Last view of the Tetons before the drive home

Last view of the Tetons before the drive home

Yes, I made it home from the Tetons and Yellowstone, arriving on Friday evening.  I’ve had some quiet days of processing.  I saw and experienced so much that it’s hard to know what I’m thinking and feeling after the trip.  Gratitude overlays everything else.

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Tow truck about to load my car. You can see the ski slopes in the background.

Car troubles were a blip on our trip’s radar screen, but I’m pleased to say that once they were resolved, it was clear sailing for John and me.

The troubles began in the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone.  I heard a whining in the engine.  That became a pulsing roaring accompanied by the chirping of belts.  It happened in an area that felt “bad” to me.  If you’ve read my posts along and along, you know I mention my being sensitive to energy.  Well, the energy in the Lamar Valley felt bad.  Like “I want to get out of here” bad.  So we turned around and headed back to West Yellowstone, where we were staying.  The car sounds resolved themselves as we left that valley.  We didn’t turn the car off on the drive back – just in case – and I felt relief when we pulled into the motel parking lot.

John in the car repair waiting room.  Yes, that's an elk head and a bear skin.

John in the car repair waiting room. Yes, that’s an elk head and a bear skin.

Long story short, we had a dead battery the next morning (Sunday), got a jump, drove back to Jackson (as planned), and were going to try to make it to a Toyota dealership in Rock Springs, Wyoming on Monday morning – BUT that wasn’t to be.  After a tow to Auto Tech in Jackson, we spent Monday morning waiting for car repair, having good conversation with a mother and her son who were about to make a drive to Alexandria, Virginia and were getting a tune up.  The mechanic replaced a fuse and put in a new battery for me, and we were good to go.  So John and I drove to Fort Collins, Colorado for our last day.

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With Nick, the Odell tour guide

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Checking the Imperial Russian Stout casks at Odell. They let us taste it – REALLY good!!

That day was a fun and relaxing one of enjoying a couple of Fort Collins breweries.  John and I both really enjoyed hanging out at Odell Brewery and taking the tour.  It’s a much smaller brewery, and the tour included just four people.

We went to New Belgium next, where they run 12 tours a day with 25 folks in each tour.  I was daunted by their hour and a half time frame, but it turns out there were places to sit along the way.  I skipped the bottling portion of the tour to stay put on the sofa downstairs.

Mosaic at New Belgium

Mosaic at New Belgium

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New Belgium tour

New Belgium is very generous with beer during the tour, giving you a four ounce beer to sample at each of the five stops.  I got tired of beer taste after the first couple so didn’t come close to drinking the entire 20 ounces.  A sip or two was plenty.

Fresh off the Odell conveyor belt

Fresh off the Odell conveyor belt

The beer they share at Odell is done differently.  The tour guide there took beers off the conveyor belt during the bottling process and gave one to each of us on the tour.  My beer (and John’s, because he couldn’t take it on the plane) came home with me.  Drinkable souvenirs.

Wednesday morning, John departed home via airplane, and I started my drive from the Colorado Front Range to Chickamauga, Georgia.  I stopped off in Topeka, Kansas and Marion, Illinois for the nights, breaking up the trip into three days.  It was great to arrive home Friday evening, the car having done just fine the entire drive home.  And to have one of my cats bring me a welcome home gift that evening.  Yep, a dead mouse.  She meowed me to the door to present it to me.

I’ve not written about the trip (until today) but instead have posted photos.  You can see in my previous posts that we saw many beautiful sights in all sorts of weather.  There was so much to see, so much to let settle into us.  I can’t absorb it all now.  But time will take care of that.

For now, I can just say that I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel and to have had such a good travel companion.  I feel I’m in a transition period into a new life, and this trip was a sort of bridge from one phase into the next.  Often (actually, usually) retrospect is the way I best understand my life experiences, and I’m sure this one is no different.  From my medical check up at the two-year mark after breast cancer straight into a nearly cross country trip (a two-week one), there’s so much I’ve experienced in the last three weeks.

Now to let myself feel and absorb the lessons.  And to step into a newness, a path that will lead who knows where . . .

View of the Rockies over a sunflower field from the motel parking lot outside the Denver Airport

View of the Rockies over a sunflower field from the motel parking lot outside the Denver Airport