There were two major things that belonged to us, that remained in Idaho.
Our camper and a huge Native American picture.
We had put the picture on loan at the library in Challis ID when we had a mindset to do some major renovations to our house in Atomic City.
The picture was huge (about 3ft x 4ft) and surrounded by a very heavy wood frame, and after fretting for a few weeks about what to do with it, we came up with what seemed like a fine idea to keep it safe.
We would put it on loan at a library.
Challis Public Library (about 2 1/2 hours north of us) was the first to gratefully accept our offer and we proceeded to transport the picture up there the next week, content in the knowledge that our beautiful picture would be safe.
That was two years ago.
We did some things to the house over the first winter but not the major projects that we had envisioned.
The following spring we put a FSBO sign out front of the house, after reluctantly but inevitably coming to the realization that one family who had moved into town was intent on trashing the town and running roughshod over the population.
We needed to get out before all the work we had done over the four years we had been there was for nothing.
The writing was on the wall and the continuing deterioration of the town would eventually mean that we would never be able to sell the house.
No decent people would ever want to move there.
A few months later we secured a real estate agent, put the house on the market, sold the house within a month and moved out a month later.
Through the entire manic pace that life had suddenly taken on, we never made it back up to Challis to get the picture.
Instead we left it, just as easily as we left the state of Idaho...............
Once we had been in Wyoming for six months we found ourselves in a rental home and made arrangements to retrieve our Suburban, our camper, our boat, our picture, and the 500 sq feet of stuff we had stored in 400 sq feet of storage units.
The forecast had promised to be cold and dry.
Instead the entire region was cold and snow-filled, and we never made it to Challis to retrieve our picture as we had planned.
And the camper got left behind as well when the movers misjudged the size of truck needed and we ended up pulling a small Uhaul trailer behind one of the vehicles.
Again the picture was left behind.................
Fast forward six more months and my business was up and running, we had bought a home up the Southfork and we felt like we finally had our feet underneath us.
It was time to go get our camper.
Before winter hit.
We weren't going to Challis (which was a six hour round trip out of the way). The picture wasn't going to enter the equation.
This was an out and back trip - through the park on Saturday, spend the night in Blackfoot, and return through the park on Sunday..................
The Saturday morning we left was socked it and very cold.
It has been cold for a couple of weeks straight now.
It seems early to be so consistently cold but it is what it is, and after a quick stop for gas and coffee on the outskirts of Cody, we began our journey.
Wary of how our new (to us) truck would do on its first big trip and eager to head into Yellowstone National Park.............
Pictures taken during a quick stop in the Northfork, on the way to the park.
We always tell ourselves that we will stop in a different place - and we DO stop at many of the pull-offs, picnic areas and campgrounds along the route between Wapiti and the East Gate of the park, but we always seem to gravitate to this one every single trip.
It overlooks the river, is surrounded by endless rugged mountains, and at this time of year also overlooks bright yellow trees................
I always call this Bart Simpson Rock..................
One last stop at Pahaska Campground before entering the park....................
We sold our beautiful white truck.
It had 109,000 miles on it.
Someone had backed into the drivers side door last summer and they did not want insurance companies involved in the incident (which was telling).
But they had plenty of money and were grateful to simply be able to pay cash for the repairs.
While we were getting THOSE repairs done, we paid to have a couple of other minor dings repaired and painted as well.
By the time we picked it up from the shop in Powell the truck looked perfect..........
Which was why we sold it................
We had bought a home on a gravel road.
I needed a truck to toss a kayak or mountain bike into the bed.
LC needed a truck to haul lumber and loads of gravel.
We both needed a truck to haul random pieces of furniture we picked up in our travels.
We both needed a truck that suited our fur-shedding mutt.
In short.........we needed a truck that suited our lifestyle.
Not a show piece truck.
A few weeks after we sold our pretty white truck LC came home with this thing.
It has 144,000 miles on it.
It gets 13 miles per gallon, but is not our primary vehicle.
He paid $800 for it.
We have put another $2000 into it for repairs, and another few hundred for two new front tires.
It's a one ton hoss of a truck, we both love it, and we both knew that neither one of us would break into tears if we got a scratch on it..............
A few days after we got this truck (and about three weeks before our trip over to Idaho) we took it down to the lake late in the evening.
We weren't there very long.
In fact, about 10 minutes after we arrived it began to thunder and our scaredy-dog immediately turned and ran for the safety of the truck.
By the time LC and I got back our fearful pup was in a state of blind, ballistic terror.
As LC unlocked the truck doors I bent down to stroke the head of our beautiful dog, knowing that she was terrified as always by the sound of regular claps of thunder.
The thunder struck again and she jumped.
One minute she was flat footed on the ground beside me.
The next minute she was up on the hood of the truck.
Startled, I reached for her, trying to hold her, trying to encourage her back down to the ground and into the truck.
Once Kory was secured inside the cab I looked at the hood. Scratches. Lots of new scratches.
Surface scratches that likely would buff out but..............
Yes..............this was a better truck for us...............
We had not been to Yellowstone at all this summer.
There were many things we didn't get to do this summer.
But we got a business off the ground, we bought a house and we went on endless small adventures, so it wasn't a total loss..............
We excitedly passed through the East Gate and almost immediately began to climb up into Sylvan Pass.
With the increase in elevation we again found ourselves in the frozen mist that we thought we had left behind back in Cody.
The trees above the fog were frozen, and the day suddenly looked ominous.
My brain was still in summer mode, but summer was disappearing rapidly in Wyoming................
Driving across the iconic Fishing Bridge..............
15 minutes after passing over Fishing Bridge we pulled off the road and into a crowded parking area.
LC and Kory stayed with the truck while I ventured across the road and began snapping quick pictures of the large bison herd that was quietly grazing in a field.
It was the end of September and already getting cold, and I was surprised just how many tourists were still in the park....................
I only snapped a few quick pictures, enjoying the site of these wonderful creatures but also mindful that we had to get to Blackfoot.
This wasn't a Park Trip.
This was a Going Through The Park trip.
We had business to attend to.
With a few more quick pictures and one last appreciative glance back at these prehistoric throw-backs, I quickly headed back to the truck...............
15 MORE minutes and we saw cars starting to suddenly brake.
Startled, I watched as the red lights in back of one vehicle after another suddenly lit up, and I felt the truck slow down to first a crawl and then a stop.
Why were we stopped?
We had no idea.
And then we saw the first buffalo walking down the center of the two-lane highway.
Followed by another. And then another.
And then another.................