National Parks Tour: Not Even on the Bus Yet

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Would be great if every hotel shower worked the same way. I never remember the night before to figure out how to turn on the shower, adjust the temps, check the water pressure. Is it a lever or knob? Is the water not getting hot or am I turning it wrong? Can I adjust the shower head to get more water or is this it? Is the shower head even taller than I am or will I need to scrunch down? And why do the shampoo, conditioner, and lotion bottles all look alike?

So, once again, at 5:30 a.m. and still tired, I am trying to find my glasses so I can study the bottles and the shower knob. Push up for water on, pull the diverter valve on the faucet to get the shower to work, turn the knob and wait for hot water. Put the look-alike bottles left to right in the shower – shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Only way I am going to remember without my glasses in the shower. Starting the day.

Why am I up so early for a 9:00 a.m. departure? One, Al changed the departure time to 8:30. Two, I have never been someone who could just roll out of bed looking like I am ready to meet the day. I roll out looking like the day has already rolled over me. Three, I move slowly in the mornings and since I cannot be late or the last one on the bus, I have to give myself plenty of time to get ready.

Four, our large bags need to be packed and outside of our room by 7:30 to get loaded on the bus. Five, I need to transfer my yesterday pictures from my camera to my laptop as backup. Six, I am going to walk a few trails around the buildings to look for early morning elk. Getting that picture today! I had to get up at 5:00 to get all this done.

Chuck decides he needs to go with me to look for elk, so our bags are in the hall a little after 7:00, and we start walking. We take the path toward the Rim like we took yesterday as I had hoped they would be in the same spot. Not today. Go towards another path that Al had said they use to go back and forth to feeding spots. I see no elk, but I do find evidence that they have taken this path or at least my shoes found the evidence. It is everywhere. Yuck. I am really beginning to despise elk.

We see a couple who have big coffees in hand. Wait. I thought the restaurant wasn’t serving breakfast and the Market is not open this early. They tell us there is a small coffee shop in the Lodge lobby that is open and serving coffee, pastries, and hot sandwiches. The coffee in the room was so-so and the donuts were eaten for dessert last night. Okay, the elk are officially forgotten. Onward to coffee and food.

It is a small coffee shop – closet small. We have 4 people in line in front of us. The time is getting closer to getting on the bus. Shouldn’t be a problem… no, it’s going to be a problem. The four customers in front of us are two men and two women and they appear to be traveling as a group. The conversation among the 4 and with one of the two baristas goes something like this:

What sandwiches do you want. (there are only 3 choices) I don’t know. Do you want to split one? Can we get it without cheese? Do you have any other kind of bread? You only take cash? OMG. I don’t have cash. Who carries cash? My wallet is in my room. Don’t worry – just Venmo me and I’ll pay. Hey, Derek never did Venmo me from the other day. He better do it today. Do you have almond milk? What about soy? I don’t see caramel listed. I want a caramel latte not a vanilla latte. I hate vanilla lattes. Maybe I should just get a macchiato. Are the muffins fresh? They look gluteny. What are we doing today?

I am now wondering what the penalty will be for leaping on their backs and clawing like a crazed mountain lion. I think not getting coffee and being late for the bus should give me a solid defense. But I suppress my claws and we finally get to the front of the line – two small black coffees, one blueberry muffin, one bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich on whatever-the-hell type of bread you have, and we have cash – exact change in fact. The bleary-eyed baristas look at us like we are dinosaurs. Sigh.

We take our coffee and food outside to sit and enjoy the quiet morning. I am so ready for the coffee. Sip. OMG. The coffee is too hot. Chernobyl hot. I waited all that time, and I can’t drink it. We have to take the tops off the cups and let the cool morning air take the heat down to a burn-the-tongue level.

And the crows and pigeons (which were not here a second ago) have suddenly gathered around us, and I swear they are all looking directly at me and my muffin. We’re leaving and heading back to the room. I will not be in a remake of The Birds.

As we are walking, we meet another couple from our tour who are making their way to the coffee shop. She asks me if I have gotten any pictures. I tell her I think I have some decent landscapes but no elk. Oh, let me show you my picture – a mother elk and her baby walked right by me last night so close I could touch them. I was just relaxing on the bench over there. They didn’t even care that I was there. But we see deer and elk all the time where we live so really no big deal. I almost didn’t even bother taking the picture – My smile is so wide and forced I know I must look like the Joker (Heath Ledger, not Joaquin Phoenix). Her photo is absolutely great. I really really hate elk.

I just want to get on the bus. The day will get better.

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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