Vacation in PA

Last week we took a nice vacation trip to Ephrata, PA, to visit with Phoebe’s Grammie and Pappy. My sister Erika was also there part of the time with Phoebe’s cousins Genevieve and Cordelia (unfortunately Heidi was stuck in Pittsburgh working). For most of the family, the trip started early Tuesday morning when we woke up and hopped into the car in order to make our 8:30 a.m. flight to Philidelphia, but I got a jump on Jess and Phoebe by taking Monday off to escape the blazing summer heat by doing some mountain biking. Dann and I left Lafayette at about 6:30 a.m. and headed up to the Copper Mountain ski area. We found some parking and made the out-and-back ride along the Colorado Trail to Searle Pass. It was pretty brutal in my current (activity-challenged) physical state, but the views were amazing and the downhill run back to civilization easily worth the pain. I can see why it’s a highly regarded ride.

This was some of the nicest singletrack on the ride. We climbed gently up a long valley meadow before eventually getting up to treeline.
Here’s the view we were rewarded with for all of the effort to reach Searle Pass.
Here I am on the way back down next to a little mountain stream. The stream was a couple of hundred feet below the pass and just above Janet’s Cabin.
Here’s a shot of Dann from earlier in the ride. Look how much energy he still has!

Tuesday and Sunday were mostly lost to travel, but at least the travel was pretty easy. We did have a little bout of road-sickness with Phoebe just as we were reaching the airport, but she did great on the flight out. I, on the other hand, was starting to get nauseated as we landed in Philadelphia. I think one more highly-banked turn and I’d have been a goner. On the return flight, the tables were turned with Phoebe getting a little sick (yes, she actually did get sick on Jess’s leg). Thankfully it wasn’t too bad (depending on who you ask) and occurred right at the end of the flight, so she didn’t have to suffer through too much. In fact, she was so tuckered out from playing with her cousins and having a generally great time that she actually slept about 1/2 the time.

Hurry; let’s get this firetruck to Colorado ASAP!

On Wednesday, Don’s daughters came over and we all had a fantastic cookout. Despite the temps, we were able to lazily sit outside enjoying beer and chatting. Don set up a little sandbox and filled a kiddie pool for Phoebe and Genevieve. They had a great time playing in both, but seemed to especially enjoy putting the pool water into the sandbox and the sand into the pool. Hopefully Pappy will eventually get the sand dried out and be able to use his tub again for mixing concrete and mortar.

Phoebe and Genevieve had a lot of fun playing in the sandbox. In this pic it looks like Phoebe has already decided to fetch water from the pool.
We’re gonna need a lot more water.
Even Cordelia couldn’t resist enjoying some fun in the sun on the 4th.
Wow, look how fast this ball rolls down the hill.
There might be a lot of “plain folk” around Lancaster, but the crowd at the Mennonite church says they still like fireworks (and oldies). Our view was partially obstructed by a tree, but it was still a blast to watch.

Erika, Genevieve, and Cordelia had to leave early (relatively) on Friday morning so that they could get back to Pittsburgh in time for another week-long vacation. Now that’s a tough life! After the rest of us got motivated, we headed over to a nice little petting zoo within a park in Lancaster. Phoebe seemed to like the donkeys and Jess really liked petting the llama. I think everyone liked the pot-bellied pig, but she was a bit protective of her food. When Phoebe got too close, she was effectively backed off by a surprisingly quick and agile snout. After the petting zoo, we moved about 100 yards farther along the road through the park to another huge playground. Phoebe loves to climb around on the playground and had a blast on one of the slides. She’s taken to testing them for temperature (a very good idea) and pronouncing any warm play structure as “hot.” It’s very cute, if a little frustrating at times.

It was a few days early, but we all got to celebrate Genevieve’s 3rd birthday with Grammie and Pappy.
We also got a chance to see the wheat field get harvested. Can you tell where the lawn stops and the field starts?
The girls had a blast playing dress-up with Genevieve’s new costumes.

One of the nicest parts of the vacation was just sitting around and relaxing while the girls played doctor and “cooked” us various foods. We also owe the neighbors a thank you for letting us enjoy their pool. It felt great to cool off in the water, and Phoebe really loves swimming. As the week passed by, we knew it would be hard to say goodby and return to Boulder, but the onset of cooler temps and the Colorado monsoon season helped a bit with the motivation.

Here’s Phoebe telling Grammie and Pappy about the slide.
No wonder she was excited about the slide!
Phoebe and mom checking out the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. You can see that Phoebe was also wearing her new Noah’s Ark backpack. Perfect attire for a petting zoo. I think the pig had the right idea on such a hot afternoon.

Aside from being hot and humid all week, we had a great time on the trip. We even got in a little exercise. Jess managed to go for a jog with Don while the rest of us played with the girls at the playground, and both of us went for a nice bike ride while Phoebe and Grammie enjoyed a walk along a rail trail nearby. Luckily for us Don is better stocked than some bike rental shops, so his ability to outfit us with mounts, helmets, gloves, and (in my case) shoes was handy. We did run into one little snag with a stripped seat-clamp bolt (I’m that strong), but it was quickly remedied with a trip to the nearby hardware store. For us the trail was pretty shady, and the temps didn’t feel at all like the 101°F reality while riding. We also managed to cover enough terrain to rendezvous with a giant root-beer barrel. I hear it was a bit hotter at walking speed in the sun and seriously lacking in refreshment stands. Afterward we all enjoyed some lunch at a neat little pub and stopped for some ice cream on the way home.

The next day, we got up early, pulled our stuff together, exchanged some pics, and headed back to the airport in Philadelphia. It was a great vacation, but it’s always nice to be back home as well.

When we got back to Colorado, Phoebe spotted this really cool bug. It’s covered with about 2.7 million beads. Nice catch Phoebe!

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