Barely Yellowstone

I wish I could blame this one on some sort of substance abuse. Alas, no. Not on my part or the bears’.

It all really started with the pet psychic (and how many times has THAT been true in my life!). I’ve been traveling a lot lately. A LOT. I’ve been out of town at least one week a month for the past year. It’s been great fun. Maui. Belize (twice). Mongolia. In fact, I was in Wyoming for three weeks, came home for five days, then went to Mongolia for three weeks. Fun for me. The dogs, however, were not amused.

The pet psychic told me Johnnie ChowBoy has been acting up because I’d been gone too much. She told me he wanted to go on my next vacation. I tried to picture him in Mongolia, chasing the yaks. Not gonna happen, I told him.

My friends Jeremy, Wendy, and Kestrel had gone to live in Spain for a year. Their house in Wilson, Wyoming, was rented, but was going to be vacant for a month before the tenants moved in. A luxurious log cabin in the woods of Wyoming in fall? Suddenly the psychic was looking a lot more, well, psychic. So I loaded the dogs and computer into the car and headed for the woods. Got to say goodbye to my friends. Wendy explained that the moose and owl would be hanging around the house, but she hardly ever saw a bear.

The bear was in the back yard the next morning. The city dogs went nuts. They still don’t know exactly what they smelled, but it was BIG!!! We met a deer the next day. Moose, elk, owl. Lots of squirrels and bunnies. Johnnie loved the woods. After all, the trip was his idea. I hadn’t known that the doors of the cabin had no locks. Which meant Johnnie had to stay with me 24/7, since he knows how to open doors. Not a big problem, in Wyoming in the fall it’s cool enough to leave the dogs in the car if I have to go somewhere. After a few days, though, it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen him poop. Turns out he was too busy looking for critters in the forest around us. I had to take him down to the Snake River, where there was lots of open space. So if somebody ever asks you if a ChowBoy poops in the woods, the answer’s no. We drove down to the river twice a day.

Jo Ann and Chris came up for a week. They headed up to Yellowstone for a few days. When they got back, they told me all the hotels were full, which is unusual in the fall. They lucked out, but a lot of people didn’t get a room if they didn’t have reservations.

I decided to put the dogs in a kennel (where they would get a bath. Yay.) and head up to Yellowstone myself. Boy, were they right–I had trouble getting reservations anywhere. Got a bit of a late start and had to rush a little to make my 5:30 dinner reservation. I made my way through the lobby of irate tourists just finding out the nearest available hotel room was four hours away. Pocketed the extra key and quickly unloaded the car. On my last trip I went out the (broken) back door for a quick walk through the woods around Yellowstone Lake. Beautiful area. Had dinner and went to bed early.
And woke up at 1AM. I was so tired, I really wanted to get back to sleep. So I decided I’d keep the lights off and my eyes closed, rush to the bathroom and go right back to bed. Slipped through the bathroom door, which closed behind me. Opened my eyes to find I had just locked myself out of my hotel room and was standing in the hallway. Stark naked.

I didn’t hesitate a second, just ran out the back door and into the woods. Let me mention here that things in the park close down about 10PM, so it was pitch dark outside, and about 20 degrees. I ran through the woods, around the corner of the hotel, sprinted to my car, punched in the key code on the door, and jumped into the front seat. Grabbed the big purple fleece blanket from the back seat and wrapped it around me. When I was able to breathe again, I looked down and saw the extra room key in my cup holder.

The next morning I woke up and thought that was about the funniest dream I’ve ever had. Until I looked down and saw the purple fleece blanket and extra key on the floor. I might mention here that I had a jacket and boots in the car, too, but at the time I somehow thought that would make me more conspicuous. Than the naked lady in the purple blanket.

Thank god I had my own car (my only one with a key code), not a rental car. And I had gone out the back door earlier, knew it wasn’t locked because it was broken, and knew the way to my car. And I usually don’t take an extra hotel key for fear of losing it, but you can bet I do from now on! As far as I know, nobody saw me, or else someone has a really good vacation video.

I asked my friend Bill if this story was too embarrassing to tell. He said it’s really embarrassing, but too good not to tell. I hope he’s right.

Copyright 2005 by Janine Smith. Not to be reproduced or distributed without permission