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Day in the Life of an Idiot

The Journal of Lyda Morehouse


February 16th, 2017

Road Trips and an Invitation @ 09:20 am

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 First, I need to kickstart my career by 2018.  I just got an invite to be one of the GoHs for Minicon next year. It would be nice if I had something to promote by then.

This summer Mason and I are planning a road trip.  Normally, we tag along to Shawn's annual COSA/NAGARA meeting (Council of State Archivists/National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators). This year, however, it's in Boise, Idaho.  Nothing against Idaho, but I'm not sure there's enough stuff there for Mason and I to entertain ourselves for 5 whole days.  So Mason had this brilliant plan.  When mom flies off for Boise, we hit the road.  We drive through the Dakotas and Montana and meet-up with her in Idaho, then we all travel back by car and see Yellowstone in Wyoming and the South Dakota badlands.

I think this is brilliant. Shawn agrees (especially since she hates flying and this saves her a return trip).

We're going to do it!

In fact, at the library yesterday I picked up some guidebooks because I have no idea what's even in Montana. Glacier National Park is, for one, although that's at the far western end of the state--(though we are talking 5 days to get from point a to point b, and driving straight through we could make Boise in 24 hours.)  Shawn is activating our AAA membership and ordering all the road maps and AAA tourism guides to all the states we could potentially drive through.

The best part is that Shawn's conference isn't until this summer, so we have lots of time to look at maps and guidebooks and plan. I found a couple of really fun guides to interesting backroad attractions in Montana and it's been fun to page through them. A nice distraction from the political barrage.

I've never travelled much in this direction (that I remember. My parents, of course, brought me back to Wisconsin from my birth place in Sacramento, California, but I have zero memories of any of that as I was an infant.)  I've been to visit Colorado a couple of times, but both times I flew.  I know that a lot of both Dakotas are pretty flat. We drove through some of that to see Mount Rushmore, when Shawn and I went with Karl from Czech. I'm pretty sure we're going to do South Dakota on the way back, though, ironically, all of Shawn's relatives are in North Dakota so we may have to figure out a way to reverse this while also saving Yellowstone for Shawn.  Previously, when we'd talked about road tripping while Shawn was stuck in Boise, the thing that made Shawn sad was the fact that she'd be missing experiencing some of these major landmarks with Mason, particularly Yellowstone which she hasn't seen either. She'll still miss some this way, but not all. Shawn likes traveling when it's by car, so this really is a two-fer. (This really is a brilliant solution. Go, Mason!)

And we will very likely have a new car by then.  One is in the works, in fact, though the one we're looking at has more milage than the one we're currently driving. However, it might be worth it if the price is right AND it has fewer issues. Our current car has sprung an oil leak on top of its preexisting radiator leak.  Not something you want to traverse mountain passes in.

Doesn't this sound fun?

Plus, as I said, the planning for it has been a welcome distraction.  It's nice to have a future thing to look forward to and be excited about.

Now I just have to figure out how to re-launch my career!
 
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From:naomikritzer
Date:February 16th, 2017 04:04 pm (UTC)
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My family did a road trip out west when I was a teenager. The bits I remember:

1. Wall Drug. Mason will probably want to stop there. There's no particular reason to stop, but it's a convenient pit stop ahead of the Badlands.

2. The Badlands. SO AWESOME. OMG. If you're coming back through ND, you and Mason should definitely go to the Badlands on your way out to Idaho. The Badlands inspired a story that many many years later became my trilogy.

3. Wyoming. Wyoming was mostly very flat, but despite the flatness was a very different landscape from what I was used to, and I liked it. This may have been where my mother got the stomach flu and my father kept having to pull over to let her barf. It was not the best part of the trip.

4. Yellowstone. Yellowstone was amazing. The amount of wildlife we saw just driving around the park was unreal. Like, bison and a moose and an actual cougar. From the ROAD. We didn't even go hiking, just driving. We also saw Old Faithful (its clockworklike faithfulness is oversold FYI) and visited the areas that had been burned in the big fire earlier that decade.

