We’ve been out in the wilderness for a few days, so we’re going to filter out all of the posts we missed over the next few days, bear with us!
I can't quite figure out the right way to use the formatting on this blog interface, so you'll all just have to guess where paragraphs end and begin.
Man, talk about an experience. I guess that’s what I’m attempting to do. We’re still at the beginning of this trek, but the last few days were themselves a microcosm of self-realization. I’m not hotboxing your computer screen. It’s just that a few days in the woods of Wyoming can do a few things to your sense of self. A couple thousand miles, way too many cigarettes, a whole lot of mountains, and a class B Federal Misdemeanor later we’re back in civilization.
So Carly left us for Wisconsin on Sunday. Everyone should have a friend like Carly. You know, the kid that cuts through awkward silence with the wit and finesse of a creative word machete. The kid with the quirky, catchy observations that don’t reveal their true genius until you kick them around in your head for a bit.
The next fifteen hours were spent in the van. Iowa has cows and farms. A lot of cows and farms. The same goes for Indiana. South Dakota was full of….well….of nothing. I’m pretty sure we also drove through Minnesota. It’s all a blur of gas stations and rest stops where everyone talked like a cast member of Drop Dead Gorgeous or had a southern accent, or both. Everyone was absurdly polite though.
We arrived at Mt. Rushmore at like 3:00 AM and drove straight to the top only to find it was closed. A park ranger whom (go ahead and correct me I dare you) we assumed was a police officer ever so humbly followed us around then back down into the town, if you want to call it that. Our assumptions of the humble, submissive, environmental studies major total pushover federal park rangers were to get turned on their heads a few days later…
So we crashed in the van across from the holiday inn at the foot of the mountain. I had too much caffeine and wasn’t about to sleep sitting up so I read “ISHMAEL” on a park bench dressed all in black listening to Chopin (snob alert) on Eric’s ipod. I was concerned about looking like a total creeper all hood up and mangy hanging out at a picnic table at 4 o’clock in the morning in a town with a population of 311, but believe it or not 3 cars continually drove around acting way shadier than myself. Ishmael is an incredible, and thus far has shown to be strangely relevant to my current situation (Thanks Larson!).
I went to sleep for about an hour, then woke up and indulged at holiday inn’s cont. breakfast. Greg and I walked around the mini-town while everyone was sleeping.
Some dude who was more appropriately framed at a Larry the Cable Guy listening party than where we met him walked in on Greg and I in a public bathroom charging cell phones while Greg washed his hair in the sink and I was rolling a cigarette.
“You travelin’ boys?”
“I saw an Indian doing the same thing in the sink last week, and I walked out before he took his shirt off.”
“My Son plays in a band in Omaha, his band Go Motion plays with the Faint down there.”
“This is the greatest town in the world.”
“Don’t worry, them tight pants, nobody here will call ya a bum or a queer.”
He said a lot more, but I can’t really directly quote him and he rules.
We did the tourist shit, Joe conquered a mountain goat, and we saw the beginnings of the Crazy Horse monument and its going to rule when its done in 2050. Then it was off to Wyoming.
On our way to Yellowstone we took a route recommended by my friend Larson who claimed it was the most beautiful drive he’d seen in America. It was. It was breath taking and incredible. It took us all completely by surprise. It was part of route 16 in Wyoming.
It became apparent that we weren’t going to make it to Yellowstone, so we got a bit nervous. We grabbed some supplies in Cody, Wyoming and decided to try and find a campsite before dark.
We stopped at a bar/campsite and I got out to ask some local people where a cheap/free campsite may be where we could get rowdy. I love it how rednecks hear “any of you guys from around here?” then flock to you like seagulls on a hot dog bun. Turns out one of the overly southern accent-laden caricatures spent some time in D.C. and won a prize from the Bouncing Souls at a B.S./ Groovy Ghoulies show in 1993. Crazy. They also liked FEAR. Either way, they gave me directions to a rowdy friendly camp ground, then tried to get us to stay. “We gon’ shoot us some critters tonight, WOOOOOOT” He may have been putting on a show for the yanks from PA, but he may not have been. I hope not. There are few other things in the world I would rather be doing than shooting at ‘critters’ in a field with some drunken Wyoming boys.
We found the campsite. It was a half hour away from any city, no one was there, and there were at least a dozen grizzly warnings posted all over the place. We managed to get a bitchin’ fire going (thank you Troop 50, West Scranton, booya) and we cooked some burgs and drank some beer. The highlight of the night was when somebody thought they heard a noise then started a chain reaction of all of us running to the van in fear of being mauled to death by a large bear.
We got drunk and slept in the van. Greg and Joe stayed up and finished a flask talking about life and girls and it ruled to listen while trying to fall asleep.
I was thinking about how we hadn’t had cell phone reception in a while, and that no one that we knew had any idea where we were or where we were going. On top of that we were on the other side of the country viewing strange wildlife and landscapes left to the movies. It was heady to say the least.
We’ll talk about Yellowstone tomorrow, for now I need to take in Seattle…..