A number of people told us our trip was too ambitious – that we were trying to fit too much in in a short amount of time, and even joked that we should draw up divorce papers (being “stuck” together in a car for that long). I will say that while there were a couple meltdowns, it was by far the best experience of my life. I got to travel the country with my best friend (who also happens to be my husband), see parts of the country I’d never even thought about before, and experience a story that will last the rest of our lifetimes.
There were some amazing highlights and some things we’d do differently. We both agreed that the best part of the trip was Yellowstone. We had talked about going for years, so finally being able to do so made it even more special. The wildlife and sheer beauty of the area were astounding. It makes you realize how small you are in the world – surrounded by geologic features millions of years in the making, in an area where wolves have made a comeback to keep the ecological beauty of the area intact. That’s one of many reason why the recent news stories of a man putting a bison calf in his car, and adventure bloggers stepping onto the Grand Prismatic Spring hurt so much. Nature isn’t there for our benefit and we cannot do what we want with it. Yellowstone is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year, and it is a reminder that setting aside areas to remain wild is what makes a country great.
Some of my favorite memories from our trip were Hasha being chased by an amorous sage grouse, the coffee from St. Louis, MO (hello 7-hour straight drive), driving the Iron Mountain Road, the 1st time seeing snow in the Badlands – and then Really seeing snow in Yellowstone, leaving a medicine bag for our weddings in the Black Hills, almost dying on our 10-year anniversary on the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, Hasha being yelled at by an angry logger… all these memories just add to the greatness of the adventure.