By the time we signed off on our house, LC and I were very stressed out and very exhausted.
But we were also optimistic about our future and the basic plans we had managed to put together in the short time we had to work with (from when we agreed on a selling price to the day we had to be out of the house).
Even though both of us were extremely busy we found time to go see a couple of homes in our region of the world (including two visits to see the same home in Challis).
It would have been SO much easier if we had a house to move to.
We wouldn't need a storage unit.
We wouldn't need to move our belongings twice.
A home to move directly to would have saved time, energy and money, but nothing seemed to fit.
And eventually we ran out of time to house search in our region.
And somehow that was OK...........
After living in a town such as Atomic City both LC and I were determined to not settle this time around.
We wanted to live where we wanted to live and as we got closer and closer to "final selling day" it became obvious that Cody WY was where we wanted to be.
At least for a while.
Renting the cottage through the winter would give us time to catch our breath again.
It would give us a chance to rest and decompress - both of which we truly needed in spades.
It would be a jumping off point for us to view houses in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana...............
Once we had signed on the house and tied up other details in town on that Friday morning, LC and I looked at each other and quietly smiled in satisfaction and relief.
It was all over.
For weeks non-stop it had felt as though the packing, moving and cleaning would never end. But it had.
Finally it had.
What we could sell we had sold.
What we could donate we had donated.
What needed boxing we had boxed.
The house was clean. The house was empty. Everything was safely stored away for the winter. Our mail was rerouted, our insurances were changed, our utilities were canceled, our banks were notified, our school-bus camper and Tahoe were loaded, the keys were handed over.
Papers were signed.
Money was in the bank.
We were done.
After a long and quiet lunch we loaded into two vehicles and headed to Rexburg to spend some time with the new friends who had helped us to move everything into storage.
Neither LC nor I had thought much beyond the promised visit and a stay in a motel in that same town.
We ended up spending two nights in a motel before finally having the energy and desire to move on.
Next stop Wyoming...............
We both had been so consumed with tying up the house that neither LC nor I had paid any attention to the weather in the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
Once we traveled through the gate of the GTNP and almost immediately began to climb though, it became very obvious that we were not going to be able to camp in the park as planned.
As I followed the short bus higher and higher into the mountains I looked in amazement at the snow.
I had forgotten about the elevation.
I had forgotten how beautiful this place was.
I had lost track of how late in the season it really was.
We weren't going to be camping in Teton park.
We'd hit Yellowstone on this day.
We were heading away from Atomic City and with each passing mile were heading closer to Cody.
At that point I didn't care if we camped in the parking lot of a gas station somewhere.
We had money in the bank, a nice place to stay after October 10, a comfortable bed (which Kory had already claimed as her own elevated and comfortable perch while in transit), and we had each other.
Anything else was gravy...............
At the top of the pass before dropping down into Jackson.................
Random stranger standing by the sign..............
On another day, and at another time, I would have loved to spend a few hours walking around Jackson Hole.
Easily wandering in and out of art shops, tourist shops, coffee shops, outdoor gear shops and more.
The town was packed with wall-to-wall tourists and as we crawled from one traffic light to the next and continually stopped for inattentive pedestrians, all I could do was silently will the driver of the bright yellow school bus that was in front of me.
"Get me outta here".
The one picture I took in Jackson (through the windshield and while slowly on the move) was of one of downtown Jackson's iconic antler archways.
An impossibly expensive town to live in, but a wonderful place to visit..................
30 minutes after blowing through Jackson, we pulled into the very busy parking lot of a park motel.
They would have a restaurant, a restroom, a place to walk Kory and a place to walk people.
After wandering with puppy for a short while, we loaded her back into the bus and headed into the huge motel structure that stood before us.
As I stood just inside the entrance to this building I looked around me, trying to get the lay of the land.
There were people everywhere.
The place was VERY fancy.
Taking a deep breath I followed LC through the lobby, found the restrooms, then dodged people and climbed stairs while following signs that pointed the way towards restaurants.
The second floor mirrored the upscale appearance of the main floor, and I stood looking at the endless flow of human traffic around me.
Catching my breath again I took in the expensive tiled flooring, the heavy wooden side tables, the lighted art work, the expensive tapestry covered chairs and couches, the cast iron decorative fireplace log holders in the shape of moose, and finally the huge expanse of windows that overlooked the Tetons.
I knew nothing of places like this as they related to national parks.
The mountains. The rivers. The wild life. That's what I thought of when I thought of parks.
The existence of facilities like this - in parks like this - had never even occurred to me.
I had no idea until this very moment that such luxurious hotels existed in national parks.
Such a naive woman......................
Dodging the multitudes of people who were speaking multitudes of languages, LC and I picked our way to the windows that overlooked the mountains.
The view was beautiful.
Of course it was beautiful.
We were standing in front of one of the most beautiful and famous mountain ranges in the country.
I looked at the mountains through the window, turned to wordlessly smile at LC, and then turned to view the crowd that owned the room.
For a brief moment I was taken back in time to the Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee.
I took Chris there for a weekend when he was about 12 years old.
Just he and I.
A mom and son weekend.
We never actually made it to the mountains.
Rather, we made it to Pigeon Forge and Dollywood.
My young son eagerly and happily ran from bumper cars to bungee jumps to train rides to gift stores to restaurants to roller coasters, and mom went along for the ride.
It was his weekend and I was content to participate in some and watch some, while my son happily roamed.
But I remember at one point (I think it was while he was climbing up to do a bungee jump) standing amongst the masses and the unendingly gaudy, and looking wistfully at the mountains.
They were so close.
And they were so far.
And it felt at that moment as though I was the only person in the masses who actually saw them.................
We wandered over to the entrance of the first restaurant we came to and read the menu that was posted in the window.
A menu posted in a restaurant window is rarely a good sign for the unwashed masses such as ourselves, and that truism held true in this case as well.
The second restaurant had the appearance of a fast food venue and after looking through the rest of the signs in the hallway it quickly became apparent that if we were going to eat, the place we were now standing in front of would be our best bet.
10 minutes after ordering we had our food. There was no place to sit in the restaurant and I suggested that we find a table outside.
It was damp outside and likely not above 40 degrees, but it was quiet and LC smiled at me and agreed.
We'd suck up the cold.
It was a small price to pay for some quiet, some elbow room, and some views of the mountains that we could see without having to look through a window.
$32 for two burgers, two small fries, one drink................
Back on the road and following LC and Kory................
By the time we arrived at Sylvan Lake in Yellowstone NP is was very obvious that we were not going to be camping in the parks.
After seeing the snow in Grand Teton it was even more shocking to see the FEET of snow that Yellowstone contained in places.
Kory happily danced and pranced her way through the snow and I watched her, grateful that she seemed to be taking so many changes to her world in stride.
While Kory continued to dance in the snow LC and I again looked at each other.
Happy to be where we were.
Tired and still stressed out.
Still too jacked up from so much frantic packing and moving for so many continual days and weeks - eating too fast, moving too fast, talking too fast, hearts beating too fast.
We both wondered how much longer it would be before the East Gate closed.
Right now the roads were still clear, but another few snowfalls and that could change.
We had come this far and made the instant decision to continue straight through to Cody.
There was a camp ground right down town and we could stay there for the night.
Decide what to do next, the next day.
More pictures of Sylvan Lake before heading down the back side of the pass and out through the East Gate............
We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie............David Mamet, Boston Marriage