Have Coffee Will Travel

In June I got to travel to Salt Lake City, Idaho, and Yellowstone Park. It was kind of random but totally fun.

Greg (my boyfriend) works for a non-profit called On River Time. On River Time takes abused and neglected children fly fishing in Idaho on the Snake River. On the trip this year were sixteen kids from Big Oak Ranch and a ranch out in Texas as well as ORT’s director’s eight-year-old son — my reason for going this year!

airplaneviewGreg went on the trip last year and had a great time. So, when Steve (ORT’s founder) and Jeana (ORT’s Director) asked me to go and babysit Jeana’s son, I couldn’t say no!

reststopThe kids fly into Jackson Hole but Greg and I flew into Salt Lake City and drove to Irwin, Idaho from there. The drive is about four hours but when the speed limits are 75 it doesn’t quite take that long. We stopped at the most picturesque rest stop ever.

mountainsIdaho is so beautiful. This was the second time I’ve been but to a different area. Mountains are always in the distance. You never seem to get to them. It’s so weird!

fishingthesnakeWhile in Idaho, the kids had two full days of fly fishing on the river. While they were fishing and Greg was working, I was hanging out with my buddy Ben. We played games, annoyed Greg, and ate Cheetos.

benmtnOne day we went on a little hike at the park across the street from the lodge. Like everything in Idaho, it was beautiful! We only got a littler nervous when we saw all the beware of bears signs.

riverEach night when the kids got back from fishing all day we had dinner together and hung out afterwards. One of the days the kids worked on making a fire pit for the lodge. We had a bonfire and s’mores that night. I ended up with s’mores in my hair but whatever!

firepit

The last day of the ORT trip is a visit to Yellowstone. It’s about a three hour ride from the lodge. IT IS SO AMAZING Y’ALL. It’s hard to fathom how expansive it is. I really wanted to see a moose which didn’t happen.

yellowstonegroupFirst stop in the park was Old Faithful. It was crazy how many people were gathered around waiting on it to erupt. I can now mark that off my bucket list!

oldfaithfulWe saw plenty of bison, reindeer, and elk. Turns out bison are kind of scary. They’ve attacked like eight people this year.

bisonThe whole trip I was worried it was going to be rainy while we were at Yellowstone but it stayed pretty nice the whole time.

thermalpoolmonsterThere are tons of geysers and thermal pools. It’s like another planet.

artistpointWe went to “Artist Point” and had the most incredible view of a waterfall. The colors were beautiful on the cliffs. No wonder it is a popular spot for artists (Fun Fact: There is a painting at the Birmingham Museum of Art exactly the view where Greg and I took a picture!).

tetonsEarly the next morning the kids were flying out of Jackson Hole. On the way there we stopped at a hotel in the Grand Tetons for dinner. Let me be real, the Tetons ARE SO GRAND. This is what I’ve always imagined mountains looking like. They are “young” mountains so they are still all pointy and gorgeously snow capped.

deerWe drove back to the lodge for the night and headed to Salt Lake the next day. Whenever Greg and I are passing through a city or take a detour for the day we pick out a good place to eat (Yelp or recommendation) and one or two things to do/see. We basically had 4-5 hours to explore the city before heading to ‘burbs to stay with Greg’s aunt and uncle before we left the following day.

IMG_3522A girl we met at the lodge recommended a place called The Copper Onion so that’s where we went (SLC isn’t known for their food apparently) after we did a driving tour around downtown. It was a nice place with outdoor seating. Definitely “trendy.” We were both pleased and surprised with our meals. I got their ricotta dumplings which were flavorful and interesting. Since coffee is our drug we went to this coffee place Greg stopped by last year when he was passing through called caffe d’bolla.

coffeesiphonThey are one of about a handful of places that use the Japanese hot infusion siphon method in the country. The owner went to Japan and studied it there and is considered the best in the nation at this method. It takes about 20 minutes to get your coffee. He told us all about the history and process. Basically it looks like he’s making you meth. We were instructed we could only drink it black and it had to be from a particular kind of cup to get the best flavor. Greg and I ordered different origin coffees and had different wait times on drinking it. It was crazy and delicious and one cup was $10.

dinoWe only had about an hour left and we decided to visit the Natural History Museum of Utah because we thought it would be most representative of SLC. Since we were limited on time we chose three exhibits to go through: Extreme Mammals, Past Worlds, and First Peoples. It is a really cool museum and full of Utah history. The museum is super nice. It was recently built at this location at the University of Utah. I definitely want to go back when we have more time.

idaho2This was a really cool trip and not one I would have planned on my own but I think that made it extra special. The time Greg and I had with the kids from Big Oak was my favorite part. I can’t tell you enough how awesome On River Time and Big Oak Ranch are for our community. I also can’t tell you enough how incredible the kids are despite their beginning circumstances. It blows my mind. Each one has an incredibly heartbreaking story but you would never know it from their attitude and outlook. It’s amazing and John Croyle and his family are inspirational.

 

*If you follow Auburn and Alabama football you know the Croyle’s. John played during the Bear Bryant era. I cheered at Auburn in 2005-2006 when his son, Brody was quarterback for Alabama. This was my first time meeting Brody and after chatting with him for a while I nonchalantly mentioned we had been on the same field together. He was surprised and confused and then I told him I cheered at Auburn. It hit him and he gave me a look and said “Was that ‘Fear the Thumb’ year?” That was the year we beat Alabama six times in a row and Brody was sacked fourteen times (they made bumper stickers that said “Honk if you’ve sacked Brody Croyle”). I acted all coy and was like “Yeah, I guess it was.” We laughed about it. He did tell me there have only been two games in his life that he wanted to be transported out of and that was one of them (the other was the last pro game he started in). Brody is a good sport and one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.

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