5. Glacier. We went up Going to the Sun Road, which is the best named road of any road ever. I remember Glacier being very scenic and less crowded than Yellowstone, but if you can only make it to Yellowstone, it's still definitely worth the trip.

6. North Dakota. We came home through North Dakota and North Dakota SUCKED. We had no relatives to visit, though.
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From:naomikritzer
Date:February 16th, 2017 04:08 pm (UTC)
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Oh, also, Mount Rushmore.

We decided to stop at Mount Rushmore because we were going to be really close to it. One of my parents was all "why go, it's just giant heads" and the other parent was "but we're going to be RIGHT THERE, we have to stop!" I can't remember which was on which side. My siblings and I sided with the "we might as well see it!" parent so we went.

We drove into the parking lot, which was full of very large campers. As we parked, some lady lost control over her tiny poodles and went shrieking through the parking lot after them. We got out, looked up, said "huh. Big heads!" and then got back in the car and headed back out.

That was really all we felt we needed from Mount Rushmore. On the scale of National Parks, it's up a bit from Plymouth Rock but definitely down at that end.

(Plymouth Rock and Four Corners are at one end. Up a bit from there is Mount Rushmore. I'm pretty sure the Grand Canyon is at the other end, but I've never actually seen the Grand Canyon, so...)
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From:lyda222
Date:February 17th, 2017 02:51 pm (UTC)
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I've been to Wall Drugs and Mt. Rushmore when we went that way with Karl from Czech. I actually enjoyed stopping at all the kitschy places and I think Mason will, too.

I read about Going to the Sun Road. I don't know if we'll get that far, since, if we're going to meet-up with Shawn in Boise, we'll have a lot of Idaho to get through. But, right now the itinerary is wide-open which is SO MUCH FUN. :-)
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From:oracne
Date:February 16th, 2017 08:35 pm (UTC)
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That sounds AWESOME.
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From:lyda222
Date:February 17th, 2017 02:52 pm (UTC)
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Doesn't it??? I have to admit to loving reading through travel guides in general, so for me this is ALREADY fun.
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From:offcntr
Date:February 16th, 2017 11:02 pm (UTC)
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I've driven from La Crosse to Oregon three times now, with a fourth planned this summer. Sadly, under time constraints every time, once driving a 16-foot Uhaul . That said, I can second the Badlands/Black Hills. Very cool topography. If you're driving I90, I'd divert to Devil's Tower as well. And actually, I kinda enjoyed Mt. Rushmore. Never made it to Yellowstone Park, though I did walk along the river one evening, collected some clay and a few flints. Had to bypass Glacier as they'd had two feet of snow the 1st of September.

Also? Montana is huge. Took forever to drive across...
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From:lyda222
Date:February 17th, 2017 02:56 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I'm getting the sense that Montana isn't going to be easy to see ALL of. But, we have a lot of guidebooks so maybe we'll still find something fun to see in what we will be traveling through--as I was telling Naomi, we're going to have to veer south so we'll probably miss Glacier National Park and we're going to have to find interesting things to see in Idaho, too. (More guidebooks, yay!)

Still, Mason is a great traveler. We were talking about this on the way to school this morning, and I think we could have a good time just driving through all the boring parts. :-)
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From:offcntr
Date:February 17th, 2017 05:00 pm (UTC)
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Well, there's Craters of the Moon in Idaho, if you're into black, gloppy-looking lava fields. Not my favorite park. Also? Parts of western Montana are made of giant, pink granite boulders, shading up to mountain size. Very cool.
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From:smadronia
Date:February 19th, 2017 11:22 am (UTC)
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Wheat Montana. IF you have a weakness for pastries or bread, this is the best place to stop. I've only ever been to the Three Forks one, but oh man, it is so good. I drug pastries from there to Portland, Oregon for the family, they're that good.
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From:bibliofile
Date:February 20th, 2017 07:14 am (UTC)
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Road trips can be so great. Such a good idea!

In Wyoming, there's also the Tetons, including a national park. Mountains are cool! I also remember shopping for Western clothes (I bought a shirt with snaps! back in the pre-Internet days).

Day in the Life of an Idiot

The Journal of Lyda Morehouse