Wednesday, July 23, 2008
We now continue on our mystical journey. Today, we get to check out Yellowstone, one of my favorite places. I apologize for the cloud cover on most of these pictures...and so does the Big Guy who put them there. Enjoy...
Day 7 - Cody to Great Falls
We started a little earlier than usual (around 6:30 AM) and left the Beartooth Inn in Cody towards Yellowstone National Park. Now, this time, we basically did a drive through to get to Montana along the Eastern side of the park...but because I love you guys, I'm going to add some pictures from two years ago when I went along the Western & Northern sides with my mom, stepdad, brother, and his fiance...now wife. No need to thank me, just pay it forward as usual. Now, one thought that I had about Yellowstone (being one of my favorite places on Earth) is about all the geysers, hot pots, mud volcanoes, and whatever else you want to call them...and they're basically the Earth letting off some internal steam...like sweating...only in Yellowstone, it's a lot more than just sweating...and the smell takes some getting used to I'm told, which is why I affectionately call Yellowstone "Mother Earth's A-Hole" but think about it. If Earth's A-hole is one of the most beautiful sights in all of the world...then we should definitely do all we can to see the rest of her, right? Anyway, just my thought...and I apparently think too much sometimes. Enjoy the pictures...
Lots of waterfalls of various sizes in the Park
Think about the end credits of "Little House on the Prairie"
I like these purple flowers...whatever they're called
"The Buffalo are nearby."
"That's amazing! You can tell that just by sniffing their droppings?"
"No, I can see one right there."
We've had a few close calls with Buffalo
"Now, don't be alarmed...but he's coming towards you guys.
It's okay, stay perfectly still. They rarely eat humans."
Buffalo Joe - We have video with the van door open...
but he gets up really quickly and I don't want to post
footage of my entire family crapping their pants simultaneously
My favorite, the Dragon's Lair
A lot of buffalo on the range
A bear that we saw two years ago
When we got to Mammoth Hot Springs, the does had taken over
"Use the crosswalk. Remember what happened to Bambi?"
Mammoth Hot Springs
Apparently twenty years ago, there was more action...
Get your mind out of the gutter...
Inspiration Point at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
The Falls at the Grand Canyon
Now, for the big show...
"Everybody gather round!!! He's about to BLOW!!!"
I was a little disappointed by the size of the eruption...
but maybe it was a long day for the Old Guy...
maybe they should add some Viagra with his Metamucil
The Northern Gate of Yellowstone
After making it out of Yellowstone, we drove about an hour north to the city of Livingston, Montana. We stopped at a nice little diner there called Clark's Family Restaurant...but after waiting for twenty minutes and no waitress, we decided to just head to Arby's and be on our way. The drive through Montana was quite scenic. There was Bozeman, Butte (which ironically enough...has a HUGE hole in the middle of it, a copper mine), the capitol of Helena, and eventually to our stop for the next few days, Great Falls. Here are some accompanying pictures...
If you don't know why I took a picture of this sign,
then you may not get half the jokes on this blog.
P.S. Hi Lilie, it says "Boulder"
The State Capitol of Montana in Helena
Magic Diamond Laundromat Casino
Now, think about that for a second. MAGIC!!! DIAMONDS!!!
CASINO!!! LAUNDROMAT!!! "One of these things does not belong..."
Along the drive, my mom & I kept ourselves entertained by talking about this and that. By the way, we pulled into Great Falls with just over 2000 miles on this trip so far, which by my calculations means somewhere in the range of 40-50 hours in the car at various speeds over the last week...so we talked a LOT. One of the more memorable things from this portion was we say a semi going uphill carrying a large cylinder...but from our angle, it looked like a giant O...so we got to talking about Oprah...but not about all the stuff that she owns...but how unlucky she is because she can't trust anybody & will probably never know the joys of having a family because of it. People like her & Bill Gates probably have a hell of a time finding friends that they can trust...because they would always suspect they're only around them because they are bazillionairres. Oprah doesn't have any kids...just her dogs. You never hear about Bill even having a girlfriend or anything...probably because he's trying to develop that sexbot prototype or something. Anyway, the point is...money really won't make you happy. I know you're rolling your eyes at me right now...and that's okay, I forgive you. Trust is the key thing. You have to be willing to trust to be trustworthy...and that means running the risk of being taken advantage of (remember my little spiel a few days ago?). Trust is like a flower or something. It takes a lifetime to build...but only one quick act to destroy. Once you've been burned, it makes it that much harder to grow back too. Anyway, I hope that all of you out there have at least a few people that you can trust...and please, don't take advantage of them. That's today's public service announcement.
