Saturday, October 9, 2010

Road Trip: The Wild West Tour 2010

Welcome to Road Trip: The Wild West Tour 2010! Disclosure: Long post, lots of nature.

Anyway, recently I flew to Boise, Idaho to visit one of my dearest friends, Debra. We've known each other since- well, since I was born. Our mothers were best friends when we were growing up. Deb suggested we take a road trip up to Yellowstone, and I was all for it. I'd never been there and thought it would be fun to just go for it. I'm trying to be more spontaneous. Yep, I am. So here we are, hitting the road after a stop at Starbucks. We had our coffee, Cher blasting, and we were ready for adventure!
First attraction: Craters of the Moon, Idaho. It's all volcanic rock, and yes- it looks like the moon.
Here's Deb at Craters of the Moon. She's very excited to be at Craters of the Moon.
She was so excited, that she did the moonwalk at Craters of the Moon. Oh, Michael would be so proud.
Next stop: Arco, Idaho. The picture says it all. I'm not being snarky. It's a very, very small town, and this is it's claim to fame... atomic power.
Hillside at Arco, Idaho. Hey- I see an '84. That's the year I graduated from high school.
Okay, I couldn't resist. It's a potato truck, and people sorting potatoes. Idaho is famous for their potatoes.
We stopped at Lower Mesa Falls...
...and Upper Mesa Falls. It was really beautiful.
This is a lovely... rock formation. It reminded us of, uh... nature. Yes, uh...nature.
Another beautiful shot of Mesa Falls...
Next... we drove through part of Montana. This was a surprise for me. When I saw the "Welcome to Montana" sign, I said, "Oh my gawd, Deb-- we're in MONTANA!" I did not know that we were going to Montana. I thought Yellowstone was in Wyoming. Well, apparently West Yellowstone is in Montana. I did not know this. My first thought was... "Montana... where are you Tristan? Sigh..." (Reference: film Legends of the Fall)
The above photo is of a bison. It will from now on be known as a totanka. (Reference: film Dances with Wolves.) This was my first totanka.
I was surprised to notice that his hair-do is very similar to my Hagrid's hair-do. I think I have a new nickname for Haggie now... Totanka Boo Boo.
Oh, Tristan... where are you?
More totankas. Near the cars. Look how HUGE they are. I think this is the most cars we saw on roads in the park at one time. The park was empty. We were told that normally, this time of the year they have about three inches of snow. We were so lucky! I never even had to wear a coat. The weather was absolutely perfect for us!
Bye-bye, Totanka!
This is the beautiful, historic Old Faithful Inn. It really is beautiful. The lobby is stunning, with all the lodge pine wood beams, and the huge fireplace. We didn't stay there, but we had a wonderful dinner there. We stayed at The Snow Lodge, right next door.
We parked the car at the lodge, and took a little walk down to the geo-thermal pools. I'd never seen anything like it. It was bubbling hot. I felt a little urge to throw some spaghetti noodles into the "big pot". But I didn't. (I must have been getting hungry.)
Okay, no trip to Yellowstone is complete without seeing "Old Faithful". This geyser erupts about every 70 minutes. Here it goes...
... and goes...
And here it is, in all it's full glory. Everyone went, "Ooooooh! Ahhhhh!" I noticed that it sounds pretty much the same in all languages. There were people from all over the world standing there together for this fabulous nature experience. I love being in locations where you hear the various languages of people from other countries. I think it makes the world feel a little cozier.
This quote was on the wall in the newly opened Old Faithful Visitors Center. I thought it was kinda' cool.
We drove towards Yellowstone Lake, and crossed the Continental Divide. I'm still not sure what it is. I think I'll google it...
Here we are, at Yellowstone Lake. It's a very peaceful lake. The surroundings seemed so surreal to me... like a big science experiment... but in nature.
More thermal pools, but with streams leading down to the freshwater lake.
The colors and formations were amazing...
I'd never seen anything like this before...
I felt kind of like I was on another planet. This is so different from the Sierra's.
Isn't this color amazing? This looks like a tropical ocean to me.
Each pool was very unique... lots of different colors.
Then we got back on the road again. Now we're headed for...
... and here we are!
This was my first sighting of The Grand Tetons once we entered the park. It really is a gorgeous mountain range.
The colors were changing into all their fall glory. Lots of gold Aspen trees...
Getting closer... we arrived close to sunset. It was absolutely beautiful. We stopped by Jackson Lodge and ate outside on the patio. We had a great view... and then we were off to Jackson Lake.
This is one of my favorite photos. I love the reflection. Do you see the cowboy? I couldn't exactly ask him to move out of my picture, so I worked him in. I like to think he's a real Wyoming cowboy. For all I know, he's some guy visiting from Los Angeles and bought a cowboy hat. I'm just going to believe he's a Wyoming cowboy though.
Here he is again... Tristan, is that you??
We saw lots of these fences... lots of beautiful ranches too.
Moose sighting!! My first moose sighting! It was a bit of an ordeal to get this photo. The other photos looked a lot like those hokey photos of Big Foot. Oops. I mean this photo.
I snapped this photo as we crossed the river. That moose is HUGE. And that tourist is STUPID. Hello, have you heard of a telephoto lens? Zoom?
Obviously, he did not see the signs about approaching the wildlife.

