And here we are

Maddog and I are at the Bonneville Salt Flats. We’re 30 cars in queue. Everyone else is waiting to race, we are waiting for sun up.

To get here, we left the ranch, post a massive rainstorm, and after some farewells and safe travels. We all would return for the adventures, the people and the food.

We headed into Yellowstone visiting boiling mud pits, stopping devastated landscapes, geysers and old faithful.

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We arrive at old faithful and find a bench seat. We run into a group of moons who let us know the next eruption is at 835 pm. We wait. 840 rolls around. Nothing but rain and thunder. We walk over to the visitor center and find a plaque which says 910 pm +/- 10 minutes.

We decide to seek shelter and grab a meal. We go to the old faithful inn grab food, sit eat, And walk over to wait for the eruption. It was worth the wait.

We head back to the van and begin the drive to Bonneville. Here we are waiting for the sin to rise.

Off to estes park next….

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Truckin’

Last night, a good and eventful night in the heart of Big Sky, we three musketeers celebraed a wonderful couple of days with our new found friends and erina and Marnie.

We treated, we danced, we drank, and we headed home.

Friday started as a day for the road. Abercrombie and I joined the crew for breakfast. Yummy… As i would put the Covered Wagon Ranch, a deservedly five stars and a zagat rating. This is at least true for anyone that has passed through the doors of the covered wagon.

Full and satisfied Abercrombie and I pack the van. We say goodbyes (even though i’ll be back soon).

As we drive to the airport, i see flashing reds and blues behind me, and pull over. A cop emerges, we roll down the window. Michael, the officer’s name, asks for license, registration, and proof of insurance. He tells me he pulled me over for doing 67 in a 55.

Oh boy…

I share my thoughts on the speed limit, and drive away with a warning. He remains to fill out paperwork.

I drop abercrombie off at the airport. We say good byes and wish each other safe travels across the country. Seven more days…

I drive back to the ranch, and pass the same cop, head back, red and blues on, asleep at the wheel in the same exact place. EXACT place.

I fill the van, grab ice, and arrive back at the ranch to fill the van. Coincident to this time, it was lunch. With the aforementioned reputation, i could not help but stop eat and listen.

Lunch, ready, set go….

We’re heading cross country (again). At least as soon as maddog finishes his shower.

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Fishing, Floundering and Freakish Speed

No riding for me this fine day, i had a dream: fish in montana. An easy dream to realize when you are in Montana.

Maddog, Abercrombie and I head out to breakfast. We have eggs, dutch cakes, and some other foods.

Abercrombie heads off for two half day rides. We head fishing. We get momma Bear to give us a Camaro.

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We have fun. We ride up to Big Sky, run into a moose, and snap a few shots. We head back to get a new rod.

We head fishing, a dream realized. Results from the fishing is 2 broken rods, 4 lost lures, 0 fish and nothing but a boat load of good memories.

We drive back 0 to 60 and onward.

We’re planning a night out in big sky to celebrate a birthday – congrats erina.

Ride, roam and remember is the mantra for the evening.

Dinner is done. Rocking on the chairs, and having a good time.

Rides, Ridiculous Food and Raucous fun

When I travel I like to consider I vacation with a gourmet equation. Gourmet foods. Fantastic sites sounds. Great friends. All combined to equal exceptional experiences 🙂

I am in awe. We have one upped the equation. New experiences. New friends.

We arrived at the dude ranch at about 4 in the afternoon. We pop out of the vehicle. Say hi. Meet the managers. Grab a drink. And chat.

Maddog grabs the the keys and asks for a spotter as he backs up the van. I know he’s got this, but I do my duty. You’ve got 6 feet. You’ve got 3 feet. You’ve got 1 foot. 6 inches, ok stop. The Maddog guns it 5 inches in reverse. Perfect.

We talk with matt marnie and Erina. The wonders of the horseback riding, the legends of the food and the wranglers situations are shared. I think to myself this is awesome.

