Heights, Flats, and Dunes
Hi friends. Been a minute since we updated last, I know, so I got a long one here for ya. The pace on the road has been super fast and even with all the downtime we have driving, finding the time to take and edit photos and write blog posts is tough! This is our vacation but a lot of the time it's felt like a bit of a job too, unfortunately. So we spent the last couple days in Nashville just unwinding and enjoying ourselves. There wasn't anything particularly cool to see, nothing to shoot, so it was nice to have some time just for us.
We've hit five cities since we crossed back into the USA last week, and after all this time, we're finally on the road to our last destination. I'll reflect more on this later but to sum up: it sucks. I think we're both finding ourselves liking this trip much more than we ever thought we would, especially this late into it, and we're really sad to see it coming to a close. In the meantime though -- what have we been up to?
Our first spot this past week, which Dylan mentioned, was the treehouse in Bozeman, MT. After another long drive through Montana, we wound up at the treehouse right before sunset last Friday. Dylan gave the rundown of the place already -- no running water, no electricity, no cell service -- it was a pretty legit camping vibe and the perfect place to be ~in touch with nature~ -- a thing i'm told people like to do.
The treehouse was one of our most looked forward to spots on the trip but there were definitely some pros and cons of the location. Unfortunately we just didn't have a huge amount of valuable time to spend there. The lack of electricity made for pretty much nothing to do once the sun went down, and since we had another extremely long drive the next day, with another destination we had to get to before sundown, and Bozeman apparently expecting 8-10 inches of snow the next morning, we basically had to go to bed early and get up and go immediately the next morning. We did take a few photos, but due to time constraints, weather, and the lack of running water and mirrors making us pretty not cute, we didn't take anywhere near as much as we anticipated.
Overall it was definitely a neat experience, very unique and treehouses are for sure dope, but it was not without its faults. I knew from the first day on the road, if not long before that, that being in remote locations freaks me out. Not sure if it's latent PTSD from being sick or what, but I really don't do well knowing that I'm far away from cell service, society, and good hospitals. As the sun set on our night in that house, all those feelings got really real for me and made for a not ideal night. I've been managing mostly fine as we've been on the road but this night was particularly tough. But hey blah blah blah whatever we survived and the next day we got up and out on our way to Salt Lake City.
We'd initially planned to take this drive down through Yellowstone and Grand Teton and knock two more parks off our list as we headed towards Utah. When we heard of the snow though and started trying to fit everything we wanted to do into our day, we decided to nix that plan and just head down through Idaho for a more direct route. While it's a bummer that we had to cancel another park, it allowed us much more time with sunlight for the next fun thing we wanted to do -- the Bonneville Salt Flats.
We were battered with continuing horrible weather and as we moved south the snow turned to rain. After a quick stop in the city to check in with our Airbnb, we immediately hopped back in the car to head out to the salt flats. We got extremely lucky and arrived just before sunset as the clouds cleared up a little bit for us.
Imma hit you with some salt flat facts right now guys. I'm pretty much an expert on vast expanses of flat terrain at this point. The salt flats in particular -- cold gets colder. And wind gets windier. A 55 degree evening in SLC turns into a v cold and v windy experience out on the flats. Add this location to the list of places I was underprepared and underdressed for.
Another fun fact about the salt flats and me is that like, almost a decade before there was the photo of lake louise, there was a photo of the salt flats. Through my upbringing as a "photographer" in the music scene I learned about this photographer Keaton Andrew. He shot bands throughout the scene and was pretty widely published and I followed his work pretty regularly. At some point in like 2008 or 09 or something he published this photo:
It was the first time I'd ever seen a place like that in the world and since I'd seen that photo it was always like a liz lemon level "i want to go to there" for me. Seeing and shooting at the salt flats was the culmination of a really neat bucket list item for me, so that made rushing out of Montana and missing Yellowstone pretty worth it for me.
That night we hit up In-N-Out so Dyl could have his first double-double, which he already wrote about. I told him in advance about my hot In-N-Out takes (overrated AF) but he obviously had to try it. I'd read up on that if you missed it.
The next morning it was football sunday so we were up early again to get on the road to Denver. The weather on this drive was absolutely unbelievable. After getting nothing but rain all day and night in SLC, we trudged through like, 5 hours of Wyoming where it alternated between freezing rain and a blizzard the entire time. It only stopped snowing once we hit Colorado, where it turned, yet again, to rain.
The drive was pretty brutal with all of southern Wyoming being an absolute dead zone for us. The birds had a 1 oclock game and we could only get bits and pieces of cell service to hear. Fortunately, however, we managed to get Merrill Reese calling the last play of the game completely uninterrupted. You may recall what happened there.
We arrived in Denver and met up with some of Dylan's friends from home, who we were staying with. After checking in with them we grabbed some food and posted up at a bar for the night game. The eagles won so the rest of the day pretty much didn't matter.
The next morning we had another super packed day, with plans to stop at Great Sand Dunes National Park south of Denver and at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, our next destination. I've been talking for a real long time now so I'm just gonna throw up some photos from the dunes, which were unreal, and then we can cover the rest of the stuff later.