Okay, so a lot has happened since the last update. After leaving the oregon extension, we headed to Crater Lake. You know, the really deep, pure blue lake in central Oregon. We went there and had snow ball fights. We were still sweaty from the heat of the Oregon morning, but a quick drive up to the rim of the crater and boy was the temperature a lot colder! When I wasn’t looking Anna tackled me and pushed my face in the snow. This, after doing the same to Jesse on the Oregon beach. Sometimes I think she is inhabited by demons….
So after crater lake it was getting dark, but we have deadlines you know so we just kept driving–i kept driving–because i was wide awake and in a great state and i knew we needed to be in boise, idaho in time to eat breakfast with one of jesse’s friends. her name is sidney and they met in russia. so we are depending on caffeine to make it in time. that and my lifeforce. it is raw and powerful. it is untouched. i am a powerhouse. i am the olympics.
you don’t know it, but i stole that line from dave eggers. dave eggers is one person we wanted to interview on our trip, but he was in england when we were in san francisco. we talked to one of his friends, though. his name is eli and he is the managing editor of mcsweeney’s (the publishing house/internet site/quarterly) and he also runs a magazine called the believer. he was fun to talk to, and probably the youngest of our interviewees, and is my favorite, not only because he sent us away with tons of free stuff (including novels not yet released to the public by mcsweeneys) but also because he said that he could spend a lot of his life barbecuing. i could also see myself barbecuing for a good portion of my life.
anyway, back to the action. i’m steering us through the unforgiving northern rockies, hoping desperately to make it to boise in time for breakfast, and then yes, we do make it. and we meet sidney. and we eat breakfast. and then we’re off again, east, and we are putting miles on the car, hundreds at a time, and we are headed to the grand tetons and yellowstone, and no one has slept, and no one will sleep, because this is our chance. because this is our one chance to see these things, and we will see as many of them as possible, even if not for long, or not savoring many of them, because it is important to see many things at this age, and it is important to realize that this age will not last forever.
so we scream into the tetons, and they are massive. they are massive and foreboding and grey and cragging their way through the land. jenny lake is not the calm, still lake we have all seen postcards of. it is raging and slapping the rocks at our feet and we are screaming our faces red and we are throwing rocks as hard as we can into the wind and the center of the lake. the dark clouds are pouring over the mountains–through the gaps between the peaks–and we are not afraid until the ice cold drops start falling.
we are running to the car, disobeying the oversized moosetracks painted on the sidewalk and leading toward the lake. we are running against the grain, and we pass two middle-aged men who know that “the snow is on its way,” and that “it’ll be a bad night.”
so we barely make it out of jenny lake alive, and then we are headed north to yellowstone. it is 7PM and the sun is going down, and it is again a race against time to old faithful. we must see it. we must see it go off before we can be on our way to south dakota–the state of roadside attractions and gimmicks. so we speed through deer and bison-infested roads toward the old geyser and esther keeps telling all the baby-wildlife that she “loves them, mwah mwah mwah,” and jesse keeps a cool head while weaving through deer as they dart on or off of the road as they please.
it is dusk as we slip into the park. we are out of the rain, but something still feels wrong. old faithful is deserted. as we pace a circle around the geyser, a more complete darkness falls. the camera will not pick up the eruption. it will not pick up my face four feet away. soon, though, we are joined by more and more people–people who knew the anticipated time of eruption and had been waiting inside until it got close–and we figure it’s about time. so, huddled on a bench, this is how the four of us came to see the grey steam pour into the night sky. it was a moment.
we are in south dakota on memorial day–a mistake. it is, like i said, the state of gimmicks and tourist traps. we see mount rushmore and wall drug and the corn palace, all the while telling ourselves that the myriad other attractions are probably stupid, even if it is the home of the national presidential wax museum, or the Mysteries of the Cosmos.
after these things, we are in watertown, visiting esther and anna’s friend jacob. we eat in a restaurant, which is nice, even if i feel like im cheating the whole time. and then it was a four hour drive through the night (escaping the allure of the world’s biggest ball of twine) to get to Minnesota.
and now we are here. we haven’t slept since oregon. we havent bathed since oregon. we haven’t cared. we are good friends, i have learned. this trip has proven that to me. and these last few days i am happy to spend as much time awake with these friends as possible. the summer is uncertain, and i can’t be sure when i will see these friends again.
these last few days i find myself hoping that it will be sooner than later.
Anna is singing a sting song right now and it is devolving into scat. the song is I Hung My Head.
over and out.