Memories Of Youthful Travels Part 7
Absentee snow and 70 degree days almost made up for 20 degree nights. Waking up with frost on our sleeping bags was offset by the wonderful sights of bison and elk roaming free through Yellowstone, mingling with camera heavy tourists poised like hi - tech voyeurs ready to record Old Faithful's periodic ejaculations on film and video. By the end of the day our brains were fried, filled with shortened tempers and low tolerance for everyone but each other. Even in the off - season, Yellowstone had the power to turn Joe Q. Public into an impatient bumbling asshole, intent on spending as little time enjoying the environment and as much time wrecking it for the rest of us by either driving his Winnebago terrifically slow (five miles an hour to make sure the family gets a real good look at every single one of the seven bezillion burnt trees) or dangerously fast - 95 miles per hour - rushing around trying to gather up as much eye - candy as possible before the arrival of the apocalypse. Too many people ruin a good thing and make the Port - O - Potties reek - o - plenty, resembling those at Cornell's Slope Day.
After four days we needed to become obscure. Sandy had her heart set on going to a place I never heard of just because, in her own words, "you never take me anywhere." After peeling off several suspiciously liberal bumper stickers (e.g. "Dare to keep cops off donuts," "The Religious Right is Neither," and "Make guns as hard to get as a building permit") we aimed our car towards the very desolate center of the most self segregated, paranoid, self - righteous state in the nation. We decided to ignore the jeering chants of the local NRA chapter screaming something about "praising God and passing the ammunition," and actually enjoy the splendid beauty of Idaho.
Camping in Craters of the Moon National Monument was a primeval experience. Nestled in a field of volcanic rocks as far as the eye can see, the park is an obscure testament to the power of nature, with hidden caves and deceptive hills. Think crunchy, pointy rocks and cinder fields. Funny, I always thought cinders were man - made. It's also a nice big petri dish for the Hanta Virus which sure beats the pants off Montezuma's Revenge. I'd rather have excrement running down my legs than die because I caught a nasty chest cold from some mouse droppings.
Three days later, after a torrential storm soaked our campsite in Oregon's worst state park - 10 feet off I - 82 - we arrived in Seattle, the gray capital of grunge rock and Hot Java (that's coffee, silly). After removing the last offensive bumper sticker proclaiming "Nuke a Gay Whale for Christ," we drove to Capital Hill, the mostly gay section of town, to meet Sally, Julie's long lost lesbian cousin. Her home would be our crash pad for the next five nights.
A high ranking employee at Microsoft, Sally and her lover are rolling in more dough than we could fathom. They just bought their first house and have no qualms about flying here or there to take the latest in gay - oriented resort vacations. Even though it rained almost constantly the whole time we were in the Pacific Northwest, our old Pennsylvania friends swore that we just missed four months of the most delicious weather.