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2011. Incredible.

6000 miles of travel with extremely close friends, two of my three best friends, is a priceless time. The time is just one fact of life that slows as you cross from state-to-state.

Mass to New York.  Time slows. The beauty you recognize around grows.

New York to Pennsylvania. Time slows again.  The landscape changes.  Rolling hills (our mountains) become a fixture of the landscape.  The atmosphere becomes more relaxed.

Pennsylvania to Ohio. Ohio to Indiana. Indiana to Illinois.  Illinois to Iowa. Iowas to Nebraska.  Time slows more and more.  We arrive at our pickups early.  We are relaxed.

Nebraska to South Dakota to North Dakota.  Strange and Wondrous excuses to visit each state arise. We grab a hold. many thanks for the Cohen brothers, otherwise we would not have rushed to visit Fargo.

We had back to South Dakota.  Pause. Wonder. Enjoy the Badlands.  If we had been a part of a wagon train, we would have given up and turned around.  As we were not, we paused, turned and wondered the wagon train’s plight.

If you travel the country, pause and wonder and marvel at these places.

South Dakota to Wyoming to a hole in the wall for Breakfast.  We travel quick.

Wyoming to Montana.  The Covered Wagon Ranch.  I could write for days about the ranch.  The people, Tami and Chris, and much more, know we just absolutely enjoyed it.  We part with Abercrombie.

Our travel tests bonds.  Our travel forms lasting memories and unbelievable access to stories that start with remember when.  I do.  I was there.

Montana to Wyoming to Yellowstone.  Old Faithful and food while the eruption occurs.

Yellowstone to Idaho. Idaho to Utah.  A sunrise, a line for a race, and I sit there in stunned silence.

Utah to Colorado.  A respite at Estes Park, food from the Camper Van Cookbook, I enjoyed the crisp light air.  We rise to 12000 feet.  Our last bit of altitude before we came down to sea level.

Colorado. Kansas. Missouri. Indiana. Kentucky. Fort Knox. Gold repository.  West Virginia.  Conneticut. Reins Deli. Moments of pure fun were/are all around.

As I arrive home, I think to myself: I have no regrets.  I have no doubts.  I want to do the trip again.  I want to spend a night at least in each state.  I want to do so much.

I should shout, but I don’t think time listens.  I write the words I would say to her.

SLOW DOWN.  I want to enjoy this one, and many more.

Excellence with your Tourism – Recognition of the Gentleman who Made It Amazing

This is a letter I sent to the West Virgina State Leaders.

Good day Ron, Tyrone, Greg and Carrie,

I hope this note finds you well.

I found your contact information from the site.

I am writing with regards to your rest area on I79.  I have linked to the map.  The best I can tell is it is near Orlando, WV 26412.,or.r_gc.r_pw.&biw=1920&bih=931&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=CUhxTuHBGIL10gHloMXuCQ&sa=X&oi=mode_link&ct=mode&cd=3&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAg  I tried to figure out exactly what one  however my exact knowledge of the layout of your state leaves me wondering exactly which one.

Recently, my friend and I have traveled across this wonderful country.  We visited over twenty states.  We saw many things that turned our head in awe.  There was one that turned our head, and we were a bit surprised – a rest area.  Yes, we were surprised by a rest area.

When we turned our head in your state, we had traveled four thousand miles on vacation.  We had visited dozens of rest areas.  Some rest areas we stopped, surveyed the scene and left.  This one was a crown jewel.

We arrived at the rest area sometime on August 29 through September 1 (time flies on vacation). I waited in the van.  My friend comes out and says these words.  “Oh my god. You have got to use the bathroom”  Immediately, I think I am adult enough to know when I need to use the bathroom.  The response – no you need to use the bathroom.  I ask why?  His response – it is perfect.

I get out.  I walk in.  I first see manicured gardens.  Second I see clean sidewalks.  Third I see a spotless facility.  I continue to tick off the points.  I move over to wash my hands perfect temperature.  I look around – I see the cleanest bathroom I have ever used.

As I leave I see a man cleaning the bathrooms, I thank him for the excellence.  I wish you would pass this note along to him, and recognize him for the effort. (To help identify him, I believe he is also a Korean War Vet)

Because of this gentleman’s efforts, the cleanliness of the rest area, we are planning a longer trip to West Virginia.

Thank you all so much,

Paul Bastide

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.


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….





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.