I tip my hat and it's good to be back (2006-05-23 - 10:39 p.m.)
The prodigal has returned! I am back safe and sound in the country of my birth. Michael and Amy have continued the journey east and are now facing a long, long haul across that flat bit in the middle of America. And poor Shawnie has to be at work - a four-hour drive from here! - at 6 am tomorrow.
So what a trip. I am 100% glad I decided to go. No regrets at all.
I left off in Bozeman, Montana, after we had driven down from Pincher Creek. We had no trouble at the border at all, and the drive was beautiful. Didn't actually get to stop in Waterton/Glacier, but man was it a gorgeous drive. The roads were pretty crap, though. There were roadworks everywhere and all these large orange signs saying "BUMP". Americans also seem to be huge on casinos, because there was one every five steps or so. (Though as Shawnie pointed out, what they called a casino was in most cases a dodgy bar with a couple of VLTs). We were also back to being able to pick up a case of beer along with your groceries, just like in the UK.
We reached Bozeman on a game day and tried like crazy to find someone showing the Stanley Cup playoffs. Alas, no luck - nothing but stupid basketball as far as the eye could see. Luckily the Oilers managed to win without our help. Since we couldn't see the game, Michael and I decided to dye our hair purple instead (made perfect sense!) The pristine white motel-room towels didn't stay white for long.
Next day Amy had to get her car's oil changed, which was a longer procedure than anticipated, which was okay because it wasn't far to the Yellowstone Park entrance. I had mobile reception in Bozeman but nothing at all once we were closer to the park. As you will recall, my potential ride home, one Shawnie Fever, was delayed in Edmonton and only managed to start the drive down Friday night. He called me that night, but with no way to call him on Saturday I had no idea where he might be or even if he made it across the border. Just kept calling and leaving messages (he had patchy phone reception as well). It was like playing a giant game of some sort - leaving electronic breadcrumbs from locations along the road and just hoping like crazy that Shawnie would be able to follow. Exciting, but kind of scary since my backup plan to get home a). was expensive and b). involved flying by way of Salt Lake City.
That said, you can imagine what joy I felt when I turned up at our cabin at Yellowstone and saw a car with Alberta plates waiting...
but that will have to wait till tomorrow, since I'm completely exhausted and have agreed to go into work tomorrow. till then...
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