We head to cocktails, dinner, and an evening of libations. We hang with the staff, wranglers and other guests. The rum, the beer and the soda flows.

Around the fire, Erina, tim and Brian sing for the moment, country, classic and songs which make the night melt away to reveal the milky way.

Amazing…

I turn in. The night was the best night of sleep I had in months.

I wake and shower. Breakfast is in 30 minutes; it is the only thing on schedule. Ken and I go to breakfast. Maddog is knocked out in a benadryll and allergy coma.

Abercrombie and I ride through Yellowstone the manager Chris, and the packer Jacob. The history of what happened to West Yellowstone in the 88 fire was shared. The incredible history and sites were shared as we got a behind the scenes look at the ranch.

We return and grab the bear spray, see a falcon, and head off for a long hike to the top of a switchback trail. Amazing. We hit the top, and share some hopes and dreams as we look across the vistas of gallatin and yellowstone. Montana is wonderful. We hike down, and make it intime for gourmet pizza for lunch.

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I begin to mentally prepare for a horseback ride with E, Kim, and Ken. We head off on an easy trail. Wonder through, learn about the horses, and wonder at the landscape and forests.

I sum up my experience this way – i hope Colonel does not work on the do un to others, as you would do to them. I love animals, and hesitated to take control until the very end. An walk and then a trot and finally you find me dismounting, amazed, in awe, and happy.

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I amazingly was not soar. Abercrombie was fine too, he was so pumped he signed up for two more rides.

Thanks Kim and E.

We all sit, chat with Marnie, E, Ben, and the ranch managers. We leave the lodge, and sit and watch the stars. The day was done. We were satisfied.

Rules, Rushmore, Rapid City and more

We always begin the day consuming mass quantites of food. Monday found us in no different of a position. Steak sandwiches with mushrooms and onions on english muffins.

Delicious and satisfying, we sat for a moment baking in the early sun of the badlands. Time to go…

We put our camping gear in our tough totes and begin packing the van. Maddog, in the most brilliant of ideas, decides to ratchet the door open to keep it from continually slamming shut on the person packing the van. The ratchet went from the tire to the door. ( anyone see any foreshadowing? )

We clean up the site, throw the totes in, loose stuff rolls out the side doors. Another light bulb turns on. Maddog thinks to level the van. Twist the Key. Vroom. In gear. The beast ain’t moving! But the door is!

Shoot! shoot! Some sensored words come flying out.

I look back at the van, door at 90 degrees to the van. I call out everything ok? More sensored words. More and more…

I walk back to the drivers side. I see the ratchet, i see the look. I hear the call for the surgical instrument to fix the situation. A hammer should work to get it loose. Some tense minutes follow, maddog fixes the situation. We close the door. It works. We laugh.

Maddog laughs. As he says he owns this one. Not any drop of blame to share. A complete classic.

We finish the packing and take a path out.

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We are dirty stinky men with one agenda item – a swim.

We drive for horsethief lake. We dive in. We surface. We beach ourselves like sea lions. We are in awe, beauty, water, fish, and mountains in the distance. We dive in many times more. We chat with fellow travelers on a roadtrip across the rockies.

We head back to the van, and drive up to Rushmore. We park a top the super strucuture, and face the amazing vista. We grab sandwiches and drinks and chat. America is grand. We walk around the views, grab gifts and ice cream. We are satisfied with our choices.

We head to Rapid City to the Firehouse Brewery. Dinner and drinks were phenomenal. Service was grand. I get a caffeinejolt, and we head to our next stop in Deadwood.

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We end up at the Hickhock Hotel in a Suite for the night. We ended up parking a half mile away because of the size of the beast.

We headed out at five, 167$ lighter, and ended up at Pistol Petes for Breakfast.

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The breakfast was fantastic. Highly recommend it is in buffalo wyoming.

See you next in Montana!