Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chico Photos on Picasa

In case anyone has been suffering from photographic deprivation,
there are 700+ pictures on the Chico Trip Picasa site:

The Rafting, Tuesday Pinata, and More Chico albums are compiled by
my mother from pictures taken by Ron, Kathy and Becki Metz.

The Thursday Evening album is the entire set of Tom & Leslie Donnelly's group photos.

Laura and I also have albums from our cameras.
Mine are mostly on the way to and from Chico.
The Beartooth Highway is spectacular.

Let me know if you have pictures you'd like to add.

Warning: Bison in mirror are closer than they appear.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thursday evening pictures

Leslie Donnelly posted pictures from Thursday so we can all download them:
Downloading may be easier with Picasa and a gmail account, which are both free from Google.
The picture resolution is pretty good, but if there are a few pictures you'd like at full resolution,
let Renee or I know.

It was miraculous to have a family photo session with only one set of cameras.
Tom & Leslie did a fantastic job.

I had a great week at Chico, but it went by way too fast.
Thank you to everyone who came, and special thanks to Leslie & Tom for the pictures.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Final Countdown!!

Hey guys! Chico is almost upon us! Just a few super last minute reminders.
There are only a few places to eat near Chico, and most of those are touristy and expensive, so you will want to stock up on some groceries before you get there. Good places to do that are: Livingston, if you're coming from the East, Bozeman, if you're coming from the NorthWest and Gardiner if you're coming from the SouthWest. There are groceries available in Emigrant and Pray the two closest towns to Chico, but they are much more expensive than what you would find in a larger town.

Chico Cancellation Policy
If you need to change or cancel your room it must be done 48 hours in advance or you will be charged an extra fee. Call the front desk at (406) 333-4933.

Check In & Info
Check In is at the main lodge and starts at 3pm. You will need to have the name of the reservation ready as well as the State on your license plate. You will receive a welcome packet in your room with the map, schedule of events, general info and some fun goodies, compliments of your Chico Trip Executive Team!

In case you were wondering where the Packing Blog Post went it's hiding here! Also, it can be cool up in Montana so don't forget a sweater!

We are looking forward to seeing all of you SOON! Drive/Fly Safely!
Here's some traveling music for you!

Big Sky or Bust!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What to Eat Post 1

So, we've mostly worked out how we're all getting there and where we're going to sleep but what are we all going to eat!? Well there are a few options. This post is about what meals are already planned and food that can be found right there at Chico, there will be a following post about where to buy groceries before you get here.

Planned Meals
First, there are a couple of meals already planned where we can all come together and eat as a family. 
  1. Sunday Dinner, Daniel & Renee are hosting a Pizza Party. 
  2. Tuesday Dinner Potluck, MaRae King is providing ground beef for Tacos, the Rausch family is bringing Beans and Sauerkraut, and the Wolf family is bringing a Garden Salad.
  3. Thursday we will all enjoy a fancy dinner in celebration on Renee & Daniel's 10 years of marriage. 
There is a Poolside Grille  open for lunch and dinner and the full menu (see below) is also served in the Saloon. (both are located around the hot springs pools)

There is also a formal dining room which serves dinner and is storied to have AMAZING food. Reservations are highly recommended by the resort. All of the tasty produce comes from the gardens right there at Chico. The menu is as follows.

For more information check out the website at:

Big Sky Or Bust

Monday, June 13, 2011

Packing List to the Rescue!

Agonizing about what to pack? Afraid you might forget something? Fear not, we have a packing list! Just click on each page (individually) to make them bigger, click print on your browser and then use both pages to ensure you don't forget anything! We can't wait to see you there! (if you need help making them print full page, just e-mail or give me a call at 580.370.8535)
*Just a few notes on what to NOT FORGET: Lawn chairs will come in especially handy for those outdoor meals, Flashlights will be useful for walking about Chico after sundown, and Bug spray (also known as Insect Repellent) will make sure you and your children don't get carried away by mosquitoes the size of black hawks. The rest of this stuff is totally optional. (but please, please bring soap!) Happy Packing.

