“Gimme back my filet-o-fish, gimme that fish, ooooh”
Yes, the kid picked today’s wake up song too. Grabbing the dog’s leash, I head out the door of the Bull Moose Saloon & Inn for her morning walk. Thankfully I had a camera on hand.
Waking up that day 40 miles south of Grand Teton National Park, I knew there were going to be sights to be had, but I had never imagined waking up to this.
Couldn’t forget to take pictures of our middle of the night find of a motel. Notice the board, they must have known we were coming. How do you not stop here, discount beer, liquor, wine, food, lodging AND entertainment? I joke, but I am thankful for the kind woman behind the desk and her generosity that night.
Pictures taken, car packed, batteries purchased for the car alarm key fob that decided to stop working, tank full of gas and we are on the road. We are bound and determined to find a way out of Wyoming. It was nice, but two days in any state is my limit.
Sights from Afton, Wyoming. An arch in the center of town make of Elkhorns, and the local Ford dealership.
We finally ditch going south out of Wyoming for cutting through Idaho and down in to Utah, thinking we have all the time in the world. Funny how you take time for granted. I remember thinking then, that we had all the time in the world that day, and only had to make it a decent way into Nevada before having to stop for the day.
Sights in Idaho, we weren’t there very long.
Hello Utah, our 12th state in 6 days. Was it really 12 states at this point? Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho and now Utah. Oh wait, there was that quick jaunt in to Michigan looking for a bathroom and ending up in the wrong Sturgis. Make that 13 states in 6 days, and the day isn’t over yet, unfortunately.
There is a lake that runs north-south from Idaho to Utah called Bear Lake. It is high up in the mountains. There are parts of the lake that are Caribbean Sea blue. While we were up there it was odd, one half of the lake was under sunny skies, the other half under dark clouds. Before we could get in the car the grey skies won out and it started to rain. It was like the sky was crying way up there. Sometimes Mother Nature knows more than she lets on.
Onward from Bear Lake and down into Utah towards Salt Lake City and the Great Salt Lake. Turns out the Great Salt Lake is shrinking and really wasn’t awesome to see. Bear Lake was much more appealing.
I still had no cell service leaving SLC and into the Salt Flats. J’s phone was in and out, mostly in with 1 or 2 bars out here. Somehow the important calls always seem to get through even with no bars. At least they did today.
At this point in the day, we were all pretty quiet, no particular reason, just a lull in the excitement. It is bound to happen when you have jam-packed days in succession and the Salt Flats, while exciting when you are testing or racing cars, isn’t really much to look at.
Then J’s phone rang. Lull over, day over, trip over. Well, okay, the trip wasn’t over, we still had two more states to conquer, but being excited about seeing the sights was pretty much moot.
It was D, they long-time boyfriend of an old friend of ours from high school, L. L and J had rented a house together a few years back for a while. They had always stayed closer. To know L was to love her and still not always understand her. She could be so full of life and excitement one minute and quiet and withdrawn the next. She had been that way since I first met her back in middle school.
D was calling J to let her know L had passed away. The story was a bit complicated, and there were some questions as to some exact details, which are not for public reading. I will leave it as, she lost her lifelong fight with her demons.
So here we are, driving down the highway, and well, I am still not sure how J kept it together. She starts making some follow-up phone calls and sorting things out, at least in her head.
Hello Nevada, can you hear me now?
As we cross the border in to Nevada, two things happen. The dashboard clock automatically changes to the next time zone, and I get cell service back.
The problem with the time change is that I have told the kid he can resume playing his DS at 3:30. We crossed in to Nevada at 3 pm, except 3pm had just become 2pm. My son, not one to miss a beat, sees this as he has been watching the clock like a hawk.
Protests begin from the backseat. “Hey Mom, what just happened? How did I just lose time? Do I have to wait more time now before I can play again?” It is at this moment I am thankful for Nintendo and the games they make.
J and I had phone calls to make, and the poor kid was surely not bound to have much more fun today. I let him start playing early, feeling badly that the ultimate damper was just put on his awesome summer vacation move across the country trip.
Kid settled back into his games, I turn attentions to J. All I want to do is be able to stop the car and give her a big hug and let her cry her eyes out, but that isn’t J. She isn’t one have that kind of breakdown. She doesn’t do mushy. Sometimes I have thought her emotions made of steel. I admire her for her composure and her ability to not wear her emotions on her sleeve.
J is angry now. She is seething. She was much closer to L and knows first hand of the demons and the fight. There is nothing I can do to console someone who doesn’t want to be consoled, so I drive.
We go through the motions for another hundred miles or so, no one is counting at this point. We finally pull in to Elko, Nevada and find someplace to stay for the night. Unpack, dog duty, and off for a pretty crappy dinner, all things being equal.
We head back to our room that night and know California awaits us the next day. So does J’s trip back to New Jersey the day after and wake and funeral no one had planned on happening.
Day 6 had turned out to be bittersweet for me. One friend welcomed a baby girl in to this world, one friend left this world for the long goodnight.