Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Epic Travel Part 1: The Arctic Tundra

Last monday my friend Jess and I headed out to North Carolina.  We were doing a road trip since she was moving and sharing in the driving.  It promised to be an adventure.
It didn't disappoint.
Our first day wasn't much of a day, for me at least.  I mean, by the time Jess came through to pick me up she had already been driving 7 hours, which is a full driving day in itself, but we needed to make it to Sheridan, WY which was at least another 5 from where she picked me up.  We also stopped to have dinner with a friend of ours about an hour down the road, so that broke things up nicely as well.
I will tell you, there's a reason that I named this part of the journey The Arctic Tundra.  It is COLD in Montana.  One might even say frigid.  I believe when Jess picked me up, which was right after lunch and thus still in the warmest part of the day, it was -2.  Yeah.  I know.
There was all sorts of snow hanging around the side of the road and sidewalks.  The first adventure with which came the moment I got behind the wheel.  Of course.  It was after dinner and we were needing to get on the road so we could get to Wyoming.  So I hop in the driver's seat, put it in reverse, back up, put it in drive and......spin.  I do short little bursts of pushing on the gas pedal.  Spin.  Put it in reverse.  Spin. Drive.....I think you can tell where this is going.  By now I have dug us a nice little cradle that Jewel (the car) was quite content to stay in.  We had no choice.  Jess got out and we had to push the car.  Oi.  The roads to Sheridan weren't terrible, but there were a couple spots that had snow and ice.  Get to our hotel, check in, try to warm up, go to bed.
Day two.  We went to grab coffee and breakfast at the complimentary buffet in the morning, which was hosted by a very awkwardly chatty but very nice lady.  While I was making my waffle, I learned that her brother and his wife were out of town in Vegas at a hotel conference and that she and the other gal at the desk were just holding down the fort until they got back.  *awkward chuckle, sip of coffee*  And that oh by the way she didn't drink coffee herself but the guys that came through earlier said that is was good and she hoped I thought it was alright because she made it.  *confirmation that the coffee was, indeed, ok and more awkward chuckling....come on waffle*  DING.  Right!  Well, good to talk to you, thanks for breakfast, thestaywasgreatwehavetogohaveagoodday *door close*  She literally talked to us until the door shut.  Like I said, really chatty but nice.  Anychatter, back on the road.
Luckily the roads were dry, but there was blowing snow that made the day's trip a little more difficult.  Especially when a car (or heavens, a semi) passed in the other lane.  Whiteout!  So yeah, that was fun.
You'll see what we had the pleasure of driving through at the end of this post.  The whole state of Wyoming was under a blanket it seemed.  It was the same intensity of grey from the time the sun came up until it went down.  Just grey.  No mountains, nothing.  it was like driving on a blank canvas.
Then enter sunny Colorado!  Finally!  Sunshine!  (Mostly) clear roads!  Above zero temperatures!  Oh Colorado, you were wonderful.  We stopped in the amazingly awesome town of Fort Collins, which is a favorite of both of Jess and I.  For those of you who don't know why this town is so special, in addition to just being welcoming and having a great downlown, it is also the home of New Belgium Brewing Company.  Which I heart.  If you get New Belgium beers in your area and aren't familiar with them, you really should be.  ;)  We stopped at the brewery for a bit, and Jess was kinda enough to let me drive that morning so I could drink beer and not have to drive afterward.  Thanks Jess!  I bought a zip up hoodie to take with me on the rest of out travels, and also met a nice, if not slightly intoxicated and chatty fellow who put his phone number in my back pocket on the way out.  (Which, if you're reading this dude, I mean you no disservice here.  You were great to talk with, but I don't think I'll be using the number.  Thank you though for making me feel awesome!)  After we had or fill, (or I had mine, rahter) we drove the extra hour and some to Denver to Jess' friend's house and also to have dinner with our friend Greg.  Which of course I did NOT get pictures of, because that was an actual event with actual people and not just landscape rolling by....  stupid.  Anywho, Greg suggested we go to the Old Mill brewpub, and an excellent suggestion it was.  I had an amazing burger and a pretty freaking stellar coconut porter.  YUM.
And so ended our journey through the tundra.  Stay tuned for Epic Travel Part 2: The Flatlands!

And as promised, some photos of what we were dealing with....

We thought this was kinda cool.  It was some little ol' town we passed through at night on the first day, but doesn't it look like something from a sci-fi movie?

A little look at our road conditions through Wyoming....

*sings* Sun, sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me! *pause*  No really, could ya?

Me outside the Happiest Place on Earth.  (No silly, not Disneyland.  New Belgium Brewing of course!)

Jess and I having a delightful afternoon at the New Belgium Brewery bar.  Our randomly-found friend offered to take a photo for us!  And that pair of arms with the menu on the side was the other friend helping to "get the light right."  :)


Ed Adams said...

Sounds like a fun trip.

Travis said...

Wyoming is where I want to live one day.

Until I saw that pic.

They say it's really windy, and windy and snow don't mix.

Hillbilly Duhn said...

I have been to many states going west, but not once have I been to Wyoming.

I like that you found a random

Daffy said...

"Spin. Drive.....I think you can tell where this is going" I read this and wanted to shout "YA! NO WHERE" and then I laughed at myself because I guess I'm me anyway.

Sadly...I'm still chuckling

Love the photos!

How's the scarf coming along?

adrienzgirl said...

The Beer Inside is Delightful. Best. Signage. Ever.

Crazy Sister said...

That looks like another PLANET to me. It's so darn hot here.

Jess said...

Keep thinking of the woman in the BP station... "..for Real?" :D Thanks for chronicling our epic journey.

LIZZIE said...

Two wonderful, strong women on a journey. What fun! You two look so cute sitting at the bar. Memories.