Cover photo: Yellowstone River cuts through the Paradise Valley north of Gardiner Montana
“My God, this place is at the end of the world,” worried Cora. Cora doesn’t do dirt roads very well. It did seem like a long ride up the mountain from the main highway. It was unpaved and pocked with debris and holes but it wasn’t horrible. In comparison this road was much better than Highway 880 through Oakland which has worse stretches, deeper holes and the extra added excitement of big rigs hurtling past just an arm’s length away as drivers try to negotiate the narrow lanes at 65 miles – an – hour while texting and eating an Egg McMuffin. Oh and we shouldn’t forget the occasional freeway shooter.
We were headed for a cabin in the woods, my idea as part of our Yellowstone trip to both experience the solitude of Montana’s Big Sky Country and, since the place would have a fully equipped kitchen, save some money on meals. I’d shopped the Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) website, pared the choices down to 5 cabins and asked Cora to narrow it down to 3. From there we chose a place advertised as “a secluded cabin by a creek, where you might see wildlife out your front door and be serenaded by howling wolves at night.” There would also be no phone, no TV and very little if any internet service. No internet? That sealed the deal. Where do I sign?
Every time I would take time off from work, my standard out of office Outlook message would include the cautionary alternative fact that I would “not have access to internet or phone service.” I could be headed for the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago and I would always claim the place has “no internet or phone service.” This time I would actually be telling the truth. I double and triple checked with Cora, who has become very connected to being connected. She grudgingly said she was okay with it. Continue reading