Nearly two weeks ago, we took a quick trip through four states (UT, WY, MT, ID) in 6 days! It was a fly-drive revisit of two national parks, a creamery at the college I attended (priorities!) and to see five ex-pat Californians.
We’d visited both Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park as young marrieds. The past few years I had seen so many spectacular images online from artist friends; and wanted to return with my own artist’s eye, to see it again, but did not want to drive from home, as we had before….because once you are there, you have to drive home!
We flew into Salt Lake City and out of Boise, seeing ex-pat friends in both places. We went after Labor Day to avoid big crowds, and it was perfect, other than a whole lotta miles in 6 days. I did not anticipate driving all 1159 miles in a lowrider Chevy but after hubs doc scheduled eye surgery just days before we left, blurry was the best he could muster. The car had great go-power, but getting in and out, eh- was not pretty.
So we flew into Salt Lake City, which is always stunning for landings and departures.
I had fried catfish for a late breakfast, and missed seeing Marion’s sister for said meal, due to a work project on her end.
We spent the rest of that day visiting and dining with good friends, former Sonoma residents. Second day, we journeyed up to Logan, where I went to college, not for homecoming, but to indulge at the Aggie Creamery. The ice cream was divine and 5 cents a scoop, way back when. Now $1.99 scoop, it did not disappoint! I took a lactaid and was in pure lemon custard heaven for about 30 minutes!
Onward. I’d forgotten how spectacular Logan Canyon is, which we took on our way to Jackson. We visited the much ballyhooed National Museum of Wildlife Art which was stunning both in structure, location and art collections. It did not disappoint!
We stayed overnight at Teton Village, having cocktails with another friend/former Bay Area resident. When we rose it was raining and foggy so we did not actually see the Tetons but enjoyed the ride just the same.
We arrived in Yellowstone just in time for checkin to our restored historic hotel, only to learn we should have made dinner reservations six months in advance! So we ate sandwiches for dinner three nights, in the deli, which were btw fabulous! You can keep your snooty dining room!
We spent two full days criss-crossing the park. We got up and at ’em early to see a lot of the sights before the crowds emerged. We got lots of exercise, saw many stunning features, all of which would make a great quilt. This is something people always tell the artist, for every photo she takes. That would make a great quilt! When in reality sometimes the photo is art enough, in of itself.
I wasn’t much interested in taking a selfie with a buffalo, bear or moose. In fact we did not see the latter two. But the buffalo quickly decided I was theirs in spirit and turned up in the most unlikely of places, like jumping across the road 30′ in front of the trusty lowrider. Explain that to your rental car company! Well I was just driving along minding my own business and this buffalo landed on my windshield. Yea, ok lady.
This one ambled down a one-way road, as I drove by with my window open. Oh hello there! The last morning another was bidding us adieu as it grazed nearby as we checked out of our hotel. People who could not read the warning instructions in 12 languages were standing too close trying to get a photograph of themselves just before being gored by the buffalo.
Pedal to the metal I drove over 8 hours to leave the park and over to Boise ID. Funny how it looked like a short drive online! We got there and it was well into the 90’s. Just two mornings before we had cleaned ice off our windshield! We checked into our hotel, returned the rental car and enjoyed our last two nights with former Petaluma friends, now in ID. Then we flew home.
Six days, 1159 miles, two flights, 4 climate zones, 3 buffalo encounters, 1 catfish, 1 ice cream cone, hundreds of photos, visits with five treasured friends…priceless!
It has taken me a week to recover, but alas I’m back to art-making.
Martha Ginn says
Our national parks are such treasures and I loved reading about your adventures. That’s lots of driving; my husband used to love to drive, never tiring or wanting me to share the duty with him. And getting to visit with old friends had to be so rewarding! I’m glad I’m not the only one who hears “you should make a quilt like that” and doesn’t need to do it.
Thank you Martha! I thought we had visited nearly all the national parks until a local artist painted on site in all the national parks and had an exhibit. It looks like we still have 6-7 to visit! National park goals…
Franki Kohler says
Whaoo! There’s nothing like a satisfying road trip to cheer one up. Sounds like you streamlined the boring parts had a great time — good deal! We have just been talking about the Grand Tetons. David has been to just about every national park but not me. Goals, as you say. Thanks for the sharing the possibilities with us.
Although I didn’t grab a photo of it, because it would have required a back twist selfie, at 80 mph, we did see the Tetons off in the distance from the west side! It was pretty spectacular regardless. If you do decide to go, check out the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson and the Laurence Preserve within the park. Stunning!