Well school ended for Shem on June 25th, or something like that, and we packed and then we took off on vacation on Tuesday, June 30. We've had so much fun visiting with my brother and sister-in-law in Idaho, driving through Yellowstone, camping in the Black Hills near Mt. Rushmore over the 4th next to some crazy drunken pyromaniac hicks, and finally visiting with one of my friends from high school up in Marquette, MI.
While in Idaho we visited with Ken and Nikki and their new baby Marlie, she is so cute! We're so happy for them and it's so funny to see my younger, no-longer insensitive brother taking care of a newborn baby. We took a trip down to Provo, Ut with them and ate at one of my favorite Brazilian Churrascarias, Tucanos, for lunch. A Brazilian Churrascarias (or Brazilian Barbeque) is an all-you-can-eat place with all of my favorite Brazilian foods, after eating rice & beans, feijoada, pão de queijo, and kove, we stuff our faces with a variety of meats roasted on spits. Since waiters bring the steaming flesh to our table while we ate we able to fill up until we might burst! A goal that Ken and Shem seem to feel was an obligation. I, on the other hand, was exercising self control… okay so I really was just saving room for moose de maracuja. This creamy passion fruit moose is my absolute favorite desert and is hard to find! After gorging on the delicious crocuses of animals we went with Ken and Nikki to Sandy, Ut, for an internship interview with Del Sol. It's exciting to see them moving forward with their lives and finishing school. Nikki and I also had fun taking pictures of Marlie.
After hanging out in Idaho we left to drive 12hrs to Custer, SD in the Black Hills. We decided to take a route through Yellowstone and stopped and saw a lot of buffalo, and Elk along the side of the road and some bubbling hot springs and Old Faithful. I've decided the some people are just crazy and have a death wish or something because when we saw the Elk on the side of the road people were jumping out of their cars, walking in front of traffic and standing about 5ft from this huge animal with antlers as wide and tall as a 4ft person!
The black Hills were fun too, it was nice to camp although our neighbors weren't very nice at all. On the 4th July after seeing Mt. Rushmore we went back to camp to make dinner. We ate foil dinners and our neighbors had beer and beans. How do we know they ate beer and beans you ask? That's because one of the men kept shouting "Come and get your BEANS. We got plenty of free BEANS! Just $2 for your free BEANS! Hey you, get you *%&*$ up hear and eat some BEANS!" He pretty much did this on and off from about 6:00 pm to late in the night. By 10:00 pm we turned in for bed. At 11:00 pm our other neighbors started a fire that seemed to be so big that it looked like it was going to set the dry pine tree above it on fire. By 12:00 am the neighbor with the fire seemed to be getting irritated with the drunk Mr. Bean so she decided to keep her gun handy and then proceeded to complain about rude people and how guns are very useful tools when dealing with rude people. This went on for about an hour while we tried to sleep in our tent that was right between Anny get your gut and the drunken Mr. Bean. I was so freaked out that I woke Shem up and told him that I wanted to leave and pack up right then. I was sure the great Black hills bean bullet war of 2009 was about to commence any minute with us at the unfortunate referee in the middle. We stayed though, and the drunk Mr. Bean and Anny got your gun finally solved their differences by 1:00 am.
We still packed up early and went to church down in Rapid City where it turned out that about half the congregation was in the bathrooms right after sacrament meeting. They, like us, apparently needed to change from skirts into blue jeans before getting on the open road (great minds apparently do think alike.
After church on Sunday we drove to the Badlands in South Dakota and ate lunch while we looked at the cool rock formations. We drove to Minneapolis, MN and stayed the night in a hotel.
Resting in a real bed was nice, and then we were off to visit my friend Amy and her fiancé Justin in Marquette, MI. I've always wanted to travel in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the summer, but my parents prefer to go south, so Shem and I were excited to get this chance to see the beautiful U.P. We had so much fun with them, Amy took us through what she calls "Boot camp" and we hiked a lot and Amy and I had fun taking pictures of the scenery. The U.P. looks a lot like a very flat version of the Washington coast with fresh water. There are also some sandy beaches where the sand is quite fine too. We hiked up Sugar Loaf the second tallest "mountain" (aka bump in the landscape) in Marquette which only took us 10-15 min. Even thought the elevation wasn't enough to swing a neesle at you could see the entire area for miles! It was quite breathe taking. After Sugar loaf we hiked along Lake Superior. At one point we took off our shoes and scrambled along the bottom of a cliff in the water to get over to a cool little cove where the walls were made mostly of this weird red and white clay like stuff. It would be interesting to note that the term "scrambled" is in reference to myself and not Shem. He might as well have walked on the water for as much as he got wet! On the way back, however, Shem twisted his ankle. He did not twist it in the water while scrambling by the cliff because, as he says, that would be too cool of a story. Instead he was stepping off a rock when he rolled on ankle on a rock or root. After he was able to endure the pain enough to talk we found out the twig that snapped under his foot was actually the sound of one of his bone popping in and out of its socket. Needles to say, as it was a pretty bad strain Shem was out of commission for the remaining two hikes. At least he still got to bike around Presque Isle and eat some yummy white fish and trout that Justin cooked. Last night I also took some engagement pictures for Amy and Justin and I'm quite pleased with how great they look! I'll post some on the photo blog.
So we've done a lot so far and right now we're in the car driving to Mackinaw City and enjoying the views of the Lake Michigan and the bridge to the Lower Peninsula. The U.P. is just so pristine and that Shem and I have begun to scheme our next big adventure of sailing thought the great lakes. Although that one probably won't' happen for several long years. We should be in Detroit in about 4 ½ hours. We are getting sick of being in the car and can't wait until we are there were we can play without driving for a whole week. Woo hoo!