Sunday, September 21, 2008

Douthat "Dow-thit"

We just got back from a super fun three day weekend with our friends the Turners, Wadleys, Thiriots, and Seldens. We started out on Friday, when we caravaned with everyone south on I-81 and we stopped in at the Route 11 potato chip factory. We got to sample all of their flavors, the clear favorite being their enchilada seasoned ones. We saw how the potatoes get sliced, fried, seasoned and bagged, and even got to taste the freshest ones. The factory was small, and I'm sure the woman wanted to lock the door when she saw 11 kids with 22 little hands barreling towards the place, but hey, the sign said free tours and samples. Who can pass that up? It was a great pit stop and place to stretch our legs.
The factory was on our way down to Natural Bridge, Virginia, a place we have been wanting to go to experince their Animal Safari. Friends had been telling us about how you can feed the wild animals from your car, and we couldn't wait to take the kids. You drive through with these feed buckets and roll your windows down to let llamas, ostriches, elk, camels, zebras, buffalo, antelope, and other sorts of deer and cow looking things that I can't pronounce, come to feed from you. It was incredible to be so close to some of these beautiful animals! They have become really smart with the buckets, though and many of the animals had a "system" to eat while scooping to the side with their heads and trying to pry the bucket loose from your hands, which was very easy to do from the kids. Needless to say, or car was scattered with feed pellets and slimy with drool when we finished, but it was well worth it! After the drive through, they have a place where you can also go to feed things like goats and pigs, and even giraffes! And there were many unique animals to look at like kangaroos, tigers, and monkeys. It was a very neat place to go, and we can't wait to go back!This was Gavin's face just before he freaked out because he noticed his window was open. Not a fan of the big animals! Eventually he did feed a deer looking thing and an emu.

The camel and the Turners car

From the safari we headed up to our lodge in the mountains in Douthat, Virginia. I can't believe I've lived here all my life and have never even heard of this place! What a hidden gem! We arrived at our spacious lodge and settled in, and cooked up a yummy hot dog dinner. There was plenty of room for the kids to run and let loose and get out all of that energy. Jeremy's favorite part of the trip was after we put all the kids to bed and could enjoy some "adult time" talking and playing games until the wee hours of the morning. The next day we went down and walked around the beautiful lake and then attended the "Turkey-Capers" class that one of the rangers led. I'm not sure the kid that taught the class was all that knowledgable about turkeys and it was hard to understand him with his backwards Virginia accent, but the kids loved making the turkey craft and gobbled all the way home.

Our home away from home The kids with Ranger John and their turkeys Gavin and Coleman- Best Buds
The Princess Bride hill and everyone before the race down Eight of the "big" kids, three were infants

Later that afternoon we returned to the lake and we all rented paddle boats. This was my favorite part of the trip because it was so serene (well maybe until we got there...). Cameron sat on the back while Gavin steered us and Mason did what he does best- sack out- as if he was doing any of the peddaling! We also played a bit of bumper boats with our dear friends, and just soaked in the splendor of the place. We were practically the only people there and we almost had it to ourselves. We couldn't have asked for better weather.

Can you believe him?
Our crazy group! After a bit more exploring we went home and had dinner and made s'mores in the fireplace because for some reason you aren't allowed to have open fires, and then the kids went to bed and we had a repeat of the previous night. Then we were up bright and early and headed home the next day. We definitely call the trip a success and hope it is the first of many! Brooke and Travis, thank you so much for planning and inviting us! We are indeed grateful for such amazing friends!Mmmm, s'mores! The whole gang minus sleeping beauty Mary and baby Luke


Kristen said...

It looks great Erika! That was so much fun. I was sitting upstairs earlier just laughing as I was reminiscing about "What if...". What a great weekend.

Shelese said...

That is the coolest thing ever! What an awesome trip. Man, that zebra face in your car.... that's AWESOME! I can't get over it. Too too cool!

Mandi said...

I knew you would be right on top of this...way to go! Your pictures all turned out great. You may see my post next month sometime. :)

Heather said...

Sounds like a load of keep it up!

Brooke said...

I'm not even going to write a blog entry on our trip. I'll just post a link to yours. :) I'm so glad everything worked out. What a blast we had. We definitely need to make this an annual trip, but would love to add another day. Are you guys free next September?

Corri said...

I really like living in California, but you seem to have so many fun adventures that it makes me jealous! We need to come there sometime!