Great Falls = Great Family

We made it a point during our trip to visit my  half brother and sister and their mom, Donica, in Great Falls, MT.  It had been 5 years since I’d seen my sister, Shaylee, and 13 years since I’d seen my brother, Cody, who’s now 15! 
Big Sky

They were so sweet to host us for the week, with lots of nights spent hanging out at their house, playing games and Donica cooking great dinners.  As usual, Loralai and Juliet just liked being in a REAL HOUSE more then anything!  They ran around the yard, played with outside chalk, watched movies, and played with all the cool pets.

Poor Max!  She held him like this for HOURS!


The first day we were there, Donica, Cody, and Shaylee all came over to our campsite to welcome us at The KOA (where we were paying $58!!!!  a night.  Most expensive stay of the entire trip).  We only stayed there 2 nights, while we waited for a spot to open at Dicks RV Park ($32 a night) down the road. From the KOA, we went to their house for a BBQ and to meet the boyfriends. 
The thing that made staying at the MOST EXPENSIVE RV Park of the trip, OK, was that it had a waterpark for the kids.  We spent Day 2 there with my brother and sister, while Joe worked.
The water park was pretty cool with several slides, sprinklers, and sprayers.


While there, we also went to some falls, which was this great area to campout, not too far from town.  We played in the water, went on a walk, and had a picnic lunch.  We even found a Beaver Dam in the river!
Naked baby in a river!

Another day we went to a state park and learned about the fishery there, did a hike, and played on the playground.  And get this, Montana had their own Junior Ranger Program!!!  So Loralai did the workbook, and we mailed off for her Monatana Jr Ranger Badge!  Joe thinks I’m obsessed with Jr Ranger badges.  Crazy, right?!
We were also in the best place possible to celebrate the 4th of July, Big Sky Country!  We just sat in Donica’s yard and watched the fireworks going off all around us, all night long.  We bought a few for Loralai and Cody to pop as well.
My family was so sweet to host us all week!  Thank you for all the yummy food (I mean it!), and for having cute pets for the girls to play with, and for driving me all over town and out of town, and for showing us such a good time!
Putting on a puppet show with Uncle Cody at the awesome library in Great Falls
Our trip to Great Falls really was great!  Lots of late nights staying up playing games, talking, and popping fireworks. 
Playing at the RV

We were also able to fit in a girls night the last night we were there!  So fun!  But what happens at Girls Night, stays at Girls Night, so no pictures!  I will say that my sister can sing!

The morning after photo

This stop was much more about visiting the people, then it was about visiting the place.  And in order to have the  most time possible with my famliy, we sacrificed visiting Galcier National Park and Canada, which were only 3 hours away.  So the rush order passports, were not used on this trip, but we have lots of plans for next summer.  Maybe Alaska by way of Canada?   

Juliet plays, while Cody gets a hair cut
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Romance with Roslyn

Our visit to Roslyn, WA was unexpected.  The plan was to leave Seattle and drive over the weekend to Spokane, WA where we would stay the week. There is nothing special about Spokane, except it is half way to our next destination in Great Falls, MT, where my sister and brother live. 
Anyhow, days before leaving, Joe tells me the town where Northern Exposure was filmed, is on our way!  We are both HUGE fans of this early 90’s sitcom that fictionally took place in Cicely, Alaska, but was actually filmed in Roslyn, WA.  So we made it a point to overnight there on our way to Spokane!  It was just a short 1.5 hour drive from Seattle to the golf course we were staying at near the town. 
We immediately set up and drove the additional 15 minutes to the town of Roslyn, WA.  Oh My God!!!  It was so cool!!!!  We (I mostly) TOTALLY dorked out as we entered the town.  It looked JUST like it does on the show (of which I’ve seen every single episode at least twice)!!!  If you are not a fan, then just bare with me for the next few paragraphs.

The Brick!!!  Identical on the outside to the show, but completely different on the inside.

This is Chris with KBHR!
Dr. Fleishman’s Office (Now the show’s tourist shop)

Maggie’s House

After making Joe drive through the tiny 4 block town of less then 1000 people at least a dozen times, we stopped to eat at Roslyn Café (I couldn’t believe I was eating there)!!!  It was actually pretty good.  Then we were off to go and explore the show themed gift store, where we got our bumper sticker (We are collecting a bumper sticker for each place we visit, only missing Ashland, OR and Seattle), and then to tour the characters houses, including Maurice and Maggie’s homes.  Eeeek!!!!

