2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip

In 2006, I decided I would like to go on a field school for anthropology sometime. The idea was scary – to be somewhere completely foreign in both language and culture, without anyone you know and for an entire month. So I decided to see what being away for a while alone would be like in my own country. If I couldn’t handle that, well, there was no point for further thought on the field school, eh?

Originally, there was no destination. I had one week of vacation and I drove west, turning around mid-week. Zero. Destination. Do you know what that feels like? Giddyness. No stress of getting someplace in time to do something, no stress of getting lost – the entire focus was on the journey itself. And do you know what solitary travel is like? Perfection. No one to compromise with, no argument over the temperature of the car or the loudness of the speakers, and no one to annoy with frequent pee breaks. And in the end, a complete growing experience.

2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip

I did this trip on roughly 1000 dollars. About 650 was gas, if I remember correctly. I saved on food cost by bringing bread and cereal and then buying tiny amounts of milk and lunchmeat each day to last in my cooler. I saved on hotel bills by inadvertantly (and unexpectedly) sleeping in my car for a few nights. See, without having a destination, I did very little research and chose my birthday week in the hot hot heat of August, right? Which incidentally coincides with Sturgis Bike Week. That was quite an experience in and of itself! But all the hotels and campgrounds were full so…yeah.

Oh, why the outdated post? Well, I had thought these photos were lost forever!! But Boy surprised me by finding them. Some are still missing but we found the bulk of them, yay!

I crossed the great Mississippi River and it was a lot…less great…than I was expecting. Maybe it’s great elsewhere? I stayed overnight in Iowa next to this archaeological site that you could volunteer on but they were closed for the day. I almost went to Denver but decided I wouldn’t have time. Then I found a dinosaur dig that I registered for but getting lost prevented me from making it in time so that was cancelled too. Then, the photos begin:

The rock formations out there are a geologists dream. Having just taken a geology class, they were even more fascinating than if had I known nothing about them:

2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip

I rode a Giant Jackalope, crossed the Continental Divide, saw a lot of waterfalls, and discovered I was standing on the edge of a super volcano (and having taken said geology class, it was a little daunting).

2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip

I saw miles and miles of devastation from a forest fire, listened to a short lecture about buffalo, and saw Old Faithful (among many other beautiful sites).

2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip

I had to spend the first night in my car once I entered the park, down a super duper dark gravel road, to some random campground (outside of the park, beyond the filled hotels, in the state of Wyoming), passing signs about grizzlies and freaking myself out about the whole prospect. It was like 2am by the time I could stop to sleep – no other cars or people that I could see. Creepy. I had tried to avoid contact with Boy or anyone during my trip except to text my locations, but I needed some control over my imagination – bears ripping open my sunroof trying to attack me for my box of food. I almost peed in my pants (literally too – I had to go so badly but there was no way I would walk to the little shack!!) Thankfully he convinced me to get out of the vehicle and at least pull my blanket out of my trunk, as I found out harshly that the nights up there are COLD.

2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip

But then I found the buffalo. I have gobs and gobs of photos of them – August is mating season, wouldn’t you know, so they were swarming. I saw babies and beefy males fighting (in fact I have some vids where they pushed into my car!). Stunning experience. I limit it to this one photo though because I was fascinated to learn that they could swim. Who knew?

2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip

Then on my way back I almost went to Mount Rushmore. But the idea of blowing up nature’s beauty to make faces of people, as if they are more important than nature itself? RIDICULOUS. Tacky, gawdy, AWFUL. (And then later during cultural anthropology, learning how devastating that must have been for the local natives? Heartless.) I stopped at Devil’s Tower instead. And was surprised to find that the locals still practice their beliefs there.

2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip

And then I found a little bitty ranch where I could feed the uber adorable prairie dogs. So cute!!

2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip

My car and I made it to the Badlands next. I found them appropriately named. I walked to the end of one of the little walk ways, snapped some photos, and left right away. The Badlands? In August? Not a good idea, unless you want to waste away to dust and bones in a matter of minutes. Oh, and there were signs about some snakes I wanted to avoid…

2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip

A funny surprise on my way back, the Jolly Green Giant!

2006 Yellowstone Roadtrip
It was an amazing experience. I suggest it to everyone. People say “What would I do? I would be bored! I need to know where I am going, though” and bla bla bla. Really, what are you afraid of? Quit being silly and drive:)

kitchen remodel progress

Our kitchen has come along quite a ways! We made the final decisions and ordered the cabinets. They are due the first week of March. Here is the progress in photos:

Old linen closet, that wasn’t deep enough for a folded towel and only irked me day after day:

linen closet

Newly drywalled built in book case instead:

built-in book case

Newly routed electrical work and insulation (to deaden the sounds between the kitchen and bedrooms):

kitchen insulation
kitchen insulation

Drywall patched and mudded:

kitchen drywall kitchen drywall

the crafties has a new look!

Guys, I redesigned my whole site! If you are reading through an RSS feed, I implore you to pop over and tell me what you think. I may not love it 100% but I am 100% proud of it, and really, what’s more important?

I put this look together using GIMP. It is a free program that competes with big box items like Adobe Photoshop. I followed a tutorial at Gimp-tutorials.net. Truthfully, that tutorial is what gave me the gumption to do it.

The color scheme was largely influenced by my sewing box:

sewing box pattern

I originally played around in my comfort zone with scrapping paper, giving this result:

site layout in paper

Then I tweaked it as you can see. I got the images (Photoshop brushes) from all over the net, and I have tried to list them all here:

Little dude on tree branch – Madly-Insane
Tree branch – Pink Pueblo
Font – John Martz
Birds and berries – Pixels & Ice Cream
Arrows – HG Designs
Faded swirly-mabob – Tobss
Secret Worm – obscureBT

A huge thank you to everyone who offers their artwork for free of charge! Id love to contact them all but I couldnt always find the contact info, so if you are one of the artists, say hello:)

But most important of all is that I never would have spent the time to make it work with the WordPress back room, so to speak. I’ve had sites before where I manually worked with them in HTML (read as DreamWeaver) but never have I tried to make it fit within some sort of pre-existing template, nor do I care to really delve into that arena. However, lucky for me, my brother spent a lot of time helping me! He learned it all on his own for his site then continually pointed me in the right directions. Boy helped too when I got in a pinch, but if it weren’t for bro, this change wouldn’t have happened. So, show a big hand of applause to DanFromIndiana, yay!

I also would like to point out that I can’t share a life with boy and have sloppy code (even though he scoffs at calling css and html “code”), so everything has been validated at W3C (although some of my older posts do fail…). I checked different browsers and operating systems and whatnot. You might even notice that it looks good on mobile devices! If you notice an issue though, please let me know. I did find the colors to be kinda skewed on some monitors, but I’ll let that go for now. No rain on this parade!

I have a lot of extra work to do, such as formatting older posts’ photos and such, but I hope to be back in action with regular posts now that this beast has been brought down:D

Honestly though, what do you guys think? (Are you thinking cute? Are you thinking gawdy? Say it!!)