After Tom made the MotherShip mechanically beautiful, we set off on our trial adventure… aka the US portion of our journey. I call it the ‘trial adventure’ because we wanted to be close to modern conveniences and Suburu shops should something go wrong. Luckily, we only had one minor incident (a failed thermostat) during our US journey.
We were happy to explore the Western US from California, Montana, Wyoming- Yellow Stone & the Grand Tetons, Colorado, Arizona, and a weekend on the beach in Mexico. We fit in tons of family, hiking, hot springs, and strolls down memory lane. Tom’s sister, Jill, got married in beautiful Big Sky, Montana. The wedding was gorgeous and the food was great. A fox even joined in the festivities. On our hurried drive to make it to the rehearsal dinner in time, something happened that we never thought possible… we were pulled over for speeding… in the MotherShip. Now most people dread being pulled over, but you have to remember Tom and I couldn’t get pulled over in that vehicle for speeding even if we wanted to. We couldn’t, that is, until we put the Subaru conversion engine into her. The cop who pulled us over first asked why we were going so fast, then asked how we were going so fast. (We weren’t breaking the speed of sound or anything just strolling along at a mere 74 MPH, about 9 MPH over the limit). The cop, who we were certain learned his moves from Reno 911, was so impressed that we were able to accelerate to a speed above 50 in the van let us off the hook. As he walked away Tom and I smiled and gave each other a high five, in part because we didn’t get a ticket, but mainly because we were proud of the MotherShip’s perseverance and ability.
From the wedding we ventured through Yellow Stone and the Grand Tetons. After being in Yellow Stone for 20 minutes we found a boiling river that fell into the Gardner River. Never mind the warning of thermophiles invading your brain and killing you within two weeks, we had to sit under the boiling waterfalls and soak in their beauty. Just for all you worrisome types, three weeks have passed and Tom and I are still alive, so put your worries at ease. The geysers of Yellow Stone were amazing, but we saw far more wildlife in the Grand Tetons. The overall beauty of both places were breathtaking. After an awesome day hiking the Tetons, being visited by deer and other animals, and me nearly losing my voice along the path to announce to bears that we were coming so they wouldn’t have us for a midday snack, Tom and I thought that maybe we could settle down and move to Jackson when all was said and done. We happily held onto this dream until we actually passed through Jackson… the most expensive cowboy town you could ever imagine. Need I say more?
Next on the agenda was visiting my brother in his new home- Boulder, CO. He and his girlfriend have a beautiful home walking distance to nearly everything. We happily visited friends who had moved to the Denver area and explored the wonders of Boulder and the surrounding areas. While visiting family and friends is wonderful and great, the true treasure of our CO visit was our ability to find our smiles at the Carousel of Happiness. The Carousel was handmade by a Vietnam vet who apparently only wanted happiness in his life when he returned from war. I can guarantee you that the carousel animals come to life at night… just look at them.
We had a lot of fun in Boulder visiting with family and friends and were sad to depart. We did pick up a souvenir there, however,… my mother! Tom was so excited. As the mother-in-law suite wasn’t quite finished, Tom slept outside while my mother and I got the comfort of the van… what a guy!
We went for an awesome mountain bike ride in Moab, although my mother claimed we were just trying to kill her. Last time we hung out we took her zip-lining and the time before that it was sea kayaking and so on and so on. She seems to think hanging out with Tommy and I will be her demise.
To make it up to my mother, we decided to drive through Keams Canyon on the Hopi reservation since she and I used to live there when I was a kid. We visited the old house and surprised my old nanny. We hadn’t seen her in over 24 years. It was a wonderful little trip down memory lane. After Keams Canyon, we dropped my mother off in Tucson and raced to the beach house in Mexico. My father and step mom, Edie, met up with us there and we had a wonderful weekend relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Dad made his famous salads and Edie made her awesome potato and egg breakfast…mmm. Needless to say, I put on a little weight on this trip (not from salad and eggs, but from all the delicious meals and my over-indulging).
After our trial adventure, we headed back to Wrightwood for a couple of weeks to make our final improvements on the van. Tommy will write up more on the mechanical aspects of the van preparation. However, if you want to see it anytime soon feel free to harass him on the comment section below. We wouldn’t have been able to go when we did without the help of family and friends. Thanks to Mike for the hardwood floors and to Aaron for the steel bumper. Thanks to Tio Jose Louis Fong for the canvas pop-top, Fred for helping us make our cabinets, and to so many others whose guidance and assistance has been beyond helpful. And now the journey begins…