Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tales From the Wilderness

Editors Note: This entry might be the most boring thing ever written. I decided after re-reading this that the only thing worse than a slide show of someone's vacation is a blog posting with photos and snarky comments. Proceed with caution...

This might end up being the longest post in the history of The Skog Blog. So feel free to stop reading at any point this seems monotonous or boring. I would like to present to you - Skog Survivor - Tales From the Wilderness.

Friday Sept 12, 2008

The Skogs, Bells, half of the Skousens and Crazy Sue embark north to the wild lands of Island Park. For some odd reason we decide to drive the 1997 Oldsmobile Touring Sedan (heretofore referred to as "El Duque") thinking that it will allow us to travel in class and luxury. Well 40 miles into our travels near disaster strikes. BING! The check engine light turns on. Do we stop? Do we keep on trucking? Well we decide to tempt fate and keep on trucking. As I drove and having never been to Island Park before I found myself pondering, "would it be more Island or Park?" Sadly, it was neither. It was the wilderness my friends... the Great Outdoors, yea even the Great Unknown. Just take a looksie at our accommodations.

Seriously, one blanket? Only two lamps? One fire place? Do they want us to freeze? And look closely at the grill outside on the covered deck... yep, propane. Propane? I don't grill on anything but charcoal or natural gas. What are we savages?

So how are we supposed to calm the nerves of our children when dealing with such discomfort and rough surroundings? Well the kids made it approximately 47 seconds before heading straight into the Hot Tub.

Here is Pimp Daddy Max enjoying time with his lovely ladies...

With calm nerves and full stomachs the house went to bed in preparation for the first day out with Mother Nature.

Saturday Sept 13, 2008

Bright and early the next morn (and brighter and earlier for some more than others - (Thanks Little Toots!) we headed into the Great Outdoors - Yellowstone. In order to keep a semblance of brevity I will spare you the history of Yellowstone and just provide a few pics with details. As we enter the West entrance we proceed along the highway at a nice cruising speed of 45 mph (which the stern but fair Ranger had explained to us was the top speed in the park as we drove through the gate). Life is good. I'm not sure if it is the Universe, Mother Nature or stronger forces at work but our check engine light turns off. All of the sudden as we come around the bend there is a traffic jam. Brakes are pumped, tires are squealed and our journey is nearly over before it began. "What's the deal?" I soon find out that everyone had stopped to see an (gasp!) Elk!!! An Elk? Well for crap's sakes let's bail out now. I actually stayed in the car because little Toots had needed some sleep (see previous statement above) and had passed out. Here is Sweet Pea enjoying a glimpse of the stunning, traffic stopping Elk.

Next stop was the Midway Geyser Basin which includes some stinky pools, the Grand Prismatic Spring and the Excelsior Glacier. Toots loved it. Covered up her diaper wiff I imagine.

Sweet Pea also loved it.

And Wheels, like some kind of 1980's music video vixen, enjoyed the steam.

The caravan continued onward towards Old Faithful. I knew I was in for something special when I saw this vehicle pull in next to El Duque.
The picture doesn't quite do it justice. This car was amazing. The interior was immaculate, completely restored. It was all I could do to refrain from handing the owner a check for $20,000. They were Canadians though so it would have cost me $21,407 and that might have been just a bit too much.

We soon found out that Old Faithful had just erupted and we had about 1 hour and 15 minutes (give or take 10 min) to wait. So like any good Mormon kids we waited and waited patiently for the money shot. Well even the 10 "take" of the give and take minutes passed and it was apparent that Old Faithful was getting old and was not nearly as faithful. Then out of nowhere a crow (or perhaps a Raven or some sort of black, ominous bird) landed directly in front of the geyser. Soon after another landed. Don't believe me - here's proof:

And then ladies and gents of the Skog Blog I give you Mother Nature's Money Shot...

At that point the natives were getting a little restless. There may or may not have been some screaming by children and adults in El Duque. Sadly we arrived at what ended up being the highlight of the trip but we were in no frame of mind to enjoy it to it's fullest.

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the Lower Falls (or maybe the Upper Falls we never figured it out)

Long day. I think Little Toots looks exactly like we all felt. Ready for some much needed sleepy time. Unfortunately Toots had more devious plans for us (again.)

Sunday September 14, 2008

At this point on the trip I was a little tired and punchy. Much like any reader of this blog who has lasted to this point of the travelogue. I'll be more brief.

AB's sweaty back (good grief man it's only 10:30 AM), Priscilla and part of Millie's face at Gibbon Falls

Aerial view of the Artists Paint Pots - if you start on the dirt path on the left side of the picture that white blog next to the wood fence is myself, P, Millie, and Toots. It was a shame there were steps and the stroller couldn't make it up. I was sorely disappointed to miss the hike. Wheels took one for the team and carried on without us. Nicely done Wheels.

On our way to Tower Falls we stopped for a quick shot of the Canyon of the Crescent Moon. Ok I have no idea what it was called but kudos to those of you who got the Last Crusade reference.

