Location: Kalispell, Montana, USA
So we continued on from Salt Lake City and into Idaho. Originally, we had planned on stopping somewhere either in Utah or Idaho to take a couple hour’s nap, but we’ve decided to trade that in for a trip to Yellowstone… I mean… why not?
Idaho… I’m really not sure why no one ever talks about Idaho. I was very impressed and am disappointed that it isn’t hyped up more! The Rockies here go from full sized down to these sort of muffled eroded Ozark looking mountains. There are tons of farm towns with colorful fields with snow capped peaks in the background. It’s stunning. The people here are almost Southern (almost) with their hospitality and to make things better, there’s relatively no one here, so the driving is perfect. Cruise control was invented here. We stopped to take pictures at the state line (which has a nice little no-man’s land – endlessly entertaining) as well as at a couple of picturesque little farms with perfect red barns and white picket fences. We then detoured off the main highway to cut across to Wyoming and wound our way through a couple open ranges (way cool) where we saw quite a few trucks parked on the side of the road and even a duo of hunters with their large rifles carrying something with antlers to their pickup. And now is about the time we start to get a little bored… So naturally… it’s time to break out the traveling band! Brian had brought a guitar, snare drum and a pair of metal spoons (YES!) thinking we could entertain ourselves once we got to Canada, but it was time to jam earlier than that. Brain and Dan led the way in the backseat with the Drum/Guitar combo and me and Mark rocked the front with our stellar spoonability and beautifully harmonic singing voices (HA!). We tore through everything we could think of including Lynard Skynard, Eddie Vedder, Cranberries, Everclear, Green Day… It was quite a riot… So naturally, when we hit the Wyoming border in mid-song, we decided to make that our pic for the border… We jumped out of the car and played and sang while our picture timer went off (again set by the mastermind Dan) before being chased away by an angry woman with a broom! Ok… well not quite, but we did think we heard someone so we all ran back to the car and sped across the line.
We drove through Wyoming and into Jackson Hole. We continued north towards Yellowstone, stopping to paparazzi some buffalo hanging out on the side of the road (who then proceeded to snort and threaten to charge the car). Once we arrived at the gate, we saw the sign: “Yellowstone South Gate: CLOSED.” Nooo… that can’t be right… so we pull up to the guard and ask/beg to be let in. No way. Turn around and go back where you came from. Well, that’s not going to happen, but we’ll backtrack a little I guess. So we drove back to Jackson, almost destroyed a pair of elk running across the road, grabbed a bite to eat, filled up the cruiser and headed back to Idaho, slightly disappointed. We also convinced Brian to shave his beard into a nice handlebar mustache which provided entertainment for at least an hour. At this point, Dan took over driving for a bit so that I could get some work done – which was incredibly interesting because he’d never driven on this side of the road before. I gave him the quick and easy Abbey’s guide to driving on the RIGHT side of the road (double meaning intended) and he mastered it in no time. We switched back near Idaho City and proceeded north to Montana.
Except, suddenly, we were in Montana with no warning. We never saw a sign, never a change in scenery, nothing. So we turned around… we were not about to miss a state sign. But… there wasn’t one! Lame Montana doesn’t have a state Welcome sign – which is lame. Apparently there is some sort of visitor welcome center like 65 miles into the state, but we couldn’t find that either… Anyway, right near where the border was supposed to be, there is this tiny little ghost town that we had to check out. There were tons of rundown buildings and houses and it looked very old timey. That’s about all we saw in Montana. It got dark about half way through and we hadn’t even hit a city yet. We picked up some McDonalds again and spent the next couple hours reading Brian’s entire Joke book (with multiple impromptu jokes thrown in by Mark – how do you guys remember all those things?!) and a couple sweet riddles that occupied my time for quite a long time.
Taking our last stop in the states, we’re stretching and whatnot and a cop pulls up behind us to check and make sure we’re not broken down. After he hears us speak with our four radically different accents, he wants to stick around and chit chat, so we let him. Real people and real air. I’ve gotten so used to LA, I’ve forgotten what it’s like.
Salt Lake City, UT --> Kalispell, MT
Miles travelled: 879
Time travelled: 20 hours
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