Friday, May 31, 2013


5/19/2013: Bozeman, MT to West Yellowstone, MT to Somewhere in Idaho to the Old Faithful Inn

We left Bozeman this morning in a drizzly, cold rain.  I didn't mind the cold, but the rain was unfortunate. The place we stayed in Bozeman seemed unusual, in that it looks like a very rural farming area that is slowly being civilized. All of the new stuff looked brand new, even smelled brand new, but it was interspersed with old, dilapidated buildings and barns. I really liked the place, though.  It's a relatively small town*, and it looks like a nice palace to live! We drove through some beautiful country: lots of hills and low mountains covered with dark pines. Even in the rain, you could tell it was a beautiful place.  It reminded me a lot of driving to Nederlands , the place Josh took me into the mountains in Colorado. Our drive took us through the Gallatin National Forest, where we saw some snow, and the Gallatin River. The mountains out here look like they're melting into the ground. Mr. Lee says that these mountains are very old, so that's probably why.  I wish we could have stopped to take more picture, but the weather was kind of yuck, and we didn't have very good light. We did stop a couple of times, but it was so freaking cold and rainy that we didn't stay out long.

We finally made it to west Yellowstone to get a bite of lunch at around 11:30. West Yellowstone is a sort of skeezy little tourist town just across the border of Wyoming. Don't worry, I say skeezy with love. It was one of those places for tourists with rows of souvenir shops, restaurants with clever names and museums of local interest, and I actually love places like that. It was small and cute. I forgot to get a foot picture there.  :(  We didn't stay long, though, because our next stop was in Idaho!

Mr. Lee took us to Idaho at my request, because I'd never been there before.  Despite my fondest dreams and wishes, it did not smell like freshly cooked French fries.  He also said he wanted to show us an interesting place, which turned out to be Big Springs, which was a small place where a natural spring bubbled up. It was really, very beautiful. The water was so clear, and if you stood in the right place, you could see where it came out of the ground.  I don't think I'd ever seen the actual source of a spring before!

It had started to spit snow, and rain a bit, so we got back into the car and went back to West Yellowstone.  We had to get a couple of things at the market, and we stopped in one of the souvenir shops (because I'm a gift shop junkie!), and then we were off to our next destination.

We made it to Yellowstone National Parker not long after, and we almost immediately saw some elk! We went a little further, and found a nice place to take some pictures. It was just COVERED with wildlife feces. Ick. I haven't had to tiptoe through a field like that since dad raised cows in our back pasture. Bison, elk, deer, moose, you name it, it had pooped there. Seriously, I think the new motto of Yellowstone National Park should be:  "Yellowstone: Seriously, Watch Your Step."  I got tired of dodging turds, so we got back into the car and drove till we saw some bison eating near a parking spot, and we were able to get pretty close.

 They weren't scared of us, but I think it was because they knew they could stomp us to death. I tried to talk to him, but he ignored me. I decided at that point to eat one of his brethren in revenge.

(Is it weird that I now want to taste pretty much every animal that lives in this park?  I've never had the urge to eat wildlife before, but now it's a goal of mine!)

We stopped at one of the geyser areas to see some little geysers and mud pits. It was neato, but it smelled so very bad.

As lovely as this smelled so bad!

It had gotten so cold that I wound up standing in the stream of sulfur smoke just to keep warm, so I'm sue I smelled nice after we left.  We decided to just go on to our next hotel. We were lucky enough to get a room for the night at The Old Faithful Inn! It's usually booked up a year or more in advance, but someone must've cancelled because Mr. Lee got a room! It's 109 years old, and it's made of twisty wood and beams. We didn't stay in the oldest part of the hotel, but our room was still attached to the building. The rooms are kind of spartan, but it was ok. This is the kind of place where you don't spend much time in the rooms.  The hotel put a stuffed bison on the bed, which I thought we got to keep - like the little bars of soap - but alas you had to buy them.  Since I'd already named it, Mr. Lee got said he'd add it to our bill. :)  We put out stuff down and explored until our dinner reservation.  We found out that on Tuesday, May 21, the cast of the Today Show was going to be broadcasting from this hotel. Camera guys and a director were busy planning shots and putting together equipment, and we stopped and talked to one guy for a minute.  Too bad we won't be here. I could have streaked during the broadcast!

