It all started with the best of intentions. My girlfriend Linda and I decided that since our husbands, Dick & Jack, refused to share our "nature experience", we came to the conclusion, "Who needs them, we're going anyway"! And so we did...
...on a Sun City Anthem bus trip to what we both referred to as "The Great Unknown" to Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Salt Lake City, before we would return 5 days later to those "lumps" who preferred Chicago Cubs baseball telecasts over accompanying their lovely wives on a trip, we had begged to go on for years !
What the "lumps" really complained about was the $859 it cost each of us to go, but after spending the greatest part of our lives with them, we believed we deserved it.
And so...we went !
My husband, the guy who writes this blog, dropped me off at 7:30am in front of Anthem Center to catch "the bus" along with about 50 other souls who, like us, wanted to explore "The Great Unknown"...
...before we, like the other seniors on the bus, would enter "the FINAL great unknown".
The first day of the trip lasted 13 hours from 8:00am to 9:00pm with a scheduled lunch and dinner stop on the way to "no man's land" in Pocatello, Idaho.
Not long after the bus "adventure" began, it was discovered that the lavatory on this massive transportation marvel wouldn't flush.
My guess is that might have been part of the master plan because our appetites left a bit to be desired as a result of the "fragrance" being emitted from the back of the bus.
But alas, we made it to our first "5 star dining experience" in Bountiful, Utah at the "Chuck-A-Rama" buffet.
The name was not very appetizing so we passed on "Chuck" and instead went to "Cafe Rio" across the parking lot in the same "Western themed" Strip Mall.
We were entering "The Wild West" and like "Blazing Saddles", the beans we ate at dinner provided musical entertainment to the other people on the bus for the next three hours of our trip to get to our first "luxurious" hotel.
Finally, at 9:00pm we reached "beautiful Pocatello" and pulled up to our accommodations for the evening, a Best Western hotel...
...with two floors, and NO elevator !
Oh, the amusement of watching seniors "schlepping" their vast amounts of luggage up those stairs, accentuated the "bean" effect of the meal we had consumed a few hours earlier, propelled us up those stairs as if NASA was preparing a launch !
OK, we slept and wept... as we pondered the next day's "adventure".
I must digress at this point and say a few words about the tour guide...the man who was to explain the fabulous sights we would witness...
...had a stuttering problem.
He meant well, but...he had a stuttering problem...
...which meant that all too often, many of us would look at each other and say...
On day 2, after another three hours on the bus, we stopped for lunch, and entered Yellowstone !
We had arrived at our first scenic destination...
...at the same time millions of other people decided to arrive !
As our bus "cruised" past the incredible beauty, along with the other million drivers, suddenly everything came to an abrupt halt !
Inching along, we finally came upon a buffalo who decided to join the traffic; and the beast, knowing he was a protected species, decided to saunter along to enjoy the sights, stopping at will, and creating a traffic jam which reminded Linda and I of Chicago rush hour !
You have no idea how much we suddenly had a craving for freshly cooked "Buffalo..burgers" !
Well, Yellowstone was phenomenal. The sights would never be forgotten, and at 6:00 p.m. we went to check into our hotel in West Yellowstone.
I was excited to call my husband to tell him of the fabulous day we had.
His first question to me?
Did you see Yogi and Boo Boo ?
Told you he was a "lump" !
When we checked into the "Day's Inn" (another "5 star'er"), we were told that there was a "scheduled power outage" between 1:00am to 4:00am.
This created a few new problems neither of us anticipated.
First, having no power, trying to negotiate the path to the bathroom in the middle of the night was challenging without light to guide you there.
Second, we were told that the bus would begin loading in the morning at 7:30am with an 8:00am departure; however, the hotel restaurant, also "powerless," was unable to open until 7 am causing a backup in feeding the flock of starving seniors who had BEEN PROMISED a breakfast. A few boarded the bus still starving...including us...who couldn't get fed before the bus departed.
OK, so no breakfast, but we were in the Wild West, where pioneer women suffered...but...no "breakkie" doesn't work well with Sun City Anthem "Princesses".
So off we went to spend another half day at Yellowstone, before leaving the Park and continuing on to Jackson Lake Lodge where we were promised the "best view of The Grand Tetons" and the "The Longest Lunch Counter in the USA"...before continuing on to our final destination, Jackson Hole.
And...like Yellowstone, the scenery was breathtaking, and the lunch counter was....long !
We were scheduled to spend the evening at "The 49er" hotel that evening.
We arrived...and chaos commenced as the reservations evidently weren't updated, leaving a number of us in limbo as to our room assignments.
To solve the problem?
Lay all the keys out on a step with a name attached to them and one by one, have a man who stutters, call each person's name to "claim" their evening domain....
...except us and a few other couples who had no keys. Enough said...we eventually were assigned our room and it was time to dine !
This was Linda's "7...th" birthday, and our goal was to celebrate... cowboy style.
We had to walk about 4-5 blocks into the downtown area and there it was, The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar where I would take Linda for drinks and then into the Steakhouse for dinner.
Linda loved the Bar due to a fellow patron giving her the attention she needed on her birthday.
Upon checking out the menu at the Steakhouse we noticed the "casual place" listed a steak ala carte for $66.
I love Linda, but my love had limits..and we ended up at "Bubba's BBQ".
Enough said, ain't nothing like beer(s), wine(s), and BBQ while watching a few "Bubbas" with cowboy hats and big belt buckles doin' a 2-step !
Day 4 was traveling from Jackson Hole to Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, so us bathing beauties could soak in a hot mineral spring and pamper ourselves, getting rid of the aches and pains of walking mile after mile and spending long hours on a bus...while continuing to digest Bubba's BBQ!
Then it was off to our final destination, Salt Lake City.
As had been the tradition by now, we stopped for lunch in "No Man's Land Two" where we could choose between "Taco Time" and "A&W Root Beer" for our next dining experience.
After the bus driver polled the bus passengers, the group instead opted for only a "pit stop", making a quick getaway to Salt Lake City, arriving at about 3:00pm. Once we checked into the Hilton, the bus reloaded at 4:00pm. and we departed for the State Capital Building to make up for our "Lunch debacle". The Capital Building was amazing after which we went into downtown for dinner on our own.
Day 5 took us into Salt Lake City's Temple Square, where the Mormon Tabernacle, Morman Temple, Family History Center, and other buildings are located. Just fabulous!
Now it was time to go home... passing a large fire that had engulfed a nearby mountain sparked by lightning and accelerated by high winds which caused the bus to do "the Macarena" on the highway as it traveled though Utah.
As we prepared to make our final pit stop, a gentleman from SCA-TV decided he wanted to take a group photo, so we departed the bus in the middle of those heavy winds, holding on to each other as we gathered together...
... looking toward the sky for a witch on a bicycle.
I'm sure that picture will somehow find its way on SCA-TV or The Spirit magazine one of these days. Oh yeah, one last episode.
The tour guide decided not to stop for dinner in St. George, Utah, and continued onward to Anthem Center. We were hungry, so hungry, that we even started to crave...
Got home to hubby only to find out the air conditioning wasn't working along with a house that only a man can destroy in such a short period of time.
A great time with a great friend to a great place with some great people !