Nels’ Notes: Nomadic Wandering Shenanigans July 3-12, 2009

Countries: Canada, United States of America

Miles Driven:  1,529 Miles

Song of the Week: “Time To Move On” –Tom Petty




Book of the Week:  “Oh, the Place You’ll Go!”  Dr. Seuss

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (Classic Seuss)

Quote of the Week:  “DON’T WORRY!  I CAN FIX IT.  ALL I NEED IS AN AVACADO AND SOME DUCT TAPE!”- something someone screamed at 3 a.m., in Bigfork, Montana, the night of the fireworks, as the sprinklers were going off in the camping area


DSC_0006 The long road has almost come to an end.  We’re sitting here, at Steve mom’s place in Dillon, Sunday afternoon, with only an hour and forty-five minutes from home and the completion of the on the road portion of The World By Road Expedition.  We’ll be making our way to Denver mid-day, Monday.  Just the thought of the end of the road is a beyond eerie feeling, so I haven’t a clue what’s going on in Shoppman’s mind, for this has been his life for the last 29 months.  It’s been an incredible ride, and has been an amazing experience.  Blogs on the finale will be up soon, put first on to the week in review.

Two Friday’s ago we left Edmonton, Alberta heading south toward Montana to make it in time for the anniversary of our country’s birth.  We made it to the final border crossing of the expedition at the Port of Piegan crossing.  Miss Somlai got all of her paperwork finalized, and we were all ready to re-enter the USA.  Craig and I went to Glacier National Park to visit a female acquaintance I know that works there, while the rest of the crew headed to Bigfork, Montana to take part in their firework festivities.  It was hilarious to watch and listen to the locals putting on the fireworks display in Babb, Montana.  From what I saw there were no injuries or burns to report, and that is by far a miracle.  The rest of the crew really enjoyed the fireworks in Bigfork, and we all really DSC_0038appreciated being able to celebrate back in our home country.

The following day we met up in the Apgar Campground on the west side of Glacier National Park.  We were able to take in the scenic views by Lake MacDonald, had a nice little fire, and witnessed Craig prepare his famous hamburgers.  We retired for the night to get ready for an adventure the next day.  Meagan, Celeste and Kristen took off for a hike in the Glacier Wilderness, I took the bus to Logan Pass for a down pour filled hike, Craig stayed back because he wasn’t feeling well, and Steve and Zsofi headed into town to get the tires rotated on the Tundra for our drive to Bozeman, Montana.

Our return to Bozeman was just as well as the first.  We again were graciously accommodated by the Sheldons, and we’re really glad to get a chance to see them again.  It was also a fun place to celebrate my birthday, and I can’t thank everyone enough for all they did for me.  Homemade mac and cheese, a chocDSC_0096olate chip ice cream cake and stellar company were an incredible combination.  Thanks again.  I greatly appreciated it.

From Bozeman our trek took us to beautiful Yellowstone National Park where we toured the Mammoth Hot Springs, which has the appearance of another planet.  The geothermal activity in the region makes it beyond unique and the variety of colors it produces on the landscape is really something to see.  We camped in the park that night, and got ready for the next days rafting trip with Meagan and Kristen’s friend, Jason Butler.

We awoke ready to take on the Yellowstone River with the Yellowstone Raft Company with Jason as our guide.  We had a blast on the 8 miles, Class II-III white water stretch on the river, but this was just the first part of our rafting adventure, for Jason said that later that day, “We’ll be running the canyon.”  We got off the water from our first stretch, got some food, and then headed to their “Guide Camp,” where we were able to stay.  While we set up camp a group of guides P7090150 got the boat and gear together, got the shuttle figured out, and gave us a safety speech.  We started our run and right away knew this wasn’t your everyday stroll down the river.  We hit the first rapid called “Revenge,” well, actually, the rapid hit me, launching me up in air.  If it weren’t for Celeste and Meagan behind me to stop me I’m sure I’d have been thrown out of the boat.  Thanks again, girls.  We then hit another series of rapids, and you could tell how much everyone enjoyed it by the permanent smiles on everyone’s faces.  It was an exciting trip, and we were really lucky to be able to hang out with the guides from Yellowstone Raft Company.

This past Friday was a scenic driving day as we left Yellowstone, watched the magical eruption of Old Faithful, traveled through the Tetons, and reached Jackson, Wyoming late that night.  Steamboat Springs was the next destination, and we left Jackson early for another day on the road.  After a few stops for some pictures we went to a pizza joint before our drive to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs.  The place cracked us up.  The hot springs are in total darkness, has a clothing optional policy at night, and has nothing but romance in the air.  High school kids were enjoying one pool, what appeared to be some middle-aged couples were enjoying some quiet time, and some random males were using the clothing optional rule a bit too much.  To each their own, I guess.

DSC_0178 The conclusion of our hot springs experience got us to the trucks at approximately 12:30 a.m., and with camping not allowed, we hit the road to find a spot, The World By Road style.  Shoppman, in the lead car, found the beginning of the Rabbit Ear’s Pass, and got us to a turnout along side the road where we could set up the tents.  A perfect place for the last camping spot on the expedition.

The morning brought us to an arts and crafts festival of sorts in downtown Steamboat.  Steve and Zsofi went after a Brat, Craig and I engulfed some BBQ Ribs, Meagan loved her Ice Tea, Kristen enjoyed an organic wrap of chicken/strawberries/some kind of cheese/lettuce, and Celeste got a hot dog bun/banana/granola/peanut butter/whatever else was in it concoction.  One has to enjoy the diversity of humans.

From Steamboat we took Colorado County Road 9 to Dillon, Colorado, to the house of Steve’s Mom, Judy and Step-Dad, Tom.  It was great to see the familiar faces of two of our biggest supporters.  We had a delicious homecoming meal with them, some went on a walk, some on a run, and others took in the comfort of a couch.  Some things will never be taken for granted ever again.

The end of the road is Denver, 70 miles from the doorstep here in Dillon.  The expedition has gone over 6 continents, through 69 countries, traveled 76,934 miles and has spanned the last 2 years and 152 days.  We are all beyond thankful for all the support, and thank you for following us.  Just as in life, our adventures will continue, and can be continued to be followed here on the site.

The World By Road.  A truly epic adventure.  Denver or Bust.  Here we come.

Additional Photos of the Week:

DSC_0022 The beauty of Glacier National Park


World travelers in Mammoth Hot Springs



Upper Falls in Yellowstone National Park



Louisiana tandem enjoying the day in Yellowstone



Toyota Trucks meet the Teton Mountains



One can’t beat a day on the water



Yellowstone Raft Co. buses with Yellowstone National Park in the distance



Note the seed in his mouth.  I’m a fan of sunflower seeds, and wanted to share the wealth.



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The finish of the route map.  Denver or Bust.