Big Sky or Bust! 

You are now entering the Twilight Zone!

Just when you thought it was safe to leave for a relaxing vacation, lured by the prospect of hot springs, massages and leaving the kids with grandma, you decide to dig a little deeper into the hotel's past and find...GHOST STORIES!!! (As if bonding with family wasn't scary enough)

Renee and Daniel didn't tell you there were ghosts that haunted the halls of the Main Lodge. Perhaps they are in on the evil plot to ensnare more innocent guests or perhaps they are simply victims like the rest of us. Little did we know that this will be a vacation we'll never forget.

If you would like to read more about the ghosts that haunt Chico Hot Springs check out the link here but beware, you are now entering, the Twilight Zone.*

*This blog post is most effective when read in your best creepy announcer voice while shining a flashlight on your face. To make this a family friendly affair and as an added effect have your children stand around you and let off bloodcurdling screams at various intervals while you read it.  

P.S. I don't really know what the Twilight Zone has to do with ghost stories, it just seemed like a fun idea at the time to heighten the hilarity...I mean, horror, of it all.
Big Sky or Bust! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Info on Yellowstone and Montana Kids.

Hey Guys! We're getting down to two weeks! Here are a few links and some info to gear up for Yellowstone so you can have an idea of what you might want to see before we get there and all head off on grand adventures! 

First, you can find the Yellowstone National Park website here:

More detailed general info can be found in the Yellowstone Trip Planning Guide here:

The Entrance Fee for a private, noncommercial automobile is $25 which gives you a 7 day pass, for both Yellowstone and Grand Teton national park. 

The National Park Trips website is a little bit more interactive and includes information on creating an itinerary, fun stops, routes to Yellowstone, important stops around the park and both informational and fun maps like the one below:

Disney Family, surprisingly enough, also has some great ideas to get kids of every age ready to tour Yellowstone. They include information on trails, places to eat and stops that can accommodate all ages along with some fun activities like the word search below. Check it out!

Print off this word search to get your kids excited to visit Yellowstone!
Montana Kids
Since we will also be having fun in Montana, parents might want to check out for fun facts and activities relating to the state of Montana. What fun would vacation be if we didn't learn something! 

Big Sky Or Bust!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gear Up for Montana: The Next Chapter

So, those illustrated books about Montana were pretty cool, but what about us more advanced readers? Part two in the Gear Up for Montana book list is for kids hooked on chapter books (generally grades 4-8 but it just depends on the unique skills of your reader. If you have younger readers it might be fun to read some together.) So, here they are: (again, let us know if you have any additions, suggestions or comments.) 

The Growling Bear Mystery (The Boxcar Children Mysteries #61) by Gertrude Chandler WarnerWhile on vacation in Yellowstone the Aldens search for an old cabin that holds some hidden gold and run into trouble along the way.

The Mystery at Yellowstone National Park (Real Kids, Real Places) by Carole Marsh 

"Christina, Grant, Mimi and Papa snowmobile into Yellowstone National Park to encounter mud pots, geysers, bison, beauty, bears, volcanic action, and a mystery of historic proportions!"

The Hunted (National Parks Mystery Series, 5) by Gloria Skurzynski"The Landon family has come to Montana's Glacier National Park to help figure out why grizzly cubs are disappearing, but for 12 year old Jack, the real mystery is his sister Ashley's strange behavior...what was she doing in the woods alone so early in the morning? and why did she lie to their parents? A chain of heart-pounding events bring Jack and Ashley face-to-face with an enraged mama grizzly and they find themselves running for their livesas they become the hunted."

