Summer Family and Travel Update

Louisville, Kentucky
Photo by Amanda Stevens

While I was in Florida watching Atlantis launch, Amanda traveled to Louisville, Kentucky with her dad to see where she was born, and to meet her godmother, Mrs. Sherill.

Mrs. Sherril
Photo by Bob Dockins

Mrs. Sherill was the land lady for Amanda's parents during her early childhood months before they moved to Wyoming. While getting up in age, she's still kicking, doing lawn work, and helping others in her neighborhood. Amanda was very excited to spend some time with her, as she heard many stories about her growing up.

Louisville Slugger: giant baseball bat
Photo by Amanda Stevens

One can't spend time in Louisville without visiting the Louisville Slugger, a major professional baseball bat factory. A giant bat rests against their main building sky high! Amanda also visited Churchill Downs while in the area, home of the Kentucky Derby.

Eric's Graduation
Photo by Amanda Stevens

Late May we traveled to Cheyenne for Amanda's brother, Eric's high school graduation. He graduated form high school with roughly 450 students in the Cheyenne Frontier Days arena. Despite some wind, it was AWESOME.

Emma's Graduation

After a brief visit and some sleep, we traveled to Meeteetse, Wyoming the very next day where my sister Emma graduated from high school in a class of 6. While the class was very small, it was neat to see how personal the ceremony was, with slide shows of each graduate, and memory tables set up in the back to see after the ceremony.

Emma's graduation: siblings

Above: Emma in front, me, brother Matthew, and sister Miranda together at Emma's graduation.

Thermopolis
Photo by Amanda Stevens

We spent some time in my home town, Thermopolis, Wyoming with family.

Thermopolis Hot Spot Car Rally awards

Dad was in the process of finishing up his sandblasted stone awards given out at the Thermopolis Hot Spot Car Rally for different categories at the event. He's been creating these awards annually for a while now, cherished by the participants much more than the usual trophies that collect dust and get tossed eventually. In fact, these durable weather proof treasures look great in a garden if thrown outside. :)

Dad carves Garrett's Name

Uncle Rudy, Aunt Joann and family were also visiting town after Emma's graduation. Dad gave my cousin Garrett a tour of the sand blasting process, starting with cutting out Garrett's choice design on a protective covering over the stone, his name.

After carving out the design from the protective surface, [... top secret process voided here...], and the rock was finished! xD

Garret's final stone

The end result: Garrett on stone!

hike outside of Thermopolis, Wyoming

Dad took Amanda and I on a new hiking trail going through the buffalo pasture and by the river. Only about two miles long or so, the hike was very enjoyable. The view was great as well.

family breakfast

Everyone enjoyed breakfast together the next morning before heading out. Amanda and I left for Colorado. Aunt, Uncle, and cousins left for home. Emma left only a couple days later for Air Guard boot camp (not much time for rest!). On a side note at time of writing, Emma survived and graduated from boot camp, and is now pushing though school! EDIT: I'm still writing this post, and Emma graduated from tech school! Sheesh time flies faster than I can write!

In August, Dad and Pam took a trip to Colorado Springs. I think we may have wore them out. We toured all over of Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods, and neighboring Manitou Springs, exposing them to exotic foods not found in Wyoming (all in one day heh).

Marble, Colorado

The second day we traveled to Marble, Colorado. Marble is famous for their Yule marble, the source of marble used in the Lincoln Memorial, and also the Tomb of the Unknown Solders. Dad spoke of interest in the town for a couple years, and it was a great opportunity to explore a new area of Colorado and finally see the town.

Above: blocks of marble stacked from the query.

Marble, Colorado: horses
Photo by Amanda Stevens

We happened to stumble upon an annual sculpting symposium nestled by the small town. Artists from all over the world gathered together to carve huge blocks of rock all day, sleeping in nearby tents to start again bright and early the next.

It was really neat to see the diverse styles of each artist. A couple who lived in marble, both sculptors, also had unique and beautiful work. The wife (can someone help me fill in her name?) had been working on a set of life sized horses. She had a history of other elegant wild life projects.

Angelic Meditation Chair

Her husband had a knack for creating angelic figures, also fighting with demons, and imagining people's journey to afterlife. Above, he carves an angelic meditation chair. He was also very kind to let us stay under his tent when some intense rain hit.

abstract stone carvings

Another woman traveled from Europe to rough out several designs at the symposium, and travel back later to polish her pieces cut from various types of stone. I enjoyed her mind bending designs.

mud slide in Marble, Colorado

Going back to the intense rain, it caused a very large mud slide, blocking our only way out of Marble! About four feet deep and rather vast, the locals didn't seem to flinch. Apparently it happens almost every year. Within a few minutes, a local excavator arrived to start plowing.

people crowd around at mud slide in Marble, Colorado

The event quickly became the center of attention. We were stuck in a sculpters' paradise, with nothing to eat but local barbecue, and and nothing to drink but beer. It was awful as Dad put it. We were stuck for about 6 hours, and left just in the nick of time before the mud slid again! We made it out though, and had a excellent time overall.

Amanda and Eric at Hell's Half Acre

We traveled back to Thermop the week following our trip to Marble, this time with Eric who hadn't visited my hometown yet. We made sure to stop at Hell's Half Acre, a now closed park, also the alien home planet in the movie, Starship Troopers.

taking a break in an old powerplant

Dad joined us for hike to an old abandoned power plant just outside of town (walking distance from house- small town!). Someone had set up a makeshift hangout spot with old folding chairs. Not bad!

Roland and Trinity
Photo by Amanda Stevens

My older brother Robert and his two awesome kids, Roland and Trinity were visiting. They're growing so fast!

Dad and Trinity on Roundtop Mountain

A few of us took a hiking trip to Roundtop. Dad and Trinity overlook the town of Thermopolis.

Chris carving stone
Photo by Amanda Stevens

One thing I had to get off the chest before summer's end was completing my mother's stone. After she passed away, donating her remains to science, it was something easily put off through college and beyond after receiving her ashes. Getting started was the hard part. The rest was actually quite a joyful experience. I enjoyed taking part in Dad's sandblasting craft (he was a great coach), and blasting my own work in stone.

Amy Stevens stone

The end result turned out well, and brought a relief. The stone is now installed in the cemetery near Canyon Hills Manor, in Thermopolis, Wyoming.

Nelson family
Photo by Miranda Nelson

Our trip back to Colorado finished nicely with a stop to see Miranda, Douglas and kids. Holy cow the kids double in size every time we see them! I think we totally wore out Eric as well as he had blisters on his feet and a jammed finger. We'll have to drag him out again soon if we all get a chance to go somewhere. :)

Wow that was a long blog. It just kept growing as things moved forward. We did a lot this summer!

More shorter updates coming soon...

About Christopher Stevens

Me, wearing a tieChristopher is a web developer/designer who loves renovating and empowering over-sized web projects and exploring the unknown. He is powered by coffee, electrons, and passionate people.

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"To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit."
--Stephen Hawking