stopped at a WalMart for a thermometer and kid Advil, snagged coffees, and powered through to Tahoe to get Dendro. We made it there for lunch and hung around until 4 p.m. so we'd beat the Bay Area traffic, then wended our way back home by Tor's bedtime. He felt good enough for day care the next morning.
All in all, everyone deserved several pats on the back. We have one more wedding to attend this summer, but Tor will be staying with Lars's folks so that we can let the positive road-trip memory linger more than a month.