Monday, June 13, 2016

Way Out WEST Summer Vacation 2016 {{extended family style}}

We just got home from a wonderful vacation, way out WEST - the ten of us (Neil and I and our 8 young'uns), my parents, my sisters, their hubbies and all the kiddos.  The crew alone was huge!! And, in all honesty, it was the company that made the vacation a riot!  I love my family SO very much!  We are all so blessed to have each other, that's for sure!

We started planning last year, because our trip included multiple hotel stays, three cabin stays (in three different states) and multiple destinations.  So, it took a lot of planning and coordination.  But, with the four of us girls and my mom, and our hubby's input, things went very smooth!

And, to top off the big vacation, we had two sets of matching shirts, so we wouldn't lose each other and would easy to spot from a distance.  It was a lot of fun - even other travelers noticed our shirts, wanted to read them, and noticed us from day-to-day.  The shirts alone were the best souvenir and I'm sure will be worn and kept for a long time!!

**Faces shirts**
These shirts were SO much fun to make using the Classroom Faces website!!  Each kid had a simple template (an oval) to decorate their own little face.  They also wrote their name at the bottom.  Then we mailed in the completed faces and shirts were mailed back to us within two weeks.  Super fast!  Great price!  And an adorable personalized shirt!!

**Word Cloud shirts**
We made these shirts using this word cloud website, in which we entered all the places we were hoping to go to.  We downloaded the word cloud and this image went on the back of the shirt.  And, then we included a simple logo on the front to mark the year/family vacation.  We had a great company that printed them for us (the same company that made the shirts for CSJ boys camp - they offer great bulk discounts!).  Each family chose a different color.  We were the blue family!

Links will be added throughout the next couple weeks as I have time to blog/share pictures on them.  You'll notice from the word cloud shirt (above) that we didn't make it to everything on the list.  We made some last minute decisions and deleted and added in a few destinations.  (For example, when we were in Yellowstone, we heard that the Tetons were just a glorified version of Yellowstone, and you wouldn't really see anything different.  Because it would have been a 2-3 hour drive just to get there, we decided to pass and spend another day in Yellowstone.  SO glad we did!)

**Corn Palace**

**The Badlands**

**Wall Drug**

**Crazy Horse/Volksmarch**

**Circle B Chuckwagon Dinner**

**Custer Park**

**Mt. Rushmore**


**Little Bighorn**

**Bear Country USA**


Custer, SD
We rented two cabins that were right next to each other to host our group of 28 people.  They were fairly simple in decor, but were clean and had everything we need.  The hot tub on the deck was a huge hit!  The 20 minute gravel drive to go anywhere was not very fun though.  Our cars were all filthy too.  Other than that, it was great!

Island Park, ID
We stayed here during the Yellowstone portion of the trip.  Great cabin and would definitely recommend it!  Three floors.  Lots of beds and the decor is just beautiful!  The upstairs bathroom was so cool!

West Yellowstone, MT
This is where two of my sisters/their families and my parents stayed during the Yellowstone portion of our trip.  Our other sister/her family weren't planning on continuing on for the second portion of the vacation.  And, we decided last minute to jump aboard continuing on to Yellowstone, but are very glad we did!  So, thankfully, we scrambled and were able to find the above cabin for us, because this cabin (which had already been reserved a while) wasn't big enough for us to stay in too.

And, the hotels we stayed at to and from South Dakota and Yellowstone and back home again varied.  We prefer Hampton Inn and Suites, because they are more spacious, generally nice and clean, and were kind enough to allow us to squeeze into one room.  My family stayed at other hotels, because they could fit into the standard double queen rooms.

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