Aaaand I'm back!!! Hello Maine!
I suppose I should start by recapping my journey back across the country. I traveled east across Montana and met up with my old friend Rose. This was a completely random, unplanned stop and it just so happened to probably be the most incredible stop in my journey. It is hard to pick a specific place that was a favorite, but I couldn't have dreamed of a more beautiful place. She lives in Bozeman and the entire town was built around the view of the Rockey Mountains. Everywhere you went you had an amazing panoramic view of the snow capped mountains. She took me out for an amazing dinner downtown and then we decided to hit up the Norris Hot Springs. I had never been to hot springs before and this was fabulous. It was a large pool with hot, all natural water. There was a dome shaped awning with a stage for people to play music. The guitarist and his lovely lady singer sang my all time favorite John Prine song "Angel from Montgomery." This place served local beers and wine and they had a the "50 Mile Grill" and everything that was cooked on the grill was from a 50 mile radius from the spring. There was an intoxicating, deliciously heady vibe that filled the air and I could literally feel my heart growing with gratitude.
So I left Rose the next day I scampered down to the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park. A quote that sums up my experience perfectly goes like this, "A Thousand Yellowstone wonders are calling, look up and down and round about you!" -John Muir 1898. Literally, everywhere I looked there was something crazy to see; whether it was the crazy bison roaming around, a huge snake in the grass, the hot springs or geysers, snow capped mountains in the distance, rivers, waterfalls, there was just so much magic around me. I drove over to the west entrance and camped out for a night at a KOA 6 miles from the park. Saw my first Maine license plate since I had left home..left them a note on their window but it rained all night so I'm not sure if they ever got it. Got up early the next morning and set out to the south entrance of Yellowstone. I passed through the Grand Tetons national park on my way there and I arrived in Jackson Hole WY, where I stayed a night with an old friend's older sister, Cristina. The western culture is alive and well in this town that was settled by outlaws. She took me to a cowboy bar that had saddles for the stools. Jackson was gorgeous.
I set out the next morning and began the long 3 day journey back to Maine. I cruised. At this point I was ready to get home and get off the road. I headed back up with I-90 because I was told that I-80 is a dreadful ride through Nebraska and Iowa, which is all flat and corn fields. So I went up through the mountains of Wyoming where I ran into a snow storm. I thought Maine was bad! It is winter all the time in Wyoming. Luckily my Subaru and I have not met a road that we couldn't handle and we took it like a champ. Stopped at some road work that was going on and one of the flaggers ran over to me to tell me he was from Boothbay, Maine.
After a short ride through the storm I was back under blue skies and green pastures. The only real notable thing that I saw on my way back was Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. It rained most of the way back which made for a sleepy, long boring drive.
On my last day I woke up in Toledo, Ohio and drove just about 1,000 miles to get back to Maine. As I crossed over the bridge into Maine from New Hampshire my heart was FULL of love and gratitude. I am completely humbled. This trip changed something about me. Maine just felt different to me than when I left it. Maybe it's because it is summer and everything is plush and green, or maybe it was because the sun was setting over Portland, or maybe it was because there was ZERO traffic on the road at 7pm. I was so happy to be back. I was cheering and smiling. I did it. I lived my dream of traveling cross country. I did it alone. I realized so much about myself on this trip. My reflection on the trip will come soon...I am so truly blessed. Thank you America!!