Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cousin Camp: Charter Bus Edition

The capstone event of our Ohio Trip was Cousin's Camp, and Bruce and Phoebe were stoked. They were excited about the matching tee-shirts. They were pumped about the mountain of animal crackers, chips, and juice boxes that crowded the living room for a few days leading up to the big event. And even though it was only 24 hours, we packed a lot into that 24 hours. It. was. epic.
 A 56-seat charter bus pulled up to our driveway at 5:30 a.m. After loading the aforementioned mountain of snacks, 30 cousins with various car seats, and my siblings and their spouses, the bus departed. Phoebe sucked a juice box down as soon as we got on the bus; she had been waiting for it all week. Thankfully, there was a potty on the bus.
 Grandma and Grandpa used the mic to welcome the passengers and call a head-count every time we boarded the bus. We passed the time reading books, watching all my siblings' wedding videos, and chatting. Bruce also spent a fair amount of time on the iPod; that's what he had been waiting for all week.
 The first leg of our trip took us to Niagara Falls.The last time we went we had a much smaller party. This time we turned heads with our custom-made blue shirts and the sheer number of our group.
 After checking out the Falls from above, we headed to the Maid of the Mist.
 We suited up for a closer view.
 Phoebe loved getting soaked by the Falls. Bruce, not so much. He stood back and held Grandma's hand.
 Bruce was worried that the river would erode away into the visitor's center. Maybe in another hundred years.
 After checking out the Falls, we found a picnic area and brought out a half-dozen coolers full of food.
 Phoebe fell asleep on the way to the picnic area and slept on the ground while we ate. One of her cousins even stepped on her and she didn't budge. I carried her back to the bus when it was time and she was still sacked. The early start to the day and the excitement over the waterfall and boat ride caught up to her.
 After Niagara Falls, our bus headed to the Sacred Grove, a Mormon historical site where Joseph Smith first saw God and Jesus in 1820. The forest has gravel paths that lead through it. Occasionally there is a sign indicating a remnant of an old fence post or something, but it's pretty bare-bones. It is meant to be that way: it is a sacred place. It isn't known where the exact spot is where Joseph Smith knelt to pray and the vision occurred, but Bruce was determined to find it. He would announce, "It happened right there; I can feel it." A few minutes later, he would see sunlight streaming through the trees and claim that it happened there. I explained to Bruce that it wasn't so important where the exact spot was, it was just important that it happened.
 After our hike through the Grove, we boarded the bus to Palmyra for the Hill Cumorah Pageant. Another stop on Mormon history, the Hill Cumorah is where Joseph Smith found golden plates, which he translated into the Book of Mormon. Every summer, there is a pageant that highlights a few stories from the Book of Mormon and tells Joseph Smith's story in finding it. We gathered for pizza at the bottom of the hill.
Grandpa passed out his LED trinkets: this year, it was fans, sparkly rings, and globes. We played with our light-up toys until it got dark (and Bruce put some more time on the iPod), then the Pageant began. When it was over, we boarded the bus and headed back to Headquarters. The bus was quieter this time: almost everyone's cell phones ran out of power by this point, and sleep was on the docket for most. Bruce and Phoebe knocked out and slept peacefully. I slept for about an hour. We all woke up at 5:30 when the bus dropped us at the end of Grandma and Grandpa's driveway.

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Blogger ellen said...

A chartered bus? Your family knows how to have fun!

3:09 PM  
Blogger Jon said...


2:57 AM  
Blogger Mercedes said...

I really loved your pictures and reading this story! My family did a similar thing last year for our family reunion and it was a blast. My mother set everything up from the charter bus quote to the family t-shirts. All the little kids had so much fun being on the bus together, looks like your gang did too!

4:41 PM  

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