Vacation 2010, pt. 1

We’re a little less than half-way through our trip and so far, the tally for wild animals darting or lumbering in front of our car is: 1 coyote, 1 raccoon, 2 bison, 2 squirrels and/or chipmunks (I say chipmunks, Christine says squirrels; it happened very fast…), and 1 fox. We’ve travelled through seven states and have added on over 2000 miles to the odometer of the rental car. We’ve seen the landscape unfurl before us in amazing geological formations; a truly humbling experience.

The weather has been kind: clear skies for our visits to Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and the Grand Canyon; only Mt. Rainier was veiled behind clouds. Even then, the clouds parted just long enough for us to get a good glimpse of the mountain before we drove out of the park.

We have found a few nice surprises along the trip, as well:

Christine was ecstatic to discover Twede’s Cafe, a.k.a. the Double R Diner from Twin Peaks, in North Bend, Washington. Up the road in Snoqualmie, we found an old train museum, where most of the trains were still in the same condition they were in when they were retired from service. (I prefer this state to restoration; while they’re only a shell of their once great industrial might, they retain a dignity and a beauty I think is lost in the restoration process.)

We stayed in Salt Lake City and had a nice, locally produced whiskey, Rendezvous Rye from High West Distillery. We also got to see the Mormon Temple; while I reserve any opinion on the LDS Church, the Temple itself was beautiful.

Upon leaving Salt Lake City, we made our first spontaneous decision of the trip: rather than head toward Bryce Canyon, as originally planned, we were going to Las Vegas. While I’ve never had any great desire to visit Las Vegas, I think it’s one of those things you just have to do before you die; it’s a rite of passage in our overly-saturated consumer society. I was pleasantly surprised by the trip (Christine had already been several times) and even managed to come out of the casinos $1 ahead of what I went in with at the beginning of the evening.

Today was the first day in over a week when we didn’t have to drive. We started off the morning with a hike up a 400 foot mountain (hill) behind my parents’ house (in 90 degree weather), then spent some time pool-side. Right now I’m writing, relaxing, and smelling my dad’s famous spaghetti sauce simmer away. Tomorrow we visit Sedona, then back on the road Wednesday to California and up the coast.

More to come…

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