We arrived in Great Falls, got some Wendy's, checked into our hotel, and basically kicked back and watched TV. It was already kind of late...and we'd been in the car for something like eleven hours. Didn't want to take it anywhere else that night. We watched "What Lies Beneath" with Harrison Ford & Michelle Pfeiffer. I hadn't seen it in a few years...and my mom had never seen it. It's pretty good. I really like the slow, dramatic suspense, especially during the last half-hour or the movie. It's more psychological than anything else...and big ups to director Robert Zemeckis, who did "Back to the Future" and others. Yeah, slept pretty good that night.
It is at this point...that I have to stop yapping about my journey...because my blog's memory is full...and I need to format a new one over the next couple of days to tell you about all the sights of Great Falls & continue my incessant ramblings. It's probably a good thing because I found out last night that my brother & sister-in-law are going through some serious drama right now...and I don't want to bring you guys down too. Seriously though, see what happens to them when I leave town for a WEEK? How are those kids gonna survive when I move to Vegas (whenever the Hell that'll be)? So I'll check in with you ladies & gentlemen in a few days, wish me & my family luck with their drama, and I'll update you as soon as I can with what I can...mostly about my trip and other positive stuff because that's what I'm all about. It's been great hollerin' at ya for the past year or so on this blog...and I hope that you all join me over on my new one. I'll have a link to it soon. Promise. In the meantime, feel free to check out some of my past entries. I think they're pretty good...but I'm kind of partial. Have a great time everybody!!! See ya soon!!!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Well, it's almost to that point...where I've put simply too many photos from my trips (and of my adorable nieces & nephew) onto this blog so I'm in the mid-90's percentage wise on my blog's capacity...so it's almost time to announce a winner of the Ultimate Challenge for my new blog and lord and/or ladyship in the Land of $tevonia. I may be able to finish up my trip on this blog...but we shall see what the webgods decide. By the way, still awaiting word from Vegas on the big job/move...but I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, back to my latest trip...
Day 6 - Gillette to Cody
So I had a rough night sleeping because of being a fairly light sleeper and thunderstorms and Gladiator dreams...but after a shower, I was fresh and ready for the day. We drove across the state of Wyoming and through the Big Horn Mountain Range of the Rockies. We stopped and got a little breakfast at Taco John's, which has been around since 1969. Funny little tidbit from my mom - My aunt worked at the FIRST Taco John's back in 1970. You probably don't care...but that's just an example of some of the little tidbits that I learned during this trip that were kind of cool...at least to me...almost forty years later. Anyway, here are some pictures of our drive...
Our first real stop for the day was the city of Thermopolis. I know, it sounds like a made-up city where Lava Man would have come from or something...but it's home of the world's largest mineral hot spring...as these pictures will back up...
Shall we go on the bridge swaying in the wind?
A pot that has been capped over by time & calcite deposits
My mom likes to headbutt things
I just like to ride 'em. Show 'em who's boss.
Also in Thermopolis, there was the Wyoming Dinosaur Center...where they excavate & set up full skeletons of some of the coolest dinosaurs ever. Now, as a child, I was a HUGE Dinosaur geek. Like really huge. Like...I still remembered all the names of the dinosaurs walking through the center...without having thought about them since the late 80's...kind of a dinosaur geek. Like...I still have dinosaur sheets at my mom's house for when I have kids...kind of a dinosaur geek. So this was really cool to me. Here are some pictures...
