It’s late Monday night, which means that it’s time to go back to work full-time tomorrow!
I had off today, thank Jeebus, because yesterday was a CRAZY long day of travel home from Wyoming. But before we talk about the trip home, how about we talk about the preceding week. Or rather, I talk about the preceding week, because I’m the one doing the talking here, see? This is a blog, not a two-way conversation, see? So if you wanna have a chat, let me know. But this is neither the time nor the place. Because I have to tell you about my favorite vacation ever. At least, one of my favorite vacations ever.
Last Saturday night: My last night at the show I was working on. Got home at 12:45. Packed until 1:45. Fell asleep until 4:25.
Sunday: Woke up. Went to the airport. Smoothly eased through security, where one of the TSA agents made my dreams come true and asked me if anyone had ever told me that I look like “that actor from Drive” – Ryan Gosling. I screamed. *screams.* We met some of our family members at the gate, and boarded an Airbus to Denver, Colorado. Once we landed there, we hung out for two hours, I gave in and bought the first book in the Game of Thrones series. Most importantly, however, I got coffee. But not just any coffee. Caribou Coffee. Anyone from out West should know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, Argo… And if you don’t know the ending of that phrase, go lay an egg. Anyway, it’s Caribou Coffee and it’s like Starbucks but special because I very rarely get to have this amazing coffee. It’s just so good. We board the next plane for our flight to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We land. We eat. We go to the hotel, the Four Seasons. I might add here that my aunt paid for the entire trip because as she says “you can’t take it with you.” So if a lot of this trip seems extravagant, that’s because it was. It was incredible. My aunt said we would be “glamping” on this trip. Glamourous. Camping. Glamping. So we get to our rooms, which were penthouses in the Private Residences section of the hotel (8-12 people to a residence with room to spare) and our jaws hit the floor and off we go. TALK ABOUT GLAMOUR. Seriously insanity. We hang out for the rest of the day, and for dinner, we head to the residence my aunt (and others) was staying in (our group was split into 3 of the residences – 20 total) where she had made lasagna. We stood out on the balcony, overlooking the Grand Tetons. I thought, to take a bit of inspiration from Virginia Woolf, “There is no denying it. The Flynns were most certainly glamping.”
dat caribou coffee
Monday: We wake up. Pull on our gear. And off on a 5-mile hike we go. All 20 of us. It was awesome. And beautiful. And mostly flat, but we saw an inspiring lake and I weep to think of it. After the hike, we rested for the afternoon, and after napping, got ready to go. We headed to a marina in Grand Teton National Park, and met the first major character of the trip: Firtht Mate Tony. He had a lisp. He was the first mate of the boat we were getting on to go to dinner on Elk Island, an island – obviously – in the middle of Jackson Lake. He was telling stories on the boat and we were all laughing. What a raconteur. His lisp sometimes made it hard to understand him, and when he said “President Ulysses S. Grant” my heart melted with pride that he was able to make it through byu enunciating so well. We ate dinner on the island, which was good. And then, upon hearing thunder and seeing lighting hit one of the mountains on the other side of the lake, the boat’s captain’s eyes lit up with anxiety and down-right fear and we ran to the boat and headed back to the marina through six-foot waves. True Life. After that, we went to Mary (my aunt)’s place and chilled out in the rain. Sleep.
Tuesday: The longest and most fulfilling day of my life: a 12-mile hike up Cascade Canyon from Jenny Lake docks. The ultimate goal was Lake Solitude, a lake atop a mountain with supposedly mind-blowing views. We never got there, because time was our enemy and there were also 4 feet of snow the night before on top of the mountain. So. We headed back down, and headed back to the hotel 9 hours after hiking through insane views, and seeing moose, deer, bear, antelope, eagle, waterfalls, rivers. Inspired. That night, it was raining by the hotel again, and we ran through the rain to the restaurant, The Mangy Moose, where my sister Bridget and I split an appetizer of hummus and veg, where I ate the spiciest buffalo wing I’ve ever tasted, and had a bison burger. Bodacious meal. I went straight to bed after that, and dreamt of the other world I had been earlier that day. The character of the day was the captain of the boat across Jenny Lake, whose name was Terry. He told us a lot of rough and violent stories of people falling off cliffs and boats sinking on Jenny Lake. Thanks, Terry, for the confidence boost. Sleep.
Hidden Falls on the hike. Jaw-dropping.
Wednesday: Another early morning, as we had a whitewater rafting trip. IT WAS AWESOME. NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE THE AWESOMENESS. AWESOME. It was very upper-body tiring. It was just awesome. I can’t even. I got to ride on the front of the raft, with my legs over the front and holding onto a rope, whole we went through one of the rapids. AWESOME. After that, I had a massage booked, and that was so relaxing. She found knots in my muscles where I didn’t even know I had muscles to tie. A very painful massage too, *laughs out loud,* despite how relaxing it was. I held the cries of pain in. I’m a big boy. I’m a brave boy. After the massage, I did some laundry in the residence, and got dressed. The hotel had been providing each residence with some form of edible treat (cheese, chocolate, etc) and alcohol paired with it and tonight’s treat, which became dinner, was nachos and margaritas. Bodacious. We brought everything over to Aunt Mary’s and ate there. After that, we went to the rodeo. I’m not the type of guy who would normally go to a rodeo ever, but after last Wednesday night, heck yes, I’d go back. It was fascinating. (The entire trip was – the real down-home Americana-style of life is entirely different from ours here in New York.) And fun, who knew the rodeo would be fun? I rode a mechanical bull! So did one of my aunts who’s afraid of everything! Despite the animal cruelty, I had a grand ol’ time at the Jackson Hole Rodeo! After the rodeo, Aunt Mary booked a side banquet hall in the hotel for karaoke. All I can say is that it was ridiculously hilarious. The character of the day was Brett, our bus driver on the rafting trip, who said “quite often” every five words and made a bunch of inadvertently HILARIOUS animal calls, while telling us stories of encounters he’d had with each animal. He also never looked at the road ahead of him, rather choosing to look at the mirror above him to tell us the stories. Sleep.
