October 31st, 2006 by Peter Slutsky
7:36 PM MT.
We’re about a two hours away from Denver, CO. Today has been our longest driving day yet. We left Yellowstone a little after 8am and we’re getting into Denver after 8pm. We’re staying here for a couple nights at the home of one Chris “Bling” Barkley. Chris and I shared a beautiful villa during our study abroad semester in the majestic Perguia, Italy.
Chris and I see each other every couple years now and when we do, it’s a good time. He’s a character, to say the least and I can’t wait to see him in under two hours from now! Let’s hope he prepared one of his delicious Italian meals.
More blogging from me later, I just wanted y’all to know that we were safe, happy and optimistic about what the future may hold.
Make sure you check out our pictures from the past two days. Simply amazing.
October 31st, 2006 by Joshua Skaroff
12:06 PM MT.
We’ve been disconnected for the past two days as we sojourned through the Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. But rest assured, we’ve been writing and taking some amazing photos and we’ll be getting them up over the course of the day.
Onward towards Denver.
October 31st, 2006 by Matthew Slutsky
8:44 AM MT.
After a memorable night (I’ll get to that shortly) we wake up to frigid -3 degree temperatures smack dab in the middle of Yellowstone National Park.
We had a comfortable night sleep in Dale’s cabin located in central Yellowstone near Lake Village. The cabin is “cozy” (as they say in the real estate business) and we were forced to go without any cell phone reception, internet connection, or any other multimedia for the night! I have to say, it wasn’t easy to be totally detached from the world. We’d spent the previous 43 days constantly connected to blackberries, laptops, and telephones, and last night we found ourselves completely removed from society up in the mountains.
We wake up extremely early to see a bit more of Yellowstone and hit the road for our longest drive of the trip so far. We leave Dale’s cabin and make our way towards the South Entrance to Yellowstone. Before leaving the park, we stop at a few more beautiful sites including Yellowstone Lake. It was almost magical watching the morning mist lift off of the water.
While most of the roads are clear, the remnants of a recent snowstorm remain on the final stretch of road out of the park and it’s a bit treacherous. We creep out of Yellowstone at about 25 MPH but make it safely into Grand Teton National Park where we stop a few more times and then head on towards Denver.
It’s easy to get numb to the amazing natural beauty that exists here in Yellowstone. I am just in awe of everything I’ve seen and so thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to experience all that this great nation has to offer.
Big shout-out to the minivan which has carried us safely and with gusto over almost 10,000 miles now. Here she is in all her glory as we get ready to head towards Denver.
October 30th, 2006 by Joshua Skaroff
6:15 PM MT.
Leaving Livington we take US 89 South towards Yellowstone.
Yellowstone National Park is located in the northeaster corner of Wyoming and was established as the worldâ€™s first national park by an act of Congress in 1872. Yellowstone spreads its 2.2 million acres over a vast area of volcanic activity. The product of volcanic eruptions over the past 2 million years, the park is covered with magmatic heat geysers and hot springs, waterfalls, lakes, and rugged mountains.
We meet our friend and host, Dale Reinhart, who is a landscape architect here at the Park, in Mammoth Hot Springs where he sketches out for us our best options during the limited time we have in Yellowstone. For the first time on the trip the mercury really drops and we break out our winter coats and hats for the freezing day to come. Next up is Norris Geyser Basin, an area coverd with springs, geysers, fumaroles, and mudpots.
There are incredible microclimates here that exist in and just barely above the hot water pits and flows. This bright green grass is growing in boiling water in twenty degree weather.
Next we head east through Norris to the Canyon area. Iâ€™ll let the photos from Inspiration Point, Lookout Point, and Artists Point speak for themselves. The colors on the canyon walls are a product of the differing chemical concentrations of the hot water springs bursting out of the canyon walls.
Itâ€™s icy and getting dark so we head towards Lake to stay in a single room efficiency Dale has lent to us for the night. What a day.
October 29th, 2006 by Peter Slutsky
9:04 PM MT.
We just arrived in cold, snowy Livingston, MT. It’s dark, so I can’t tell what the landscape around us is like but I can imagine we will be greeted with some amazing views at first light tomorrow morning.
We are staying at chez Reinhart and what a family they are! We met Michelle Reinhart a couple days ago in Missoula. Michelle is dating a good friend of mine from campaigns past and she is about to be sworn in as one of the youngest members of the Montana State Legislature. Michelle beat Lloyd Kilcrease in a June primary with 85% of the vote and barring the unexpected, she will represent the people of House District 97 the next time the legislature meets in Helena.
