Quest for the West Aug 2 - 8 with PICS *Complete Trip Report*

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by tksbaskets, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Morning on our own with a breakfast buffet
    Woke up and went down to our private room for a nice breakfast buffet (served from 7 am to 9 am) Daniel and Landon were there the entire time. DS1 never did make it down but his loving parents grabbed him two muffins. One muffin actually made it to his room. OK DH had a craving for a yummy poppyseed muffin and wasn't responsible for his actions. DS2 enjoyed the buffet with us. Scrambled eggs with melted cheese, link sausage, muffins, pastry, and pancakes. Cold cereal too. Juice, milk, coffee and tea. I of course asked for and received Diet Pepsi ;)

    We went to visit the Jackson Hole Museum right behind our hotel. VERY interesting to young and old alike. We arrived after 1000 (after DS1 consumed his muffin) and only had about 45 minutes until we met our ABD group for lunch. We really needed more time here. I think for our entire family the entry fee was $9.00. Don't let it's humble exterior deter you!
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    We all recommend spending time at this museum for part of your 'free time'.

    Met in the lobby of the Wort at 11:15 for our lunch at the Jackson Hole Playhouse. We lingered a bit waiting for all the families to arrive and finally left without a family. They had tried to squeeze in the Snow King festivities and didn't allow enough time.

    Lunch at Jackson Hole Playhouse
    One of the aspects of the trip we enjoyed the most was the exclusivity of our events. Our ABD group was the only group having lunch at the playhouse.

    We received a bit of history of the playhouse. All the people working there were singers/actors who also served in the restaurant. It was very enjoyable and delicious. Like the boot glasses?
    We ate in the saloon:
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    While we were eating lunch the cast would break out in song! All had really nice voices. Here is our waitress Mallory who was also playing one of the leads in their production of Grease.

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    Now as a mother of a teen I about died (in a good way) when Mallory broke into 'Crazy' which is one of my favorite Patsy Kline songs and started to sing it to my sons. DS2 took it pretty well. DS1 turned 15 shades of red and hid his face! I captured the moment on video for posterity. Can't wait to pull that out later...:rotfl:I then had a discussion about the importance of not taking life too seriously (for all who remember Stripes the immortal words of Sgt. Hulka, "lighten up Francis") The next time he was the object of a love song he was much more congenial!

    OK - remember the pickle request? Well DS2 did indeed receive a pickle with his burger. Landon had gone and purchased a jar to be shared by all. He even checked in with DS2 to see if he liked it. Might I recommend the sweet potato fries???? YUMMMMM-a-Licious! Our lunch started with salad and rolls followed by our entree selection (when Landon took our order the day before). HUGE PORTIONS.

    Beef sandwich for me (I didn't eat the yummy bun):
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    DH and DS2 had buffalo burgers, DS1 a regular burger. Here is DH's lunch entree:
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    DH was the object of our finale song. After my speech to our son he was a great sport! Here is my DH setting a good example of being able to laugh at yourself:
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    After ordering a 'little' portion of chocolate moose we needed to go back to the Wort to get ready for our rafting adventure!

    We gave the Jackson Hole Playhouse :thumbsup2:thumbsup2:thumbsup2:thumbsup2 (out of 4)

    NEXT UP: ABD hits the white water
     
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  3. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! I was just posting day 2 and am now off to do part II. Thanks for taking the time to read it. Hope you enjoy the rest :goodvibes
     
  4. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Whoa! That lunch just looks like a ton of fun! And glad DH was such a good sport. And you went rafting after that? I'd be afraid I'd sink after a lunch like that! ;)

    Still loving this report! You're a photojournalist after my own heart!

    Sayhello
     
  5. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Disney Difference aka 'Why do we pay big bucks for ABD?'

