“You all look tired,” says the young guy in the booth. “Campers kept me going till 2 in the morning and I had to be back here by 7. What’s your excuse?”
We mumble a few things about travelling, which he brushes off. He leans into hand us our maps and brochures and turns his attention to Kendra. “Ma’am? Your mom called. This is your homework. She wants a thousand-page essay by morning.”
Yellowstone National Park is spotted with turnouts for gawking tourists like ourselves to get out safely and run down our camera batteries. We’re at the top of a rocky ravine. Pines and their compatriots cling to the cliff wall, which leads down to a clear river snaking through the canyon. There’s barely a cloud in the sky and the air is so clear we can see every wrinkle of rock and ripple of leaf.
A truck pulls up behind us. The driver’s from Wyoming, but he hasn’t gotten used to all this beauty, either. Just one thing can distract him: our licence plate.
“You all are from Quebec? You can drive here from there?”
“Yes, sir. Going fast – which we’re not – it’s just about four days.”
He scratches his head. “Well, I never thought. All the way here …”