Wyoming

Close Encounters

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Oh, Wyoming.  Probably one of the most desolate states I’ve ever driven though.  There’s not much there, and despite some of the prettiest sunsets and mountains I’ve ever seen, it’s still pretty barren.

That being said, I had the opportunity to visit Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, and when I told people that I was going to be passing through, they got all excited and said it was in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I still have not seen this movie, but I now understand why Steven Spielberg thought it would be a great addition to a freaky film:  This monument definitely looks like it could have been created by aliens.

41jNr2olTPLThe drive there was long, and my never-ending patience began to wonder if it would even be worth it. From South Dakota into Wyoming on a state route was pretty empty, and did I really need to see yet another underwhelming (sorry Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse) national monument?  I mean, I haven’t been to Yellowstone, but I’ve been to Jackson and the Grand Tetons twice, so how much can Wyoming really have to offer?

When I arrived there, it was a pretty awesome site.  Really awesome.  If you look closely in the photo, you can see the holes from where people have scaled the tower.

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IMG_20161109_110839389No one really knows how it formed, but there are theories (even though they left out the alien formation one).  It has mystical and spiritual significance to the Native American tribes in the area, and there are pretty walking paths and benches around the monument to sit and enjoy the majestic structure.

After walking the 1.5 mile path around the base of the site, and realizing my choice of footwear was less than appropriate (what do you mean, I can’t climb rocks in riding boots!?) I bade farewell to the monument and Wyoming.  Up close, it was one of the most interesting looking things I’ve seen in a long time, and it never would have been on my list, but I’m glad I saw it.

But I still haven’t seen Close Encounters.

Traveling Without Moving

In the last two months, I’ve done a bit of traveling.  And moving.  And I have to get better about posting when this stuff happens, because there was a lot of stuff in a really short amount of time, and now I am afraid I’m going to forget it…

Think of this as an interim post where I need to at least write down where I went and remember what happened….

First, I was in Jackson, Wyoming for a wedding (it was cold).

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Then, I traveled to Minnetonka, Minnesota for my first work trip (it was cold).  I have no photos of this, because I was in a hotel or an office the whole week, but trust me.  It was cold.

Finally, just two weeks ago, I took a road trip from Dallas, TX to Anacortes, WA (it was cold). I got to see Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, and Devil’s Tower, so suffice to say, it was a successful trip, even if it was a bit short.  I think I spent 3.5 days driving over 2700 miles.

The reason for the road trip, you ask?  I relocated to upper Washington state, halfway between Seattle and Vancouver, BC.  Yes, it’s cold here too.  And raining.

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But at least it’s pretty, and I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say when I finally cross the border into Canadia.  I wonder if I’ll run into any Hollywood people there, who are finally fulfilling their promise to leave the country should a certain someone be elected POTUS….

Life is a Highway, Part 20: Fantastic Foods

Part of what makes travel so awesome is the opportunity to eat new foods.  Sadly, on a road trip, most of the food consists of quick meals eaten on the run – but sometimes you do get some gems.  From Denver, through Wyoming, passing through Idaho, a long few days through Utah, and back to Denver, I had some pretty good dishes.  One was so good, I’ve since made it at home – the legendary croissaffles.

While I did start my trip off with some sushi, I had everything from burgers, to sandwiches, to steak tips, and the occasional dinner of bottled water/granola bars (or even fast food).  And it’s those makeshift meals, searching for a good place to eat, that make the whole trip worth it.  And now, for your gastronomic pleasure, I present my favorite foods.

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Because really, how can you go wrong?

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OH MY GOSH CROISSAFFLES! I haven’t been able to duplicate the gravy, or the breaded chicken, but holy moly. It’s the best chicken and waffles I’ve ever had.

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Hash and eggs…good stuff.

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Korean short ribs…in Colorado.

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Wyoming sandwich!

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Typical sandwich, but those onion rings could have been giant bangles for my arm.

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The only way to have a burger: Bacon, fried egg, BBQ sauce, and under it all were some mushrooms and cheese.

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Random fruit – I have no idea what it is. I didn’t try it because it was like $5 and I had no idea how to open it, but if anyone knows, let me know!

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I WANNA ICE CREAM! Square ice cream from Idaho, and it was so good. Fun shaped food just tastes better.

 

Life is a Highway, Part 9: Tetonic Plates

Between Denver and my next destination, there’s not a thing in sight.  No really.  Not a single.  Damn.  Thing.

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Yes, there’s your occasional town, but it’s like in Cars, on Rt. 66, where there’s ONE TOWN with nothing else for a hundred miles in any direction.  And that one town?  It’s ONE ROAD.

Image courtesy disney.wiki.com

You basically do not leave a town in Wyoming without a full tank of gas and some provisions, because if you get stuck, well, you’re SOL.

Eventually, and BOY DO I MEAN EVENTUALLY, I reached Jackson, Wyoming.

It’s a resort town for those of us that have more 0’s in their paychecks than is fair.  That being said, it’s lovely.  But the real star of the show is the national park.

Image from jacksonholenet.com

I spent two days in Jackson – one hike, each day.  Day One was cut short, due to unforseen illness, but I managed to get a short hike to Phelps Lake in. It was not terribly strenuous, but it was challenging enough that by the time I reached the viewpoint, I was a bit tired…until I actually looked up and out.  As soon as I saw the lake, it all melted away, and I was filled with a sense of wonder.

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That night, my friends took me to watch the sunset at the docks at Signal Mountain.  There’s nothing quite like a sunset in the west, especially one over a nearly still lake, with the sun setting behind giant mountains.

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After sunset, we went to dinner, and following that, most of the night after that was spent in the emergency room.  For those of you that don’t know, being at altitude dries you out, and you don’t even notice it…because it’s cold, and you’re not sweating.  This is bad in itself, but if you get overly dehydrated, you can end up with a UTI.  Ask me how I know this.

It wasn’t the best night, but the next day, armed with an anti-spasm medication and antibiotics, I set out on a second short hike before I’d have lunch with my friends (who were working).  The destination?  Jenny Lake.

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IMG_20150510_180442After the main viewpoint, I attempted a trail around the lake, to get multiple views.  It was to be a three-mile hike around the perimeter, and what I did get to see was really breathtaking.

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About 0.7 miles in, my hike was abruptly cut short.  By this little lady.

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She poked her head up over a little hill, and we were less than 15′ apart.  She was fucking ginormous.  I’m not kidding.  She was the type of girl you’d want on the bottom of the cheerleading pyramid.  She does not fit into a normal-sized canoe without capsizing.  And she was smack dab in the middle of my trail.  We both froze.  We both stared at each other, in a game of chicken.  Then, I caved.  I moved first – I snapped a photo, and turned and ran.  I concede, she wins, game over.  The last thing I needed to do was get trampled by a giant female moose.

As the hike was over, I decided it might be time for lunch.  Following a goodbye meal with my friends, I set off through the winding, twisting mountain passes (MY KIND OF DRIVING!!!!) to reach my next adventure.