If you haven’t been to the Western United States, go!This was my first time, to these specific states anyway, and it will definitely not be my last. I’ve made the journey from Southern California to Washington, Arizona back to Texas, and fell in love with all of those places. Arizona is hard to beat, but the seclusion and beauty of Wyoming was a match indeed. Korrina and I started our journey in Billings, Montana at 12:30pm on Saturday, October 3rd. Our plan was to make it to Yellowstone but we were flying standby so anything was a welcomed possibility. Luckily we both made it to Minneapolis and on to Billings as planned. We proceeded to rent a car but we didn’t have a place to stay because our cabin wasn’t ready to be checked into until the following day. Again, luckily I have a special someone on speed dial, that is as generous as he is loving, and he took the stress of finding a place off of us. Now the fun can begin. Stop one, store. Shopping list: water, snacks, auxiliary cord, wine, champagne, and more wine. I don’t usually drink wine, unless it’s my Mom’s, but I had a feeling Korrina was on to something. I don’t condone or endorse intoxicated driving, but intoxicated park exploring, while probably not the smartest, is a blast! We drove through rain, climbed a mountain (by car), played in snow, fell in rivers, hiked in bear country, basked in sunshine, and drove completely through the world’s first national park in total darkness. All in day one. We finally made it to our hotel, after a series of photo ops and outdoor pee stops, at around midnight. We giggled and cried and went to bed. Day two began at a charming little diner/cafe where we discovered we are not fans of bison patties. Yuck. The homemade syrup there is amazing though! Wish I could remember what it was called. If you ever eat breakfast in West Yellowstone, you’ll find it. Do not go to Chinatown! Just trust me. Food in our bellies, more water and wine in our bag, and off we go to Yellowstone, again, but last night didn’t really count. We decided just to drive through Yellowstone today because we really wanted to see the Tetons. Of course it’s our first time in Yellowstone so that was hard to stay true to. We stopped every few miles to gawk at elk, or drool over paint pots, and to not be impressed with Old Faithful. I mean, it was cool, for sure. If I had never heard of that particular geyser and there wasn’t so much hype leading up to that moment nearly my entire life, then yeah, it might have been way awesome. It wasn’t. The gift shop was pretty cool though, food way over priced, and the bathroom sucked, but whatever.
Ok, now off to the Tetons. We made it. Tried to go down some off-the-highway scenic route, and we succeeded, but we never did figure out how to pay and get in to the park. Which I suppose worked out in our favor, because we found plenty of magical spots to chill in without ever being bothered. We had more photo shoots, peed behind more bushes, and drank wine and smoked cigs in the grass. It was fabulous! Another long day, and since it was almost dark we decided to see if some friends were home west of Jackson, instead of driving back up through the park. They were home, and invited us right over. They were lovely and generous and we were drunk and obnoxious. Sorry guys. We blabbed for awhile, and my friend and I got way into their dog, that when sober didn’t seem so significant. Then we were off to Idaho. Actually we were already in Idaho, we just needed to go two hours north to get to our cabin. Two hours? No problem. Yeah right. It’s amazing how down hill you can go in two hours. Before we did though, there was more fun to be had. Both Korrina and I live in cities. You are lucky to see a handful of stars at best. Out in the middle-of-nowhere Idaho it seems as if you can see a handful of galaxies. Not true of course, but fuck! It’s insanely gorgeous. We notice this while we’re driving so we pull over to gaze. First we must pee again, good thing we weren’t drinking beer. Ahhh, after a nice relief and a small tumble, we climb on to the hood of our rental car and just stare. We could have fallen asleep there, and that’s why we had to leave. It gets pretty cold at night, and we were on the side of a highway, and we stunk. So back in the car we go. Only Korrina falls asleep and my GPS craps out on me. My memory is a little foggy now, but somehow our cabin just miraculously appeared in front of my car. We wobbled inside, fell on our beds, clothed, and passed out. Day three we decided to take it easy on the booze. Booze free day at Yellowstone. Today was all about Yellowstone. We drove back up to West Yellowstone to find food, which is impossible to do in Island Park, Idaho where were staying. Turns out it wasn’t much easier in West Yellowstone either. Nothing opens before 11:00am and were hungry NOW. It was like 10:30. That’s when we had our creepy Chinatown experience. Just don’t go there. Earlier that morning I had discovered I had brought along the wrong battery charger for my camera so I was severely depressed, kind of. We were trotting along “downtown” West Yellowstone and happened along Elk Photo, or something like that, and lo and behold, they carry my kind of battery. The store clerk warned me there was probably no juice in the thing as it’s been in stock for quite sometime, but… he … was… WRONG! And I was so happy. Full battery.
Ok, time to head east again. This trip to the park was going to be all about exploring the north and northeastern parts. We traveled up to Lamar Valley, to Mammoth Hot Springs, and then back down and out the west entrance. We stopped in West Yellowstone again for food around 8:00pm. Had some killer chicken wings, pizza, and my first Guinness since I left Texas. We were “solve” (inside joke). As you can see, I don’t have a lot to say about this day, we were sober and tired. It was still a wonderful experience and were delighted to be there, but the bodily abuse and the 1300 miles in the car were starting to take a toll. It was a relaxing night in our cabin, with one glass of wine, some Nickelodeon movie, and an early bedtime. We woke up 7:00am, were out the door by 8:00am, and we drove 300 miles to Salt Lake City, Utah. Another day of standby travel. Korrina was never going to make it back to Raleigh on standby so I took her home with me to Austin. We partied with
Curt til the wee hours of the morning, like 1:00am, haha, then woke up and were at the airport by 6:00am. She made it to Raleigh, I made it back to sleep before going to work, and just like that, it was over. It’s over, but we will never forget it.