The Absolutely True Story...How I Visted Yellowstone with the Terrible Rupes by Willo Davis Roberts
"Twelve-year-old Lewis thinks he's the luckiest kid around when he's invited to go to Yellowstone with his next door neighbors the Rupes, who eat junk food, don't assign chores, and seem to do exactly what they want. He even gets his twin sister, Alison, invited so that she can take care of the younger Rupes. Yet the freedom gradually loses its appeal as the days pass. Mr. Rupe's ineptness in driving a vehicle this large is downright scary, Mrs. Rupe leaves all the child care to Alison, the entire family appears uninterested in any of the sights along the way, and the motor home seems to be attracting two menacing men who follow them cross-country."

Wolf Stalker (National Parks Mystery Series #1, Yellowstone) by Gloria Skurzynski "In this fast-paced adventure, the Landon family trails a wounded wolf in Yellowstone National Park. The park is abuzz with rumors of a wolf attack. Meanwhile, a killer stalks the woods. Unaware of the danger, Jack and Ashley are more concerned about rebellious teenage foster child, Troy Haverson. From the opening moments at Old Faithful through 48 action-packed hours, the tension builds: What is lodged in the wolf's radio collar? And what is the meaning of the Native American story of Sin-a-Wavi? "

Eye of the Great Bear by Bill Wallace "Dubbed a "coward" by the bullies in his school, Bailey will prove his courage when his family moves from Texas to Montana and he faces down a grizzly bear in order to save his own sister, in a turn-of-the-century adventure."

Montana: Portraits of the States by Jonatha A. BrownA factual look at Montana as a state for those readers who love knowing the minute details.

Montana: The Treasure State (World Almanac Library of the States) by Kris Herschmann From the World Almanac Library of the States, another book of facts about Montana for those insatiable fact finders.

More than Petticoats: Remarkable Montana Women by Gayle C. Shirley (young adult)Stories of fourteen remarkable women from Montana's past. A a look at some of the history of the area and of the women who helped shape the state. 

Starlight Comes Home (The Starlight Books #6) by Janet Muirhead Hill (young adult)"Now a teen, Miranda finds there is more to life than her horse, but nothing as important as knowing Starlight, her black stallion, is safe and at home."

Coyote Stories of the Montana Salish Indians
"Here are traditional Salish Indian coyote stories, recorded by Salish elders and illustrated by Indian artists from the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana.
Written at a fourth-grade level, these legends are meant to be enjoyed by people of all ages - from three to eighty-three - just as they have been for generations among the Salish, who often gathered together to listen to these stories during the cold, dark Montana winters."

River of No Return (Choose Your Own Adventure #178) by Vince Lahey"You're on a whitewater rafting trip along Montana's Anacasta River. Plunging through the rapids in a rubber raft is exciting--and dangerous. There's a reason why the Anacasta is called the River of No Return. Go one way, and you'll have a safe trip down the river. Go another, and you'd better be wearing your life vest!"

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gear Up for Montana: Picture This

Hey Chico Trip Parents! It's a little over a month until we convene on Chico Hot Springs and what better way to get the kids excited for Montana than reading about it! (I'm serious, reading is fun!) These books aren't required reading, of course, but if your library has them you might just learn a little about the land we will be exploring this summer. Most of them aren't fact-books, but stories that use Montana and Yellowstone as a backdrop, so they should provide entertainment as well as learning. We have compiled a few different lists for different reading levels, including one for adults that we will release in the coming weeks. This first list is full of picture books for kids who don't read yet or are just learning. Please let us know if you have any suggestions or comments about this, or subsequent reading lists. 

B is for Big Sky Country: A Montana Alphabet by Sneed B. Collard
This is an educational book about Montana told in pictures while also teaching the alphabet. It has in detail explanations of each fact for older kids that may want to sit in, or help read. "In B is for Big Sky Country readers will find out where the Going-to-the-Sun Road really takes you and what city the copper capitol dome calls home."

