goin' straight. to. the wild wild west.
Hi friends! Really forgot how much work it is to keep up with the blogging while on the road, but I’m #committing to keeping y’all updated because I know how disappointed I get when I’m stalking someone online and the content runs out. So without further ado — here’s four days worth of content!
We’ve had such a stretch of long drives the past few days, and while I know 100% of them are my fault (well 98% my fault 2% the fault of like, the louisiana purchase) it doesn’t make them any less long. I haven’t minded them per se, but I do feel like last year we didn’t have quite this many 7-8hr+ drives in a row. And while I totally have the resources to confirm/deny that, I’m just going to rely on my trauma-damaged memory and assume that the drives were better last year even though I probably just blacked them all out. Either way, the drives have been long but not necessarily bad, and we’ve covered a ton of ground in the last few days.
When we last checked in, we’d just left Minneapolis en route to Deadwood. Minneapolis was perfect as always, and as Dyl said, we stopped over at Minnehaha falls in the afternoon. The park was extremely cool, lots of nature right in the middle of the city, and G absolutely loved it. Personally, I enjoyed just being in Minneapolis, where, as some people forget, the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl. They beat the New England Patriots, 41-33, and Nick Foles caught a touchdown pass.
A big thing I’ve been trying to do this trip is see a lot of stuff on the way from location to location, which most of the time is dumb and overambitious, but some of the time actually works. I saw a cool photo on South Dakota’s instagram a while back of Palisades State Park, a small park a little bit northeast of Sioux Falls. I had it on my list of places to stop between Minny and Deadwood, and fortunately we were ahead of schedule when we passed through the area. It had just stopped raining, and even though it was still pretty cold and grey, we decided to dip in a take a few photos.
Next on my “en route” list was the whole area of Custer State Park, Needles highway, the Black Hills, and Sylvan Lake. I’d seen so many photos and they all looked so beautiful, so I was really excited to check out this stuff in person. Tried as we might though, we unfortunately wound up about an hour away from those locations as the sun was setting, so we called it off and headed straight to Deadwood. A little disappointing, especially considering how many times I intend to be in western South Dakota in my life (though to be fair I’ve already been two more times than I initially expected), but part of the whole road trip thing is being flexible and accepting that we won’t get to do everything we hope for. I put on my big girl pants and got over it as we shifted gears to head to the casino.
Yeah so we stayed at a casino, because that’s the only thing that exists in Deadwood. It was recently renovated and really nice, PLUS the tables were all $5 minimums — made for a fun night and with the exception of the craps dealers being absolute dbags to us (like sorry we annoyed you with our friendship?), the dealers were all super friendly. I personally prefer to lose my money the old fashioned way (daily starbucks and a shopping addiction) but Dyl loves a good blackjack game and in Deadwood, we got some good blackjack games.
The next morning we were walking out and G pooped on the casino floor, presumably in retaliation for the craps dealers being rude to us. His message wasn’t subtle and the irony was a little on the nose but hey that’s my dog.
From Deadwood we headed out to WILSALL, MONTANA. I don’t even remember the drive; frankly you drive through Montana one time you’ve seen it all. But we arrived in Wilsall, population 183, and were immediately greeted at our dope airbnb on a farm on the end of a dirt road by some horsebois.
The property was stunning, and in the daytime totally not terrifying in its pure isolation from society. It was vast and beautiful, sitting right at the base of the crazy mountains, and had plenty more horsebois and other farm animals.
That evening we went down to the local bar and restaurant for an extremely fresh dinner if you know what I mean. We grabbed a beer at the bar after and despite Dyl’s best (and surprisingly successful) efforts to dress in identical outfits to the locals, it was abundantly clear to the other patrons that we were not from there. Not exactly a shock when you consider that the entire city was smaller than my sophomore year drivers ed class.
The next morning we took off early after stopping for a coffee at the local espresso shop. The weather was lovely, sunny and cool, so I convinced Dylan to let us take a three-hour detour through Idaho to chill in some natural hot springs. First things first: totally worth it. After some research we decided to head to Weir Creek hot springs, as opposed to Jerry Johnson or Lolo, which were both in the area (though Lolo is a commercial hot springs that basically looks like a big pool). As anticipated, it was a little bit tough to find, but after a completely stunning drive though Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, we finally made it… just as a group of college kids pulled in next to us. We weren’t fully sure if we were in the right spot, and didn’t want to follow their squad in especially if we weren’t, so instead we just sat in the car until they cleared out and we could make our way into the forest on our own.
The hike was steep and short, and G did well exploring the woods. When we eventually came across the pools though, we had another awkward encounter. There are about three pools at weir creek; one small “couples” pool up top, one large pool right at the end of the trail, and a third pool somewhere below the trail we certainly would’ve died if we tried to hike to. There was a couple in the couples pool and the group that we saw on the way in were all in the main pool. I had to hand it to them, they had it all figured out. They had a speaker going, cheap beer, and the space to themselves before we showed up; I was super jealous that this was a day trip that they could just do with their friends to hang. They watched us stand around aimlessly for about five minutes before they invited us in with them. Y’all know how much I hate making friends so I resisted as much as I could, but eventually realized it was split the pool or leave so I got over it, even though I felt bad about interrupting their party. They were all really nice — I assume University of Montana kids as they all came from Missoula — and we chatted about our trip with them for a while while we enjoyed the hot springs.
The hot springs themselves were extremely scenic and very special. Rock-bound pools nestled deep in the trees, they were totally serene and I imagine would’ve been even more stunning in winter. The water was so warm, the views were surreal, and I’m devastated I couldn’t take any photos of it. It’s one of those really incredible spots I wish everyone could see once in their lives.
After leaving the hot springs, we dipped back up into mountain time then headed west for Spokane, where we grabbed a pizza and spent the night in an airbnb watching great british baking show and falling asleep before we find out who star baker is, as we do most nights when we’re home. This morning we took another scenic drive through Wenatchee National Forest in Washington, which was also beautiful, and then we crossed the border into Canada!
Tonight we’re gearing up for our big hike tomorrow. A week of fast food, energy drinks, and no physical activity whatsoever has definitely done us well, and we’re super prepared for it. You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like.
It’s a huge relief to have more than one day here in BC. Frankly I am very old and the strenuous pace of this trip is fine in the day but really catches up to me at night. That said though, it’s been more exciting than ever and I’m so thankful we’ve been able to see so much of what this country has to offer so far. We’ve hit two countries, four time zones, and twelve states in the last like six days, and I am stoked for more!