2019 travel (part 4) The Bus trip(part 2)
About a month ago while all of us were still working our weddings and school group at camp it had already started snowing in Montana. Montana is the State that Glacier National park is in. By the time we got out of South Dakota, into Wyoming to make our way over to Montana we had heard that Glacier National park and all the roads leading into the park were closed for the season because of the conditions. This was tough blow for some us because that was one of the big highlights and reason we started that trip. Eventually we decided to try and go for another National park named Yellowstone, which is all the way in the western part of Wyoming and is pretty famous around the world.
Just some bad luck
Before we would try and make our way over to Yellow stone the bus had some issues that we had to deal with. There was a part of the bus that we had tried to take for the last week and half and we hadn’t succeeded up to this point. We could still drive with this part still on but it was hindering slightly, the one thing that we really did needed to replace was the air filter. E.J noticed this because there was black smoke coming out of the exhaust when we were driving uphill. Again these parts of the bus are not very common and the fact that it was a Sunday meant that there was no way to find any shops that were open. Eventually we found out that a shop in Billings, Montana would have the part for us by tomorrow. We drove north to Montana for the night, ”couch surfed” with some nice folks up in Billings and got the part the next day. At this point we thought, alright now all of the mechanical stuff is done let’s head over to Yellowstone. That exact day they closed down all of the roads going into the National park, so that was number 2 on our list that we had to miss out on. There was no point in feeling sorry for ourselves so we decided to head further down an visit this place called Jackson, Wyoming. I had never heard of it before but it’s a town with a cool vibe and decent amount going on for the location of the town. Apparently Jackson is a pretty popular town for people who ski and it’s pretty close to Yellowstone and this other National park called Grand Teton. On our way over we had this amazing view of the mountain tops of Grand Teton National park and when we got closer to the mountains we met some animal that we had all been super excited to see. Basically from the start of this trip we had been talking about wanting to see different animals, from Moose to Wolfs to Bison. Luckily on our drive over we got to see some bison from up close, apparently they’re some of the most dangerous animal when approached by humans so I was advised not to get out of the bus and take a closer look.
I mentioned earlier that Jackson is a pretty cool town, it has a really good ice cream parlor, multiple candy shops, a brewery, cool outdoor gear stores, bowling ally etc. (these are just the things we were interested in). Jackson being in the location that it is, is home to a lot of great outdoor activities as well. After our first day of visiting the ice cream parlor (which was really good), candy shop, bowling ally, etc. we decided that we could not miss out on a hike while we were out here. That night we had to park in a random parking lot somewhere because all of the RV parks around the area had closed down for the season and it’s not like you can park your 31 foot RV anywhere you’d like. For whatever reason we had to get up at 6 AM to move our RV from this random lot to the start of our trail.
We had decided to do a half day hike and google told us about a hike called Snow King Summit. This hike was about half an hour to 45 minutes long but we knew that the hike could be extended from the top. The summit gave us some pretty good views of the same mountain range that we had seen the day before and of Jackson as well which was about 500 meter below us at that point. From here we decided to extend our hike a little bit, the best thing about this hike for me was seeing the backside of a Moose. No not the entire animal, just the backside. I had been looking for one because I had never seen one before and that was something I really wanted to check of my bucket list. I did not expect one to be there at that point and by the time had gotten everybody to lower there voices it was too late and all I saw was the massive animal to disappear into the woods.
Time for Idaho
After 2 days of Jackson, Wyoming we thought it was time for some new views and experiences. From the start of our trip we knew that Idaho was going to be a multi day stop for us. E.J’ has a family friend who owns a really cool house in Cascade which is about an hour and half north of Boise, that was our next destination. The drive to Cascade was too long to do it all in one day, so Gus reached out to one of her friends who she worked with over the summer and we were able to stay with him for a night. The guy we were going to stay with that night apparently lived somewhere near Sun Valley and it was one of the biggest houses I had ever been in ( it has 3 garages!!).
The morning after we visited and bathed in a natural hot spring, those things are always cool to visit because you don’t see them everyday.
Our last couple of days together
Our time together was coming to an end but not before spending another 3 days and probably my favorite part of the trip together. Now you might be asking yourself what in the world is so special about this random place in Idaho and you would be correct if it wasn’t for the amazing people living around there.
Let me start at the beginning. We got to Cascade pretty late at night, so we just wanted to get food, cook and hang out. When we finally got to the house it became obvious how fortunate we were to stay here. They area is beautiful, the house was amazing and as a bonus the fridge was stocked with beer already. That first night there Lee and I cooked up some pretty good pasta and we did what we had done for the rest of the trip, play card and drink beer.