Erick's Hungry Winter by Lois L. Sando
"A beautifully illustrated, tenderly told story about a young elk and his family foraging for food during a snowy winter in the Rocky Mountains. While searching for his dinner, little Erick Elk meets five new animal friends and discovers how they survive the worst of winter and in the process learns about patience, compassion and when to give and take a helping hand." 

The Cowboy ABC by Chris Demarest 
An alphabet picture book about cowboy life on the range that teaches letters, landscapes and prairie vocabulary using watercolor illustrations. 

Cowboy Country by Ann Herbert Scott 
"A genial old-time buckaroo takes a boy who's never met a real cowboy before' to his ranch, saddles him a pinto, and takes him out on the range overnight, sharing his know-how and showing him the landscape." 

How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague
"Wallace Bleff, who is reporting to his class about his summer vacation, tells of his travels over summer vacation. He relates how en route to his Aunt Fern's house, he is kidnapped by cowboys, he then joins the rawhide crowd; learns to rope, ride, and build fires; and becomes a "first-rate cowhand." In celebration of the end of the roundup, Aunt Fern invites Wallace and new friends to a barbecue. When a cattle stampede nearly ruins the party, the young hero saves the day."

First Dog: Unleashed in the Montana Capitol by Jessica Solberg
A little history, a few lessons on government, and a whole lot of tail wagging, barking, and squirrel chasing accompany Jag, Gov. Brian Schweitzer's border collie, as he makes himself at home in the state capitol.

Torosaurus and Other Dinosaurs of the Badlands Digs in Montana
"Boneheaded, duck-billed, and armored, what a display of dinosaur types! These animals lived in forests that are now the dry plains of Montana. Dig up facts about how these animals lived in prehistoric times."

M is for Montana (ABC Series) by Gayle C. Shirley 
"In this full-color book, each illustration portrays several elements indigenous to Montana that begin with the accompanying letter. 'A is for antelope. Keen eyes alert the antelope to danger far away. Amazing speed helps him escape from animals that prey.'"

Big Sky Or Bust!

Friday, May 20, 2011

General Info

Hey Chico Trippers! Just a note with some general info about Chico, so you can start getting the lay of the land and thinking about what you need to plan for. 

  • Weather up in Montana for the end of June averages between the mid 70s to the 40s (the resort website says 73/44). Be prepared for nice weather bust also some chilly temps, Chico's elevation is 5,300ft after all. It's probably a good idea to have a sweater/sweatshirt or light jacked around especially in the morning and evenings. (also check out the weather app to the right for the current weather conditions at Chico) 
Time Zone
  • Chico is in the Mountain Time Zone (see above for the Chico Clock to see what time it is there) which means most of us will either gain or lose a few hours. Just be sure to change your clocks over when you hit the border. 
  • Chico has internet access in the following areas. 
    • Wireless:
      • Main Lodge Lobby
      • The Chico Saloon
      • Lower Lodge Rooms (Suites 405, 406 & 410)
    • High speed Ethernet connections
      •  Warren Wing (Room 114)
      • Fisherman's Lodge (Room 802. 803, 808)
      • Convention Center. 
Hot Springs Pool
  • Chico Hot Springs has two open air mineral hot springs pools which are open from 7am to 11pm daily. The larger swimming pool has an average temperature of 96 degrees Fahrenheit and the smaller soaking pool has an average temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Here's a link to the hot springs page for more info.
  • I know it's a long trip, and especially when traveling with small children laundry is sometimes a necessity. For those of you without laundry capabilities, Chico does not have laundry facilities, but there are some down the road at Emigrant for when those emergencies arise. 
Big Sky or Bust!!

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    Where's the beef?

    This is Daniel passing on a note from Marae offering to bring beef for a dinner for all of us:

     Since I am driving to Chico I will have room to bring stuff.

    For me:  the main point of the trip is to spend time with family and all the kids to get to know each other, what better way/time than eating together.

    so...   I want to bring enough meat to have a cook out together at least one night or two, I could provide all the hamburger and steak or roast.  I could also bring our ice cream makers :)  can't have a family get together without homemade ice cream, especially in the summer.  Someone else can provide some sides (potluck).   It would sure be fun to eat dinners together.