Keith (I think that was his name) the karaoke bartender. He was hilarious.
Thursday: We got on a bus at 7:30 in the morning with our guide (and character for the day), Art. He gave us a little talk but we went to sleep almost right away. We stopped to get coffee, which every single one of us, including 6-year-old Kasey, had. It was pretty good coffee. I put a lot of vanilla creamer in. We continued on our way to Yellowstone National Park, where we saw Ole Faithful, a heck of a lot of geysers, and were told some gruesome stories, by Art, who never stopped smiling, even when talking about dogs dying in the pools of boiling water around the park. We swam in floating rapids (rapids safe enough to swim in), saw a lot of buffalo, and slept a whole lot on the way home. Art, our guide, never finished high school, sold his record collection for 25 bucks, moved to Wyoming from Minnesota, and found a job out there until he found steady work as a guide. He was a racist and also asked me “At school, now, do you have a group of friends who are into tattoos and body piercings?” Little did he know I have a full-body tattoo of a denim jumpsuit, so that even when I’m naked, I’m always wearing my denim jumpsuit. Sleep.
Dat rodeo. And yes, I know this picture isn’t exactly where it should fit. The rodeo was Wednesday and this is after the Thursday section. Leave me alone, cyberbullies.
Friday: Aunt Diane, cousin Erin, and I meet in the lobby at 8:45am to go jump off a mountain. On the walk to the meeting point for the trip, we meet Aunt Mary, who had gone for a run. She asked us what we were doing, and we told her, and she obviously leapt for the opportunity. After a very long car ride up a very scary and very steep path, we reached the jumping point. Our guides gave us instructions and opened up the parachutes, and gave us our gear, and after “three long strides and a short jog” we were in flight off the side of the mountain and I was sitting in my little special chair, taking in views I’ll never forget. The pilot guide’s name was Chris, and he was great. He did some crazy maneuvers and spirals and dives. Craziness. After that, I went to the pool to get a bite to eat, and after that, we headed into Jackson Village for shopping. I bought so much this trip (Aunt Mary gave us each $500 to spend. She’s great. And insanely generous.) – a sweatshirt, 5 pairs of socks, a hat, 9 bumper stickers, 2 shot glasses. I don’t know if I’m supposed to have mentioned the last part there, but it’s true. Oh well. After shopping and ice cream (huckleberry and coffee flavors) – We went to a restaurant, Q Roadhouse, which my friend Gab told me to go to, and we ended up having our best meal in Wyoming there! I had an out-of-this-world burger with pepperjack and onion strings on top. It was unbelievably good. We got back to the hotel for a drink or two, and smores around the firepits they had on the hotel property. It was a perfect end to the day. Sleep.
My dad’s reaction to a Lady Elk on the side of the road
I actually jumped off a mountain why would I lie about that?
Saturday: Woke up early to go fishing with Uncles Tom and Ed and cousin Eddie, who’s 10. Caught two fish on my own, and Eddie also caught two. It was a nice morning, and we capped it off with a tour of the area (my uncle Tom worked out there for three years during college.) We got a delicious lunch of Wyoming pizza, who knew it was so good? And I tried a slice of Uncle Tom’s gluten-free pizza, which was surprisingly AWESOME. After lunch, we went to the hotel, I rested, and packed a bit, and got amazing coffee from a place near the hotel. Then dressed and got in the car to go to the Mural Room at Jackson Lodge, where Kerry, my stepmom, had arranged for a photographer to do a sort of photo shoot with us, some big family pictures and whatnot. His name was Morris Weintraub, and he was very grumpy. The only grumpy person we met on the trip. And we had an abysmally bad dinner at the Mural Room. Packing. Sleep.
this weird large cat on the side of the road
Sunday: What a day. Woke up at 4:30 to be at the airport by 5:30 to be on the plane by 7. Success. Until the man who I was seated next to me sat down. Sniffling. Coughing. Yawning. Sitting indian-style in the seat, bumping into me. The flight attendant needed to relocated 3 people, because they didn’t want to sit in exit rows, so I immediately volunteered and was seated between two very talkative chaps. I immediately fell asleep, though. So that was nice. I was apparently snoring VERY loudly the entire flight. I woke up when we were in Chicago for our connection. Nice. We connected smoothly, and got on our flight to LaGuardia. I saw someone I recognize get on, followed by another someone I recognized. It took me the entire flight to make the connection. And as we landed, I said “OH MY GOD” out loud. Matt and Kim were on our flight. The band Matt and Kim, who I LOVE, were on our flight. Right there with us, in economy. On a flight of 30 people. So the weather diverted us to Syracuse, and none of us knew what was going on, but the long and short of it is that after a weirdly tense layover in Syracuse with the nasty flight attendants, we had a very bumpy (to say the least) ride to LaGuardia. Where, after claiming baggage, we were left standing next to Matt and Kim. And we got a picture. And I flipped quietly inside. So blessed.
MATT AND KIM and kevin and ryan and erin and bridget
And now I’m home. Today I watched Argo and rested and did laundry. Tomorrow is work, and it’s late, so I should sleep.
What a vista. What a perfect week.
Measure in Love,