Sunday, August 28, 2016

Jackson Hole- Part 2

Our flight to Dallas was only about an hour and 15 minutes, and we had a short layover.  We left Dallas on a really big plane that was about half full.  Austin and I had three seats for the two of us, so that was nice!  I really wanted to sleep, but sleeping on trips isn't priority and the screen in front of me had Tetris.  It took around 2 and half hours to get from Dallas to Wyoming.  Whenever we landed in Jackson Hole, we got out on the tarmac and it was cold.  I knew instantly that I probably didn't pack appropriately.  We waited on our luggage and then found the shuttle to the rental car dealership.  Whenever I booked the rental car, I didn't realize it was offsite.  That was a little inconvenient but whatever.

After convincing the lady behind the desk that we did not want the rental car insurance for $30 extra per day, we drove away in a white Equinox.  We quickly found our resort and checked into our room around 11:00pm, Jackson Hole time.  The time difference was one hour, so it was midnight at home.  We stayed at The White Buffalo Club.  I searched the internet over trying to decide on where to stay.  I picked the White Buffalo Club because it is conveniently located a few blocks from the town square, the room had a washer and dryer (score), kitchen, living area, and from my understanding, they also provided a free shuttle. I beg to differ on the free shuttle, but that is neither here nor there. Unfortunately, I forgot to take any pictures at all of the resort or our room.  It was super nice, but not somewhere I would stay again if we ever go back to Jackson Hole.  Honestly, I didn't see anywhere I would like to stay except a few cabins on the side of a mountain.  All of the resorts are right in town.  Our resort looked "rustic" from the outside, but on the inside it was just like any other room I've ever stayed in.  It was very nice, clean and modern.  Whenever I think Jackson Hole, I imagine being on the side of the mountain with a fantastic view and not a soul in sight.  Next time, I'll skip the resort and close to town convenience and probably rent off of VRBO.

After getting settled in, Austin and I both were super ill, tired and ready for bed.  We enjoyed what little sleep we got and woke up at the crack of dawn.  Our scenic float trip was scheduled to meet at 5:50 about 20 minutes from our room.  We were up at 5:00am.  Waahhh.  In hindsight, we probably shouldn't have done the sunrise float trip on day one, but I thought maybe that would lift our spirits after such a rough start!  Austin is a morning person anyway, and we were given a better chance of seeing animals on the trip at sunrise than any other time.

I booked the trip trough Solitude Float Trips.  Whenever we met the people who would be floating with us, I knew quick I was under dressed.  They looked like they were ready for a blizzard.  We took about a 10 minute drive up the road to get to where we would put the float in at.  On our way, we spotted a moose so that was really neat!  When we got to the location, they gave each of us a life vest, which I was happy to wear (hello extra layer).  We got in the float and got ready to sit back and soak it all in.  It was BEAUTIFUL.
Austin spotted a few deer before our guide did.  He has a lot of experience in that.  Other than a few deer, the only other animal we saw was a coon.  Those are obviously a rare species to some folks.  We did see a few cute little ducks.  Animals or not, it was still enjoyable.  

  We talked with the people in our boat enough to get a little information about the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone.  I had noticed a sign at the airport whenever we arrived about the South Entrance at Yellowstone being closed.  I panicked a little but they let us know that there was an alternate route, so that put our questions to rest.  After leaving the scenic float, we went back to the room to take a nap. I was quite reluctant about the nap, but I knew we needed some rest to make the remainder of the day a little more fun.  

  After we napped, I called and booked a reservation for us to go to the Bar T 5 covered wagon cookout that night and then we walked into town.  We had lunch at the Million Dollar Cowboy bar and then walked a ways to the visitor center.  We had asked a few people about going to Yellowstone and they were just no help.  Our concierge printed us a google map.  Not helpful.  Austin was a little uptight with the whole idea.  On vacations with my family, everybody is super laid back.  If you get lost, so what.  I am learning quickly that Austin is not that way.  He didn't know where he was or where he was going and he was stressed.  Thankfully the visitor center provided us with a detailed map of Yellowstone as well as Grand Teton National Park.  The map provided must-see locations, and was very informative.  Thank you, visitor center.  I think we both felt a lot more confident in what we were doing when we left there.  

