With at least the adults vaccinated and pretty much everything being outside we decided to take a trip down to Gilroy Gardens. We figured a Thursday (June 24) would probably not be super busy and then it turned out that the high was only ~77F. So it turned out to be an extremely pleasant day. Not too crowded; nice and cool.
We got there right at the open and managed to get on the paddle boats before the line got long:
Then it was over to the cars:
We wandered throughout the entire park, including a few hidden paths we've never seen before. We got the girls to go on the Timber Twister roller coaster which they both vowed never to do again. We ate ice cream and churros and soft pretzels--and ridiculously expensive pizza for lunch.
And back to the cars for one last ride before heading home:
Season passes at Gilroy Gardens are about the cost of 2 trips, so we were considering whether to make it a staple of our summer or not. After having gone through the whole park and seeing that the girls' interest in the attractions is beginning to wane somewhat we decided it would be a one-time trip this year. So instead of getting season passes, the girls got the sparkly narwhals they were goo-gahing over (which were not as ridiculously expensive as we thought they'd be). We don't know how or why, but our family has a thing for narwhals.
Last week, we went out to Connecticut to celebrate Dad's retirement (March 29).
We arrived the night before in secret and spent the next day decorating. All the kids (and many of the grand kids) surprised Dad at his office in the afternoon. Erin, Mollie, and Megan sang a modified version of "For the Longest Time."
We spent the evening at the church building for a party. There was food and cake, the kids ran around like loons, and we played "Jobs Dad has had" Wheel of Fortune (minus the wheel).
After our science-y adventures we finally reached Craters of the Moon National Monument. I can vaguely remember going here as a kid at some point. And I think we recreated that trip almost in its entirety.
I can remember hiking up Inferno Cone and the deceptiveness of the climb. When you think you're just about at the top you find out the trail just levels out for a moment and the angle hides the rest of the cone. Heather and I went to the top....
While Jess and Corinne waited at the bottom:
We saw the snow at the bottom of Snow Cone:
And look, pictorial evidence that I was on this trip!
That evening we had dinner at another Culver's, this one in Twin Falls:
And we pushed on to Elko, NV and found a hotel with a pool for the girls to do some swimming. The next day it was all the way home and the Great Road Trip of 2018 was finally over.
As one drives west across Idaho from Idaho Falls on highway 20 there is a whole lot of nothing until, bam, EBR-I and Idaho National Laboratory. EBR-I is open to the public and we decided, what the heck, we likely will never be by here again. EBR-I is Experimental Breeding Reactor One and was able to power its own facilities as a nuclear power plant.
Here is the floor where fuel rods were stored:
We didn't spend much time there (Corinne and Heather were not exactly interested) so it was on to Arco for lunch at Pickle's Place.
Across the street from Pickle's Place is the Arco Science Park. Might as well let the girls burn off some energy. They have a torpedo and a submarine conning tower.
The conning tower from the USS Hawkbill, SSN-666:
Then we were ready for our main destination of the day, Craters of the Moon National Monument.