Today was another driving day. We got up early in Glendive, MT and hit the road after having breakfast in the hotel. We had a full 10 hours of driving ahead of us and wanted to get it behind us quickly. I drove all day yesterday, so Tammy took the wheel today. While I spent all day on I-94, she spent all day on smaller state highways going down roads that seemed to stretch on into infinity with a perfectly straight path. This was boring stuff.

I got in the back with Mazie and we decided to watch one of the movies on the new iPod. I had purchased some new kids movies for the trip. Dumbo was one of them. I vaguely remember watching Dumbo when I was a kid and thought it was pretty cool. After watching it today I’m tempted to delete it off of iTunes.

Seriously, have you watched Dumbo lately? Watch it yourself before you have your kids watch it. In an hour this children’s classic teaches some less than valuable lessons. First, we start of with a whole-hearted reinforcement that if you are different you will be laughed at, picked on and ridiculed. The movie is completely over-the-top on this.

After starting with this, the characterization of the circus that Jumbo, Dumbo’s mother, is in is so backwards as to be offending. She is whipped and then caged for protecting her baby elephant? And there is no backstory here on how horrible and bad that is. Oh, and then it gets better. We learn when Dumbo and his mouse friend accidentally drink a bunch of alcohol that that is really funny!_ Hey kids, go get drunk!_ It’s hilarious!

Now, we start the highlight of the whole movie, the 5-minute pink elephant drunk hallucination scene. I mean really, forget about watching The Wall. Just fire up this doozy. I encourage you to make sure you are flatly sober since anything else would likely result in you hiding under your bed shaking in fear.

For its final touch Disney introduces you to the four crows that help Dumbo figure out that he can fly. Here we have black crows, that are wearing fedoras and other garish hats, sucking on cigars and doing everything they can to invoke black imagery. Wow!

If you, like me, remember Dumbo as this nice movie about an awkward baby elephant with ears so big that he can fly, I offer the following advice. Watch the first 5 minutes, and then the last 7 minutes. Done. Cut everything in the middle.

The movie aside, we had a nice drive and got into Glacier National Park just before dinner. As we pulled close to Glacier we realized that Mazie has had a different understanding of Glacier National Park. She immediately asked to go to the swings. She wanted to go swing for a while. And hey, we had driven all this way to go the park after all! Let’s swing. This presented Tammy and I the challenge of explaining to a nearly 3 year old that a National Park wasn’t the same as a park at home, and there certainly weren’t any swings here.

We had a nice dinner and got checked into our cabin. We are 10 feet off of McDonald Creek right where it empties into Lake McDonald. The water is sparkling clear. The mountains are beautiful. I’m looking forward to exploring, although Mother Nature looks like she isn’t going to cooperate and is sending cold and rain.

Jamie Thingelstad @jthingelstad

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