Thursday, September 23, 2010

notes from an adventurer...

I must admit that I am a bit jealous that Molly and dad are now on their second adventure together. The last one, a couple years ago, lasted a month, maybe longer. They drove across the country together, hiking and camping along the way. My one consolation is that my dad sends us emails every few days illustrating the trip. My dad writes much like he talks and it is such fun to read his letters. He has the Carlisle tendency towards hyperbole...which can be entertaining. And of course he is a soil scientist so he can't help but talk about the landscape in very particular terms.

Here are a few excerpts...

     The next day got us into Nebraska and I80 was beginning to get wearisome so Molly discovered a road on the Atlas that cut catacorner in the general direction that we needed to go, Nebraska Rt. 2. Up to this time we noted that the foliage colors up to well west of Cleveland were pretty much the same as back home. The pastoral landscapes were not that different compared with what you might find in New York. The land was rolling with a bit of flatness here and there, pretty much like upstate. The only thing of real interest really was an occasional outburst from Molly when she was behind the wheel Her knowledge of expletives is fairly rich, and she makes excellent use of inflection to add diversity.
     That second day ended at a little town at the edge of the Nebraska Sand Hills called Broken Bow where we found an excellent hotel and a great meal at rural Nebraska prices. The Sand Hill region is one of the great grassland regions of the world. The hills themselves are stabilized sand dunes from a bygone geologic era, and provide great scenery. In the Sand Hills you begin seeing pronghorn antelope (cattle of course).
On the third day we drove out of the Sandhll region and then through a bit of pivot arm irrigation agriculture (makes the big circles that you can see from planes), and then through splendid canyon vistas, finally arriving at Cody, Wy, the gateway to Yellowstone Park.
     On the fourth day we mosied into Yellowstone, couldn't hurry because there is a lot to see in getting there. Saw a Buffalo grazing under a bridge before we even got to the park. Yellowstone is pretty other worldly. Maybe a hundred thousand volcanic vents, guysers, pools, etc. Lots of Buffalo, you soon learn that a Buffalo sighting does not get you many CUS credits (creatures of unusual size). Lots of mountains, great streams and waterfalls, and bunches of tourists, and this was the off season. We camped that night and it was cold. We observed all of the precautions against bears and red squirrels because half a hundred people this year didn't and payed the penalty, either being mauled, eaten and then killed by the bears or having their faces gnawed off by squirrels as they were trapped in their sleeping bags. I dodged a bullet that night in the tent, secure in my 20 year old sleeping bag. Molly was secure in the back of the truck with a 16 ounce canister of bear spray. Unbeknownst to me in the pocket of my sleeping bag was a large handful of salted peanuts. A stick of pepperoni would be worse.
     On the fifth day we continued through Yellowstone and then drove through the Grand Teton National Park to Jackson Hole.
     Which brings to today, where I am writing this from our motel room.
The journey continues.

PS We saw one moose from a quarter mile away, so I digicammed it, a bit fuzzy but our only moose.

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