Sunday, August 31, 2014

Vacation 2014: From Winter to Summer: Day 8

At 1AM or so, someone’s car alarm started going off in the camp ground. I thought it was our car and jumped up, grabbing for the keys and fumbling for the off button. Before I could figure out which one to press, the alarm stopped. I peered out the tent flap and saw the offending vehicle belonged to our neighbors.

After that, I laid awake for what felt like hours. I thought about everything. Our vacation, all the things we had done. Trying to remember it all for these write-ups. I thought about the music projects I had waiting for me back home, and new projects that I was eager to start working on. Ways that I want to try to reshape my life and routines to make everything better and more efficient.

I thought about mom. A lot. And dad. There are so many complicated feelings I’m still trying to work through. Not just what had happened, but larger questions of mortality and the purpose of everything. The rain had stopped pounding the tent (so glad, incidentally that we decided to put on the rain fly when we first set up the tent, just in case). But now that the storm had blown away, the clear sky also meant a drop in temperature. I was cold and uncomfortable and wide awake. I finally got up to take a short walk. I was too tired to be awake, but my mind was spinning, flipping from channel to channel, and I couldn’t seem to quiet the erratic stream of thoughts that kept vying for attention.

I returned to the tent hopeful I would be able to sleep. I shut my eyes for a moment and suddenly it was light and the alarm was going off. Time to end the camping and Yellowstone part of our adventure. We were able to pack up quickly, and a good thing too, as it was about 40 degrees outside. The cold rain from the night before felt even colder as we tried to shake it from the tent. My hands were ice.

We haphazardly threw everything in the car and hopped in the car to get warm. After my hands finally thawed, we mapped our next destination: Ron and Jill’s house in Idaho, a short 7-hour jaunt over hill and stream. We opted to take the north road through Montana and down into Pollock from the north, rather than approach from the south. It was only a little longer and way more interesting drive.

We set out and had three notable stops. Two are food related. The first was the Woodside Bakery in the city of West Yellowstone, Montana (incidentally, my first visit to Montana!).

State line!!! New area unlocked!

As soon as we walked in the place smelled of sugar and butter. A large inviting case filled with breakfast pastries welcomed us. We ordered sausage, egg, and cheddar croissants and they were THE tastiest ever! It took a while, but so worth the wait. You could really taste the love.

Next stop was in Bozeman at the Museum of the Rockies. I was a little underwhelmed, because I was led to believe this was an amazing dinosaur museum. I love dinosaurs, and am in a constant state of wanting to see them, but I feel bad in saying it wasn’t the most spectacular museum. The best part was the three archaeologists actually working on specimens behind glass. They were so life-like, chiseling, grinding and scraping away at their respective fossils. There were some cool displays, like the dino models that were half fully realized, and when you walk around to the other side, the other half was only bones, revealing the structure. But overall, I enjoyed the Museum of Ancient Life in Utah better.

They did have a really cool gecko exhibit with 20 different geckos from all over the world in cool terrariums. It made me want a gecko. The only downside to that was a video with some guy, completely unaware of how creepy he sounded, talking about specialty breeding certain kinds of geckos, referring to them as living art. Whatever, Dr. Mengele.

The other notable stop was in Missoula at Caffe Dolce. This is the kind of place that could just serve bags of food. Everything was tasty even the dinky-looking little salad was not to be underestimated. It had big deep flavors between the arugula, walnuts and goat cheese. We devoured a lamb burger and a chicken burger, all the while growling at the other patrons. My lamb burger!

After we were escorted out, we just headed straight to our destination, and state line!!!

We arrived safely. As we exited the car in Pollock, it was now 92 degrees! We were greeted by the Frye’s new cat. (They were forcibly ab-dopted). Gregory received a welcoming bee sting. We finally got a shower after three days, and did a bit laundry. We had a delicious dinner and dessert lovingly prepared by Jill, and got to relax a bit. I’m just looking forward to making up for the missing hours of sleep.

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