However - the drive that took us to and from Billings was almost as awesome as the time we spent with Vicki and family.
Oh my goodness - there is beauty all around - and I feel so blessed to have 2 eyes to see the beauty, a car that can make the drive comfortable, and the means to take our time seeing the areas.
We drove from Orem to Ashton, ID,staying at The Jolley Camper (owned by friends, and I would highly recommend). The next morning we drove to West Yellowstone (what a ghost town this time of the year), through Yellowstone Park, coming out at the North end in Gardiner, MT, staying at Yellowstone Gateway Inn (another high 5 recommendation).
We left Gardiner, drove to Livingston, MT, then west to Bozeman, and because we were way ahead of schedule, we drove to Three Forks, MT, and took a quick picture of the 104 year old Sacajawea Hotel (We stayed there many moons ago when Tyler was sick with strep throat; there was no room at the inn, so we spent the night in a lovely employee's boarding room). And then with more time to roam, we wandered through Bozeman, then headed east, looking for some romantic local lodging - which we did not find, and because of that we ended up spending the night in a highly over-priced Howard Johnson room in Billings.
Two days in Billings was not enough time to see Billings or Vicki and family. But - it was enough time to show us their world, and for me particularly, to spend some time with Vicki - all to myself.
Then on to Jackson, WY Sunday - driving through Red Lodge, MT (Scott spent 3 months there on his mission), next to Cody, WY and the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum, next through Yellowstone Park, out to Jackson, spending the night there (inexpensive, warm, quiet, good bed).
Monday we woke refreshed, and drove home through Idaho Falls - seeing freshly harvested fields reminded me how much I love being an Idaho girl.
And home - jiggity jig. Fast, furious, and absolutely delightful. Sunday's drive will be on my top 5 scenic drives - I am incredibly blessed to live in this part of the country - and blessed to love seeing nature at its finest - from fresh cut hay, to freshly harvested potato fields, to golden yellow leaves lingering on willows, to the dark red branches of river willows and the deep greens of the pines. Sunlight filtering through the trees, shading from mountains and cliffs, bright direct sun in the plains. And to top this all off - the most spectacular sight ever - an owl came swooping through the woods near Jackson Lake, flying low and directly toward the car. I saw its eyes - a fat body, broad wings, and a round face - gray, white, brown, probably a Great Gray Owl - what an image, what a beauty.
So it's Wednesday morning, caught up on e-mails, ready to get back to writing, ready to prepare for cold weather. And my words of summary are this - warmth is everywhere, beauty is everywhere, and the west is my home -