We got a late start since Molly had spent the entire afternoon/evening on Thursday puking her guts out. She is typically not a puker, but must have had some weird 24 hour bug. We were playing it by ear whether to even go or not, but when she seemed to perk up (and hold some food down), we went for it.
We got to our fancy Best Western in the late afternoon, unloaded and went for a walk. We started at the Uintah County Heritage Museum because it is open slightly later on Friday nights and was right by our motel. It was . . . . small . . . and kind of interesting?!? The kids bought their first souvenirs and then we left. At the recommendation of the overly enthusiastic museum kid, we went to the restaurant across the street called the 7-11 Ranch Restaurant. It was good enough. The kids were a little crazy after being held up in the car. All they wanted to do was go swimming!! So, we did, and swimming capped off our night.
We ate breakfast, loaded up, and headed out. We started at the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum. It has a long name, but is basically the Vernal Dinosaur Museum. It has a lot of life-sized dinosaur replicas that are cool and a few actual dinosaur bones. It also has an exhibit about prehistoric mammals and Indians. It was interesting (especially compared to the Uintah County History Museum).
Next, we got back in the car and drove to Dinosaur National Monument. We visited the visitor center, checked out the gift shop, rode the tram to the Quarry, stressed out a little, attempted to go on a short hike, then rode the tram back to the visitor center. After carefully selecting a souvenir, we found a shaded picnic table and ate our lunch snacks while enjoying the company of a cute little chipmunk who really wanted to eat our Pringles.
After bathroom breaks and drink refills, we decided to get back in the car and venture some more. We drove to the end of the road and saw Fremont Petroglyphs and this old pioneer cabin and homestead (which really wasn't pioneer era since the lady who lived there died in the '60s, but it still felt that way). Those two sites were actually pretty cool and Molly, especially, had lots of questions and found it pretty interesting.
Next, we decided to venture to the Colorado side of Dinosaur National Monument. We knew there were no dinosaurs there, but everything I'd read said that it was a scenic drive and at the end you could see the confluence of the Green River and the Yampa River. The kids both kind of needed naps so we decided to drive it. Um . . . there really isn't much to see. It's not really any different scenery than what you see on the highway and at the end, to see the two rivers you have to do a 2 mile hike with a 100 foot drop. The kids were awake/asleep and going to be hungry. We weren't even going to attempt that (and honestly may not have even if I didn't have the kids to blame).
We turned around and made it back to Vernal. We were hungry, but when I asked the kids what they wanted to do, they of course said, "Swim!" Jack and James swam for an hour or so. Molly danced around the edge of the pool with her swimming suit on. Then, we got cleaned up and headed to Wimpy's Diner. It was the most delicious hamburger I have had in a long time. Your choices were a single (half pound) or a double (full pound) and then these guys came in and ordered a triple (you do the math). Holy huge hamburger . . . but delicious! They also had homemade fries and James and I had lime rickeys. Yum!!
After that, we drove around, let the kids play at a park near the Vernal Temple and turned in for the night.
On Sunday morning we ate breakfast and loaded up the car. The kids were sad to leave our super fancy Best Western and wanted to stay there forever. Oh well. They'll live. We drove north to Flaming Gorge, walked to the water, threw rocks in the water, tried not to let Jack fall in the water, and then went to the visitor center. There, we carefully selected another souvenir, learned a little about the dam and then got back in the car. There was a boat and a couple of jet skis by the dam and Molly could not figure out how they got in the water. We decided to go find a boat ramp and watch a few boats be pulled out of the reservoir. That was and educational experience for both kids and they could have sat and watched the boats all day.
Next, we drove to Fort Bridger, Wyoming. I was a little nervous about this stop, but the kids were actually interested. They have a few buildings with period things set up in them, a museum, and then a replica of the original Jim Bridger's Fort Bridger. The best part of this was when Molly screamed that a fly was getting her. Because it was Molly screaming, we dismissed it as typical and told her to stop screaming that it was just a fly. Finally she said, "IT'S IN MY SHIRT!!" Sure enough, she had a fly buzzing around down the back of her shirt. I guess her freaking out was justified.
After Fort Bridger, we drove to Evanston, but had either major construction or accident diversion nearly all the way to Kimball Junction. We were starving and a little crazy by the time we got there, especially when we had decided on Zupas only to find that it is closed on Sundays. We settled for a super crowded Cafe Rio, but ate and left happy to go home!
We made it home and cleaned out the car. It was a fun trip. Planning any kind of trip, as the mother, is definitely a TON of work. Planning it, making sure everyone is fed and watered, bathed and toileted, making sure everyone is happy (including the dad), etc. . . . Phew!
I decided to try something and give each kid $20 in a ziploc bag. They could buy whatever they wanted, but once the money was gone, it was gone. Buying prizes became not only a focal point of the trip, but they were very careful about what they chose, paid attention to what money they were spending, and were content once the money ran out. I don't know why I haven't done something like this before, but I will definitely do it on all prize adventures in the future.