My original plan was to leave Yellowstone and head to the Wind Cave and Badlands National Parks in South Dakota. Easier said than done –I learned. I was travelling through Wyoming in 95 degree heat up these really intense mountains. I went on two scenic byways which were unbelievable but hard on the car. After a couple hours, while going up a nearly vertical hill my precious car went put-put –it was gentle but enough for me to freak out and seek refuge at the first place I saw amongst the rocky landscape. Happened to be a little hick bar full of hilarious drunks! I pulled up and of course their all in this up roar about the car. I pretty much ignored their car comments because I became pretty hardened to it because in Yellowstone every single person was having a near heart attach about the car. They were so aggressive about taking pictures and firing questions. Normally I love talking to people about the car and love the ice breaker but the attention became way too much for me to handle! Anyways, I fly out of the car and tell the group of strangers I’m worried about my baby car and of course upon hearing car maintenance a bunch of men came running. While they checked out all the whoits and whatsit of my car I chatted with the drunk ladies who thought I was absolutely crazy. I gave them my story and what I’m all about and they went into mom mode and were all sorts of worried about my safety.
“I’d at least feel a little better if you carried a G-U-N!” they agreed. “What’s a G-U-N?” I asked, like the ditz I am. “A GUN, sweetheart! You are that naïve and you’re travelling the world?!” Kind of bitchy but I loved them. The men decided that my car was okay, just needed oil and probably wanted a rest from the heat and climbing. So I hung out for an hour and had an absolute blast with those ladies and their cowboy and cowgirl off spring.
They all wished me luck and I headed on my way to the nearest town. At a gas station some preteen boys outgoingly shouted hello and whats up at me while I prepaid. I thought they were funny and when I got out of the bathroom and pumped my gas the younger one –probably 14 gave me a bouncy ball he apparently won out of the claw machine just for me. I was so touched and said thank you a thousand times which made him blush and ask me to be his girlfriend: how cute! Surprisingly I declined his courtship. Then outside some other guy gave me the worst pick up line that I deeply hate, “hey do I know you? You look so familiar!” Yeah, right –whatever, ain’t nobody got time for that. I told him no he doesn’t know me but he can give me a ride to get oil and help me figure out what oil to get and put it in for me. And he happily agreed –turned out he was a young mechanic: jackpot! He put in the oil and checked everything out for me and told me I was safe to keep going. I love how good things always happen and right when you need people they are always there. Also I was reminded briefly Elizabeth Gilbert writing about what she called “Pretty Power” in her book Eat, Pray, Love.
I concluded I loved my car more than my desire to go to more desert parks and headed back to my brother’s house. During the five hour car ride I was totally blissed out: blasting music and singing to the full moon –which I think it appreciated. Also, on that drive I got my favorite: an awesome cloud, beat red and orange sunset where the rays shout out of the clouds and penetrated the interesting rock formations. All in all I ended up going two hours out of my way but man, it was so worth it to meet all those people and have that adventure! Four people that day told me they would never ever forget meeting me, making my heart sore higher than the full moon. People are so wonderful –what a wonderful world!