This morning I am sitting in the Mercedes dealership in Provo, Utah. Yep that is right, you heard me correctly. My check engine light came on in the middle of no-where Idaho. After I spoke with the Roadtrek roadside assist and was reassured I could drive it safely, I drove through some fantastic country to Provo last night. This morning my RT is in the shop.
I have one more stop to go and am planning to be back in San Diego by the end of this week. It is hard to imagine that over two months have gone by. This has been such a good journey for me and I hope for all of you as well.
Yellowstone National Park was probably one of the hardest places to visit on this trip. A year ago last February Jim and I did a winter snowshoe hike and camp in the park. I visited many of the places that we had traveled together. I thought a lot about him and me and our relationship. The tears flow less often now, yet the melancholy strikes at the oddest moments. I am glad I went into the park. I am glad I visited the places I did. This park is such an amazing place and I feel strongly that even though it was hard to search the memories, it was also very healing for me. I will return to this park again and again.
Here are some of the highlights of my visit to Yellowstone:
- Grizzly Bear: Coming into the Park on the west side of Sylvan Pass I saw the often, elusive bear. She was young. The ranger told us that the reason she was so high up the pass was because the older bears in the park won’t let her come down yet. She had a yummy looking meadow to dig for grubs and Yampa roots.
- Sand Hill Cranes in the Lamar Valley.
- Watching a young Osprey taking test flights from his nest.
Elk. I saw one bull elk herd all his ladies into the woods when the tourists got too close.
- Elk bulls bugling. My favorite moment was when I was sitting on the ground near Mt Washburn pass. I was alone and a bull let out the most amazing bugle. I love this time of the year.
- Bison swimming the Yellowstone.
- Antelope in the Lamar Valley.
- Standing on a hill in the Hayden Valley at sunset watching for wolves and bears with several other people. I never saw animals but enjoyed the company of others and a beautiful sunset.
- Hiking to and around Norris Basin.
- Sleet, ice and snow on the last night at Norris campground.
- Sleeping in my Roadtrek and not in a tent on the ground. This includes being warm.
- Meeting Carla and John. They have been traveling for over 4 months from Saskatchewan.
- Sitting in my RT, windows down, binoculars and camera at hand, watching for wildlife in the Lamar valley on a picture perfect afternoon.
This past Saturday and Sunday I drove the byways of rural Idaho and a little of Wyoming. This is the country of the perfect vistas at every curve of the highway. My suggestion is to stay off the freeways if you can. There were perfect farms with golden fields of grain. The mountains were around me all the time. Rivers flowed everywhere along the way. I stopped in Grace, Idaho for lunch at Lunch Express. I was the only tourist in the cafe. The locals talked to me and I met the owner as well. What delightful people. I have come to the conclusion that most people are nice and glad to hear a stranger’s story.
I found that as I got closer to Salt Lake City I started to slow down. I did not want to be back in the big city. This was probably good training for my arrival back to San Diego.
Last night I spent at the state park on the edge of Lake Utah. It is not part of the Great Salt Lake. What a very nice spot it was. I have enjoyed camping near water on this trip.
Cynthia and I Scottish Dance together. We have danced together for years. She is a very kind woman and a good dancer. When Jim was diagnosed with metastatic cancer, she became my friend. I cried on her shoulder and felt free to talk of my grief with her. After Jim died she patiently waited for me to call her. She knew that many would be in touch with me so she told me she would wait for me to contact her. We kept in touch by e-mail. She was also my contact with the Scottish dance group and was able to keep them informed. We have gone on adventures together, exploring art galleries, museums and of course spending time talking and getting to know each other. I look forward to more adventures with Cynthia. I am thankful for our friendship.
Once I am finished at the dealers, I am on my way south to the canyons of southern Utah. Tomorrow I arrive at Sharon’s and David’s home in Rockville, Utah, just outside of Zion National Park. I have known this family since I was a teenager and babysat for their children. This is such a perfect way to complete this journey.