A feathered flying reptile
Imagine if pigeons & magpies looked like this...
Coelocanth - Thought to be extinct...until found in 1938
Dimitrodon - "Sailed Lizard"
This one looks like Sara from "Land Before Time"
One of my favorites as a kid, Anklyosaurus
Like a turtle / pitbull with a dense ball on his tail
Triceratops & a Tyrannosaurus Rex are nothing...
Compared to this Supersaurus - Over 106 feet long
Just look at those balls!!!
Wait, I'm being told that is actually it's pelvis. My bad.
Maybe they are evolved from birds...
Don't judge me. They wouldn't let me ride the others.
The drive through Wyoming from Gillette to Thermopolis to Cody was also quite picturesque...and as you may notice...with a lot of the driving pictures, there are smudges on some of them...and those are to honor the great insects that sacrified themselves upon my rental car's windshield...just to have their moment of fame on my web-based journal. So enjoy...
I know it's not supposed to be funny...but it still is
Same thing with "Package Liquor" but it still makes me giggle
The city of Tensleeps was kind of cool
Named because it was a ten days' ride from anywhere
In Cody, we checked into our hotel, the Beartooth Inn, which was actually a nice place...and had the Wyoming Vietnam War Memorial in its driveway. After checking in, we went and got some comfort food at Bubba's Bar-B-Q in town...and went through a drive-thru liquor store to pick up some beverages for the night...as we called it kind of early...so I typed this up while sipping. I apologize for any spelling errors due to this process...but I'm sure you barely notice that kind of thing (unless you're JL Clyde). I also didn't sleep well this night. I'm not entirely sure why...but I just didn't. It's not that the bed was uncomfortable or anything...but I basically tossed and turned and woke up with a few pulled muscles in my neck & lower back. Strange.
Day 7 - Cody
I woke up tired...but after a hot shower could move around easily and fresh as a daisy (for the moment). Since it was a bit of a late, slow rise, we missed our complimentary breakfast (they had waffles) and went to Taco John's again. Good eats. Then we walked the main tourist street of Cody called Sheridan Avenue. There a lot of souvenior shops, restaurants, and painted bear sculptures. Here are some of the better ones we found...
A Cowboy (Buffalo Bill Cody?) and a Young'un
This bear was just creepy to me
Pooh Bear and his Hunny
Silver Dollar Bar
After that, we decided to hit up the Buffalo Bill Museum & Historical Center, which is five separate museums in one. There's a Natural History Museum, a museum about the life of Buffalo Bill Cody, the Plains Indians, Indian Art, Contemporary Art of the West, a Sculpture Garden, a Firearms Museum, and even an incredibly overpriced restaurant. It was actually a great museum with a lot of interesting things. Basically, "Buffalo Bill" Cody was a very accomplished man who fought during the Civil War and was one of the first people to help with Indian Affairs after America constantly broke their agreements with the Plains Indians and basically all the tribes of the time. He often acted as a mediator in their affairs and represented both sides. Later on, his legendary traveling show of the Wild West made him an international celebrity and one of the early movie stars. Comic books were made about him and his mythical adventures (usually just using his name & authors filling in their own adventures). Here are some pictures from his museum, then the others...
Cody's Hefner Robe & Horny Lounge Chair
An example of comic strips starring Buffalo Bill
I like the chesty cowgirls...
My money's on the one with skin
I was called a Yellow-Bellied Marmot once...
I had no idea they were so cute.
"For God's sake, put a shirt on..."
The Buffalo Jump
I may have found a way to combat fuel prices
during my move to Vegas...
Sooooo many rifles at the Firearms Museum
Some of their handiwork...these are Caribou
A Native American (I forget the tribe) hut
I really liked this painting
Looking at your past...and wondering what happened
Painting of the Buffalo Jump
On the way to Gillette, there was a GORGEOUS hitchhiker
that kind of looked like this...but we didn't pick her up
Mostly because my mom was driving, we were heading downhill,
and for a hitchhiker to be that hot...she had to be a serial killer.
"He is here. $teve Comes with a Thunder has come...with a thunder."
