"I want to see mountains, Gandalf, mountains! And then find some place quiet to write my book." - Bilbo Baggins
The Monster first entered my life in November 2017. It was a very intrusive monster, showing up when I least expected it, rousing me from sleep, and slowly creeping into my work, even when I beat it back.
After several visits with the Wizard of Healing, the Wizard at last identified the name of the Monster, a name which sounded like a violent sneeze. "But I'm not sure which spells would banish it yet. This is a rare monster, and very difficult to get rid of. I will send you to consult with more Wizards."
When the Monster decided to barge into my life on a massive scale, my job as a Keeper of Very Important Papers had to come to an end. The next week, my Dragon's job as a Manager of Very Important Business came to an end due to downsizing.
Here we were, Phoenix and Dragon, unemployed, with a great Monster living in my body. What was next?
"Phoenix," said my Dragon. "Let us go on an adventure! Now is the perfect time. We do not have to ask for time away. We can simply go, and find suitable employment when we return."
It sounded like an excellent idea to me, provided we kept the Monster reasonably happy along the way. The Dragon assured me that we would do whatever we needed to do not to antagonize the Monster.
But Dragons and Phoenixes tend to stick out in a crowd. So, to hide our identities, we called upon an intrepid superhero couple to represent us: Mr. and Mrs. Incredible!
The Incredibles Go West
On the second day of travel, Mr. Incredible woke early in the morning to discover that Mrs. Incredible had been misled by the villainous Googlator. They were in the labyrinth of evil toll roads known as... Chicago. Not to be defeated, the Incredibles resorted to old-fashioned skills: maps.
"Why would the phone map be different than a regular map? Maps are maps! MAPS ARE MAPS!"
The Incredibles in the Badlands
Disentangling themselves from Chicago, the Incredibles headed west to search the Badlands for signs of... Well... You know. Bad guys.
Mostly they found bighorn sheep and prairie dogs.
Hmm. Could any of the tourists be villains in disguise?
The Incredibles at Mount Rushmore
Heading North by Northwest, the Incredibles reported the progress of their mission to the Presidential Council.
The official consensus from the council: "Bully for you!"
The Incredibles along Beartooth Pass
Following a tip from the Dragon's father, the Incredibles journeyed to the northeast of Yellowstone National Park to investigate his claim that it was "one of the most beautiful drives in the country."
It did not disappoint.
"I'm feeling breathless."
"Quite the views, aren't they?"
"No, I'm pretty sure it's the altitude. We're over eleven thousand feet above sea level."
The Incredibles in Yellowstone National Park
The Incredibles were detained by the Chief of the Bison Tribe.
"GOOD DAAAAY HUUUUMANS! Thank you for coming to our valley! Please have your payments of delicious goodies and your papers ready for inspection."
"Sir, its called a SECRET IDENTITY. I'm a hero. No papers, no names. Just Mr. Incredible"
When the Incredibles at last made their way through the park, they encountered thundering waterfalls, impressive mountains, and smoking vents in the earth.
"It's the chimney for an underground lair of villains who are making their machinery of death. I just know it is. Wonder where to find the invisible secret entrance?"
"It's probably marked with a doormat labelled 'Secret Entrance' because their minions keep forgetting where it is."
"What a stupid idea. Nosy reporters would find it instantly."
The Incredibles in Glacier National Park
"It says here in the brochure that the mountains were sculpted by glaciers. I bet Frozone's ever-so-great granddaddy created the glaciers in order to create the first ski resort for his grandbabies."
"All that snow? He would have needed some help."
"Maybe a runaway princess helped him."
"Let it go, Bob. Let it go."
The Incredibles at Schweitzer Resort
Lacking any tall buildings or gargoyles to stand upon, Mr. Incredible journeyed to the high peak over Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho to brood, followed by his wife.
"Honey, I know you're a fan, but you're not..."
"Darling, let me dream. I'M INCREDIBLE BATMAN!"
More about the Incredibles and their adventures out west in The Incredible Journey (Part 2)!