Tuesday, August 4, 2009

More Glorious Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington

Our current main home. This version of it is in my favorite campsite so far, near Cody, Wyoming.

Pools of hot sulfur water steaming out of the earth in Yellowstone.

Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park erupting. Boiling hot water shoots out of the earth every 90 to 125 minutes. I don't know the guy in red. He was one of the many awestruck geyser watching audience members. I like how his red shirt adds to the composition of the photo.

It was a long and gorgeous drive across the rest of Wyoming into Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone has acres and acres of natural miracles. The whole park is situated on the most active volcanic activity on the earth. The last time the whole thing blew was 500 million years ago. No one knows when it could blow again. When it does, it could take out all of North America. Seeing the earth boiling around me was very impressive. It reminded me once again of how small I am and how big and powerful the earth is. In a strange way I find that comforting, remembering the forces that are way bigger than me.

Although I loved the beauty and strangeness of that place, it was really quite the tourist attraction. There are several major campgrounds with as many as hundreds of sites each. We were situated among several RVs and a tenting family that seemed to have at least half a dozen small children under the age of 8. They had a baby that was howling incessantly as I tried to fall asleep. It was like being in the middle of a small city, in the middle of a forest. When I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth the next morning, there were women in there with makeup bags and blow driers who had a whole beauty regimen going on. I even saw one gal with high heels on! I realized then that I had turned into Camper Girl, much to my surprise. At that point, brushing my teeth was my big effort toward extra personal beauty.

Upon leaving Yellowstone we had a beautiful drive through the southwestern portion of Montana. We stopped in Bozeman at a Barnes & Noble bookstore. First we used the bathrooms, then we bought some books. Isaac found a great book about colleges which is helping him figure out which schools he would like to visit on our journey. When I bought the book, the saleslady was moving at a pace that to me, felt like slow motion. I became aware of my fast talking, fast moving, east coast ways. I noticed my own impatience with her lack of speed and realized that faster is not necessarily better. What was my big rush? Did I have a plane to catch? Montana in general was laid back in its energy and every person we met was so nice and helpful.

We also stopped in Butte, which used to be an old copper mining town that now feels like a bit of a ghostown, and we also stopped in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, which was a lovely lovely place that we thought we might like to visit again. Idaho was very beautiful and mountainous and had its own special character. It is amazing how each state really has its own personality, and even in just the panhandle of Idaho, I found that to be so.

We continued on past Spokane, Washington (which for those of you who don't know is pronounced Spo-CAN) and drove all the way to a Shilo Inn at Moses Lake, Washington. Moses Lake wasn't too exciting, but being in a hotel sure was! Swimming pool, kitchenette, internet access, beds, SHOWERS. So many good things. So much deep appreciation for all of them. We enjoyed full use of our hotel experience and were renewed by freshening up after a full and intense week of camping.

Next stop.....Bellingham.

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