Cody, Wyoming (they wear Cowboy boots for real here)

We'd planned to see at least a little of Yellowstone when in Wyoming. Since the majority of this trip is happening in November we understood that not everything we wanted to do would be possible like it would have been if we'd traveled across the country in the summer, but we still planned to enjoy the great outdoors when possible. But our plans in western Wyoming were changed a bit because - newsflash - Yellowstone closes all but it's northern entrance in early November (just before we'd arrived, in fact). Luckily we discovered this before trekking out there. Since making our way to the northern entrance of the park would have diverted us, oh, about four hours or so, we decided to scrap the Yellowstone plan and return to the park sometime in the future for a nice, long visit. We decided to, instead, go straight on to Montana, which of course was exciting for me because I've been longing to visit Montana for years. For no good reason except that, I mean, it's Montana!

We did get a great feel for Wyoming while there, though. Before leaving the state, we stayed in Cody, a town that serves as a gateway to the eastern entrance of Yellowstone, in an Econo Lodge with moose heads on the wall where everything was carved out of raw wood. We ate at a local steak house where the tables were covered in paper and crayons were provided, and J and I took turns drawing our own renditions of Mt. Rushmore while observing all the people who came and went in the restaurant, many of whom seemed to know one another.

At breakfast in the lobby of our motel the next morning, an older gentleman who was there talking to receptionists, who seemed to be friends of his, stopped by our table, where we were drinking coffee and eating toast, and asked where we were from, and where we were going.

He told us he was originally from Pennsylvania. That he worked for a phone company and lobbied for a transfer until he was moved to Wyoming, a place he'd visited and had always wanted to live. "Be careful," he told us, and at first I thought maybe he was urging to drive safe or watch out for rattlesnakes, but then he went on. "Be careful," he said. "This place will start to grow on you, and you might never return home."

We laughed and he told us to have a good trip and went on his way, then we packed up and drove off into the foggy mountains surrounded by a sky that's just bigger, so much bigger than what we're used to. I understand exactly what he meant.