    Did I mention that I'm usually the one planning our trips? One of the HUGE advantages of this trip for me was the assurance of knowing ABD has check out all the contracted excursions. We met in the lobby dressed and ready for our rafting adventure. We were met outside the lobby by a bus (think school bus) to take us to our 'put in' area. It was about a 40 minute bus ride but very scenic. We did make a quick stop at the Barker-Ewing office and were able to rent water shoes if needed. We also picked up a few people (about 8) to take them to the rafting spot. They were not with our group in the rafts. Plenty of time to apply sun screen on the bus!

    Equipment needed/suggested: Water shoes or shoes with a back. Lots of Keen shoes and water shoes. NO flip flops. My guys wore t-shirts. Most families had water shirts (material that was quick dry) so you wouldn't be rubbed by the life vests. I brought along my trusty Olympus Stylus 790SW which is a nice little water and shock proof digital camera for the excursion.

    Here is my family ready to shoot the rapids:
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    DH and I have done quite a bit of rafting back in the day (OK, when we were young and didn't have the boys yet) We were really happy with the quality of the Snake River. The river moved right along and the rapids were challenging enough to be fun but not so much I was a-feared for the life of my kids :) The scenery was BREATHTAKING. Here a are just a few to whet your appetite:
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    Ian was our guide and was quite pleased with our group. He had had a morning excursion with 'lilly dippers' which is raftin' lingo for they didn't put their paddles in the water with much oomph. Our boys were in the front. When Ian said 'all forward' the guys dug in and we followed. Ian said it was great that the raft actually lurched forward when we paddled. All puffy chested our group of adventurers paddled like we meant it!

    All forward!
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    The Snake River this day was a mix of class II and III rapids. The biggest being 'The Big Kahuna' There were two industrious companies that were kind enough to take our picture shooting this rapid. I was happy to cough up $80 for the CD of the images and $25 for a DVD clip. Both were waiting for us when we got home. I was quite pleased with both. The DVD had the clip and then had it in slow motion with 'Wipe out' playing. Don't you think these are priceless?? The look on my guys' faces says it all.
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    Wahoo!
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    Everyone still in the raft and ready for the next wave:
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    HOKEY SMOKES!!!!
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    DSs both fell into the raft (go team) and DS2 was still paddling!
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    Those brave enough did have the opportunity to hop over the side and 'swim' in the Snake River. Everyone but the moms took Ian up on it. The water was chilly. Luckily the day was just beautiful and the gang that decided to go swimming warmed up back in the raft.

    Here are the guys with Ian at the end of our journey. both sons proclaimed this the highlight of their trip.

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    So we commenced our first 'hike'. It was a good 15 minute walk up hill to the bus. At the end of the hike we were greeted by Landon and Daniel with bottled water and towels. We all were excited and enjoyed the bus ride back to the Wort. Daniel explained our agenda for the next day before we got off the bus.

    We showered and then headed to The Merry Piglet for dinner. It featured Tex-Mex food and a fun atmosphere. We had about a 20 minute wait to be seated. The chips and salsa were delish! (Notice the empty basket) We ordered the appetizer sampler and with that and the chips we probably didn't need dinner entrees. We ordered them none the less. We would recommend this to you for dinner on your own.
    Here we are (aka 'the thirsty family')
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    Breakfast on day 3 was early! We needed to have our bags packed and outside the room at 0715 so we didn't stay out late. We were informed that our next two stops did NOT have television. The boys headed back to their rooms for an ESPN fix. DH and I wandered around town and he purchased a fine hat. We turned in fairly early. Did I mention we had chocolate on our pillows with the turn-down service?? YUM again!

    Next up: Yellowstone Journey
     
  6. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    It's a mutual admiration society! I loved your SWS trip report. :goodvibes

    I'm glad you are following along with us. No worries about sinking like a stone after lunch! The life jackets were quite sturdy ;)
     
  7. Gwene65

    Gwene65 <font color=deeppink>Minnie Brown<br><font color=b

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    This trip report is great! The pictures are top notch and your descriptions make me want to go on this adventure; and you're only on day 2!!


    Can't wait for more.
     
