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Published: September 9th 2013
On the road again, we just couldn’t wait to get on the road again. But first, breakfast at the Pioneer Grill. I know. I know. We were sick of it by now too but we had to just one more time. An extra bonus was that Greta was working again and we had a chance to thank her for our magic moment the night before. We also had a chance to get some snazzy dress shots with the Tetons in the rising sun. The actual Tetons - not my “tetons” to be clear.
The plan for today was to drive into Idaho for a trip to the Craters of the Moon National Park and then north to Montana for a night in Missoula. What we thought we be an average day of mostly dull driving turned out to be anything but.
The first highlight of the day was crossing Teton Pass from Wyoming into Idaho at about 8,600 feet. What a drive! This was one of the most beautiful mountain roads we’d driven so far winding and curving its way to the peak and then plummeting back down through a beautiful forest and nature preserve. Once over the pass,
it was a surprisingly short amount of time before we were back in flat rolling fields of wheat as far as the eye could see. The golden colours were truly mesmerizing and this was nothing like the dreary flats of eastern Wyoming.
The second highlight of the day was Craters of the Moon National Park. Holy cow! We weren’t expecting this. Imagine a vast landscape of black dusty dry desolate ground left over from a series of lava flows and volcanic eruptions. We knew that Yellowstone sat in a giant volcano’s caldera. What we were seeing here was what Yellowstone will look like after that mega volcano erupts. Key and ominous word being "will". The rock formations left by the lava flows were incredible and out of this world-like. It felt like we were in one of those 1960s sci-fi movies about 1986. The main attraction of this visit was the hike to the summit of the Inferno Cone. Imagine a 1.5 mile hike up a steep incline of black cinder dust. Windy and hot, our sticky sweaty bodies were covered in the stuff by the time we got back to the car. Needless to say, we were not
bringing sexy back. We did however bring some extra gratitude with us down from the top of that cinder cone. We were acutely thankful for: 1) for air-conditioning and 2) that the Yellowstone cataclysm hadn’t happened during our visit there.
We had two options for our drive to Missoula: we could go via Sun Valley or take a more direct route north. We opted for the quicker journey and agreed to come back to Sun Valley one year to visit and ski. Disappointing as it was to miss it this trip, we just didn’t have the time. In the end, it paid off. We saw Idaho’s highest peak and drove through a canyon which appeared seemingly out of nowhere given all of the preceding landscape / highway had been relatively flat. Once we passed this canyon, the driving got tougher. It started to rain and the road started to wind its way back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. When you see a sign that shows a winding road symbol and below it reads “Next 99 miles” - they are NOT kidding.
Across the border into Montana, once we hit the first town, we
told Toto that we weren’t “in Kansas anymore”. Each town we passed had at least two guns and ammo shops and a dozen bait shops. There were also an alarming number of dead deer on the side of the road. This was the first real abundance of road kill we’d encountered and we didn’t want to contribute to some local diner’s dinner menu or steal the thunder from one of the local gun enthusiasts - so we slowed right down.
After 11 hours of driving, we finally arrived in Missoula. We wandered around town for a little bit and ultimately decided to grab a bite to eat at a local pizza place and take the edge off with some local IPAs. Dinner would have been perfect. Could have been perfect. Nice table outside. Fun pizza ingredients. Great waitress. However, we were seated next to some college students waxing poetic about the rights and wrongs of society today and how they’ll never compromise their beliefs or goals; opining on the equality of men and women in society and how its "so bullshit" and not an issue for them; and sharing their feelings and experiences (real and imagined) of homosexual exploration.
I was seething at our table ready to poke out my own ear drums to silence the crap coming from their young 20 something blow holes. This is the night I realised what I had become. I am now officially an old married woman.
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