Medora, Cody, Old Faithful.

Sorry, I’m a few days behind – I’m in Reno, NV with Edda in our room as Jeremy is out climbing some mountain that Greg Lemond trained on as a youth (he grew up in the area). One would think that I’d have a lot of time to blog on this trip, but it turns out to not be the case. Let’s see: Sat night in Chicago, Sunday night in Minneapolis. Monday night in Medora, Montana. This is a cute little tourist town in the middle of nowhere. They had just shut down for the season. We had the worst food here – greasy pizza and burgers. Jeremy went on a lovely bike ride where he saw animals. We are fighting air quality from the west coast fires much of the way out west. We didn’t make hotel reservations before hand so we could deviate from the original plan which was to go through Bend, OR. Instead, we rerouted through Yellowstone.

I don’t know what weirdness Vince has with Wyoming, but he was laughing and texting with friends about going through Wyoming. We made a quick stop in front of the state sign.

Tuesday night we stayed at a B&B in Cody, Wyoming, just to the east of Yellowstone. This was a cute place – also in the middle of nowhere. I had budgeted about $5K-6K for this trip, but I think we are spending more on hotels than we thought we would – I thought they would be cheaper off season and pandemic impacted, but this isn’t quite the case. But the food situation pleases me, we are doing more grocery shopping and quick bites and never eating in a restaurant so maybe saving $ and time. And, it turns out, I vastly prefer food (even prepared food microwaved) from a grocery store rather than sitting in a restaurant.

We spent the next day sightseeing and driving through Yellowstone. It was the only day we’ve been substantially off the cell grid. Incredibly, Edda’s been able to do her online school – missing only Thursday when we were going through Yellowstone. In hotel rooms, we use the wifi in the room. While on the road, we have a backup cell phone we use as a hot spot for her iPad which is mounted on the seat in front of her. We got to see some hot springs.

This might be my favorite parking picture. OK, we are sitting down having lunch in front of Old Faithful waiting for – as Vince calls it – nature’s pimple to erupt. Do you see in the background a person in black carrying a white bag over their shoulder? There is a minivan behind him/her/them. That is our minivan. That is literally the best parking space for Old Faithful. With Edda’s handicap placard, we were able to park there! None of us could believe it. That might have been more exciting than Old Faithful itself.

We didn’t quite know when OF was going to erupt because we didn’t have cell service and we were too chicken to ask any of our neighboring tourists. But we overheard that it was going to erupt at 1:30 +/- 10 minutes. Literally at 1:28, Jeremy got up and said, I’m going to the bathroom and I’ll take Edda. I’m like – you are going to miss Old Faithful! And he said – oh I don’t care about this kind of thing and the lines for the bathroom will be so long afterwards. I looked at him like he was crazy. And as he was 100 feet away going towards the bathroom, it went off and he got this photo and then turned away from it and when to a bathroom with absolutely no line. I, on the other hand, watched the whole thing and then waited in line for 15 minutes to go pee. As a side note, I was wearing my favorite UMinn sweatshirt while going to pee and waiting in line. Jeremy bought it for Vince when he was there on business and we thought he might go there, but it was too small for Vince and I loved it because I love the old fashion-y gopher design and it’s just the right sweatshirt weight. But I had so many comments on it – I couldn’t believe it. Is this the experience of people who go to the big 10? I had no idea.

From a guy wearing a Michigan shirt (while smiling): The only good thing about Minnesota is that it begins with the letter M.

From a woman in line to pee: Go gophers!

From another woman exiting the bathroom: My kids all went to Minnesota!

I was a little embarrassed – these people think I have more of an affiliation with Minnesota than I do. I really only know that Minnesota has the best ChemE department in the country in the late 1990s.

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