  8. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Hi Gwene65! Thank you for your kind words :goodvibes I'm having fun re-living our trip. Plenty more to go. Just wait until you hear what happened to my camera on the next day :scared1:

    I highly recommend this adventure! Hope you enjoy the rest of my trip report.
    TK
     
  9. SLK1

    SLK1 DIS Veteran

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    Best trip report I've read by far!!! You're an awesome story-teller, and the pictures of the raft trip are excellent. I have been contemplating this trip with my daughter, and you just might have sold me by your trip report alone. If I book, I will tell them to give YOU the commission! Can't wait for more stories!
     
  10. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Aren't you sweet :goodvibes I'm glad you are enjoying my report. I write in a journal each day when we are on vacation so the memories stay fresh. I think you and your daughter would really enjoy this adventure. There were kids of all ages on our trip and they all seemed to love it! More tomorrow.

    My pillow is calling and I have to work tomorrow. More tomorrow night I hope!

    TK
     
  11. kayla87

    kayla87 Mouseketeer

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    I'm so glad I stumbled across this! Your report makes me miss Wyoming; I'll just have to experience it through your pictures! I can't wait to read more :thumbsup2
     
  12. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Thanks! It is beautiful country. I should be posting day 3 tonight. I'm glad you are along for the ride. :goodvibes
     
  13. brewcrew

    brewcrew Mouseketeer

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    This was one of the trips I wanted to take! You are doing a great job! Ae you going on an ABD next year?
     
  14. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Welcome brewcrew! If money were no object we'd go on another one next year. Alas, the boys are off to college and we are 'normal' people. We are hoping in 2011 we can go on the ABD to Ireland...OK to be perfectly honest *I* am hoping we can go then. ;)

    Off to let you all know about Day 3!
     
  15. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    Up bright and early to have our bags outside of our room by 0715. Our breakfast was again buffet style with bacon for the breakfast meat. All the other choices were about the same. Here is a shot of our private room for meals at the Wort:
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    Today was our first encounter with our coach transport and our driver Tim. Both were great. DH and I had told our sons that they could listen to their iPods on the bus but could NOT play their game systems. My 'cause I said so' talk included the fact that dad and I did not pay big bucks for them to drive through this beautiful country whilst their heads were in their laps playing games. With their iPod they could listen to music of their choice while still looking about. To each family their own but this was our 'deal'.

    ***the only disappointment of our journey and NOT Disney's fault***
    We boarded the bus at 8:15 am and were on our way to the Grand Tetons. As we drove by the Jackson Hole airport I decided to snap a photo. Hmm...I didn't hear the shutter click. Hmmm...I must not have turned it on....YIKES...my Canon Rebel digital was DEAD. Not nearly dead...clearly dead. :eek: I spent a frantic 20 minutes changing out batteries (both fully charged) and swapping compact flash cards to no avail. Everything short of dancing on my head. A quick internet search on my Treo affirmed my fears - the camera was HOSED. Guess there is a little internal fuse that blows. By this time I'm in a cold sweat. My back-up camera is tucked away in my luggage under the bus. A few tears fall. DH trying for the cup half full approach - 'it's beautiful and you won't need to lug that big SLR camera'.

    As we approached our hiking spot I informed Daniel of my predicament. When we stopped Tim the bus driver and Daniel had me identify my bag under the bus. Thank goodness for red luggage. Tim pulled out my bag and under his and Daniel's watchful eye I paw through my unmentionables to find my Olympus. BINGO. Turn it on and 'low battery' :scared1:

    Daniel and Landon both had digital cameras and their best photos would eventually be offered to our group through the Disney Photopass program. Here was another Disney difference. Both assured me that ANYTHING I wanted a picture of they would take for me. They didn't want me to worry about at thing.

    I limited pictures on our hike as I wanted my battery to last all day. I did manage to get a few though. The Olympus does pretty well outside. Inside not so much and I missed the SLR and decent flash. We will carry on fellow adventurers. My glass was 3/4 full...how many people have a back-up digital camera with them and their charger in their suitcase?

