Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Italian Family Reunion...

Bonus road trip, and a ton of pictures. Since Justin doesn't start work until July we were able to go to his family reunion this year. We made it into a road trip. Our first stop was Rock Springs, Wyoming to visit Grandma and Grandpa VanValkenburg. We also got to see Aunt Gayle and cousin Jamie. It was a great visit and the kids warmed right up to their Great Grandparents.

We hit the road again. This is one our many visits to McDonald's. We love ice cream. We are in Cheyenne at this stop.

Then following the GPS rather than Map quest, we wound up on this gravel road somewhere between Wyoming and Colorado. It added about a half an hour to our arrival time. We were praying for a paved road to show up somewhere, anywhere!

Kate sleeping and Zach watching Toy Story. They were such troopers. I had all sorts of hesitations about driving in the car with kids for long hours, and my kids have proven me otherwise.

We finally made it Sterling, CO. Here are some of Justin's Grandpa's brothers and sisters that are still living. The one farthest on the left came up to me and said to me, "With that cute dimple of yours, I can just tell you are a Marostica!" Pretty funny considering that I was pretty much the whitest girl there. This white freckled body of mine is so far from Italian, but I will accept the compliment...thank you very much!

Here are all the children of the brothers and sisters from above. In other words the first cousins. Justin's dad, aunts and uncles, etc.

Zach took this picture of Grandpa Wal-Marty and Uncle Matt.

I guess this is a lot of how Zach experienced the Family reunion. He loved the program they had...lots of music, and Uncle Dan sang and played the guitar. Gee I wonder why? He is obsessed with the guitar, drums, you name it.

Three of the sisters sang some of their favorite Italian Songs. Here is one of them.

We took a tour of the cemetery where a lot of the Marostica's were laid to rest. Zach is putting a rose in the ground by Justin's Grandpa Lawrence's parents grave, John and Domenica. We also took a tour of Iliff, CO, courtesy of Uncle Harry, where Justin's grandpa grew up. Lots of history and lots of stories.

After the family reunion was over we continued our road trip. We passed through Matt Perry's(Justin's buddy from Dental school) old stomping grounds of Akron. And it was probably a mile long...I am not exaggerating.

We ended up in Rye, CO, where Justin's Grandma lives. We visited Justin's Grandpa's grave. This is the new headstone. It was beautiful. The Army charm is from his hat. He was a Korean War Vet. The Rose is a symbol to Lovell, WY, where Justin's grandma is from. And the Salt Lake Temple is where they were sealed. A few facts for the sake of family history.

Justin's dad took us on a little tour up into the San Isabel National Forest, near Rye. This is a castle that a man has been building since the 1970's. The guy is a little cooky, but pretty talented for constructing this massive thing.

Video of Justin and Me climbing the Tower.

Justin's dad took us up to his family's property. It was gorgeous! They use it for hunting mainly, but maybe someday will build a cabin on it...fingers crossed. The only way to get to it in the winter is by snowmobile!

Then we ate at "The Lodge", one of Grandma Marostica's favorite restaurants next to the San Isabel Lake.

We stayed with Grandma Marostica for the night. This is four generations!

We left Rye and headed back to Utah, with a few planned stops on the way. Just a few more remnants of some of our friends from Dental School. "Chaffee" County sign.

We climbed the Rockies and hit this amazing view among several, and even got a little snow!

These guys were having a blast getting pulled up the mountain by a snowmobile and skiing back down. Some people have the life...this was Monday afternoon...who needs work?

One of our planned stops was Aspen, CO for lunch. It is in a setting like Park City, only bigger and I might have to say better! I could live here. We ate the best burgers at a little place called "Bad Billy's" and walked around the town.

We eventually left and kept plugging along. Zach was in Grandma and Grandpa's car, Kate in ours...again such good troopers.

We had so much fun and saw so much. I have always said that I would much rather fly than drive, but after this road trip, I am thinking that driving is not such a bad thing. You definitely get to see and do a lot more than you think, granted you might have to take the longer roads, but well worth it.


amyorr said...

Was Justin sleeping during the musical number? What kind of Italian is he? What a fun roadtrip......especially through Wyoming. I hear driving through Idaho is better.

Em said...

So it IS possible to survive a roadtrip with two kids in a sedan? I was getting worried.

The Blandon's said...

Wow, now that is a road trip. You make driving across the country seem so fun! Good luck in UT!!!

Patrick and Paige said...

fun trip and fun pictures. I would love to drive through colorado someday!

Sarah K said...

I love road trips! We used to go on them all the time but now we have 3 reasons - L, A, and J - that have slowed us down a bit.
Glad the kids had fun and did so well on the trip.

Dear Zach,
I miss you. I hope you like your Grandma and Grandpa. You have pretty flowers at your Grandma and Grandpa's house.
Love, Lucy

thomfam5 said...

Wow what an adventure! It looks like Kate is better in the car than Heath! I am hoping for the best on our McCall road trip!

The Perry Family said...

I'm glad you got to experience Akron Colorado. Who said small towns never change. I don't think that sign was up when I live there. Good luck with your residency.

li'l mil said...

I love me some road trips; this looks like it was so much fun! But seriously, you went through Cheyenne and didn't even call The Hub's family? :) Maybe next time. (It's much more fun during Frontier Days, I promise. If you're up for another road trip in July, check it out!)

Mil said...

You will have to stop at the little america next time for ice cream.