the grand beautiful!!
the grand tetons…so beautiful!!

I just got back from a week traveling with my boyfriend and family to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It was fun, it was exhausting, it was beautiful.

Ten Things I Loved:

10. Food. This could be reasons 1-9. Because. I love food. We ate our way through California/Nevada/Utah/Idaho/Wyoming and back again. I had the best biscuits, BBQ, hush puppies, pulled pork, Moose Tracks milkshakes at gas stations, etc. And I didn’t feel guilty about any of it, because I’m on vacation.

SONY DSC9. Driving. My butt hurt and my legs cramped, but there is something really nice in driving and not in a hurry. The ability to cross five states in eight days is pretty sweet. I kept thinking of the settlers who had to do it in wagons, ala Oregon Trail style. Heck to the no!

8. Meeting new people. My boyfriend has never met a stranger. We can be at a gas station in Utah or on an aerial tram in Wyoming, and he’s met everyone in the building within ten minutes. Sometimes this is embarrassing or inconvenient, but it’s so cool when a “stranger” is randomly from the same town you are, or knows your cousin, or is also allergic to apples.

7. Time Travel. There is something always bizarre about crossing time zones, or discovering “Mexico time” or “Southern Time” or even “vacation time,” where you don’t set an alarm to wake up, and you’ll get there when and if you get there.

6. Souvenirs. I am a big sucker for stickers, magnets, key chains, anything Americana, trucker hats, etc. If it looks white trash, I want it. The hokier, the better. I want a sparkly Christmas ornament, a coaster, a fanny pack. And I love collecting all this crap to haul around with me so that later I can…I’m not sure what.

utah5. Roads Less Traveled. The wrong turn trying to find a mismarked “Historical Site” that leads down a road with a million double-wide trailers and some beautiful Mormon Temples. The off-the-beaten path to the most beautiful shade of blue lake you’ve ever seen. The random online review that leads you to the world’s largest bottle of ketchup. Why not?!

4. Things that go wrong. When our best laid plans fail, we truly get to know each other’s character. And so you schedule a fishing trip in Idaho Falls, and leave your cabin at 10pm only to find out that your buddy’s house is actually in Boise, which is seven hours away, on the exact opposite side of the state you need it to be. So you argue in the car for a while, and then take off into the night and figure out what little motel you can stay in and make the best of it, and try to continue dating throughout the whole thing. (this happened to…a friend. :) )

3. Things that are small and beautiful. Things like the yellow flowers on the side of the road, or the bunnies, or the baby that flirts with you at the tram station. Or the towns you could miss if you blinked. Or the cop in Utah who lets you off when a warning when you were at least 15 miles over the speed limit.

SONY DSC2. Things that are big and beautiful. The bison and the moose you have always heard about, that walk alongside your vehicle in Yellowstone, or peek through the trees in your backyard in Jackson Hole. Or the Grand Tetons towering over the valley, the Snake River winding slowly through the meadows, reminding you how insignificant and silly you are in the midst of all creatures great and small.

1. Time Together. You really can’t beat 2,500 miles, five states, about 35 hours together in a car. The songs we sang, the tiny towns we saw, the mutual eye rolls…it was all a part of a larger thing that ultimately made us “level up” in our relationship as a couple. And then to spend so much time SONY DSCwith my family to celebrate my grandparents, two very interesting people, in one of the most gorgeous places on earth, was truly awesome.

The pictures are beautiful, but they don’t do justice to my memories.

Viva Jackson Hole!