Our intentions were to stop and do some short hikes in Grand Teton National Park, along with a picnic lunch that we'd packed earlier. When we got into the park, there was a forest fire going on as well and there was just too much smoke in the areas we were wanting to hike. So we sat down on the edge of Jackson lake and had a nice picnic lunch instead. It was a bit windy but in the sun you were fine. The aspens were absolutely beautiful and a million different shades of yellow and orange. The made for some great photos minus the haze from the smoke. Our drive into Jackson was pleasant and we got checked into our hotel. This is definitely the perfect hotel for us with young kids. They have a nice grassy courtyard with a gated pool in the center. We came prepared as Luke has stayed here before! Soccer ball, bat and ball, toy trucks and more were all packed so Emmett could enjoy his time in the sun. and he did. He ran and rolled around in the grass like he'd never seen it before. We went out for a nice Italian dinner at Nani's Pasta House. They served great wine and delicious homemade pasta that we devoured very quickly as the kids were approaching meltdown. We spent the evening drinking more wine and chatting with our hotel neighbor, Jim. Seemed like a nice guy and I think he said he has family in Colorado Springs.
The next day, Luke was off to work to meet with a few of the local businesses. Emmett and Jolene and I walked to the drugstore just down the street for some water and a new toy. Emmett has an obsession with motorcycles, but says he is scared of them and he does not like them. You would never know by his reaction to the Harley Davidson motorcycle he picked out at the drugstore. He carried that toy(and still does) everywhere- dinner, car ride, to bed even! So we three walked around the hotel for a bit, picked out postcards, found momma some coffee, wrote postcards, and played in the sun til dad got done for the morning. We had lunch at Bajio Mexican Grill. OMG-we need one of these in Cody! Kinda like Chipotle, but a thousand times better! I am a huge fan, if you couldn't tell! Anyway, Luke dropped me and the kids off at the hotel and went on a few more meetings. The kiddos napped like champs. I got to relax on the bed, with both kids sleeping soundly, while watching the food network. Just what the doctor ordered. I also read thru the dining guide for Jackson. We had dinner all planned out until I read about this Italian place that said they had a patio that was great for kids. We decided to head towards the ski resort and check it out. Calico was the greatest place on earth, right next to Disney! They have an acre lot right off the patio that patron's kids can run around and play on. They even had a stack of balls and toys available. Calico also has an organic garden right off the back of the lot where they grow some of their produce. It truly was the best dinner I've eaten in a long time. Wine, great food and a completely happy and worn out child when we were done. The family next to us were from Dallas and had a five year old boy name Shaffer that Emmett loved to play with. They played some game called HighLine? but the boys called it HighWire for some reason. Pretty cute stuff.
The next morning we set out to take a few photos. The first trip Luke and I took with Emmett to Jackson, Emmett was about 2-3 months old. We took some really great photos of him in a bear suit next to carved wooden bears. We put Jolene, now two months old, in the bear suit and took the same photos! We also took photos of Emmett in the same spot, now 2 1/2 years later. They were a lot of fun. Our trip back though.....not so much. We left late morning after a nice breakfast and one last work stop for Luke. We got to the outer gate of Teton National Park and they said the road to the East gate was closed due to the fire and that they weren't sure when it would reopen. Luke and I decided that we would take a chance that it would reopen later that afternoon as we still had a few hours of driving til we got close to that turnoff. After an hour of construction time and lunchtime later, the road was still closed. It wouldn't have made such a problem, except that the other side of the loop was closed as well due to late summer time construction. The only gates open to us were the West gate or the South gate which we just went thru. It would have been an additional hour of construction traffic, plus more construction outside of the park, adding up to an eight hour drive home out the South entrance. OR a nine hour drive if we went out the West gate. We decided to go out the West gate as we had never been that way before and thought we would stay the night in Bozeman, Montana and finish the drive in the morning. We got to Bozeman, had a not so great dinner and decided to keep driving. We got home at 9pm(instead of 1pm) and drove 560 miles instead of 180. The last three hours were filled with whining and screaming children. Emmett's famous line for the trip- "Jolene is crying....again!"