    I might even bring a pinata for the kids.


    Chico currently has a “no outside fires” policy, so we are checking into the possibility of a grill for cooking hamburgers, otherwise we'll figure something out. There isn’t a set day for the cookout yet.  If it doesn’t happen Monday, it’ll probably be Tuesday.....

    This picture is a reminder for the Arizona crew to bring warm clothes.  
    It was late May, and Yellowstone can be surprisingly cold in the middle of summer.

    Big Sky or Bust!

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    Love Bites

     One of the main reasons this trip got stared was to celebrate Renee and Daniel’s ten years of marriage! So, in honor of them and their enduring love for one another we are hosting a dinner on their anniversary, Thursday June 30th  in the Knowles room of the lodge (more on this in a later post). This is an all expenses paid*, come as you are dinner! 

    We ask for your help in making this dinner super special for Renee and Daniel! We have a choice of two adult entrées for the meal and wanted to give you the opportunity to pick your own. Please read the descriptions below and let us know which entrée sounds super yummy to you! There is also one choice for the children’s meal for those ten and under, so no response is needed for kids, unless there is an allergy concern.

    Both adult dinners feature fresh vegetable medley, Chef’s choice of starch, tossed Chico Garden Salad with house dressing, Chico breadsticks and fresh baked bread & butter. So, without further ado, your mouthwatering dinner choices:

    Choice One, Beef Tenderloin
    Choice One: Beef Tenderloin, cooked to medium. This is an 8 oz. filet mignon lightly rubbed with toasted fennel and coriander, grilled, served over a Fonseca Port reduction, lightly finished with gorgonzola.

    Choice Two: Pork Tenderloin, served with polenta and apple chutney.

    *Alcohol is not included with the dinner, so please bring some extra cash if you are of age and would like to purchase a beverage from the bar. 

    Children’s Dinner: Roast Beef Plate. Sliced roast beef served with mashed potatoes and Chef’s choice of vegetables. The dinner also includes tossed Chico Garden Salad with house dressing, and fresh baked bread & butter.

    Please reply with your choice of adult entrée by May 30th
    We look forward to having you join us for the celebration of Renee and Daniel’s ten years of marriage! May they have many more happy years together! 


    If you signed up for a reservation with Renee and Daniel and have not called Chico and changed your reservation over to your credit card number, please let me know and I can help you get that switched over soon.

    Also here are the current lists of those going on the rafting trip. If you would like to join us there are spots still available for both trips. (We are really close to having the 20% discount on both trips so pressure your friends to come along too!)

    White Water:
    ·                     Alicia Rovey
    ·                     Karina
    ·                     Carsten
    ·                     Jonathan Rovey
    ·                     Nathan Rausch
    ·                     Kathy Rausch
    ·                     Samuel
    ·                     Abigail
    ·                     Joel
    ·                     Daniel Rovey
    ·                     Renee Rovey
    ·                     Angela Ramnanan
    ·                     Naveen Ramnanan 
    ·                     Tim Wolf
    ·                     Sandy Wolf
    ·                     Ashley Wolf
    ·                     Stephanie Wolf
    ·                     Matthew Wolf

    Scenic Rafting:
    ·                     Renee Rovey
    ·                     Wonga Wolf
    ·                     Olivia Wolf
    ·                     David Wolf
    ·                     Liam Ramnanan
    ·                     Matthew Rovey
    ·                     Trevor
    ·                     Leah
    ·                     Cindy Rovey
    ·                     Ron Rovey
    ·                     Ruth Helen
    ·                     Nathan Rovey
    ·                     Nicole Rovey
    ·                     Amanda
    ·                     Emelia
    ·                     Seth Baker
    ·                     Kameryn Baker

    Big Sky or Bust!