Road Trip part 2
As we entered Wyoming I realized I had come to the West, where the rocks and mountains around me were so much comparatively younger than back home. The result is the drama that inspires national parks.
Fierce thunderstorm clouds snarled up to us, engulfed Todd and then spat him out unharmed. YAY. Then we began climbing into the Bighorn National Forest. I loved the signs along the winding road that labeled the age and name of the rock layers surrounding us. The beauty of this forest was incredible.
Then we began our descent in the Bighorn Basin. A somewhat terrifying descent. Signs warned us to go slowly and use low gear. Runaway truck ramps were available. Suddenly the significance of the SMOKING lumber truck we saw coming up the mountains dawned upon us. Would Todd’s breaks hold out?
They did, and no runaway truck flattened us. We did have to coast to the nearest town because the light went off whilst in the forest. Soon enough, however, we were getting lost on the back roads and then, after a helpful phone call and directions, finding ourselves at the ranch of Q’s aunt and uncle.
Q’s grandparents, whom I had already met in my first trip via plane out to Los Angeles were there with hugs, the first arrivals for a scheduled 2-week long family reunion. The house was enormous and impressive. Huge curved beams, salvaged from a closed supermarket by Q’s uncle, were the inspiration for a curved house. It felt a little like an ark come to rest on the prairie, cleaned of the smells of sea voyage and fixed up with floor to ceiling windows, looking out on views like this:
We spent a relaxing and fantastic time socializing with a large portion of Q’s family, cooking, and taking in the scenery through walks and a hike up Heart Mountain (in the picture). I have so many beautiful pictures from that time.
Then, we departed to continue our road trip to Los Angeles. First stop however was Yellowstone! Curiously, I was much more enthused by the mud pots than Old Faithful. But everything was mind-boggling. The earth’s crust in Yellowstone is as thin as a mere 5miles thick (typically the continental crust is 20 to 30 miles thick). So surface water percolates through cracks and fissures, gets close to the lava plume that lies beneath the park and as steam is forced out spectacularly in geysers and fumaroles, mud volcanoes and sulfur cauldrons. The smells and sounds remind you that you are actually standing in the caledra of a supervolcano. Crazy. Awesome. National Geographic’s August 2009 issue has a cool article on all of this. Ooooh! I just found the interactive site on Yellowstone.
Anyway, it all makes me feel like this:
After winding our way out of Yellowstone we found ourselves in Montana, then Idaho very quickly.
Salt Lake City was our destination for the night and after consulting with my mom and the internet we found a nice Thai restaurant to dine in. I was pleased that with easy we were able to waltz into a strange city and find a good meal with out headache or getting lost. Yay internet and GPS! Maybe we could have had an even better meal if we had asked locals, but I was very satisfied and highly recommend the restaurant.
Utah was red and gorgeous. Then we wound through a canyon as we zipped through a corner of Arizona. THEN we got to Las Vegas. I got a headache and we left after lunch. Todd did not overheat in the Mojave Desert and we cruised into Q’s sister’s house by dinner. Tasty not being in the car!
Every moment of the trip was enjoyable (except my head ache in Vegas, brought on by hunger and tackiness). I think the country is beautiful and exciting and most people are absolutly charming to interact briefly with. Awesome. More pictures from the trip are here.
Now we are trying to establish a routine here in our LA apartment. Acquiring furniture from thrift stores is way more fun than Ikea. We have a huge table with a glass top and a futon that was cheap! Still working on living room furniture, but the real steals were the toaster, coffee maker, juicer, and wine glasses. Now, for real life. I have to find a job…