Ta-da!!!

It has been such a long time since I have been able to write on this blog. I have missed it! But I am doing my due diligence by actually getting out there and traveling away.

I left on a Tuesday evening three weeks ago for Yellowstone National Park and a couple other pit stops on this journey. So far, I have been gone almost 4 weeks and was able to see and experience some amazing things (mostly to do with wildlife).

Day 1 – From my home base of Toronto, the first stop my boyfriend and I made was in Waterloo, Ontario…about 1 hour away. Big drive, huh? We needed to stop for dinner and both of us were craving a pizza joint that we fell in love with last fall. McMullan’s. YUM! Ok, here I go again talking about pizza, sorry!

After that, our next stop was somewhere in Michigan. Honestly I cannot remember what town we stayed in…I am thinking Battle Creek. The hotels all along the highway were booked up! We couldn’t believe it! I am thinking it was because of the string of violent storms that we drove through and actually dodged a few tornadoes. If we had arrived in a town a few hours earlier on our drive in, we would have actually been in a tornado!! As you know, one of the items on my bucket list is to go tornado chasing…. (more tornado adventures to come this story, don’t worry), but driving through the heavy rain, in pitch black, only to see very strange clouds every time there is a flash of lightining…not the most of fun in my little car.

Day 2 – What a long day of driving. Starting out from Battle Creek, I drove 14.5 hours to our hotel for the evening in Kilarney, Nebraska.

A semi-eventful day, I would say. As eventful as you could get when you are stuck in the car for most of the day. We drove through a few more storms which, we heard later, had also produced a few tornadoes. My tornado chasing dream is coming closer and closer…but wait there will be more yet on tornadoes still.

On the trip, we planned out where our first destination would be…talk about late planners! Grand Teton National Park was the place. There had been several grizzly bear sightings there and my boyfriend felt confident that he could get us some amazing viewing of them there. I am so glad I took my good camera with me.

Another long drive ahead tomorrow – destination Dubois, Wyoming….

Day 3 – A 9 hour drive, so short compared to yesterday! Rawlings, Wyoming was an awesome pit-stop about half way through. I really wanted to stop at Anne’s Thai Cuisine, but settled on stocking up for our camping trip that was to begin the next day and we grabbed a quick bite from the grocery store.

So HERE is my great tornado story. Guess what? We are pulling into the great town of Dubois, Wyoming in the evening and I felt my little car struggling to stay on the road from the wind. It was getting extremely dark out and they rain was starting to fall. The gusts got so strong, my car swerved a few times off the road. I told my boyfriend earlier that there would be no way that a tornado would form in this area, with all the mountains in the way. Ohhh I was wrong! We get through the final stretch of the highway into the city blowing around the whole time. Once in the town, I hear this noise….roll down the window, tornado siren!!!! I pulled over immediately and for some strange reason, shouted out “YES!!!!” and my boyfriend is getting out his camera. Yes, I did check to see that there was shelter around, but I really wanted to see where the threat was.

It was right above us, a funnel cloud! We hopped back into the car and drove toward the storm again…the smart thing to do right? DO NOT do this!! We were very very careful, watching the clouds, not getting too close. We paused when we thought we were close enough and took a few pictures and a short video. All of which didn’t turn out very well due to the heavy rain and wind. Fortunately for the town, the tornado did not form, the funnel cloud was fine enough for me to watch.

Afterward, we talked to the town-folk and they also discovered that day that their town actually had a tornado warning system.

Day 4 – only a few hours drive to Grand Teton National Park and when we arrived, we set up camp in Coulter Bay with out brand new tent, which so far, has been a great treat for us. No leaks, and quick set up!

That’s where I am going to stop. Right now, I am in Yellowstone National Park, after we spent a week in Grand Teton. More talk about bears, food, and gorgeous landscapes to come!