Apparently we got lazy on vacation and missed a bunch of stuff we should have written on the day we went to the hot springs… if you are craving more pics of hot springs, check out Part 3 again! Or not, it’s cool. We have no way of knowing.
Day 10 – July 9, 2018 – Monday – Gardiner, MT to Bozeman, MT
It was a restless night. We found out what happens when Zoe drinks 32 gallons of water and then sleeps deeply. Yeesh. Sarah had treasure dreams all night long. She awoke and knew what to do. She marched outside in her pajamas (confusing the next door neighbor weeding his cabin lawn) with her binoculars, and reexamined the shiny object on the hillside across the river. TREASURE. She knows it. Matt, not as convinced. We examined the shiny object numerous times and did take some fuzzy pictures.
We packed the car and headed to Gardiner to wash the car. And argued about the treasure chest Sarah is convinced she saw. We drove down the highway on the other side of the road to across from our cabins (on the TREASURE side), and noted whatever it was was likely on private property. HOWEVER, there was an open gate (NOT an electrified fence, as Matt claimed). We drove past a couple of times, but Matt is unsure that even he, who was raised to break the rules (true story), could jog across the private land and look over the edge of the cliff. Also, he is worried the object could be a coffin or a dead body in a shiny box. Well, sure, technically anything is possible. But TREASURE!
We motored up highway 89 slowly toward Livingston, lightly bickering about the treasure and turning into every random place that seemed to fit the poem and could contain TREASURE. Mostly, they contained lots of mosquitos. Our most favorite land mark along this road, visible from our cabin cluster, is Devil’s Slide. It is beautiful and someone got pushed over the edge of it years ago, which makes it historical!
We drove up to Livingston (fact: lots of grizzly attack victims get sent here to the hospital for stapling of their various injuries/scalpings) and got Subway and ate it in Sacajawea Park – the kids played on the equipment and had fun. Zoe did not understand when we were leaving and screamed like you would expect a kidnapping victim would while being hauled back to the car. It was a wonderful ride back to Bozeman (actually she calmed down and demanded a story again about lotion and stuffed animals – we hope she forgets about these stories and never repeats them after this, esp at school).
We checked in early to the Come On Inn… ahh…. Heaven on earth. We played in the best pool area ever, got Cosmic Pizza (Leo’s choice and Gemini for mom and dad, cheese and sausage for kids) and off to bed. Then Mom and Dad get to sit in the hot tub outside of the room (noting roving groups of towel carrying people and book carrying older people, all clad in swimsuits) and drink beer and relax. And MAYBE Sarah sent a message to a certain Forrest Fenn asking if we need to drive back and trespass on the cliff over the river to get a look at the shiny object! Which admittedly still could be a coffin. [Spoiler: she never heard back, but Matt isn’t sure that just typing someone’s name @gmail.com really works].
Beer of the day: Good Medicine & Scepter IPA
Miles Driven: 92 miles
Day 11 – July 10, 2018 – Tuesday – Bozeman, MT
The glorious Come On Inn room has no windows (one door into the hallway and one door into the pool/hot tub area) so we all slept in until 8:45 am. That is a Durst-Kolinski record! We struggled out of bed because continental breakfast ends at 9:30 and we wanted our pancakes (and some kind of sausage resembling kielbasa, which is good enough for us).
We then motored over to the American Computer and Robotics Museum. It is the #1 ranked thing to do in Bozeman, and Matt has been pushing for years to go to it. Now, previously Sarah thought that it was some electronics hoarder allowing people to roam for free through his creepy house (“museum”). Turns out, it is in a nice office building and is exceptionally well done. Is it the place to bring a 4 year old? No, kind of boring for them. Does it have actual parts from an Enigma machine used during World War II? Yes. Does it have dinosaurs, which is all our kids seem to care about today? Yes, strangely. Does it have a slice of brain in glass? Yes. Does it have old timey computers, including an Apple II that our children oohed and ahhed at, which we used in school? Yes. Will you feel old? YES. Is it pretty cool? Yes.
We then drove over to the Museum of the Rockies, which is always a favorite in our family. They have the usual dinosaur exhibits and their rotating exhibit was about guitars, and was pretty cool. Kids had fun, and we ate from an overpriced food truck outside. The garlic fries were outstanding. We then back to the period house in the back of the museum and did more free groundswork for them (seriously, kids won’t water our garden at home but ASKED to come to the museum house and water their flowers)? We played some games from back in “the day” and checked out their outhouse (in nicer condition than the ones at Yellowstone, FYI). We dragged ourselves back to to the car. 90 degrees and too warm.
Headed back to hotel to cool off in the pool for a few hours, and then we went to our friend Bill and Nicole’s house! They grilled up burgers and hot dogs and we had a delicious dinner (and Bill’s margaritas and beer!) while the kids played laser tag into the evening. Zoe’s favorites were their dog and puppy, and Braden’s highlight (of his life) was having 3 cans of pop today – he was flying as high as a kite and ate his dinner 3 hours later than the rest of us on the way home. It was a wonderful evening and tomorrow will be even more fun!
Beers of the day: margaritas and Going to the Sun IPA
Miles driven: none!!!!
Day 12 – July 11, 2018 – Wednesday – still in Bozeman, MT
We slugged our way out of bed around 8:45, exhausted from a wonderful night the night before. We staggered down to the continental breakfast and ate out in the lobby outside our room. Our new friend, guy who tests the chemicals in the koi pond and the hundred hot tubs, was lurking about checking levels and closing down hot tubs to check them over. It was really exciting to have some breakfast entertainment. After breakfast, Braden and Zoe crawled back into bed until it was time to head over to our friends’ house.
River floating time! We motored over while Bill got the raft ready and all snacks were packed. We caravanned down to the Madison River – we left one car at one boat landing and the other car at one further down, and got the raft ready. Bill and his kids (Nicole was at work, boo) and us and the kids climbed in for a wonderful afternoon of floating down the river. It was fantastic – gorgeous clear day, snacks and pop and beer, and playing in the water. Bill was so wonderful to put up with us. 😉 Zoe started the trip by repeatedly saying “I’m hungry” and 6 packs of fruit snacks later, she changed her tune to “I want to go to the hotel”. She then got into it enough that she wanted to try rowing the raft with the oars, and was happily hopping in the water and picking up rocks by the end. It was an awesome way to spend the afternoon! (Did Sarah make us pull the raft over because she saw some random rock with a T in it and insisted the T stood for treasure? Did Bill tell Sarah that we were starting at Warm Springs (remember, where warm waters halt is where the hunt starts), egging her on? Yes and yes. Did you see us on the news for finding the treasure? No.)
We then rolled home and had pizza and hot dogs (a recurring theme) and Nicole and Brayden and Dannie popped over to the hotel pool for some swimming and chatting. Another wonderful late night! Gotta love the Come On Inn, it is the place to BE. Our kids collapsed and fell asleep immediately, which was the perfect way to end the day (no fighting over the sheets between the boys tonight (how did our parents put up with us doing this growing up? it is SO ANNOYING)). Well, the perfect way to end the night would have been with a classy Blooming Onion from the Outback Steakhouse across the parking lot, but they lied about their hours and were closed after 10 pm. We had to get a snack from a Taco Bell across the street that we have been making fun of daily since coming here.
Time to doze and get ready for the journey home!
Beer of the day: Coors Light, baby
Miles driven: negligible which was wonderful