About the time I got through the Plains Indians museum, I started to feel really sad. Maybe it was exhaustion. Maybe it was that JL Clyde had told me that she was sad earlier in the day. Maybe it was the Ottawa in me crying out for all the horrible things done to the Native Americans over the years. Suddenly though, I felt like crying a little bit...but didn't want to...because I really was having a great time. Why was I sad then? Was I being hormonal or something? Maybe. I sat down a few times (because my mom takes about four times longer to view a museum than I do apparently) and during that time, I thought about times in my life, what my future holds, and that my attitude towards life was a lot like the people that I was reading about...and hearing about their struggle. I have simple needs, love nature, love my family, want to find a squaw and raise my own family, and avoid conflict whenever possible...but will attack if my trust is broken or you threaten my family. Love, Friendship, Family, Thankfulness, these things rule my life. When I'm involved in something that I'm passionate about, I tend to talk with my hands a LOT. I've noticed that I do that less and less...and it bothers me. The things that I enjoy doing the most, I tend to do less and less.
Sometimes I also wonder, am I being taken advantage of by some people? Am I too easy-going? Should I stand up for stuff more...even if I really don't care what the outcome is or have all the information? I don't want to be like my marginal ancestors where they let it be, let it be, let it be, and give more and more and more, then when they realize that they're being taken advantage of or betrayed...are simply too weak to resist or too late to do anything about it. Do I bend too much like a tree in the wind...and eventually I'll break? Am I not being true to myself? Should I be doing more for others? Am I thinking too much about material possessions...and not enough about those around me? Okay, probably not that last one...because I'm always there for my peeps...but you know, I wasn't in a good mood at the time. Anyway, I got over it when I took a little nap / quiet time back at the hotel.
Then I watched the best movie that I've seen in a long, long time...and it's "The Dark Knight", the latest Batman movie...and it's everything that you want in a Batman movie...but dark, edgy, gritty, and realistic. I had to take a leak for that last...I'd say hour or so of this movie...and I kept telling myself that I'd scurry out of there the instant that it started to slow down or drag a bit for plot. I ended up holding it until the end of the movie (don't worry, everything still works great). Christian Bale was excellent as Batman again. Heath Ledger was creepy...and funny...and just a hoot as that crazy sum'bich Joker. Aaron Eckhart was convincing...and menacing...and everything you could hope for as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Gary Oldman was Gary Oldman as always. Incredible. Even Maggie Jelly Belly was okay...and there were special appearances by the likes of William Fichtner, Michael Jai White, and Tiny Lister...and magic tricks. However, it's was very dark...and I wouldn't highly recommend it for little kids...but whatever, it's Batman...and a lot of the violence is implied (or cut completely waiting for the special director's cut). Great flick. Best movie of the year...probably last few years. Check it out if you aren't one of the MILLIONS to check it out already this weekend.
After the show, we headed over to the Silver Dollar Bar on Sheridan Avenue for some appetizers, microbrew beverages, and people watching...mostly guys in a mid-life crisis with their motorcycles...basically looking ridiculous and trying to be badass. Now, I can't say much...because as you may know, my father is one of these guys...but yeah, Harleys are cool. I like them a lot. However, Harley riders in large numbers...not quite as cool...unless there's a wet T-shirt contest involved...and with young contestants...not the usual ladies that you see on the back of a Harley at these kind of functions...which tend to happen all around the past few states that we've been in over this week. Anyway, there was a band there too...so we had a good time, then I hit the hot tub to relieve those sore muscles...and went to bed. It was going to be an early morning for the next portion of our trip.
So again, I'll leave you for the day...and hopefully you enjoy my pictures...and are considering seeing some of these sights for yourself. Now, just a little heads up...but the next entry has Yellowstone...and it's well worth it. I'll try to get that to you as soon as possible...and we'll see how the memory on this blog holds out. I think I'm at 95% right now...and we still have a week to go on this trip (but the last few days have yet to happen & are stuck here in Great Falls). Have a great night everybody!!!