My favorite part of the story
This part of the story is probably my favorite part of this trip and a story that I will be telling a lot of times through out my life. We weren’t exactly sure about what we were going to do while staying here. Luckily for us Dylan decided to go out on our fold out bike and explore the area. While he was out on the bike Gus, Lee and I decided to go for a walk and see what was out there as well. About 45 minutes into our walk we get a text from Dylan saying that the ”neighbors” invited us over to watch a college football game, (American Football) eat fresh Venison meat and drink beer. We immediately turned around and went back to change. Apparently the neighbors approached Dylan in the first place to check if we were not robbing the place, after explaining that we knew the guy who owns the place they invited us over.
We walked over and they greeted us so kindly and right away we started talking and sharing our road trip stories. Within 2 minutes I had a bowl full of green cury with elk meat, a plate with Venison and a cold beer in front of me while watching one of the best football games I have seen. I really wanted to see this game but I thought that it wasn’t on until the following week, so luckily for me they invited us over that day. I had never had Venison before and ever since hearing about elk meat I have been wanting to try it. It wasn’t just any Venison but the guys actually shot this animal the day before and put it on te barbecue that same morning, it could not have been any fresher. The People and the food were absolutely amazing and it would only get better from here. They kept feeding us more and more food/beers but besides that they invited us to join them for a hike the next morning. We had explained to them that we weren’t sure about our plans for the next couple days and they were kind enough to bring us to the start of a hike that they had trail blazed themselves just a couple months prior. We had such an amazing time experiencing all of this ”randomness” and unfortunately they will never now how happy the memory of this day makes me.
One of the best daysThis was one of the best days in my recent memory. Everything just seemed to fit so well together. The amazing strangers that we got to meet, the food was amazing and new to me, the football game was what I wanted to see and to experience it with my friend makes it even better. It was one of those moments where I couldn’t help but be 100% in the moment and be happy. Where I am from you will never experience stories like this so that makes it extra special.
The day would be our last full day together and we woke up early so we could start our hike around 7. One of the neighbors walked over so she could guide us to our starting point which was no farther than 10 minutes from their and our house. The main story of this hike was that Lee, Dylan and I took off again and we took a wrong turn this time. We walked about 30 minutes in the wrong direction and after that we waited for about 30 minutes for E.J and Gus to catch up. After an hour of backtracking, some really steep and muddy inclines we made it to the point where Gus and E.J were now waiting for us. About 20 minutes later we made it to the top of the mountain and we experienced a nice 360 degree view of the area and surrounding mountains. On our way down everybody went at different speeds and we all got separated from each other. Talking about it afterwards, everybody had taken a different route on the way down but luckily everybody made it back to the house in the end. Our final night together was spend by eating veggies that were prepared by E.J, pasta and roasted potatoes by Lee and Gus, Beer ”provided” by Dylan and burgers made by me. We finished of our final night by drinking beer and playing one more round of Dungeons and dragons to finish our story.
The band is breaking up
The time has come to split up and slowly say goodbye to this unbelievable trip. We were going to drop Gus and Dylan off in Boise, Idaho because they were going to start their journey to Cuzco, Peru from there. I would be meeting them there but I will be flying out of LAX 3 days later. After dropping those two off, Lee, E.J and I drove further west to Portland, Oregon to stay with some of E.J’ family. I would only be there for one night because I had to catch a 20 hour long bus ride to LA the next day. After spending the next day in the city of Portland it was now time for me to say goodbye to the bus, my friends and this experience. I caught my bus at the last second and then I was off to LA.
About 20 hours later I made it to the greyhound bus stop in LA, it took me another hour and half to get to my friend Matt. Matt is another camp friend of mine that I met back in 2016 ( both of our first year as counselors). This is the second time he has helped me out by letting me crash at his place, it’s always amazing to see that dude. Matt if you’re reading this, I miss you buddy and I really hope I get to see you again soon!
The end of a once in a life time trip
After driving through 9 States with the amazing people that I got to do it with this brings us to the end of my cross country road trip experience. A lot of these moments will stay with me for a long time and luckily I will be able to talk about them with people that I experienced them with. That’s by far my favorite part about traveling, creating memories, stories and experiences with other people. I will never be able to fully explain certain experiences, situations and memories in a blog so hopefully I will be able to share and exchange travel stories with you in person one day!
This travel story is not over yet however, I still need to share my experiences in Peru with you. My next blog will continue when I step off the plane in Cuzco, Peru and join my friends Gus and Dylan to hike Machu Picchu.