Thursday, June 29, 2006

A very brief update

I have returned (temporarily) from my road trip with updates! Not much really happened, unless you count meeting lots of interesting people and seeing Mount Rushmore, herds of buffalo in Custer State Park, Wall Drug, the Corn Palace (I know, I know), the Black Hills, Bear Country USA (again, touristy much?), drive-through liquor stores in Wyoming, and the following national parks: Badlands, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, and Zion, where I alternately perspired, eavesdropped on foreign tourists, and took numerous photos that will never do their scenic subjects justice.

We ate at the Rachel Ray-endorsed Corn Exchange in Rapid City and also got to have lunch with awesome blogger Caryn, who is absolutely charming in person. Dozens of inside jokes were birthed and many goofy events transpired. And what road trip would be complete without your best friend's car breaking down in the relative isolation of southwestern Utah? Near a town named Beaver, as a matter of fact. Cindy and I spent five hours in a Dairy Queen attached to a Chevron station waiting for the car to be fixed. In Beaver, Utah. And then? My flight home was cancelled. My rescheduled flight was overbooked, and if not for two kindly strangers who opted to accept $400 vouchers in exchange for their seats, I may still be in the Denver airport right now, curled in a fetal position.

If you're looking for great audiobooks to pass the time on long drives, I recommend The Kite Runner and anything by David Sedaris. Oh! And we stumbled upon Groovefest in Cedar City, Utah, which appears to be an annual event. Let me tell you. If you're into awesome bluegrass (Trampled by Turtles--check 'em out) and don't mind barefoot hippies jumping around inches in front of you and people handing you anarchist primers, you have to catch Groovefest some year. But heads-up: there are no beer tents. So if you can't dance unless you're drunk, you may need to make other pre-festivity arrangements. And now, a small selection of photos from the trip.

Two of roughly a dozen cute lil' bears frolicking at Bear Country, USA. I keep telling myself that their antics were worth every penny of the $13 admission.

The vista through an arch at Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Despite being trapped in a car with me for almost a week at this point, Cindy didn't even push me over the cliff when I leaned in to take this photo!

Red rocks in Utah. We wanted to catch the sunset here later as it was on our way back to the motel, but why break our streak of accidentally missing every sunset because we're in a gas station bathroom or eating at a Chinese restaurant?

Poor Lily Tomlin--I mean Cindy. But it certainly was thoughtful of the Beaver Chevron to place this whimsical oversized rocking chair near their mechanics' bays to distract frustrated travelers from their defunct alternators or blown transmissions. Vomit-colored (and scented) smoke billowing from your radiator? Who cares when you can pose for pictures in a giant rocking chair! Am I right?

I got in last night, but I have barely time to catch my breath because tomorrow morning I'm off again for a family reunion in western Minnesota. Next week I'm not driving anywhere. I am sitting in front of my computer catching up on your blogs until my eyes become raisins, and I will love every second of it. 'Til then, have a splendid weekend!


  1. Oh, no! Your car broke down? And your flight was delayed? But I see you hiked Mesa Arch--spectacular view from there, isn't it? And I love bear pictures and the oversized rocking chair.

    Glad you made it back safely.

    P.S. No mention of the Grand Canyon. Didn't make it there or to Antelope Canyon? Maybe next time.

  2. Those are really nice pics. Seems like you had a nice trip, despite the transportation woes.

    I once got stuck in Moab, Utah. MOAB. M-O-A-B. At the 7-11.

  3. Glad you're back.
    Mt. Rushmore, Custer Park, etc. Pretty nifty (albeit touristy.) I'll have to send your photo of Bear Country USA to my mom... when we were just out there she nixed the Bear Country idea....

  4. If we are ever on the same plane I will gladly give you my seat.For four hundred dollars, that is. $400 can buy a lot of plants.

    HAve fun. Take pictures.

  5. More pictures please. That second one - the view through the arch - is breathtaking.

    Glad the trip was safe and relatively uneventful.

  6. Welcome back!!!

    Ooh, where in western MN? I love crashing family reunions! You can never eat enough potato salad if you ask me.

  7. Welcome back! I missed you.

    Those pictures could be postcards. I love love love the little bear one. Was one of them named Boo Boo by chance?

  8. Jess, so glad you're back, safe and sound! Now you're headed to the land of all things Scandinavian. Good luck with that.

    Just stopping by to say hello. When can we read your book. We can write awesome things for the inside "reviews". But then, we're not famous, but hey, it was a nice try, right?!

    Happy 4th!

  9. So glad the trip is going well, and what beautiful photos!!! Love the bear cubs!!!

  10. In high school I had a bumper sticker that said, "Take a ride on the wild side, visit Beaver, Utah!"

    I swear.

    You can't make that crap up.

    Glad you made it out of there safely.

  11. heheh Great update!! The road trip sounds like it is going perfectly! Hippies, concerts, broken down car and festivals!

  12. What a trip...excellent! Those bears...ugh, SO CUTE! The vistas, the Lily Tomlin chair (i love her) - great visuals... Glad that you had a good time and that you're back safe and sound...well, unless the family reunion kills you...then that would suck.

  13. Your "not much" is my kind of vaca.
    Can't wait for the full "not much to write about" report!

  14. Great pics, Jess. Looks like you had a ball!

  15. i can't imagine a hippie fest without alcohol though i'm sure there were plenty of "free radicals" floating in the air to induce hippie dancing.

    glad to see you are back!

  16. GREAT PICTURES! (How do you frame them that way?? I LOVE IT!)

    Glad you're enjoying yourself - everything is more fun when it's with your best friend, isn't it?

  17. wow, nice pics!

    now tell us more about this drive-through liquor store you speak of. ;)

  18. So I hope your characters have a better time :) Good to have you back. Those photos are amazing!

  19. Thanks for taking the time to update. Great pictures.

  20. Woah! Sounds eventful and sooo fun. Did you get to Boulder? I love road trips out west. What cute bears. As long as they don't eat you.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE David Sedaris on audiobook. I read the Kite Runner and absolutely loved loved loved it.

  21. Those are positvely breathtaking photos of Utah, doesn't even look real!