Well, its morning in Mountain Home, Idaho, and I'm sitting in my bed, 3,075 miles from home, drinking Native American made tea. My bags are packed, (my gift bag growing every time we stop) and soon we'll be on the road again. Our next actual destination is The Redwood Forest National Park in Crescent City, CA.
Looking out the window I see a sight I've become pretty familiar with: brown and green plains with outlines of mountains in the distance. Actually, it's probably my favorite part overall about the trip. The Black Hills and Yellowstone were awesome, but honestly, it's a little bit too awesome for me. I've learned that the thing I love about America most is its hidden treasures.
Take Soda Springs, Idaho for example. The population can't be much more than 300, and their town is one small block long, but theres something about it that kicks the butt of tourist attractions. Here, real people work, and lose work, and search for something to get them through life in the middle of nowhere. It's easy for anyone to look at the beauty of Yellowstone with its' infinite geography. The entire state of Delaware can fit within the boundries of the park, and it includes volcancos, boiling pools that reach near center of the earth, waterfalls, snow-capped peaks, and dry barren plains. The animals differ just as much. There are bison, which on occasion gorge visitors, and pelicans, which do nothing but eat and pose of rocks in the river. My point is, its obvious that the park warrants appreciation. I realized last night somewhere between Soda Springs and here, that, personally, I like trying to find the things that most people don't see.
With all of my contemplation aside, we really have been having some great days and meeting some great people. At Mount Rushmore, we met a man selling stones and crystals who infromed us that he knows how the Native Americans felt when they "killed the last buffalo." It turns out that South Dakota is beginning to run dry of their natural resources which lead to professions and jobs. Loggers, for example, are having trouble finding work. All of these issues have lead to tourism completely taking over.
After Yellowstone, we entered the town of West Yellowstone, Montana. We met a Columbian girl named Paoli whose determination was really inspiring. She has a goal of going to India in 2012 and is dead set on earning enough money to go. She said she wanted to come with us, but she wouldn't forgive herself if she didn't meet her goal. She currently works 3 jobs! She was so nice. She told us that a young German tourist once told her that one should travel the world when he is young, and travel his own country when he is older. I guess CJ and I are kind of doing it wrong, though I like to think I've done my fair share of traveling the world.
I'm going to have to leave you now without filling in all the spaces of time in between our destinations. However, here are links to all of my albums thus far.
Chicago to Wisconsin
Minnesota in South Dakota
South Dakota to Idaho