This October, Andrea and I left snowy Montana and headed south with a first stop in Teton National Park, WY. Our goal was to chase fall all the way to the Mexican border. With no precise plans in mind, we said, we would stop when we are in tee shirts.
The summer after graduation, Stiles feels restless. He’s planning to go to college & has a goal to join the FBI, but there’s just something that makes him wonder if that’s really what he wants anymore.
After his relationship with Lydia quickly fizzles, both of them realizing they are the best of friends but the chance at something more just isn’t in the cards for them, he decides he needs a break from Beacon Hills.
There’s a postcard from Jackson Hole in his underwear drawer that he received two days after graduating. It just says ‘Congratulations’ but he knows who sent it. It’s the first postcard with writing on it other than his name and address, but it’s the same postmark as the last two cards.
He takes his keys back from Scott, packs up Roscoe, and heads off to Wyoming for a road trip to ‘find himself’, is what he tells everyone else, but it’s to find someone else. He meanders on his way there, stopping in Portland to buy some doughnuts from that place he saw on Food Network, and stopping to take photographs of waterfalls that he spams his pack with. Liam always responds with warnings not to buy any barrels, like real life is a Bugs Bunny cartoon or something.
When he pulls into Jackson Hole, he sees that it’s a bit of a tourist trap with a lot of expensive as shit places to eat and shop, and it doesn’t seem like the kind of place someone wanting to get away from the world would choose as home for three months in a row. He finds a local restaurant that isn’t swarming with tourists talking about Yellowstone in exaggerated accents that hurt his ears, and he orders pancakes and coffee.
He’s halfway done with his meal when Derek slides into the booth opposite him. Stiles looks at him, taking in all of the changes and noticing the things that are the same, and he can’t help grinning before making a joke about Derek settling down in Jackson’s hole sounding like a porn movie or something. Derek actually laughs, eyes crinkling up, and the restlessness that Stiles’ felt for months, maybe longer, finally begins to calm down.
Derek tells him he’s working at a ranch near the Tetons, a place owned by a sanctuary pack that takes in strays, and he invites Stiles back with him. They stay up all night talking, sleeping outside on the porch of Derek’s little cabin, looking at the stars and the moon and just not stopping until they drift closer and share their first kiss.
Making the drive cross country was the most patriotic experience I’ve ever felt. It’s incredible to see what our country has to offer. The different landscapes and ways of life. Even though I drove from Washington to New York alone, I had the time of my life. Highlights were driving through Montana & Wyoming… Especially while listening to Nick Offerman’s “Paddle Your Own Canoe”.
In the morning, we had a snow ball fight in the motel parking lot. Explored a little of the downtown area before hitting the road again. All the fresh snow made it so bright, we had to stop for sunglasses in order to continue.