Sunday, July 5, 2009

take control of the atmosphere

Days 10-11: Yellowstone-Grand Teton-Jackson, WY-Across Idaho

It was like love at first sight...physiologically speaking. 0-60 degrees, lightening rolls through the clouds from left to right, stray bolts making contact with the ground. 60 degrees on, fireworks burst in the sky at random intervals, 6 or more different shows. Blasts of red, purple, green and white.

This is what love at first sight would look like if you could watch it happen in the body and in the air. From the eyes the nerves fire throughout the body and fireworks explode around the body, some invisible, others visible in tremors, stutters or that thing that happens to my eye sometimes where it flutters slightly when I am overwhelmed. It seemed a suitable way to spend the 4th of July, along the Snake River at the Idaho-Oregon border. A 4th of July I get to celebrate for 25 hours...because I have made it to the Pacific Time Zone.

Though yesterday was a loss to a cold that I am fairly certain may have nearly claimed my life, I woke up this morning feeling so unusually invigorated and refreshed, I was almost positive I was dreaming.

I got an early start and did a brief whirling dervish through Yellowstone which is a pretty astounding place. Unlike Mount Rushmore, you could kill a week or two at Yellowstone. I followed with a ride south through Grand Teton NP which is...similarly astounding. Well not's totally different. Verdant green fields and a crystal blue lake...exactly what you would expect and then...BAM! A sheer wall of rock rips up at 90 degrees from the softness of the flatland below. Really surreal.

I keep thinking about the pioneers traveling across a largely uncharted continent. What possibly could have gone through their minds when they encountered such a sight as the Tetons? Or Yellowstone's crazy geothermal nonsense? Or Devil's Tower? It really is a crazy, unpredictable, breathtaking landscape out there.

So Happy Birthday, America. I started the day bummed that I wouldn't be celebrating it over free barbeque with my peeps in the StuVy penthouse, but I have since realized that this has been the best way I could have ever spent the 4th...traveling across the continent for the first time, coming across landscapes that I never before imagined existing, with a disease resembling cholera. Just like the pioneers if they had a Mazda and a Visa!

Mazel Tov, US. You really are the bees knees.

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