Saturday, June 19, 2021

Fort Robinson Nebraska - Blad Reunion

The 8-hour drive was 100 percent worth it!  Our family had so much fun at the Fort Robinson Blad reunion.  The memories and the fun with family was incredible.  It reminds me that all the spent effort and money and sacrifice that goes into reunions and vacations and family outings is important.  Life is what we make of it and our memories are blessed gifts to our future!  Just looking back on these photos bring me such happiness.  I'm so glad we spent time together doing fun things!
Steve and I had this lovely blue themed 2nd floor room next to the stairwell.

Amara and Lily slept on bunk beds on the 3rd floor.

My Journal Entry:
Monday, June 14

"We're here! Fort Robinson Nebraska! We're staying in 19B, an old 3 story building w/ bedrooms, kitchen, living room, dining, etc.. It's cool! And the State Park around us is beautiful and manicured.  You can see a lot of sky here- no mountains!  So different!  And things are so green!

We've had a good time thus far- a spaghetti dinner together, and FHE which was a total chaotic but FUN time.  We listened to Grandpa Blaine Blad give advice and then split into our Olympic teams and played "Geneopardy" (a trivia-jeopardy-style game w/ Blad genealogy).  Lily's (orange team) won.  My team (light blue) took 3rd.  Steve is team captain for green team and Amara is on that team too."

Let the Blad Olympics begin!  The house in the background is one of the 3 that our reunion rented. There was also a smaller white home that Kirk's family stayed in.

Getting ready for the wet sponge relay

There were great expanses of green space all around.  Plenty of room for all our fun games.

Go Cami!  Our Hanging Donut Chomper Champ!

Winner- Cami - my team captain!

Walking back to our room after a swim at the pool!

Journal Entry:

Tuesday June 15

There's been ticks!  But we're doing good.  Amara found one crawling on her.  I'm thankful to Heavenly Father that I had the thought to spray my skin down with repellant b/c I was in shorts and totally exposed.  Amy flicked 6 ticks off herself at dinner!

Lily won the hula hooping award!  She beat ALL of us, all 48 of us!  YEE HAW!!!

We had a full, fun day!  

  • We made Trent's Hay Bales for breakfast. 
  • For the Family Olympics we did a hula hoop contest, water balloon relay, donut-eating contest, and sponge water relay!
  • For lunch- Nacho Bar
  • Swimming from 1-3pm
  • Self-toured around the state park
  • Hayrack Steak Cookout in the Mountains (where we discovered all the ticks)
  • Hangout/ Play games

The hayrack steak dinner was a beautiful evening ride on a hayrack pulled by a jeep to a picnic area on the mountainside.  The food and portions were so good and generous that we decided to take it home with us.

The Blad clan.  It was so beautiful we asked the driver to stop the jeep so we could take a picture.

This was a fun olympic game- the beachball on your back relay

Layla and Joylynn were on my team and they were so CUTE!

This relay was fun to watch- I was terrible at it. Steve was good at it.  You use a straw to keep a feather in the air and blow it from one side of the room to the other.

There was a nearby lake that some enjoyed fishing and kayaking.

We signed up to go on a jeep tour.  That was a lot of fun.  I think Lily wished she had a hair tie for the ride.  They took us up steep climbs to a vast lookout.

Dad and Deb were in another jeep on the same tour.

You can't tell really well from the picture, but the trail was steep.

Lily and her lapdogs.  They're Colleen and Kurt's.


Guess who won?  That's Super Steve for you!!!

Look at the fancy highchairs of yesteryear!

I thought this table setting had a couple interesting features: the plates are upside down and there were tiny finger bowls of salt and little butter plates for individual place settings.  I love that.

There was a free rodeo every Thursday night.  The sunset was beautiful that night.

Our last day was Friday and we signed up for an early morning trail ride. It was probably the one thing the girls were looking forward to the most.  It was beautiful.  And aren't horses amazing creatures?  They are strong and powerful.  My horse was good, but even so, I was still really saddle sore.