Maurice’s House

I seriously didn’t want to leave the town, but it was getting late and COLD, so we headed back to the RV.  Once back at home, we found out two things, the place we were planning on staying in Spokane was booked solid for most of the up coming week with no other possibilities, and Joe and I were both totally in love with Roslyn.  So we decided to stay right where we were for the week.  Yay!

We did find a better place to stay besides the golf course, at Eagle Valley in Cle Elum (practically the same town as Roslyn, just closer to the Hwy and a major grocery store).  Only electric and water hook ups, which means we’d have to hook back up and drive to the dump mid week, but we had the place totally to ourselves, it was beautiful with room for the kids to run, $1 ice cream cones, and only $13 a night!!!!  Bliss!

Eagle Valley

We got an ice cream just about every day.

Playing mini golf. 

We ate outside as often as we could, having finally left the rain.
We spent as much of the week as we could hovering around Roslyn, playing on the parks playground, walking the town, driving the town, ridding our bikes around the town, etc.  We loved it so much, we even called a Realtor to show us a foreclosed house that was on the market for $60K (Major foundation issues, go figure). 
We went to story time at Cle Elem Library and L made a spider snack.

L got half an hour of ridding lessons on Sweetie Pie.

She taught her how to stop and turn the horse.  L LOVED IT!
Bean even got a turn.

We played at Cle Elum Park, where L ended up making lots of friends.


Before leaving on Saturday, we went to the Independence Parade.  L racked up on the candy!
The Fire Fighter staged a big water fight between the Cle Elum and Rosyln Stations.  It was great!

In addition, we also drove into the National Forest just north of Roslyn, visited a Ranger station, got a haircut for Loralai (which she later took upon herself to improve upon, gonna need Krissy’s help on this one), and went on a long bike ride around Roslyn.

Roslyn has an interesting history as a historic coal minning town.  There are all these “sheds” in peoples backyards that are actually coal miners cabins from the 1800’s and because they are historic, cannot be torn down or even repaired, so they are just falling over.  But the town is very charming and set in the foothills of the Casscade mountains.  The views are amazing and the weather was so nice, with a much needed break from constant rain.  Who knows, maybe we will return someday for a longer stay.
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You know you’ve been RVing for awhile when…

1. Your kids (even the baby), give hand signals to strangers to help them back up their trucks.  (This has caused some major confusion on the stranger’s parts!)

2. Throwing a formal dinner party, complete with a theme and creative table setting, sounds like a great idea!  (I miss my people and hosting!)

3. Wearing the same cloths twice is required, three times is common, and jeans have unlimited wears.

4. When saying, “I want to go home.” your kid is referring to the RV.

5. Your kids hair constantly smells like camp fire smoke.

6. Your 4 year old defines friends in the following manor. *If we play together, we are just playing.  *If I ask you if you want to be friends and you say “yes”, we are friends.  *If we play with each other long enough for me to remember your name, we are friends for life and I will mail you letters and invite you to my birthday party in Texas.

7. Your 4 year old asks  you weekly, “Where do we live now?”

8. You automatically walk extra softly at night, so the house shaking doesn’t wake the kids.

9. Driving an F350, diesel, dually without anything hooked up to it, feels like driving a mini cooper.

10. Most conversations with new people, start like this…”So, where y’all from?”

11. You haven’t seen a single TV show is WEEKS!

12.  You would pawn your kids off on just about anyone with a kind face, in order to have a few minutes to yourselves.

13. Anything over 1000sqft just seems excessive.

14. Your house is cleanest on moving day.

15. Your husband’s face more closely resembles a buffalo, then a human.  (Joe’s gone without a hair cut or shave since we left on the trip.)
16. Your kid knows and can execute the entire process of setting up and breaking down the RV.

17. When planning your weekly meals, you mainly just ask yourself one question, “Will this all fit in my fridge?”.

18.  You could survive on a deserted island for the rest of your lives with only all the crap you have in your truck at all times.  (Jackets, snacks, old snacks, toys, endless pairs of shoes, pocket knives, etc.)

19. You look forward to going to Walmart. (Familiar and everywhere)

20. You are all really, really happy.

Ice Cream Face
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