Now that we are done with our road trip, we have thoughts. Because, as you know, we always have thoughts. And, we rarely keep them to ourselves.
Our biggest concern when planning the road trip was how to travel safely in light of the covid epidemic. Well, it is definitely possible. But, it is difficult and not always fun. People in places like South Dakota and Montana and Wyoming act like covid doesn’t exist. Almost nobody wears masks. Outdoor dining was already closed for the season in many places (even though the weather was wonderful). We are so glad we booked AirBnB’s for the majority of our trip. It allowed us to cook at home and pack picnic lunches. But, we were desperate for a restaurant meal by the end of the trip.
Our time in the parks really made us fear for humanity. People suck. We couldn’t believe how many people intentionally got too close to the wildlife. We’re talking just a few feet from bison. We couldn’t believe those same people just ignored rangers and tour guides who told them to back up. We couldn’t believe Yellowstone had to put up hundreds of signs reminding people not to throw anything into the hot springs and geysers. We couldn’t believe how many people refused to park properly (e.g., pulling in perpendicularly and taking up multiple spots). It was really depressing to realize how many people don’t care about anyone or anything other than themselves.
We were last in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park about 11 years ago, over the Labor Day weekend. We were shocked at how much more crowded the parks were this year in mid-to-late September. The parks really need to start a reservation system to keep the crowds down. We can’t even imagine how horrible they must be in June, July and August when the kiddos are out of school.
We were also shocked at how much Big Sky has changed over those 11 years. Places that were remote 11 years ago are now full of condos.
Coming across a traffic jam in the parks is just the worst. You know somebody somewhere is getting some sort of animal sighting. And, you know that by the time you get to the front of the line, the odds are good that the critter will be long gone.
We were shocked at the price and quality of the grocery stores in Big Sky. We paid $9 for a bag of dinner rolls. They weren’t even good. And, most of the meat in the grocery store was expired. It was crazy.
We so don’t miss the cold. While the days were warm, a couple of mornings were freezing. We actually had to buy a frost scraper for our car in Big Sky. Not sure what we will do with that in New Orleans….
Wyoming cops were just waiting to pull over tourists. They were everywhere. And, one even followed us for a bit no doubt hoping we would do something wrong.
Google Maps can be wonderful. It can also send you on strange dirt roads in the middle of nowhere for no apparent reason.
They make some amazing craft seltzers out west. And, some horrible ones.
We saw the biggest bald eagle sitting on a fence post in Montana. It was amazing. Sure wish we would have been able to get a photo.
You know those memes going around about how Biden has caused gas prices to go up? Well, interesting trivia, the highest gas prices were all in red states –Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota. Gas in Jackson was over $4 a gallon (when it was like $2.60 in Louisiana). Maybe it isn’t Biden’s fault after all . . . .
Our middle fingers got a bit of a workout on this road trip. The number of Trump signs and anti-abortion signs is crazy.
If we ever win the lottery, we are buying acres and acres of land and keeping the land wild. It is absolutely frightening to see the sprawl around Big Sky and Jackson. We can only imagine how the wildlife is being impacted. If we ever have the chance, we are going to do what we can to ensure there is space for the elk and the bears and the foxes and everything else.