   After the visitor center we went back to the room to freshen up and get ready for the covered wagon cookout.  I had read a ton of reviews, and this was one of the 3 things I knew I wanted to do on the trip.  The wagons picked us up about 5 minutes from the room.  We were assigned wagons and table numbers.  There were two couples in our group who were super sweet and we enjoyed getting to know them.  One was celebrating 27 years of marriage and the other had been married for 49 years.  They both enjoyed giving us their marriage advice.  Buck and Shot were the 2K pound horses pulling our wagon.  We rode about 20 minutes to the "camp" where we would have dinner and a show.  Dinner included BBQ chicken, roast beef, corn, rolls, salad and a brownie.  It was yummy.  After dinner, we enjoyed a show that reminded me a lot of back home.  There was a lot of pickin' and grinnin' and Austin and I love that.  We did have a bluegrass band at our wedding reception.  The show was a little cheezy, but fun and I managed to be pulled in as a "volunteer."  Austin was videoing it, so there are no pictures of my 10 seconds.  

We left on the wagon around 6:00 and got back to our car at 8:30. We went back to the room and called it an early night so we could get up bright and early for our 14 hour adventure in Yellowstone!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Jackson Hole- Part 1

We flew into the Jackson (MS) airport around 9:00 last night and I have spent the day unpacking our stuff, reading a book I started on the trip and sitting in the recliner catching up on Bachelor in Paradise!  I am TIRED!  I explained to Austin the difference in a vacation and a trip whenever we were gone.  On a vacation, you relax, sleep late, and get rejuvenated!  On a trip, you see everything you came to see, take in the destination and explore!  Lets just say we went on a trip.  No rest for the weary.  The next time we leave Leake county, it will be for a vacation, per Austin's request.

Straight talk- the trip started out really bad.  We debated taking our vehicle to the airport or my parents dropping us off and coming back to get us. We decided to save the $$ it would cost to leave our vehicle at the airport and take advantage of the convenience of someone just dropping you off at the front door.  Austin drives to Jackson everyday, and he thought leaving my parents' house at 6:00am Monday morning would get us to the airport in plenty of time for our 8:15am flight.

Monday morning rolled around, and we had no problem getting up. I packed some last minute things and found myself still drying my hair whenever we needed to be leaving.  Drying my hair put us 10 minutes late getting to my parents' house.  So we left Edinburg at 6:10am.  Still plenty of time to get to the airport, right?!  Side note-- I had just gotten a short hair cut a few days prior or I would have totally been okay with leaving home with a wet head.  A few miles down the road, we realized that I had left my camera's zoom lense behind.  It was at mom's because I never got it whenever I moved out.  We turned around to go get it.  That delayed us another (almost) 10 minutes. This is the point where I can blame being late on someone else!  If we didn't have time, why did they let me suggest we turn around for a camera lense?! My daddy was driving and he thought it would be faster to go through Forest and try to miss the 8:00 traffic on Lakeland Drive.  Long story short, road construction and an insane amount of traffic backed up caused us to get to the airport at 7:55-only 20 minutes before our flight left.  I was SICK whenever I realized the reality of the situation!  I had booked the trip through Expedia, and I really wasn't sure that our credit for the flight would transfer because the flight was non-refundable.

We jumped out of the vehicle in a hurry and got to the front desk.  (I was super relieved we had someone dropping us off at this point.)  I told the lady behind the desk that our flight was at 8:15 and asked if we were going to make it.  Without hesitation, she said "no mam."  Heart sank.  Since I had checked-in online, we heard them giving a last call for us over the speakers.  Obviously, we could have made it on board if we had not had a bag to check.  They quickly gave us the option of taking a flight at 4:00 that afternoon out of Jackson (MS). I was super thankful that we would still make it to Jackson Hole that day, but pretty bummed that we would be arriving at 10:00pm instead of 1:00pm. We took our new boarding passes and headed outside to call my mom.

