Reunion on the Range

Last Friday we packed up the Yukon and headed out to David’s family reunion. This year it was held at his sister’s cabin near Monte Cristo, Utah. We left the driveway right on schedule, seven o’clock, a few stops here and there and we’d be snarffing hot-dogs with the rest of the crew.

Walmart was the first orange cone in our way. In order to play paintball, the CO2 tanks needed to be filled. The crusty old man running the sporting goods department was taking his own sweet time, forty-five minutes of our sweet time, to exchange the empty tanks for new ones. Finally, while I finished the rest of the shopping, David got another associate to do what should have been done in the first place and thirty seconds later we’re fuming out the double sliding doors of outer darkness. Breathe. Just breathe.

An hour gone and still need to fill the tank.

Pain at the Pump

Breathe. Just breathe.

Road trips are a chance to eat and drink those things you wouldn’t normally splurge on. The night before we stocked up on mini-mart items at an Albertson’s quick stop station. They had a large section of junk food marked down to a quarter. Candy, lots and lots of candy, chips, gum, mints, more candy – in all, twenty smackers worth that would last us into the next millennia of road/camping trips. So, long story short we bought drinks. Soda’s all around. Now, I’m well aware of that particular law of nature of what goes in has to come out and filling your farmer with 44oz. of liquid stupidity can and will require frequent stops no matter how far your destination.

As one who has to sit for business, I’ve come to appreciate the finer things in life – like a clean potty. There’s something sinister about the “green dinosaur gas stations” and the way they keep their facilities that no woman – no human – should have to endure no matter how dire the situation. I would rather go “pioneer style” along I-84 for the world to see than to experience dino-hell. (Yeah, strong words.)

Rest Stop

Behold salvation. Idaho might not have the best roads but they do have the best potties. Virtually hands free, no fuss flush and water. Privacy, as much as one could expect it and cleanliness I wish my own powder rooms had. I now know where every single rest stop is between here and SLC.

With the schedule officially out the window the attitude became “we’ll get there when we get there so throw in another movie.” Missing the invisible sign marking the gravel road we needed to turn off of gave us a chance to take in the view from the top and cross three county lines within a time span of roughly five minutes. No cell reception and a crummy map, we flipped a U and headed back to what we knew to be the place.


Somewhere over there. Beyond the hills. I wanted pavement. Back on the main road we took the first right. Pavement became gavel and gravel dirt, then soft dirt and a winding road into the aspens. Then, like a shining beacon of frustration, came the florescent orange signs directing us the rest of the way which would have been helpful five miles back. Breathe. Just breathe.

Stacey Gate

We made it to the gates.


Cabin View

And to the cabin.

All before the sun went down!

Maddy Balloon Hat 1

There were all sorts of activities to do. Like a family balloon tower contest. Maddy is modeling our winning "Marge Simpson" tower while her cousins look on.

Boys Trouble

T-R-O-U-B-L-E. D.J. Devin and a mess of other cousins played all sorts of games together.

Devin Bocci

Bocce was popular along with Horseshoes. David and I won only once... we're losers. Skunked on Mexican Horseshoes and Bocce as well, though I managed to get a ringer the first toss out.

Maddy Jenga

Maddy Jewels

Maddy was more than happy to spend time getting her girl on with so many princess cousins to play with.

DJ RC Remote

RC Race

Each family had their own RC Jeep to race, ours was aptly named "The Killers" which by the way made us look like outstanding parents. I found myself explaining that they were merely a rock group on the Rockband video game and that my farmers were not psychotic, demon-possessed evil-doers that would soon occupy a cell in Juvie sporting a teardrop tat for their accomplishments. The Killers had a hard time, flat tires all around because the plastic tread couldn't take the heat. The boys were successful in knocking an opponent off the track right before the finish line. It was a proud moment and lived up to their "name".

DJ Stick Warrior

When there weren't specific activities, the boys embraced their natural man and became one with the wild. Spears, a scowl and something to poke at.

I embraced my violent tendencies and geared up to play paintball with the big boys. I had on a t-shirt, fleece jacket, sweatshirt and the fluffy camo jacket. Shorts, a pair of fleece pants and sweat pants to protect my hiney. I think I lost 10lbs of water weight before the bullets started to fly.

