Kate and I have moved back to Utah for the summer. Kate flew here so she could begin studying for the bar and I drove across country with her father. The following is a list of chronological highlights.
Day 1: In hot mosquito infested Ohio we had a terrible night sleeping next to a graveyard littered with multicolored LED lights and glow sticks. There we were haunted by ghosts who seemed particularly interested in the metal garbage cans across the field from where we slept. About 2 hours after falling asleep I was bitten by a spider which I was unable to locate upon waking and so I fled into the safety of the car where I spent the remainder of the night. No offense, but Ohio is the pits!
Day 2: Jim wanted to show me some stained-glass windows in the Community of Christ’s Stone Church(not the Shell-like Temple above) in Independence, Missouri depicting religious themes from Mormon history and doctrine. Although we were well past visiting hours Jim and I barged into the unlocked church only to be greeted by a flustered matron: “What are you doing here? The chapel is closed, I am in a meeting. I can’t give you a tour, but I will. Follow me.” So we did and I am glad of it. She showed us the old chapel, explained the early history of her faith (formally called RLDS) and even took us into the basement of the church to show us the original chapel windows. She ended up spending over an hour with us and in the end even apologized for her mean introduction.
Day 3: We arrived into Fargo, North Dakota at 6AM just in time to see my parents before they left for work. I slept most of the day and went on a bike ride with my dad around 3PM.
Day 4: Figuring I needed something to do other than sit at home, my dad “took me” to the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Site outside of Fargo. I put “took me” in quotes because what we really did was visit 5 or 6 of his agricultural experiment fields on the way to and from Ronald Reagan’s missiles. The missile command center was interesting yet the overall feeling from the visit was sadness that humanity has created tools capable of destroying just about all life on earth.
Day 5: Jim picked me up from my parents’ house around 5AM as to give us plenty of time to get to Jamestown before our 7AM appointment with the man Tex and the buffaloes at the National Buffalo Museum. Even so we arrived about an hour late, although Tex didn’t seem to mind. We loaded up into his truck and barreled into the Museum’s fenced prairie to photograph White Cloud the famous albino buffalo. We spotted her hiding in the brush and leaped from the truck with our cameras. She took off and so we climbed back into the truck. As we started to move I felt something climb up my leg and I looked down at my lap only to see 15 or 20 ticks crawling on my pants. In horror I excused myself, ran haphazardly back through the prairie to my car, and stripped. I just chucked all my clothes under the car, checked my nearly naked body for ticks, and then changed into clean clothes. By the time I had dressed Jim and Tex had worked their way up to me and so I hopped back into the truck. We did eventually get close to some buffaloes and snapped some great photos, but for the next 3 days every time I felt a twitch on my leg, I assumed it was a tick. Even now as I type this I am sure there is a tick working its way up my calf. I’ve checked 4 times and there’s nothing there.
We worked our way across North Dakota, Montana, and into Wyoming before camping just outside of Cody in the Buffalo Bill Reservoir on HWY 20. The sky was clear, the moon was bright, and we slept sound. The above image of the moon was taken from our campsite over the course of about an hour.
Day 6: Yellowstone was definitely the highlight of the day. Entering the park we encountered a lone buffalo that was so uninterested in us we were able to get as close as 6 to 8 feet away. Just outside the park we saw a grizzly bear, which I have never seen before, and then the highlight of the decade: a 1 day old baby moose feeding from it mom. It was so small it could barely reach its mom’s teats. Unfortunately, we did not have a zoom lens to take the picture with. Between writing paragraphs I am currently bartering over a Craigslist lens so this never happens again.
We arrived in Utah later that evening and were able to stop by Matt and Sarah’s house to see their new baby, Charlotte. She is so cute and tiny.
Trip Endnote: This morning I woke up at 4:45 to see the partial lunar eclipse and took this amazing photo mashup shown below.