My parents had already told us they were going to stay close by because they knew there was a pretty big possibility of us missing the flight.  I called mom and they circled back around to pick us up at the front door.  I am really glad my parents were with us.  If they hadn't been, I'm scared  Austin and I would have killed each other!  We were really frustrated, disappointed, etc but at the same time, trying to laugh it off!

After leaving the airport, we went to Chick-Fil-A and got breakfast.  We obviously had plenty of time to spare.  We made a return to Belk for mom and went to the Wildlife and Fisheries building for my daddy.  In the meantime, I was booking a rental car and the scenic float trip for the next morning since there would be no time to spare once we got there. After walking around Bass Pro and getting lunch at Applebees, they dropped us back off at the airport in more than enough time to catch our flight.  I'm pretty sure we will never be late for another flight, good Lord willing. ** I would like to take this time to thank my parents for always having my back and spending practically their entire day in Jackson hanging out with me and Austin.

Pictured is airport drop off, Take 2.  There were no time for pictures on the first go round.
To be continued... 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Jackson Hole 2006

In a few weeks, Austin and I are flying out to Jackon Hole, Wyoming.  I hope it looks just like it does in the picture above.   Jackson Hole was in our top three or so for honeymoon destinations, but ultimately I was pretty set on Hawaii.  I knew we would make our way to Jackson Hole sometime or another!  Ten years ago (whoa) my family took a trip to Jackson Hole that we still talk about today. So in honor of our upcoming vacation, I thought I would backtrack and share some pictures of my Family Thanksgiving Vacation 2006!

This is baby Jake about to board what was not his first flight, because I remember us going to Disney whenever he was smaller than this!  We flew out of Jackson and had two layovers.  From what I remember, one of them was in Salt Lake City, Utah.  
This is Kea, Landon and I at the resort before heading out into the cold.  We stayed at the Snow King resort in Jackson Hole.  Something fell through with the room we had booked, so we were upgraded.  I don't recall ever staying in a room so nice!  I remember a big long table that we had shrimp at for Thanksgiving Dinner.  
We spent some time in downtown Jackson Hole checking out the town square.  The Jackson Hole town square is super cute! I would describe it as a cowboy town!  
I obviously found some stuffed wildlife and stopped for the photo op.
We rented a vehicle and drove for miles and miles.  The scenery was reallllly pretty.  We drove up to Yellowstone, but it was closed due to the cold weather.

We stopped whenever we saw something worth getting out for and for the big animals (that I don't remember what they're called) crossing the road.
One afternoon we went to a big hill that had snow on it and "sledded."  We originally took the trip as a ski trip, and whenever we got there they had not had enough snow for us to ski.  My daddy was not excited about the idea of skiing and considered this a blessing.  It saved him some $$ on not only the expense of skiing, but also some doctor bills (according to him).  

Aside from scenic drives, sledding, ice skating and shopping on the town square, we spent a lot of time doing this:
That's me texting on my pink Sliver that I thought was the  I was probably talking to Austin.  Around the time of this trip is when Austin and I became such good "friends"... This was Thanksgiving of my senior year of high school.  A few people in the family joked that he should have come with us because they felt like he was with us anyway.  I felt like they kind of got to know Austin on that trip because I spent so much time talking to him.   But we were just friends, yall.  (side note-the following October is when we started officially dating) 

I'm not sure how you go on vacation with your family of ten and not get a picture of everyone.  My photography skills were lacking.  I am thankful for the pictures I do have and even more so than that, the experience!  I LOVE traveling and I LOVE my family, but I love nothing in the world more than traveling with my family.  That's another post for another day.

Since Austin and I are going in summer, I have a feeling it's going to be completely different than this winter trip with my family!  We are planning to take a scenic float down the Snake River, try our hand at a Texas Two-Stepping class (OMG I'm so excited), take in the sights of Yellowstone, have a chuck wagon dinner and enjoy some time off the grid!  Expect that on my next blog post ;)