If you have anything else to give this cycle, please donate to Michelle’s campaign. She’s a great progressive and since her seat is now safe, she’s spreading out her contributions to other members who are in tough election or re-election fights.
Not only did Michelle, Kevin and Sarah put us up for the weekend and cook us delicious meals, but Michelle also arranged for us to stay with her parents who live right outside of Yellowstone National Park, which just happens to be our next destination.
So, here we are in Livingston getting a good night’s rest and pulling out our winter gear so we will be ready to hit the park early tomorrow morning.
We went out last night to celebrate an early Halloween. I met this nice old lady at one of the bars we stopped into. I couldn’t believe she was out so late and I was also a little put off by her facial hair. Oh well…
October 28th, 2006 by Matthew Slutsky
October 28th, 2006 by Joshua Skaroff
2:06 PM MT.
Our farthest western and farthest northern location on the trip. Yes, that’s right dear Left Coast. We’re not finishing our climb over the mountains to California, Oregon, and Washington State. We’ve got a lot more to do east of of here on way home to GOTV in Pennsylvania on Election Day.
Though I think we’ll all be a bit sad to leave Montana. It’s not only one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, but it’s clearly home to a growing brand of bravely progressive new Democrats. People you’d really be excited to vote for.
UPDATE: Obviously, Great Falls was the farthest northern point. Just look at the map. Oops. I apologize to any rectangle fanatics out there for the slight.
October 27th, 2006 by Peter Slutsky
5:10 PM MT.
Team DoubleSpeak has reached the Continental Divide. We got our first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains and we’re headed up to Missoula for a weekend of recording, production and much tomfoolery. We’re also seeking out our first delicious steak dinner of the trip (though we have had our share of delicious meat cuts).
Here we are, pulled over on the side of highway 200W to mark the passing over of the Continental Divide.
As my brother wrote earlier, today was a peach of a day. We got to hang out with Sen. Baucus, Gov. Schweitzer and Jon Tester at a Montana Farmer’s Union annual meeting in Great Falls, MT.
Montana certainly has a special brand of politics and it’s a brand that could spread and be effective in other regions of America. I get the sense of a very populist politics, racked full of progressive ideas, that also incorporate the more conservative values of the people who live here.
The Governor talked for over an hour about renewable energy and about the advancements that Montana has made in alternative energies that could free America from its grip on foreign oil.
Those are true progressive values. Forget the social wedge issues that shatter the conversation, these Democrats out here are an evolving brand that sells their record of accomplishment on issues that truly effect the 920,000 people that live in Montana. The people here may not be ready for the national Democratic Party, but there is something happening from the ground on up and I’d watch for a dramatic shift out here over the coming years. Especially if Montana keeps producing politicians like Gov. Brian Schweitzer and future Senator Jon Tester.
Enjoy the weekend. More from this American later.
October 27th, 2006 by Peter Slutsky
October 27th, 2006 by Matthew Slutsky
3:11 PM MT.
Peter and Josh are getting sick of it now because all I can do is talk about how much I love Montana! This state is just so beautiful and all the people we’ve met so far are nice, real people.
We’ve had a great day today- woke up somewhere in Helena, MT and got an early start interviewing the head of the Montana Democratic Party and a really cool guy, Jim Farrell. Then we drove at 90+ M.P.H. up to Great Falls, MT to meet the trifecta- Governor Brian Schweitzer, Jon Tester, and Senator Max Baucus.
Now I know how folks felt when they went down to Arkansas in the 80’s to see then Governor Bill Clinton speak. Gov. Schweitzer, the Democratic Governor of Montana, is like no one I’ve ever met in my life. Today he was speaking to the Montana Farmers Union, a crowd of over 200 people, and he gave a rousing speech on energy independence (without notes or a written speech) and got the crowd to its feet. I had chills running up and down my spine listening to him pound the podium and fire-up the union crowd.
I am now convinced that Governor Schweitzer is the next great hope for Democrats nationally and I am 100% on the Schweitzer bandwagon.
We are all now sitting in the hotel lobby of a Best Western in Great Falls stealing some wi-fi and then we’re headed to Missoula, MT tonight for some production and fun.
Ha- Senator Max Baucus just walked by and we got a picture with him…nice guy.
I love Montana.