We have taken what will most likely be the last vacation that Bill, Robert, Amanda and I will take together as a family. Unless they buy us a cruise or something when we retire.
It’s not that we didn’t have fun with them, back in July when we went to Wyoming, because we did. But more and more, Bill and I are discovering how much ALIKE he and I are when it comes to travel, and how little patience we have with anyone outside of our rhythm. The time we like to get going in the morning. The pace we like to set. The stuff we like to do. The plans we like to make. The music we like to listen to in the car. The food we like to eat. Those things that don’t necessarily jive with three young adults (Amanda’s boyfriend was with us too, remember).
See also: Each took turns bringing TEH DRAMAZ at one point or another during the trip. Which left us fearing that the twenties are the new teens.
In addendum: It still takes Amanda an UNGODLY amount of time to get ready for anything.
And finally: It’s really hard to have a romantical moment with my husband when we’re not alone. EVER. NOT FOR A SECOND.
So. There’s that. Buy me a beer sometime and I’ll tell ya more.
Some notes on our trip, in no particular order:
It was fantastic, as always, to see the Laramie/Cheyenne family. The first night we were there, Peggy and Billo had the whole family over so everybody could see us and vice-versa. We all love Laramie, but Robert loved it so much that he’s moving there in September. He transferred Guard stuff over to Cheyenne and has a couple of potential jobs lined up already.
The day of my birthday we went for a long drive through the Snowy Range and saw a whole bunch of moose. They grow ‘em big in Wyoming.
The drive from Laramie to Jackson is HOLY HELL boring. But the first glimpse of the Tetons as you cross over the pass is totally worth it.
If you have the opportunity to see Grand Teton National Park from the back of a motorcycle, I highly recommend you do so.
Buy whiskey and liquors and spices (oh my!) from Vom Fass in downtown Jackson. There’s one in Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Missouri and California too. They let you taste stuff. Their sour cherry vodka is HEAVEN. We made our selections (Sour Cherry Vodka, American Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, and some dry rub spices) and they timed the shipment so that it arrived the day after we got home.
The next time we go we’re staying at the Jackson Lake Lodge. We only went into downtown Jackson once, so we’d rather be more proximate to the parks than the tourist traps. Plus I hear tell that guests saw a bear kill an elk the week we were there, right from the patio overlooking the marshes, lake and mountain. Way cool. Also, ew. But cool. But ew.
There was a Hobbit Hole/Narnia Door in the closet of our hotel room in Teton Village. It was way creepy. The kids thoroughly explored it. Better them than me.
There was a thunderstorm every afternoon of our entire trip, which we loved. Even when Robert and Bill got caught out in one on the motorcycles. The storms never interfered with our plans and made everything feel and smell nice and fresh and clean. From 4:30 until about 6:30 we could anticipate a quick downpour followed by clear skies and even a double rainbow in Cody.
Bill bought me three necklaces directly, and one necklace indirectly, for my birthday. The boys were just talking about the waitresses at the Silver Dollar, so Amanda and I left for a bit and ended up visiting a little curio shop in Cody. MAN was the young lady behind the counter a good salesperson, and I bought a pretty little bangley necklace for myself. Also, kaleidoscopes have come an incredibly long way since my childhood. If you find your way to All That Glitters, check ‘em out (it helps if you have a teeeensy bit of a buzz). They’re a lot like these. If they didn’t cost upwards of $300 Amanda would have come away with one.
Old Faithful still is. And the smell of sulfur has permeated my dreams. Not in a good way. (IS there a good way?)
This is our second trip to the area, and I stand by my assessment that I like Grand Teton National Park better than Yellowstone. Not that Yellowstone wasn’t awesome, but it’s so vast that there is a LOT of driving in between seeing cool stuff. In GTNP you can drive the whole thing from end to end in an afternoon, explore bits at your leisure, and still be within an hour of getting back to the hotel.
By the time we were done, we were sick of seeing moose, antelope, elk and bison. They were that prevalent. We didn’t get to see a bear (close, a couple of times, but by the time we’d get there they’d moved on) or any wolves.
We got stuck in bison-induced traffic stoppages several times during our travels through Yellowstone. Bill amused himself by rolling down the windows and… mooing? lowing? growling? …at the male bison, who would voice their deep-bellied complaints any time their womenfolk would meander off. Bill says the males were keeping them in line, but I observed that the were always following BEHIND the cows and complaining, while the cows went on placidly grazing and rolling their eyes. At any rate, a whole herd would come up to the road, then one massive bison would step across the pavement and stop in the middle of the road, blocking traffic both ways. Once all of the cars stopped, the rest of the herd would waltz across while the first bison stood in place, then once everyone had crossed he’d cross the rest of the way over. It was pretty cool. Much of the time they were close enough to the cars to touch, and we watched one asshat get out of his vehicle and walk closer to one of the bulls to get what I presume was a photo-op taken from a friend from the safety of their car. We thought it was going to be a YouTube moment, but the guy wised up and stopped from about 50 feet away. I admit I was a little disappointed.
Avoid by all possible means the bathroom at the Silver Dollar Bar & Grill in Cody, Wyoming. Particularly, I’m told, the men’s bathroom.
The 3rd Street Bar in Laramie is pretty darned awesome, though. And clean. And serves up a mean Liquid Marijuana.
Cheyenne Frontier Days wasn’t really worth the hassle of parking a million miles away, walking to the grounds, dealing with a humongous crowd, and sweating in the 90+ degree weather. We didn’t have tickets for any of the rodeo events (which cost a pretty-ish penny) so we just perused the arts and crafts, bought some cowboy hats, and moved along (see the first picture of this entry).
The STARS. You guys. THE STARS. I got a kink in my neck from staring upward so much.
There is a field full of matching black Percherons at the entrance to Teton Village. They give hay rides in the summer and sleigh rides in the winter. They were EASILY 18 hands high, probably more. They were completely and totally AWESOME. Consider, if you will, the amount of trust that the establishment gives to these horses that they know they will tolerate tourists petting them, posing with them, feeding them (I saw one chick do it with a CLOSED HAND over an apple, mind you, and the dear was a complete gentlemen when he nibbled the snack away from her), hooting and hollering around them (WHY don’t parents control their kids around animals???), with nary a bad attitude to be seen. I ADORED those horses. Even when they slobbered on me.
So, those are the highlights! I’m continuing to add to the Wyoming set on Flickr if you’d like to peruse the photos.