When I was very young, me, my brother and my parents took a trip from Nevada, through California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The goal was Yellowstone National Park. We were in a van, so some nights, we drove off the road and camped out in the middle of nowhere. Just threw our sleeping bags down on the dirt and slept under the stars. No tent.
When we got to California, we saw Mt. Shasta, and it was beautiful. The mountain was covered with snow. There were Shasta Daisies everywhere. A big field of them. Later, as we got closer to Yellowstone, we stayed in a motel in a little town with rhododendron bushes all over the place. My Dad was a gardener, so he was going on and on about all the rhododendron bushes. The next stop was another cabin with a river close by. I remember being in the water and my Mother was spraying me with bug spray. I was protesting and while she was spraying my face, I opened my mouth, and she sprayed me in the mouth. It was awful.
I remember one cabin that was by a river. The inside was made of big rocks, a wood beamed ceiling and a gigantic fireplace. My Dad took his fishing pole and we went out back to fish in the river. It was the first time I’d been on waterfront property. It was my first feeling of euphoria. My Dad was a fisherman and a deerhunter so we usually just camped out in the wild. Staying in a cabin was a luxury.
I don’t remember whether we were in Wyoming, Montana or Idaho, as Yellowstone covers all three states, but I remember driving down the road and seeing a moose just standing there in a field. He was huge. We also saw bears. I remember waiting for the Old Faithful geyser to spray into the air and when it did, it was like magic. I had never seen anything like it. We stayed overnight at the Yellowstone Lodge. It was this neat, big, old building. It had a big fireplace with big stuffed chairs scattered all around. The 3rd floor and beyond was roped off and no one could go up there. I remember wanting to sneak up there so badly, but I didn’t dare.
I don’t remember anything about the return trip home. It was disappointing to be leaving the cabins, the rivers, the moose, the bears, the lodge and all the fun we’d had. That’s one thing kids have in common with adults. They know when the good times are over and it’s time to go home. I was disappointed, as I’m sure my Mother was. It was the most memorable vacation I took as a kid. They were memories to last a lifetime.