The road trip. Day 6: Wyoming
We slept in a tipi our first night in Wyoming. Devil's Tower, relatively speaking, is a short drive from the Black Hills National Forest, where Mount Rushmore lives.
Our Airbnb host welcomed us, and invited us to a neighbouring tent to toast S'mores on a campfire, meet the other guests, sing kumbaya, and knit our body hair. Things went pretty well. Only one of the wives present pointed out their husband as "the darker one," and only one of the teens present from Texas referenced going to Bible study.
Having never slept in a tipi before, and now conscious of how cold it gets out on the planes thanks to stargazing at the South Dakota ranch with no wonderful tall buildings or insulating pollution, I asked our Airbnb host for the night whether we'd be warm enough in a canvas tent with just a couple of blankets for warmth.
She assured Lia and I that we'd be plenty warm enough, and we could always switch on the gas lamp for a little extra heat.
I'm willing to concede that anybody raised in the west is raised tougher than I am, and that I couldn't figure out how to work a gas lamp despite ludicrously strong cell service and instantly buffered YouTube videos, but sleeping on that thin foam pad, under a cone of Levi-Strauss Co's finest canvas, I lay as the coldest man on earth. I wore many layers, and Lia and I snuggled for warmth admirably, but it was futile against the plummeting temperature of wilderness, WY.
Thankfully, the night did end, and only Lia emerged from the tent with a black eye. (She can tell you the story. I promise I did not give it to her. But her disembodied cry from the tent after we'd gone to bed sure made the rest of the happy campers think I beat my girlfriend [side note: I originally wrote "beat my girlfriend while on vacation," but I didn't want people to think I beat her as part of the daily grind at home, and just wouldn't dream of doing it while on holiday].)
I had my first chicken-fried steak at the best rated Yelp restaurant in Devil's Tower, WY, and Lia, doing her best Daisy Domergue impression, had never looked more at home than in a wooden cabin with jackaloupe heads mounted on the wall, and burly, hairy, toothless men sat at the tables nearby.
Driving across Wyoming took us about 8 hours, if I remember rightly. We were heading to a glamping tent in a town just outside of the eastern entrance to Yellowstone, because we're classy folk. I didn't really take any pictures because I was so entranced with the surroundings.
Wyoming had it all. Beautiful landscapes incorporating the most cerulean skies, the reddest of clay earth, the dustiest turquoise of parched plants, the whitest of fluffy clouds, the yellowest of road dividers, and the greyest tarmac. Despite a thick blanket of bugs coating the windshield, it was like the world's saturation was turned up. The environment was simply amazing. So we played The Life of Pablo and cruised through some heavenly earth.
We made good time to our glamping tent on a ranch in Cody, WY. Another lady who could easily have beaten both Lia and I in an arm wrestle welcomed us and a note in the tent told us to just call her if we saw any bears. She'd come running with her gun.
She also showed us how to use the wood burning stove in the tent, as we wanted to get cooking so we wouldn't be cold that night. While that started up, we went to use the outdoor shower. When we returned, we realise we might've been a little overzealous with the fire. We'd turned our tent into a sweat lodge. Thankfully the bed had FOUR duvets to help cool us down.
We planned our route through Yellowstone, and got ready for bed, eager for a good night's sleep after the freezing tipi (or freepee). But we still didn't get one. Next time, on Serial.