This past weekend, I traveled with my mother and youngest sister on our annual Memorial Day Jaunt. We were the only three who could make the loop this year. Despite that, we still enjoyed ourselves immensely. On Saturday, we traveled to Idaho Falls, Idaho stopping for lunch at the famed Smitty's Pancake House where we enjoyed delicious breakfast items for lunch. (Breakfast is served all day at this fine establishment) We met up with an aunt and uncle at this location and enjoyed wonderful food and a good visit.
Next, we drove to nearby Lewisville, Idaho to the cemetery where my father is buried. Most of his immediate family members are also buried in this location. It's a beautiful cemetery, filled with pine trees and flowering crab trees. Most weren't in bloom this year because it has been a cold spring, but other years, the vivid pink blossoms have been stunning.
After decorating several graves, we drove up to Rexburg, Idaho where we visited with one of my sons and his wife. Then it was on to Swan Valley, Idaho and the famed Rainey Creek Country Store where they serve square ice-cream cones. This year, we sampled the Bear Claw (chocolate fudge) flavor and enjoyed this treat immensely.
We drove around Palisades Lake and entered Wyoming and our target destination for that night, Thayne. My mother grew up in Thayne (we tease her a bit about that item---pun intended) and it has been like a second home to my entire family. Since no one from my mother's family lives in Thayne these days, we stayed at the Cabin Creek Inn. We love staying there---the owners, Kirk and Dannette Dana, know my mother's family quite well and it is always a pleasure to see them each year. The cabins are cozy and fun, with jacuzzi tubs in most of the bathrooms. There is also an outdoor pool and hot tub, but since the weather was still rather wintry, they weren't uncovered yet. One of the highlights of staying at the Cabin Creek Inn would be the complimentary breakfast that is served each morning. Items like biscuits and gravy, fresh fruit, waffles with strawberry sauce, etc. are commonplace and delicious. If you are ever in this area and you're looking for a place to stay, I heartily recommend the Cabin Creek Inn.
While in Thayne, we decorated the graves of ancestors who are buried in that beautiful location---you can see a ring of mountains from the lofty hill. Another landmark is a large pine tree that was hit by lightening a few years ago. The base was carved into a bench seat as seen below. Years ago, this pine tree was planted by my great-grandfather, Benjamin Broadbent. It was planted between the graves of two babies who died shortly after their arrival into mortal mode. Heartbroken, my great-grandparents wanted to plant something that would represent their eternal love for these two precious infants. The evergreen tree was extremely fitting, although it grew to astounding dimensions, eventually disrupting the two graves. New headstones have recently been purchased to remedy the situation. (A suggestion: don't plant trees near headstones.)
During one of our days in Thayne, we decided to drive to nearby Jackson, Wyoming. It's only an hour away from Thayne, up Snake River Canyon. While in Jackson, we wandered in art and photo galleries, a fun bookstore, listened to live bands as they performed in Jackson Square, and ate huge (emphasis on huge) hamburgers at the Cadillac Restaurant.
All good things must come to an end, including our time in Thayne. Before we left, we met up with some of our relatives who were also visiting in the area. We ate lunch at the famed Star Valley Cheese Factory. Although the cheese factory is no longer in operation, the restaurant is still doing a brisk business, and the gift shop still sells cheese.
Our final stop on the way home was to visit relatives in Grays Lake, Idaho. Some of our ancestors are also buried in this location. The tiny cemetery is filled with those who first settled this gorgeous area. At the base of nearby Caribou Mountain, the site of a gold-mining frenzy in the late 1800's, lives a beloved great-aunt who loves to feed the multi-colored birds who are native to this area.
We were exhausted upon our return home, but as always, it was worth the effort to make the "loop" as we call it. Not only does it give us a chance to pay homage to the ancestors who courageously paved the way for us, but it also reminds us of the importance of family ties. Sometimes it's a needful thing to get together with loved ones and savor a road trip. Those adventures are the stuff of which fond memories are made.
Welcome to Crane-ium: thoughts, poetry, lyrics & photography of Cheri J. Crane
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