Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Yellowstone "Ain't That America, For You and Me"

 Well the northern bastard U.S. Grant did a great thing. He made "Yellowstone" the first national park and  that was a great thing! In the few days away from my merch gig, Scott Kernahan asked me if I wanted to "stay out there" (don't think he meant it figuratively) while the band had other things to do and to do what I did a year ago, blog and shit. Well, it's been a great thing (oddly enough, exactly a year later). It made me do what I did last year, pay closer attention to things that I'd otherwise ignore. Well I stopped by Yellowstone maybe because me and my family went there 30+ years ago. It was about a year or so after my mother had passed away on like a "Brady Bunch" vacation around the country. Don't know if that's why but I knew that I had to try and do it. Anyways, here's what I did:

Holy SHIT, the prices have went up in 30+ years!
Checked in to the 'Mack Daddy" of KOA's! I don't know how many tents there were but it was HUGE!
Had a great pizza and beer at "Wild West Pizzeria" in West Yellowstone. Checked the weather and realized the forecast for the overnight was 37 degrees and thunderstorms!
Set up my tent,  and in driving in to the park, this mid 60's serious looking "Park Ranger" asked me if I was on business (seeing the trailer behind me, I guess). I said that I was killing time between here and Denver to pick up a band (I guess I should said the "kids"). He looked at me hard (for a "Park Ranger", that is) and said, are you HERE for commercial business. All I knew was to repeat what I'd said the first time (didn't seem that tricky). Anyways, he said that because I seemed to answer him "honestly", I was allowed to go through but otherwise NO commercial vehicles were allowed inside (still don't know if I was commercial or not, it didn't feel like a commercial to me). Whew, I'd made it through "customs", of sorts I guess. Anyways, once inside it was one of those times where you feel SO much like an american for some cheesy ass reason. I was listening to a 920AM station play "Pink Houses": "Ain't that America, for you and me, Ain't that America, Something to see baby, Ain't that America, Home of the Free..." Those specific lines couldn't have been more fitting. As stupid as that sounds, that's actually what I felt. Well, I made the predictable pilgrimage to "Old Faithful". Watched it "go off",  walked around the area and just watched the people. People from all other the world were there. Stopped by the big ol' Old Faithful Inn.

This is how you take pix while driving (I KNOW I'd cleaned those damn windows!)

If only I knew how :(

Old Faithful Inn Lobby

I SWEAR be damned! I checked their license plate and they were from Louisiana! Cyndi won't believe me but it's true!

Another drive-by shot

this car in front of me actually passed me. There's like a dozen cars in front and the speed limit is 45. Can you say "Type A"?

Tent City

That dude on the right got HAMMERED!
After driving back in the afternoon, seeing Elk, Moose and buffalo along the way, I got back to my tent, warmed up some soup over my Coleman burner. Looked at ALL the literature about how many ways you could get killed in the area: bear, buffalo (who apparently gore a shit loada people) and rattle snakes just for starters. Well, I started a fire, blogged about "Kostas and Custer" drank some box wine, pulled everybody's blankets out of the van, crawled under them and waited for whatever animal chose to "do me in" (local options seemed to be endless). I have to admit, there was a family behind me with crying babies (most of the night) and I was hoping that the bears would be more willing to head that way seeing as I had a damn gun (which I'm not sure would really help against a grizzly) and they in turn had helpless, defenseless babies (it was a NO brainer, to me!). Well, I woke up (alive) and headed out. ON to another day before I get to Denver. 

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