kids travel

By Robert Brownfield

Back in our younger years, an outing with our family or grandparents existed of going to the lake and camping out.  You would explore the woods together, fish, sometimes even boat together.  And most definitely you would gather around a bonfire and exchange stories or sing together, before retiring to your tent or cot for the night.  As kids we played hard from sun up to sun down.  It was also a time for talking and getting to know each other.  A special time that is forever embedded into your memory.


Our Memories Remind Us

Now that grandparents have passed away, I miss those outings we use to share.  But the memories of each trip forever linger on and, it is as though they are still around me.  How can we reach out to our children and grandchildren and form some of the same bonds?  We want them to remember all the wonderful things we have done together and all the experiences we shared, when we are no longer around.

How Do We Compete

In a time and age where everyone is so busy, how do we compete with technology tools of the trade, such as: Ipad’s, computers, cell phones, MP3’s, Television, and video games?  Then it hit me!  If you can’t beat “em, join “em.

We gathered up our grand-kids and embarked on a journey.  The attempt was to hit 6 states and 1 Country.  The mission if we choose to accept was to visit sites along the way, while documenting the trip by posting pictures on Facebook.  Every state sign was photographed at the beginning with the kids, to signal to the followers on Facebook where we were and, what the crew was up to.  People we didn’t even know were following our progression and weighing in on their own experiences with their families.  And they loved it.

Our Mission to Find the Signs

Starting in the beautiful area of Boise Idaho, we traveled to the lava beds called the Craters of the Moon Nation Monument.  Located about 2 hours from Boise, the area encompasses about 400 square miles and houses three major lava fields.  The area has almost every kind of lava, tree molds, and lava tubes.  NASA trained astronauts in the area.  They used it to train them how to look for rocks and retrieve specimens from a harsh environment.  There is a wonderful visitor center, guided tours, and areas you can hike.  The kids loved it.

Next we headed over to the border of Wyoming, a sign opportunity and Facebooking, to the town of Jackson Hole Wyoming.  Lots to see and do in the area!  Wagon Dinner Rides, horseback riding, fishing, floating, hiking, and picture taking and more posting!  Heading into the park, we stopped by the visitor center, where the Ranger gave the kids an assignment; they had to locate certain things within the park and visitor center.  If they completed their task they would become Junior Rangers.  Great idea for the kids as it teaches them about the environment and protecting our eco system for all to enjoy.

Through the park, fishing along the way, hiking the trails, which was not quite their favorite thing to do, our destination was Old Faithful, one of the most unique places to see.  Clock work at its finest.  More hiking and viewing, around the lava pits, in-between the big show of eruptions.  And more Facebooking!

Leaving Old faithful, we stopped along the trail, to visit the mineral pools of hot springs.  Blues, greens, and purple everywhere and herds of buffalos, another photo opp.  Headed out of the park, another photo opportunity at the Roosevelt Arch, before heading into Montana.

Crossing into Montana, sign, picture, and more posting, starting to see a pattern here? We didn’t spend much time site seeing in Montana, as we were starting to feel a time crunch.  We did take time to stop at the historical markers along the route.  But our goal was to make it to Canada.

How to Take Grandkids into Canada

A trip into Canada takes some extra planning now days.  You can’t just drive across for the day like we use to, not since 9 -11.  We had our passports, birth certificates, and a notarized document from our children, allowing us to take their kids into Canada. Well prepared, we crossed the border.  Cheese! Another sign and this one was of another country.  We stopped for lunch at a small outdoor dinner, sat on picnic tables in the shade and watched humming birds above our heads.  After lunch we headed west, a short ride with a stop at a roadside dinner that serves the best ice cream.  The owner is a Harmonica player and travels to a small town in Idaho named Yellow Pine.  Yellow Pine is home to the annual Yellow Pine Music and Harmonica Festival.  We exchange stories then we are back on the road again. This time we cross the Canadian border into Idaho.  Photo opportunity with the sign welcoming us back into the US, and the sign for Idaho.  A two for one scenario!

Back In the USA

The top section of Idaho is filled with beautiful lakes, mountains, and streams.  A place, that needs time to explore.  Perhaps we will explore in another trip. We head out towards the border of Washington.   We still needed another sign.  Mark that one off the list.  Lush and endless hills, the land of lentils and wheat, and farmland as far as the eye can see.  Traveling through Spokane located on the East side of the state of Washington, towards the border of Oregon.  This sign was tricky, as it was on a bridge, and we had to double back several times, and due to the proximity of the sign, it was not safe to get a picture of it with the kids.  But it still worked out; you just had to imagine the kids standing in front smiling from ear to ear.

Next stop was Pendleton, Oregon, home to the Pendleton Roundup, and a picture of the kids in front of the Rodeo sign.  Pendleton is a quaint western town, where the famous Pendleton Wool Blankets are made, and cowboys come from all over to enter into the rodeo.  Lunch, a little exploring of the area, and we were back on the road toward Idaho.

As we arrived back into Boise, everyone tired, but laughing and talking about all of the wonderful places we had all seen together.  And every step of the way was documented in pictures and Facebooking.  This trip was not only a great memory for our family, but for others who took the journey with us.  We still hear from time to time, how much our followers enjoyed the trip.  And they never left the comforts of their home.

Memories to Last a Lifetime

The kids couldn’t wait to school started in the fall.  They told their account of the trip many times.  They live in Texas and it is getting harder, as they grow up, to spend time with them.  Kids become involved in so many activities, they don’t always have time for grandparents.  But those memories of all the states and country we visited together will always be with them.  And when we are long and gone, they will still think about the time we beat technology, not by doing away with it, but by embracing it.  May your journeys you take be a memory for a lifetime! 


Greta Jenkins

Greta Jenkins is an author, mom, nurse and a community volunteer. She is the author of various articles about home and family life and has been featured in various parenting magazines and newspapers.
Greta Jenkins JenkinsGrandparentingFamily Travel,Grandparents,Making MemoriesBy Robert Brownfield Back in our younger years, an outing with our family or grandparents existed of going to the lake and camping out.  You would explore the woods together, fish, sometimes even boat together.  And most definitely you would gather around a bonfire and exchange...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids