As a holiday winds down, the sadness of its impending end can temper the joy of the remaining days. Not having anything to look forward to can rob one of living in the moment of the experience. For this road trip, I wanted something to anticipate. I wanted to end on a "bang".
And I found it.
The Black Swan Inn in Pocatello, Idaho is one of the most amazing hotels I've ever stayed at. It is themed and the attention to detail in each unique suite is truly impressive. For our penultimate stay, we booked the Mayan Rainforest Room which included a walk-in shower in the base of a "tree trunk", the branches of which hid the second floor jacuzzi tub. Next to the leopard-print bed was a 15-ft waterfall with a live koi pond. Even the bathroom was painted in murals that made it seem like one was deep in the jungle. I cannot recommend this place enough and am definitely going to plan future roadtrips to navigate through the area so I can return. Whether one's stay is for a romantic evening or honeymoon, it is a gem.
Fun fact: Pocatello, Idaho, is also home to the Museum of Clean.
Our final night was spent getting back to nature again - comfortably - in a deluxe cabin at another KOA campground in Great Falls, Montana, where we used our fleeting holiday time to wine and dine on a barbecue feast while watching the golden tones of sunset pour over the vista of prairie and mountain laid before us. I felt contentment in the moment. I felt renewed from the journey, despite its brevity. I was born to explore. To learn. To live. I am so thankful my father instilled this curiosity and love of travel within me. I thought of him often on this trip; in solitude I've shared the details with him, hoping my whisper carries on the air to wherever his spirit resides.
As the evening came to a close, I tried to enjoy the ambient noise of the whirring overhead fan while fighting the urge to turn on the television to catch up on world events. While my partner showered, I figured sneaking in ten minutes of numbing my brain wouldn't do too much damage and searched for the remote. The only channel with reception was showing a wrestling match but it wasn't WWE; in fact, I didn't recognize any of the characters on screen ... until I did.
"Holy shit", I said to myself.
Years (and years) ago, when I was a teenager, a colleague had taken me to watch her boyfriend wrestle in a local Winnipeg league called Top Rope Championship Wrestling (TRCW). Growing up with Hulk Hogan and the like on Saturday afternoons, I immediately got into it. The skill, the theatrics, the swagger all appealed to this shy girl who was looking to break free from her high school rep of being a wallflower. So when I was asked to valet their tag team, I took up the offer. It might not be a Toastmaster event, but the experience definitely instilled a confidence in me to command a crowd and not be so self-conscious. Anyway, there was one person who always stood out at TRCW. A curly-haired teenager armed with a steely resolve (and an apparent closet full of Hawaiian shirts) who could maneuver around the ring with technique that was lightyears beyond his older, more seasoned opponents. I recall even mentioning to others that if anyone could make it in the big leagues, it would be him.
So to my surprise and delight, there he was—on the tiny television in my cabin in Montana— Kenny Omega, Heavyweight Champion for New Japan Pro Wrestling and Sports Illustrated's tap for next big thing in sports entertainment.
One never knows where the journey in life will lead.