First let me preface this journey with it being something I have been thinking about during the pandemic. I just never had all the pieces to make it a reality. Fast forward to March of this year, I created a bumble account (dating site) to find someone to connect with and I matched with the lovely Tracy. She seemed very adventurous and I told her I had this wish trip to Yellowstone. She surprised me by saying let’s go, it will be a great time . And the planning began, I was the CEO with the vision, she was COO for the trip. I recruited one of my caregivers to the trip and we had a plan.
Day 1 Orange County to Las Vegas - We had the van packed with so much stuff it was ridiculous. We had an uneventful drive to Vegas, arrived at the Wynn around 3 and checked in to the ada room that has a ceiling lift installed. We gambled, drank cocktails, ate dinner at Red and stayed up till 1 or 2. Typical Vegas stuff.
Day 2 Vegas to Salt Lake City - Beautiful drive. I was pleasantly surprised to see the amount of new homes being built in Utah. The cities we passed through were nice and new. Once we arrived at the hotel we stayed up till 1 trying to get me to have a bowel movement. Not fun.
Day 3 Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole Wyoming - This was a beautiful drive through Idaho along the old Oregon trail. Amazing views, farming and cattle ranching. We saw plenty of deer, and other wildlife. This was my favorite travel day, and the girls got to eat at a burger joint in Soda Springs, Idaho. We drove along the famous snake river and arrived in Jackson Hole. We checked into our hotel, The Rustic Creek Inn which actually was a resort along a creek. Bitchen place to stay. Only problem was my ada room bed was on a platform and the hoyer wouldn’t go under the bed. We contacted the front desk to rectify the situation. It was too late, we would have to wait until the morning. Tracy and Adriana were able to get me in bed MacGyver style.
Day 4 Jackson Hole and Grand Tetons - Management found a bed and needed us to vacate a while so they could replace it. We spent the day exploring the resort, what a picturesque place this was. We visited a waterfowl and bird sanctuary and just kind of admired the natural beauty. Later in the afternoon we drove to see the Grand Teton mountain range. I learned the mountain range was named by french fur trappers. Tetons in French are breasts, so it was named because they resemble grand breasts, haha. Later in the evening while exploring off the beaten path we saw deer, caribou and a fox.
Day 5 Yellowstone National Park - This was the highlight of the trip. From beautiful forest and rivers, the geysers, the wildlife and the views in general were just incredible. Old faithful was cool, but my favorite stop was the Grand Prismatic Springs. I could write a lot about Yellowstone but I won’t. If you haven’t been, you must go.
Day 6 Jackson Hole to Denver - This was the longest travel day and was difficult for us. Tracy had bad news from home, the roads were bumpy and it was pitch black at night. It was just a day we all wanted to be over. We arrived at our hotel in downtown Denver around 11pm.
Day 7 Golden and Boulder - We slept in this day because we needed it. We had a Coors brewery tour at 2:30. The tour was interesting, but my favorite was after the tour in the bar lounge. We got Adriana drunk, her best words were i feel the floor moving haha. After we sobered up we drove to Boulder to hang with Kyle Fulmer in his natural playground Chautauqua park and the flatirons mountains. Such a beautiful site to walk the dogs, hiking etc. Kyle is a great friend and I am so happy we spent time together. We had a great dinner at one of his favorite eateries. We laughed, shared stories and reminisced on the past. Was a great day in Colorado.
Day 8 Denver to Albuquerque - Beautiful drive from Colorado south to New Mexico. Slowly you could see the greenery of Colorado turn into a desert landscape with trees and bushes. Again this was a long drive so we didn’t do anything exciting. We made it to the hotel and then went out for some authentic Mexican food. We ended up at a restaurant called El Paisa.
Day 9 Albuquerque to Sedona, AZ - This was a hot drive through the desert, which had its own beautiful landscape. We stopped at a Native American store to purchase a few Indian artifacts for Ashton. Drove up to the entrance of the petrified national forest but decided to skip as we were all excited for Sedona. We arrived in the early afternoon which gave us time to relax and pick a place for dinner. I wore my cowboy hat from Wyoming and we headed to the Cowboy club. The interesting appetizer of cactus fries sounded intriguing and they were very good. I also ate cedar planked salmon, which was very good . I had a jack and coke with my meal, because why not.
Day 10 Sedona - We had no agenda and just wanted to take it easy. We visited the chapel of the Holy cross and its incredible views. Then we explored the shops in Sedona, did a little souvenir and Indian jewelry shopping. And I had two different ice cream servings from ice cream shops. They claimed that their ice cream was all made on site. We ate dinner in our room and tried to get to sleep early. Oh and I forgot to mention, I had coffee on our patio. This was the first time in about two years I was up in my chair early to enjoy coffee outside. Pretty special moment for me.
Day 11 Sedona to Home - Our final day of travel. Tracy drove this entire trip. She was such a trooper and I am so thankful we found each other. The final drive home was filled with reflection on this incredible adventure. We were all exhausted and just wanted to be home in our beds. The incredible journey filled with adventure was complete.
Tracy and I grew very close to each other during this adventure. We instantly clicked when we first started talking, and it has since turned into a beautiful relationship. We will travel again soon, planning on the Pacific Northwest.
This trip seemed impossible for an ALS patient like me who required so much equipment. All it took was some planning and can do attitude. The trip was very challenging, but not impossible.
If you got a chance, take it, take it while you got a chance
If you got a dream, chase it, 'cause a dream won't chase you back
If you're gonna love somebody
Hold 'em as long and as strong and as close as you can
'Til you can't - Cody Johnson