As we made our way into northwest Wyoming, I thought of two things. First, I never wanted to leave this place. The world around me looked too beautiful to be real. It was like we were in an enchanted wonderland that you read about in fantasy novels. The peaks of the mountains. The piercing blue sky. The rushing river below us. I didn't even want to blink, because even closing my eyes for a second dampened this sensory experience for me.
That brings me to the second thought: I was happy that I wasn't driving. Al was kind enough to drive for the entirety of the road trip. My eyes were still very dry from my LASIK surgery, and I worried that the air blowing in my face from the air conditioner would make me blink constantly. I ended up being fine in the car, but Al seemed content with driving even when I offered to do it. I was a great passenger though; I navigated (using both our GPS and "old-school" maps when all signals failed), fed Al chips, took about 800 photos from start to finish, and changed the radio station when it sounded fuzzy. Not surprisingly, this trip made us really like country music. There was lots of that on the radio. But back to the whole not driving thing, I was glad that I could focus all of my attention on staring at things and taking the occasional photo that could never give justice to seeing everything with my own two LASIK-enhanced eyes.
We did Wyoming in two days. It was the highlight of my trip, and it pained me to leave the state. On the first day, we wove along the Snake River and stopped in Jackson for lunch. The town was clean, smelled of fresh mountain air, and I wanted to move there. Or maybe I just wanted to stay there for a night so that we could walk around and experience the nightlife of this adorable little touristy town that heavily appealed to me. The downtown was full of buildings that had a sophisticated, classy Old Western look that I always associate with Colorado.
We drove a bit longer until we made it to the gate of Grand Teton National Park. We decided to go to the park last-minute, and I was trying to use every bit of my dwindling cell phone signal that I had to tell my parents that we were going there. They've been there so many times and absolutely love it, and I wanted them to be proud of me for making the decision to go (they were proud).
This photo that I took at the gate is hands-down one of my favorite photos from our trip. I don't have much to say about it, other than the fact that it makes me feel proud to be an American. It just has that effect on me. I see the flag, the motorcycles, the mountains, the blue sky, and I hear Bob Seger playing in my head. It just happens.
After Jenny Lake, we got back into the car and drove north into Yellowstone National Park. Conveniently, one park flows right into the other. We still went through a checkpoint and got a new map, but that was about it.
Al made sure that I knew how creepy I was for taking a picture of a family I didn't know. I just wanted to get the sign.