    ***End of my camera's untimely demise***

    Our group all exited and were greeted by this!
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    I hope I don't look as bummed as I felt.
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    We all grabbed a bottle of water, visited the restroom and then re-grouped as the Guntherson Family Reunion. Evidently 'organized' groups are frowned upon where we were. It was the only time I saw our guides without their name tags. Off the 30 of us marched as one happy family!

    So begins the great Teton Hike of 2009
    Landon took the point with Daniel bringing up the back of our group. He set a steady pace. Our first order of business was a nice boat ride across Jenny Lake. As you can see the water was clear as glass.

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    Now I'm not in the best of shape but I do play competitive tennis three times a week. Well let me tell you it's nothing like hiking up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration point. The hike was a challenge for me. Each time I thought I'd have to stop and rest it was time for a scheduled stop. The views were WELL worth the hike. It I can do this anyone can!

    Half way to the falls:
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    OK, I'd caught my breath so it's time to make like a billy goat again. Up we go! Look what we found - Hidden Falls!
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    Luckily each family had many pictures taken at this stop (I got to rest and admire the view) We aren't done yet! Off to Inspiration Point! What a beautiful spot overlooking Jenny Lake:
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    Landon and Daniel passed around snacks for everyone. I passed on the snacks but was happy to take them up on a bottle of water. I let Daniel and Landon be the photogs for my family up there as the day was young. After our snack it was time to start down.

    Now down was tougher for me. The 'steps' down (path was established but natural) were really tall and it killed my knees. No issues with shortness of breath or burning thighs like the way up. I had a nice conversation with one of the other moms. On the way up conversing was NOT happening ;)

    We powdered our noses and boarded the bus for a short ride to our picnic spot by the lake.

    Boxed lunch at String Lake
    We had made our selection for our lunch on day 1 at the Wort. We exited the bus and Daniel took us by the lake for a fun educational talk about how the lake was named and how it formed. During his talk Landon and Tim were getting our lunches out and preparing for our picnic.

    Daniel keeping us informed:
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    Daniel received a call that it was lunch time. All the boxed lunches were lined up by family name. Landon had even placed checkered table cloths on the picnic tables for us! :thumbsup2 Lunch was our sandwich of choice, chips, chocolate chip cookie, and an orange. I choose the hummus and cucumber sandwich on pita and recommend it. The guys all had turkey and said they were good too. We all had water to drink. As far as boxed lunches went they were just fine.

    Back on the bus and off to Yellowstone! We had a bit of a drive. Landon and Daniel came though to ask the Junior Adventurers questions about Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons to earn stamps for their passports. I was able to answer questions for stamps in my journal. Luckily I was able to answer them. WHEW. Both guides were great with all the kids (senior adventurers included).

    Next up Yellowstone National Park!
     
  16. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    We entered the park and could still see the effects of the huge forest fire of 1988. I never knew that the Lodge Pole Pines only release their seeds from the pine cones under extreme heat. Now the only fires that are fought are ones caused by man. If there is a 'natural' fire it is let to burn unless it is a risk to human life or structures. Interesting.

    We stopped at to look at hot springs and mud pots. Daniel was very informative here. He and Landon both had a little 'gun' that the adventurers could point into the water to see the temperature. Almost 200 degrees! The clearer the water the hotter the pool.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Off to the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. Here there was cell phone service but no internet. Our rooms were ready and we received our keys from Landon as we exited the bus. No need to worry about luggage. Our rooms were 1006 & 1008. Want a tour? (if not don't look :goodvibes)
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    Our bath:
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    Desk:
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    Little vanity area:
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    ***warning - stuffed animal alert***
    In our room was an adorable stuffed bison. He was of course available for sale. The proceeds went to Yellowstone. I felt good about that as I forked over my ~$20 for him. As we never checked-in or had a credit card on file I did go to the front desk to pay for our bison. He as supposedly available with a wolf and another couple of animals in our gift shop but they were sold out (as they were all in the rooms) DH was hoping there wouldn't be a stuffed horse at our next stop!
    ***end of alert***

    The gift shop was right down the hallway as was the Geyser Grill quick service restaurant. We had free time until our private dinner on the second floor.