We went into dinner and ordered our food. I got a really delicious bowl of pea soup and some bison pot roast! Unfortunately, there was some kind of oil or spice in the food that I must be allergic to. I only got a couple of bites into my pot roast, when something inside of me went terribly wrong. It wasn't a sick feeling, it was more like I got stabbed in the gut. I thought it would pass, but it didn't. I had to go back to the room, curl into a ball and lie down. I got briefly, but awfully ill, and it finally passed, but not for a while. After I felt a bit better, we walked outside to watch Old Faithful erupt.

It's weird waiting for a geyser to go. It steams a lot, and there are brief moments where you think it's about to happen, but it quiets down again. It's like waiting on a sneeze! It was still freezing and raining outside, and a whole bunch of people gathered around on the sidewalks to watch. The time came...and went. I was convinced we had somehow broken it.  There is actually a 10 minute window both ways where the geyser can go, but it passed that window. I had fashioned a burka out of my scarf, because my ears were freezing, but I didn't give up!  It finally blew up, or whatever it does, and I was suitably impressed.

Thar she blows!!

 Of course, I did have a moment of clarity in which I realized how insane it seemed for a bunch of people, mostly adults, standing around in the freezing rain, waiting on the earth to sneeze.

After that we called it a day. I still wasn't feeling so hot, Mr. lee and Steve were ready to go back, so now we're in our room, chilling out (literally.  It's freaking cold and all we have is a steam radiator in here) and planning our day tomorrow!

*EDIT - Apparently I only saw a very small edge of Bozeman.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


May 18, 2013: Huntsville, AL to Atlanta, GA to Salt Lake City, UT to Bozeman, MT

It's time again for one of my great western adventures with Mr. Lee and Steve! Only this time we didn't head out to the Wild, Wild West.  Instead, we decided to visit the underground super volcano known as Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons! 

We got up early this morning and headed to the airport. I had to go through one of those full body scanners at the Huntsville airport, so I started off the trip by ruining someone's morning because they had to see me naked-ish.  Sorry, random security person!  We boarded fairy quickly and headed to Atlanta.  Blerg.  I do not like the Atlanta airport!  It's too big and too crowded.  Our layover ended up being a couple of hours long, but it wasn't too terrible. We got some breakfast and hung around until our next flight boarded. 

Our next flight was took us to Salt Lake City, UT.  The plane was completely packed, but the passengers were really calm.  Much better than our last flight out west to Las Vegas. Of course, that flight was full of gamblers and party people. For all I know this plane was full of Mormons heading home!  It got a bit bumpy at times, and I was seated right next to the wing, so I couldn't really see any scenery, but it wasn't too bad. 


We landed and found our way to our next gate.  It was the smallest little airport gate I'd ever seen, which would have been fine if the strange Asian family hadn't been in such close quarters with us! That probably sounds rude, but I'm being 100% honest. The little boy ran around and around, paying no attention to his mother, who was slapping him around the whole time, and he kept running into Mr. Lee.  The grandmother kept making this disgusting sound with her face.  It was like she kept hawking a loogie without spitting. It was so gross. Steve called her The Hacker.  It seemed like forever before we finally boarded our last plane to Bozeman, Montana.

Bozeman, MT! I already see a mountain!

The plane was tiny! It was like being crammed into a tube sock.  There were two seats on each side, and I was seated across the aisle from Steve and Mr. Lee.  Since the plane was full, I knew I would be sitting with a stranger, but I wasn't bothered until I saw that The Hacker would be my seat mate! Ugh! Luckily, her grandson asked if I would mind trading seats with his grandfather so that they could sit together, and I gladly moved further back into the plane. 

I'm actually glad I did, because I wound up sitting next to two very interesting people.  The woman I shared a seat with was from Bozeman, and she was very nice. It also turned out that her daughter in law is the actress that played Juliette on Lost! Neato!  Well, at least she said she was.  Who knows really.  The guy on the other side of me was also from Bozeman, and he was so funny. We spent the whole flight making each other laugh and talking. We just talked about dumb stuff, but I enjoyed it.  I felt like I knew him from somewhere, but I know I didn't.  He just reminded me of someone, I think.  It wasn't until we got off the plane that I realized we'd talked so much that I'd forgotten to get his name! Oh, well, I just refer to him as Airplane Guy.  He was nice!  I liked him.  Of course, he could have been a serial killer for all I know.  Oh well, who cares.  I think I made Tyler Durden's fabled "Single Serving Friend."

