Somewhere I lost a day but happy belated Thanksgiving anyway. Today is Columbus Day down here. I suppose we should be thankful for his discovery where would we be without it? A report from the road into an adventure. Remember adventures are not always easy they can be fraught with challenge which is I guess what we call misadventure or Mr. Adventure. Anyway, I digress.
The Sirius satellite radio broadcasts CBC into the cab of the truck as we chug deeper and deeper into the USofA. The countryside is painted in yellows, orange and rusts of fall grasses and trees. The colors roll past as valleys, mountainsides, bentonite hills and sandstone canyons of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah and now Colorado. So far it’s all pretty much like home except for the accents I hear around me. I remind myself that I’m the one with the accent – I am after all in a foreign country. Other things that are different are the types of gas stations, gas measured in gallons, bars and gambling along the side of the road and in every little town flashing neon OPEN signs, booze sold in grocery stores and road kill left for the crows who are the local highway crew.
We saw the capital of Montana, Helena, and its collection of ornate brick business, churches and of course the legislature. I had a strong urge to pee on the lawn but thought it might be a tad disrespectful. The downtown has sculptures all over. At Bozeman we stopped at the Museum of the Rockies and saw the largest T-Rex fossils in existence. Not replicas either – the real thing. I was very impressed. Those suckers were huge. The skull alone is over 5 feet long with teeth a good 2-3 inches. (Note the ease with which I slip into imperial measurement). It could have fit half my body into its mouth as an appetizer. The planetarium was showing pictures from the Hubble telescope, a stark contrast to the dino display. We looked into galaxies millions of light years away. I guess they were both around at the same time so it’s really not that different.
Now that I’m in the Utah/Colorado area there is even more dinosaur history. We’ve driven through layers of Jurassic and Triassic epochs with pullouts and signage informing the travelling student of every geological epoch, dinosaur tooth and squid fossil. If we were to stop at every one it might take me 13 years to get to Mexico. In Vernal, Utah there was even a pink dinosaur standing on the side of the road, one of the last remaining female Brontos, I think.
Fantasy Canyon in Wyoming showed the wonders of erosion with fantastic weird formations. when we got up in the morning, the rear jacks on the camper were gone! Only the empty screw holes remained. Driving back along the rough dirt road, they were lying where we had crossed a wash and when going up the steep side, the jacks caught the lip and… After using a lot of silicone glue, the brackets were reattached, the jacks stored in the basement and we were on our way. Live and learn. Did you know that Yellowstone National Park is in the heart of an active volcano? What am I doing here? Old Faithful with its surrounding sulfur geysers, hot springs and mud pools reminded me of our insignificance and fleeting time on this earth.
Everyone drives a truck down here. All types. Fast and muddy. Loaded with extra 20 gallon gas tanks and winches. Many will have guns in there somewhere. Some of the young drivers look possessed and scary in a red neck kind of way but so far the people have been super nice and helpful and just as polite as Canadians. They are so excited when they hear where we’re from and want to tell of the Canadian places they’ve been.
In Jackson Hole we went to the National Museum of Wildlife Art, a beautiful red rock building on the hillside with original art from as early as the 1600’s to modern-day. There were bronze sculptures, oils and watercolors. A Robert Bateman called “Chief”, a magnificent picture of a buffalo emerging from a cloud of dust, sent chills up my spine. There were lots of pictures of sheep, goats, elephants, lions and tigers but only one of a skunk. I wonder why? Jackson Hole itself is a very trendy town with galleries and eateries and lots of t-shirt shops. Tonight is our first paid campground with electrical hook ups, water and level ground. Until now we’ve been boon-docking, scamming and scrounging quite comfortably. Resourcefulness is an asset when travelling like a turtle.
I think I’m getting my travel legs. We’ve been on the road for a week that has been a flash and an eternity. As travelling will do, it teaches us who we are in how we handle the uncertainty of our environment. I’m going for the badge. Thinking of ALL of you.
ALL of you. Greetings from the Canadian traveling ambassadors.