    Dinner at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge
    We were assigned a banquet room for our group dinner this night. When we entered the Jr. Adventurers had decided they were going to have a 'kids' table :scared1: Daniel and Landon said they would see how it went. Surprisingly it went well. I did position my self to not directly view the kids table however.

    Dinner was 'A Taste of Yellowstone' with bison chili - delish, salmon - very good, wild boar - tasted like pork ;), and a hearty salad. Dessert was vanilla ice cream and huckleberry cobbler - also delish. There was a nice balcony off of our dining room. After they were done with dinner the Jr. Adventurers all went out and commenced a game of 'tag' (or so it seemed as they were running back and forth across the balcony) They were happy and the door was closed so they weren't really bothering anyone. You could see Old Faithful 'blow' from over the rooftops. Our guides gave each family vouchers for the next morning's breakfast and day 5's breakfast. We could get anything we wanted from the Obsidian Dining Room right in our lodge.

    Around 8:30 pm our family went back to DH and my room to play Euchre. I had purchased a deck of cards earlier in the day at the gift shop. We found that this game is largely a game played in the mid-west. If anyone wants to learn I posted a link above.

    I LOVED NOT having a TV in our room. Our family would never have spent 2 hours playing cards together. We put our little night stand in between the beds for our card table. The next morning we were due to meet in our lobby at 0900 so off to bed!

    Next up: Day 4 - Trail Blazers
     
  17. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    OMG, your camera issue is my nightmare!!!! :scared1: Now I'm definitely bringing the old Canon with me just in case! :eek: It uses AA's so it's pretty good for a spare...

    You got some great shots anyways, but it must have been hard "budgeting" your pictures!

    Hmmm... the box lunch sounds like just what I expected; a diabetic's nightmare! I've already warned ABD that I'm diabetic, I hope they manage something I can handle for our box lunch.

    It's been DECADES and DECADES since I've been to Yellowstone. I really must go back. What an amazing, bizarre place!

    And that hike in the Tetons looks spectacular! Glad you survived the hike.

    Oh, and I'd never HEARD of Euchre until I moved from Southern California to Ohio!!!! Every time I play I've forgotten the rules...

    Sayhello
     
  18. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    YES, take your spare camera. Could you imagine if I had to use disposables - gasp - :sad1:

    The boxed lunch was a carb-o-lishous lunch. I'm hoping ABD will accommodate your needs. You'll have to let me know.
    TK
     
  19. kidcoos3

    kidcoos3 <font color=magenta>Should be in animation<br><fon

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    Glad you are enjoying Yellowstone. We live in MT so we get to visit it quite a bit. I'm always worried when I have to let people know that there aren't any TVs. But, as you said, it gives you time to enjoy other things. We always enjoy Skip-bo. Did you get a chance to have any ice cream? They serve Wilcoxson's - a Montana favorite. It's the best!:thumbsup2
     
  20. tammydel

    tammydel <font color=blue>A true blue DISer!

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    Thanks for posting your report, I'm really enjoying it. We did Southwest Splendors last year and Quest for the West was a VERY close runner up.

    Imagine my suprise, while looking at your photos to see a family that was on our trip! The White's! My daughter has kept in touch with Rebecca via pen pals and emails. I guess I shouldn't have been too suprised because earlier this summer Rebecca had told my daughter that they were doing Quest of the West this summer. It was fun to see Rebecca and Jack and thier parents in your photos!

    Looks like it was an awesome trip that we would really like to do someday!

    Thanks again for sharing.
    Tammy
     
  21. tksbaskets

    tksbaskets DIS Veteran

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    We almost had the ice cream. We were too full or about to eat every time we were in the vicinity. We'd love to visit your state too. So much more of Yellowstone we were not able to explore.

    Hi Tammy,
    We had fun with the White family. They had said how much they enjoyed the SWS trip last summer. We were lucky to have them along. Tell you daughter to say 'hi' to Rebecca for us. :goodvibes
     

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