This is my niece, Kara. She was the only one brave enough to join in and combat the testosterone, grunt-fest that is paintball. We purposely commented on how put-together and cute her outfit was just to mix things up a bit, the equivalent of a man belching right in the middle of a romantic movie when the star-crossed lovers finally get to be together.

We held our ground and were deemed silent but deadly - David said it more poetically, "You're like like farts." Guerilla warfare is more my style. Hide well, wait and take the kill shot. David has a nice, circular welt on his forearm, compliments of me. During the Alien game, I was taking heavy fire from the front (Dave) while the another alien flanked my position. Just as I turned to take out the crossfire, I took a bullet to the jugular. Luckily the padded collar of the camo jacket kept my injuries to a minimum. No, I didn't scream... that much.

Tree Standing Just Push it Over Dave Chainsaw

If that wasn't manly enough, the boys asked to 'help out' and take down a dead aspen near the fire pit. Dave tossed a rope over the upper branches and went for the chainsaw. Meanwhile, his Dad started tugging on the rope and his brothers pushed the thing over before Dave could get back. Once the tree was down, it became a chain-sawing contest. Each brother, and a few sisters, were timed on how fast they could cut a section of the trunk off despite the fact that with each slice the width is smaller. We're not a competitive family or anything?

Now that the adrenal glands were in overdrive, the looked for the next manly thing to do. Put the tracks on the Snowcat. How many morons - oops - men does it take to pin the track on?

Cat Tracks

Apparently a lot. It took one of us squatters to tell the boys how to do it. The response was, "yeah, that'll work but it's too easy."

Cat Trailer

Next was loading the thing onto the trailer. Again, it took a woman's know-how. Not that I'm being sexist or anything... boys, like girls, get stupid in large numbers, especially siblings.

Nate Fatboy

Fatboy. Not nephew Nate, the icecream sandwiches. They were a nice afternoon treat and balanced out whatever I lost during paintball.

Maddy DeerTracks

Maddy and I went to find deer tracks. We found where they had been bedding down near a grove of aspens and searched the cracked, hard mud for hoof-prints. Eureka!! Unfortunately, the plaster didn't set up in time for us to take it home but Maddy enjoyed the experience. In fact, the little do-hickey she's holding is a "track-finder" and the main reason why we were successful. "You don't know anything about deer, Mom."

Family reunions, don't you love them? Breathe. Just breathe.


  1. young family said...

    So did the "marge simpson" tower win? I hope so :) I'm not at all competitive ;)

    I have to say I don't think I am competitive enough to play paintball with a bunch of men though, OUCH!

    Where the cabin is looks beautiful, how nice. Hopefully you were breathing enough to truly have a nice vacation ;)

  2. Connie said...

    Fluorescent orange cones in the wilderness, my sweets?!?!?! Please whisper that when you speak. We don't want Mr Algore to hear ya! Whooooooeeee, he'll be there in a superman flash with his pointy fingers directed at Y O U!!! Now how frightening would that be, hmmmmmmmm?????
    That's YOU in that evil-smelling posh get-up???? Whooowooooo, chickie, I'm seein' ya in a different light, I tell ya! I think I woulda upchucked with all that testosterone flying around..... "You don't know anything about deer mom"???..........and ain't ya glad, miss g?!?!?!
    Connie.........thanking the Lord I didn't hafta do the "family reunion" bit!!!!! *Sighing heavily*................

  3. TammyP said...

    I'm totally with ya on the potty thing..... I love our rest areas...... That pix of you by the gate is darling! More fun to come!!!!!

  4. mandbrid said...

    I love reading your stuff Stacey...You should write a book - you have a fabulous way of describing things. It looks like you all had a great time and I'm with you on the boys needing input from the ladies...that was FUNNY! We're heading on our own road trip to Rexburg for my mom's wedding...want to take a guess how long the typically 5 hour trip will really take??? I'm not looking forward to the drive - but the reason will be well worth it. I'll say hello to a couple of rest stops for you!