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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Road Trip!

My husband and I love road trips and this summer we took our longest one, yet.  We packed our suitcases, water bottles, and hiking boots and pointed the car West.  Our destination was Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.  Some of our family and friends thought we were crazy.

 "You're going to drive there?
"Do you know how long that takes in a car?
"You do realize they have airplanes that go to Jackson Hole, right?"

It's hard to explain the joys of a car trip to the uninitiated.  But Darrell and I love the adventure of driving.  We spend hours talking about politics, religion, and what color to paint the living room.  We stop at any tourist trap that catches our eye.  And believe me there are plenty of them on the way out West. 

We stock up on corn nuts and Dr. Pepper and eat at Mom and Pop hamburger joints.  And best of all we get a real feel for the variety and vastness of America.  And let me tell you that the United States is big.  Really, really big.

Upon our arrival at Yellowstone we were blessed to be joined by dear friends.  Sadly, due to their tight schedules they had to fly out and missed the fun of a road trip.  But we all enjoyed the beauty and majesty of Yellowstone. 

I stared in wonder at the steaming Yellowstone Caldera.  Geysers spouted and mud pots blurped.  Mineral hot springs glistened blue, green, and orange.  An old hymn kept echoing through my mind...



  "Oh Lord my God,
   When I in awesome wonder
   consider all the worlds thy hands have made..."

We hiked through beautiful canyons and watched a moose grazing calmly in a mountain stream.  We even walked the 300 steps down to the lower falls of Yellowstone Canyon and 300 steps back UP.  I had the good fortune to be walking on steel steps that were anchored into walls of granite.  I learned that 100 years earlier tourists had been lowered by a series of ropes and ladders to the base of the canyon.  Then they climbed back out.  The women had done this wearing long dresses and petticoats.

Those first intrepid tourists came to Yellowstone via train as far as the rails would carry them.  They traveled the rest of the way by stagecoach or wagon.  No air conditioning, no CD player, and no McDonalds for bathroom breaks.

We stayed in lovely hotels with sparkling clean bathrooms.  They camped in tents and uhm, well, you can guess about the bathrooms.  Although I'm not sure how they managed that and the petticoats.

The incredible beauty of Yellowstone and the Tetons has been calling to humans for centuries.  Native Americans consider the place to be Holy ground.  Of course, they are right.  Nowhere else on earth has such a variety of geological and thermal features condensed into a relatively small area.  It is a homage to the magnificent work of our Creator.

It was a road trip well worth taking.  I enjoyed every one of the 3,921 miles of our trip   As a matter of fact I'm busy planning our next adventure.  This time we are heading North!