Friday, August 05, 2011

my summer vacation

Lewis and Clark got nothin' on us.

This will probably turn into a series of shorter posts rather than one boring travel journal. We travelled many miles in not so many days, stayed in awful RV parks and worse motels and I have the pictures to prove it.

This blue haired troll followed us. Sometimes he rode the motorcycle. But he always seemed pretty happy.

Here he is in the Tetons. As you can see, he hogged the photograph.

We took off on Friday and spent the first night in our first RV park. These are strange places, in the event you find yourself wondering. We are campers, and we are country folk -- in a way -- but not like these people. They are very friendly and they make everything out of wood and rope and barbed wire and from the looks of things they worship cowboys and Jesus, in that order. My favorite sign: "I'm so confused I don't know if I found a rope or lost my horse."

We pulled into the Mountain View Park in Baker City, Oregon at about 8:30 in the evening, hotter than blazes. A Lorretta Lynn or some country chick other than Patsy Cline, CD was playing on speakers loud enough to entertain the entire park, and it was skipping, and the woman at the counter, Barb, told us she hadn't had much luck using toothpaste to clean her CDs.

Really? No luck at all?

Yep, she nodded, "and that's such a good CD."

We dove in the pool and tried to forget where we were. At 18 bucks for a spot to sleep, a pool and a hot tub, it seemed like a good deal even though we rented the scenic basketball court because it was th only place left because the entire park had been reserved by Shriners, even the clowns in the tiny cars. But they have full size RVs let me tell you. Next morning off we went after I scrambled some eggs on the free-throw line.

Not really. You should know by now how I exaggerate.

So, our destination at this point was Yellowstone. Well, not actually Yellowstone, but a spot beyond it, Shell Canyon, in the Bighorn mountains. It is a place Kurt passed through on his way to Sturgis and one he has tried to show me for years. And believe me, if you're hauling a big black bike, everybody asks if you're headed for Sturgis. We were not. I'm pretty sure I'd never go unless he bought me a sidecar. One with a/c and a pool. The thought of Sturgis irritates me. I love motorcycles but can't stand bikers. I speak from an informed point of view. I can't imagine standing six bikers deep to use one of sixty outhouses.

But I digress.

One of the education points of this vacation, and there were a few, was the unreliability of memory. Not just his, mine as well. He had blown through the prior trip at 90 mph, eyes forever on the center line until it turned to one long white stripe, on a mission to complete the male right of passage that is Sturgis. Turns out he missed some scenery along the way.

Shell Canyon made quite an impression.
So many birds: swallows and wrens and hummingbirds darting in and out of juniper and

sagebrush. I'm getting the order of things mixed up, but as we left Yellowstone, we came through the beautiful Shoshone River Valley lined on either side with red rock formations that went on for miles and miles into Cody, Wyoming. He hadn't remembered seeing this at all. In his memory, Shell Canyon went on for miles when in fact, the canyon is a blink, a mile at most.

I realize I have said nothing about Yellowstone. I know I was supposed to love it but it just made me sad. The forest there is dying of pine beetle infestation, caused, I have no doubt, by something we did to help it along, as though it wasn't doing fine in the first place. And what isn't infested was burned in the 1988 fire. And I'm thinking another big ol' burn would be really good for the problem in general. Start over. We saw pine beetle damage far up into Montana and across much of Idaho.

So, we went through Yellowstone and saw animals and paint pots and the black toothpick forest.

and then we went to the Tetons, but that's another story for another day.... In case you're wondering, I took the last photo. I'm not great at it.


Roy said...

What did Barb's teeth look like?

asha said...

Buffalo have such little feet.

Interesting photo of the moose with closed eyes.

someone said...

r: like the front row of any Willie Nelson concert.
a: that's a bull elk, and yes, while the feet seem tiny in the picture, nothing about him seemed small coming at us.

Donna said...

More about your trip, please