Next stop: Jackson Hole, Wyoming. If you've ever been here, you probably recognized this arch immediately. There's one on each corner of Town Square. They're made out of...
Anteliers! I'm not sure what kind, but it was kind of cool. By the way, no animals were harmed in the making of these arches-- that I know of, anyway. Apparently the animals just shed them at some point.

This is the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson. I wish that I had been able to get a photo of it at night. It's much more fun at night, with all the lights on and everything.
This is inside The Cowboy Bar. Yes, the bar stools are saddles. I did not sit on one. I should have. I could have yelled, "Yee-haw! Giddy-up little... whatever!" Or perhaps sung "Rawhide". But I didn't. Deb must have had the forsight to keep me off of them.
Later, we left Jackson and returned to Idaho...
Idaho really does have it's beautiful areas. I loved how the trees were changing color.
This is the Snake River. It seemed like it wound it's way around us the whole way home.
When we returned to Boise, we met up with Deb's daughter, Chelsey, and had a late lunch at the restaurant that she works at-- Locavore. The food is totally awesome. I wish we had one in my 'hood. If you ever go, tell Chelse-Woman I sent you. (Look for the stunning red-head.)
After lunch, it was off to the airport! Let's see, five states in five days... California, Idaho, Montana (bonus!), Wyoming, and Oregon (layover in Portland... does that count??). I had a great time, saw some beautiful nature... and I'm now glad to be home.
Home, sweet home.
If you've made it to the end of this post, I'm stunned and amazed. Thanks for hangin' in there. Next up: Fall decorations!


suzitee said...

I was wondering where you've been Jill :) What awesome holiday snaps...thanks so much for sharing them. I would so love to visit the much to see!

Claudia said...

Wow, Jill, what a fabulous trip! You went to places I have never been. I'd love to visit them - the color of that lake is simply incredible - what an amazing blue.

I'm so glad you had a great time!


Debbie said...

A wonderful post Jill, I really enjoyed looking at your photographs and hearing about your trip..x

Kim G said...

What a great trip! Love the totanka!

Kim said...

Oh Jill-I'm so glad you brought your camera along! What a gorgeous trip!!! I have never seen a moose in person - and we have them way up north here in Minnesota. I wish I would see one in person- they are one of my favorite animals :) I love all of your pictures- sounds like you had a really great time :)

Lisa Leggett said...

Woohoo, you DID find some cowboys!! Gosh, it's beautiful! What an amazing, albeit quick trip! I'm so glad you took a few days to road trip and goof around with your friend, you deserve it woman!

See you tonight!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking me on a wonderful trip. I enjoyed every minute and the pictures were great. I do not get a chance to travel and see these things in person so it is so nice that you shared your trip with me.

debbie said...

Looks like your trip was amazing! Thanks for sharing your photos. I would love to do a trip like this someday!

Beedeebabee said...

I loved your tour, and your photos are so beautiful. I'd love go cross country one day. There are so many amazing sites to see. What a great trip! xo Paulette

Creative Breathing said...

Jill, What an amazing trip you have shared! Truly this is on my list of must dos. Elizabeth