 Such good times! I loved what we saw of Nebraska, too.  It reminds me of how majestic and incredible God is.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Rawlins, Wyoming Overnighter and Old Penitentiary Tour

On our way to Nebraska for the Blad reunion, we stopped for a rest in Rawlins Wyoming, a halfway point.  We got a cheap motel room.  It was OLD.  The place was not much to look at.  Our room had 3 full beds.  Wish Steve and I had tried each bed before choosing the one we chose.  Our bed was the stiffest of the bunch.  Lily's was cushy.  None of the blankets matched. All the furniture and decor seemed to be mismatched pieces probably given away at various yard sales.  I kept spotting little ants coming from a tiny hole near the bathroom door.  The old giant windows were draped with a layer of plastic encasing the windows and the sill. There were lots of dead bugs in that gap.  We kept the curtains closed.  Our room was right on the main road of the town and the big trucks were loud.  But... we did have a TV and we did have a microwave and full size refrigerator and freezer.  That was nice because I had brought frozen food from home so we wouldn't have to go out to eat on Sunday.

The next day, I looked into going on a tour of the old penitentiary just around the corner.  It seemed we had just the right amount of time to go on the tour before we checked out and headed off to Fort Robinson.  Amara and I went a little early to view the museum and Steve joined us for the tour a little later.  Lily was tired and wanted to sleep so we gave her the motel to herself and took lots of pictures to show her.  After we got back she admitted that she wished she had gone on the tour.  She couldn't really sleep anyway.
Amara in front of the "old pen."

I love how Amara is hiding under the sign for this picture!

What a building!

Enjoy a look at a few of the exhibits at the museum...

Hopefully the only time we see Amara behind bars.

This was the disturbing demo of how the Julien Gallows worked.

There was an art gallery displaying artwork done by inmates.  I was very impressed.  Something I learned from going through this museum and tour was that these criminals are not so different from non-criminals.  They have intellect, talents, gifts, lots of good they could contribute to the world.  Their unfortunate choices led them to living in this penitentiary.
This is one of the incredible paintings done by one of the inmates.

Another cool painting from an inmate

Pictures from the Penitentiary Tour

The door that led to the room where the inmates had to give up everything on themselves including their clothing, and put on their striped clothes.

I bought the book that they believe was the diary of this inmate.  It is interesting to me how eloquent his writing is, even if his grammar is poor.  I also like seeing his thoughts and where they lead him.  The thoughts of this criminal hold value in my mind because it puts an honest look into this real person's life, bad choices and good, then I can relate it back to human behavior, including personal behavior.

Our tour guide was excellent, very knowledgable, and  funny.

This is what visitation looked like back then.

The walls look gross and horror-show like because there was a movie filmed there and they wanted the place to look scarier so they "fixed up" the walls to look like that.

This is what the cell block looked like.  the Johnson bar runs along the top of all of the doors and can be locked and unlocked all at once.  It is COLD in there.  We went in the middle of the heat of summer and it was still cold in there.

Showing the Johnson bar.  One inmate used floss or string or something and coupled with gritty toothpaste he over time sawed through the Johnson bar and was able to unlock his cell every night and break into the commissary and steal goods and sell them to other inmates for money.  They did eventually catch him, and they knew it was him because he had so much money in his cell.

A cell

Prison doesn't look like a very enjoyable place to live.

This place is so dark and is not the kind of shower I'd like.  The water was cold, the place was dark and cold.  No thanks.

Kitchen/ Cafeteria

This would be my favorite place in the whole pen.  It was the brightest room and had artwork (painted by inmates), plus it's where you got fed.  The thin tables were set up with one bench all on the same side to keep the peace.  

The art on this wall was one of the two optical illusions.  Depending where you stand in the room it looks like you're on a different side of the tracks.

This is the yard where they would get some outside time.

The gate to the yard

The stairwell to death row.