Thursday, August 1, 2013

Moats and boats and waterfalls (and geysers)

My dog still hasn't forgiven me for not letting her loose to frolic in Yellowstone Lake. She's not usually a puller, but man, had it not been for the massive amount of arm strength I've built up by stress-shoveling chocolate peanut butter ice cream into my pie hole, we might've both ended up going for a swim.

So yes, we made it to Yellowstone. We weren't able to find lodging nearby, so we just made it a short driving day and detoured our way through the beautiful national park. Our one and only must see stop was of course, Old Faithful. It was horribly crowded when we arrived, not a parking spot in sight. So we drove around the lot for another 20 minutes, doing wonders for both our bladders and blood pressure. After finally scoring a spot (ok, I confess, we created a spot), we rushed to the restrooms and then off toward the geyser to find out when this show of natural wonder would start.

Oh, it erupted five minutes ago, you say? While we were in the bathroom? Ok, no problem, so when's the next one? An hour and a half to two hours?? Gaaaah!

So we did the next best thing. We took a picture by the sign.
Watching the geyser not going off. Anti-climatic much?
When we finally made it to our hotel that evening, we were tired and crazy hungry. I found a restaurant on TripAdvisor that had great reviews and touted a kid-friendly menu. But upon arriving, we discovered that the restaurant was decidedly more "fancy" than we'd anticipated, not a crayon or kids' menu in sight.
L and I were craving a decent meal with recognizable vegetables and fish or beef that didn't make you wish you were a vegetarian. So we took the plunge and prayed the other patrons would be long suffering should our children choose to act their age.

I know it sounds lame, but this random meal in Butte, Montana turned out to be one of my most favorite memories from the trip. The kids ordered "fancy meals" from the grown up menu (chicken with artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes, salads, linguine, etc), drank lemonade from delicate glasses, and made delightful conversation. They rose to the occasion. That is, until I made them pose for a picture to prove how refined they were. Then they were all quick, pick up your spoon and start goofing off!


As I try to recall the details of the trip, so many of the moments I remember are the small ones. Like when I looked in the rear view mirror and C was wearing his bike helmet and creating facial hair out of post-it notes. Or the time I camped out in the laundry room at the Best Western until midnight to ensure we would all have 2,500 more miles worth of clean underwear.

There is little glamor to be found in driving two cars across two expansive countries with two young children and an old dog. I still cringe when I recall the packing and unpacking of suitcases each night, the loading and unloading the cars each day, the often fruitless pursuit of decent coffee each morning. But still I smile when I recall the way the horizon rose and fell on the back roads of Montana, when I remember the sound of D's voice as she tried to sing every word to our traveling song, the one we played every morning to begin our drive. 
Moats and boats and waterfalls, alley ways and pay phone calls,
I've been everywhere with you (that's true.)...
Home, let me come home
Home is wherever I'm with you.
Even now, when we get in the car, they say, almost out of habit, "Hey mom, can you please tell Siri to play Home by Edward Sharpe?" And now, even when the music is off, I hear Siri's robo-voice saying, "Looking for Home....Ok, Jo, here's Home."


  1. I think I cried at the post-it mustache and again when you said TWO cars!!! {clearly, two different reasons for the tears!) I love that you are putting words with your amazing journey photos!

  2. I wish I'd known you were going to Yellowstone. My in-laws are working there this summer and would have gladly given you some pro tips and a real parking space! ;-) So glad to see you writing all this out!