After that, we got our rental car, and found our hotel.  We are staying in a place called Homewood Suites. It's a really nice place, with rooms more like small apartments than regular hotel rooms. The only thing I don't like is that the carpets remind me of the floors in The Shining. Eeesh. We got dinner and now we're back at the hotel. I'm so tired, but Steve and Mr. Lee want to watch some movie called Spencer's Mountain.  It has something to do with The Waltons or something.  I don't know, I'm just trying to stay awake.  Hopefully I can go to bed soon, because our adventures have just started!

Saturday, May 11, 2013


1) I'm a terrible judge of character.  I think I've always kind of known this about myself, but it never really seemed to matter much until recently.  If someone is nice to me, I tend to think "Oh, this person is awesome!" and I ignore the bigger picture.  I mean, I'm not completely daft.  I think there is a part of me that can know some things about people really well, and I can see things about them that they don't realize I can see, but even then, as a whole, I don't always judge them correctly.  I'm sure I'm not the only one, of course.  I'm sure we've all known people like the friend you thought you could confide your problems to, who might listen to you talk, but turns out not to really care all that much about your actual problems. Then there is the person you think is so nice and fun to be around, but they are only that way to those they think need to see that part of them, and secretly they are kind of awful to other people.  I'm sure you can add your own experiences with people to this list ad nauseum, and you'd never get to the end of it. People are multi-faceted and honestly, we only see the parts that they let the light shine on when we're with them.  I'm sure I've badly disappointed people who thought I was better than I really am, so I shouldn't be too shocked about finding out that someone I considered a friend and all around awesome person turned out to be a black hole of absolute suckage, but I am.  I think what bothers me most is that I was so convinced that this person was great that I wasn't seeing what should have been completely obvious.

Now, before you start to wonder who has done what to me, I need to let you know that what brought on this realization has nothing at all to do with me.  This person has never been anything other than decent and helpful towards me, personally.  This is pretty much why I'm being intentionally vague.  Since it isn't my problem, I can't (with good conscience) lay it all out here for you fine folks.  Trust me, I'd love to do it, though.  Oh, and also, this person is litigious and has no scruples about suing someone over them publicly talking about what they did.  Glad I found that out before saying anything.  While I don't think they read my blog, I have certainly learned my lesson about posting certain things online.  I don't know if I've ever known anyone to be morally reprehensible before, but this person is.  It makes me kind of sad, too, though.  I actually really liked them, but after being fooled by them for so long, I couldn't ever feel the same way.   I hate when people suck.

2)  Steve got a solo for his spring/summer concert series!  Woot!  I'm very proud.  It isn't a long solo, but he's tickled, so I also have sympathy tickles.  Hopefully, I'll have a video of him playing it at some point. He's doing really great in the MCB and I'm glad he's found something that he likes to do and is a stress reliever from his work.  It's his thing, and I'm glad he's enjoying it.  If you saw the video of Butler "singing" while Steve played the trumpet, don't worry.  He really plays much better than that!

3) I wish I could find a "thing."  I haven't really enjoyed doing anything in a long time.  That sounds weird, but it's true. I feel kind of stuck.  I have dozens of hobbies, but I haven't liked doing any of them lately.  It's really strange, because it's like I'm in a holding pattern, waiting for something, but I have no idea what I'm waiting on.  I don't even have any idea what kind of thing I'd like to do.  You know how sometimes you are talking, and you get stuck while trying to think of a word?  That's how my whole life feels right now.  I hope whatever I'm waiting on is a good thing.

Is that odd?  It seems like it might be odd.  I dunno.  Maybe I'll take up tightrope walking or something.  I just wish I didn't feel so stuck. I NEED A THING!

4) Have you ever heard that smell is the sense closest tied to memory?  I find that to be very true, but it may be because I can smell things better than most people.  Honestly, have you seen my nose?  :)  Well, I bought a tube of lip gloss the other day, and the smell of it reminds me of something, but I can't remember what it is.  All I get is a feeling of uneasiness, like whatever the smell reminds me of might not be such a nice thing, but for the life of me, I have no idea what it is!  It's a very particular smelling lip gloss, and it isn't something I have used often, so you'd think it wouldn't be hard to remember what it reminds me of!  It's a mystery!  I kind of think it might remind me of a date I went on when I was 15 or so and the guy tried to kiss me and I was REALLY not wanting him to (we didn't date long, obvs), so I had to dodge him a lot, but I'm not sure that's it. 

5) I'm afraid that almost my whole blog post has seemed a bit negative. To alleviate this I present to you: