Namesakes and Boiling Lakes

To begin with, here is the greatest picture ever taken:

Mark found his home! Seriously, though, this place was named after someone who is related to Mark – a famous abolitionist named William Lloyd Garrison. Yeah, my husband’s pretty famous, no big deal. Hmmm, maybe I should have taken his name after all…

Following our abrupt change of plans, we slowly adjusted to working our way south. I still have not blogged about the pie in Lynden, but I will. Oh yes.

After leaving Spokane we had a nice leisurely drive to a backwater town called Deer Lodge. The KOA we were staying at was in major danger of being flooded, and we half expected the owners to knock at our van door halfway through the night and tell us to move. We had a quiet evening and went to bed early (side note: yes, I realize that the previous sentence can sum up my entire existence).

The next morning we drove a couple of hours south and had a quick breakfast at this place, about which Jack Kerouac once said, “It was the end of my quest for an ideal bar.” We didn’t have any drinks, but we sat at the counter and watched the cook work the grill and I was a very happy girl.

After leaving Butte (allegedly pronounced “bewt”, although I obviously always referred to it as “butt” because I am 12) we entered Yellowstone National Park through Gardiner, Montana. I had been to Yellowstone before, but I was young and indifferent to nature, so I appreciated it on a much different level this time. As soon as we drove in, we began seeing wildlife:

So here’s the thing about Yellowstone in June after a particularly harsh winter: It was cold. And snowy. So snowy, in fact, that the first campsite we were given was not a viable option, due to the fact that we would have had to park on the road because of the huge piles of icy snow. We were given another site, and Mark set to work dealing with very important matters:

The first (and, it turned out, only) night we spent in the van in Yellowstone was pretty frigid (insert joke about marital relations here, hey-yo!) and the next morning I was super grumpy — I am usually a morning person through and through. It takes me a while to get up, but as soon as I’m vertical I am usually happy and chatty and a ton of fun! That’s what I thought I was like…however, after spending a few minutes repeatedly being poked awake by Mark and burrowing into my sleeping bag, terrified of leaving the (slight) warmth of the van, I turned to Mark and told him that I finally understood how he felt in the mornings, and readily admitted, “I must seem so annoying to you!” Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, etc.

We spent the morning checking out different parts of the park.

That last one is a mud pot called the Fountain Paint Pot, and it totally reminded me of the Bog of Eternal Stench…and still, somehow, I wanted to dive right in.

At this point, the weather was not looking great and neither of us particularly wanted to spend another night shivering in our minivan, so we decided to refrain from staying another night. Before we left, we had to check out Old Faithful, because I think there’s some kind of law against skipping it. I have to admit, it got to some impressive heights:

After checking out West Yellowstone and deciding against staying there for multiple reasons, not the least of which was the Disneyland-esque façade it had going on, we drove for another hour or so and ended up in a little town called Ennis. Montana is beautiful, and taking a secondary highway made for a gorgeous drive.

Ennis was small but very well-kept and charming. We had some barbecue for dinner, slept in a real bed, and got 9 solid hours of sleep.

On the next installment of the Nomader…more of this:

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