Monday, June 12, 2017

Tour de Idaho, Montana, and Washington and back again!

What a grand week we have had this past week. I finished up at Utah Valley University (UVU) on Friday, and we left on Saturday morning for our Idaho and Montana tour to visit family and friends along the way before we leave for our mission in the California Riverside Mission on June 24.

Lou Jean, Kevin, Brian, Gayelynn, Marla Jo, Joanne, Karen, Jeff, Julie, and John
First stop was Joanne’s cousins’ reunion at Brian and Karen Andersen’s home in Idaho Falls. It was wonderful to see these incredible people. Ironically, I went to school with two of them Gayelynn and Marla Jo at Rigby High School. Who knew then we would become family later on when I married their first cousin Joanne. 

Idaho Falls Temple (thanks to Dennis Hammon Photography for this beautiful shot!)

Then, we went to the Idaho Falls Temple dedication at my brother Brad’s stake center. The Idaho Falls Temple has special meaning to Joanne and me. We were both sealed to our families there. We were married there. Anna Rose and Christiaan were married there. While we would have loved to have been inside during the dedication, sitting in a beautiful stake center and watching it on satellite was almost as good. We enjoyed being with Brad and Kathryn.

On Sunday, members of my family came to Brad and Kathryn’s house for a BBQ. What a great event! Dennis, Telecia, Brad, Delaina, and I were the siblings who could make it. They brought some of their family members. The ones who couldn’t make it were Shawna and Jaralyn. My cousins Lloyd and Doyle came as well. It’s been ages since I have since them. We ate great food and just visited. We love these people.

Clark, Joseph, Hailey, and Avonlea (Dennis Hammon Photography)
On Monday morning, we headed to Cheney, Washington, to spend a few days with Hailey and her wonderful little family. We drove up I-15 to Butte and then on to I-84 and Cheney. Everything is green, green, green! It never ceases to amaze me at the beauty of Idaho and Montana, particularly as you drive along I-84 west. You can see why people want to visit and live there. Who wouldn’t? Lots of trees, mountains, fresh air, rivers, and streams galore.

We arrived in Cheney and experienced a great greeting with Hailey and family, especially the little ones. They, too, have grown. 

Grandma and Avonlea
We enjoyed being with them and spending time with Clark and Avonlea. 

Grandpa and Avonlea
They are so cute and so smart. 

Grandpa and Clark
We spent a lot of time eating, cooking hotcakes with chocolate chips (Is there any other way?), watching movies, playing T-ball and soccer in the yard, eating Dutch oven cooking (Joanne was teaching Hailey how it is to be done), 

Clark and Grandma touching the Spokane Temple
going to the Spokane Temple (Joanne and Hailey while I was able to stay home and play with the little ones), preparing and planting flower beds for Hailey, and just hanging out.

Darrel and Joanne--Boise River
After four days there, we headed south to Boise, passing through some incredible country. We landed in Boise on Friday night. How it has changed! We stayed at a hotel on Park Center. We drove around after checking in. Change! Major changes! Wow! 

Lone goose checking out the Greenbelt
We arose early and went for a walk along the greenbelt. 

No running or walking here. Perhaps, swimming at your own risk!

The Boise River has taken over everything along the way!
Apparently, the Boise River didn’t know we were coming and basically flooded most of the greenbelt. We did find a patch to do some walking. Incredible! What a great asset Boise has in the Boise River and the greenbelt.

Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho
From Boise, we headed home, stopping at Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls. If you haven’t done this stop, you ought to. Lots of water and an incredible falls on the famous Snake River. We loved it. We arrived home on Saturday evening. It was fun seeing Anna Rose, Christiaan, Emiline, and William. We missed them.

Outside of Cheney, Washington--the beginning of the Palouse
Overall, we had a quick tour of Idaho, Montana, and Washington—all beautiful states. The best part was visiting with our family before we leave on our mission. We do hope many of them will visit us while we are serving.