And finally we arrived at the Tower Falls (apparently I have a real Waterfall fetish - they call to me...) I would have loved to take a classy family photo that perhaps could be used on a Christmas card or something but instead some old people had either died or decided to retire on the lookout point so after several minutes of waiting I got the following fantastic photos:

Sweet Pea trying to see the falls through a crack in the fence and some old person's butt

And Wheels and poor Toots squished between other old people

That was it for Yellowstone and we headed back to our extremely roughin' it living arrangements. I just so happened to be on dinner duty for Sunday night. I grilled up some of the meanest garlic burgers that Island Park has ever seen. Mikey decided to take my garlic burgers a step further however. If you are queasy do not look at the next picture. If they ever show what was actually in the Ark that melted the faces of the Nazis or what was in the briefcase that Jules and Vincent Vega needed to return so desperately to Marcellus, I would have to imagine this was it:

Even the camera was intimidated and wouldn't take a clear shot of it. It was a bratwurst sandwiched in between 2 garlic burgers with cheese loaded with pepper bacon and all of the usual burger fixins.

Nothing was done to alter any of those pictures. The black and yellow stains on Mikey's face are the real deal.

One might think after eating a burger that would show up on the menu at Chilis called, "The Cardiac Arrest" a person would want to rest. Well not Big Mikey. As soon as he finished the burger he slapped on his Mr. Incredibles outfit and went out to patrol the streets of Island Park with Mr. Freeze. We salute you Mikey. You are a good true American hero.

Monday September 15, 2008

Checkout 11:00 AM. You would think we would have had enough but NO, not the Skogs. We are Survivors! AB sweet talked us all into enjoying a nice, leisurely float down a fork of the Snake River. So we embarked on this journey. However, we quickly realized that in order for our raft to float there needs to be more than 6 inches of water. Our poor raft was dragging on the bottom of the river for most of the journey. 3 hours, 5 miles, and 14 sunburns later we made it.

Because I'm a believer in you have to give and receive some chop busting I will post this picture of myself. Even though it might be the worst possible picture KG has ever taken after roughing it for 3 days. I tried to go the whole time without showering and shaving. Wheels didn't enjoy the no showering part but let's pretend that I didn't just to make the following picture easier to see. And let's pretend I was sticking out my gut for comedic effect (affect) because I was. Or just focus on Toots. That little life jacket on her might be the most adorable thing I've ever seen.

I paddled for 3 hours straight but at least I had a solid crew.

However once we pushed into hour 3, the movie star Millie was passed out, the Skipper Henry was his cantankerous self but Gilligan Toots continued to enjoy life in her own oblivious world.

Lest you think I hated this trip, I didn't. I like to kid. And I'd like to thank the Bells for putting this all together and dragging my butt out for some much needed fresh air and laughs. Good times and good memories.


Corbie said...

Wow - you really are a survivor. Three days (almost) with a propane grill (the nerve!), a set of lamps (you had to share!), and a malfunctioning car? The next time someone tells me what a baby you are (and surely they will), I am going to let them take a gander at this. So, did Wheels only carry the baby or did she have to haul you around on her back too? Nice butt shots - that was my favorite pic.

Jen said...

You and I may have to compete for the title of "Most Thrilled to Float Down the River for Three Hours" but it was a good time, and thankfully not too rough. Cute pics. Could I just copy this post to my blog and call it a day?

kg said...

Corbie - Wheels only carried the baby 150 yards to the Tower Falls lookout. Of course she had to hold the baby for 10 minutes while we waited for the old folks to finish up their bingo game but at no point did I force her to give me a piggyback. I want that on the record.

Jen - Feel free to copy the blog, insert a few more pics of your kids in place of Toots and call it a day. Writing this blog too almost as long as floating the river.

Corbie said...

Whatever. I'll ask her myself when we go see Sundance films. After all, she needs a relaxing night out (or two or three) with the girls after hauling you around on her back and 'roughing it' all weekend.

Kim said...

Nicely played, sir.

I find it interesting how quickly the sting of bad memories subsides. I am already looking at the pictures thinking, "Wow, that was fun!"

How quickly we forget when we have kids.

kg said...

Kim - it's true... I thought the same thing last night. I only wish we had some video footage of me singing "Old Man River" as performed by Robert Goulet. Good times.

brohammas said...

I see your high quality boyscout training has finally paid off. I'll let your old scoutmaster know his preaching/dictating/intimidating was not all in vain.

Let Skousen know I always thought he was cool, but that sandwich sent me right past "man crush" and straight into worship mode.

I cut and pasted the image, took it downstairs to Kay and demanded it for dinner.

She slapped me across the face.

kg said...

I'm not sure how much my Boyscout training helped me this weekend. Especially considering that I'm only a 2nd class (I might be a Tenderfoot but I'm giving myself the benefit of the doubt...) However, let the record show that one of the 3 merit badges I obtained was rowing. Wheels and the crew were TOTALLY impressed by my rowing prowess during our river trip.

Vanwarmer said...

You look good wielding and oar. And the beard helps make you seem more comfortable in the outdoors.