Vacation 2009 – Backtracking to the Land of Napoleon Dynamite

Poor Paul. We added at least an hour – probably two – to his carefully prepared itinerary by taking this sidetrack to the town in which our favorite film, Napoleon Dynamite, was shot. 

The odds just weren't in his favor. The vote was 4 for, 1 against. And since he lives with us he knew we could take out our revenge in nefarious ways, should he dare go against general opinion.

We are united!

If you've seen the film Napoleon Dynamite, you'll recognize the sites we tracked down in Preston, Idaho. If you haven't watched the movie, DO! IMMEDIATELY! The humor is dry, relying more on the ridiculous than the slapstick, though there's some of that, too. Over the course of vacation the kids watched it at least four times, during the excrutiatingly long drives from hither to yon. My laptop computer comes in handy as a portable movie theatre.

My kids can recite large parts of the film's dialogue by heart, and our middle son has the voice of Napoleon down pat. It's almost spooky. If his chosen profession doesn't work out, there's always acting as a backup.

Napoleon Dynamite is probably a film you either love or hate. If you don't like it, at least you'll know what we consider funny. Which should enrich your lives no end. You are welcome. We're glad you could share in our family moment.


First, the approach. As we entered the mountains of northeast Utah/southwest Idaho we encountered construction – another theme of our vacation. Imagine driving a van attached to a camper trailer through something this narrow. I sweat bullets driving through this kind of road construction without a trailer. While Paul insisted the narrowness didn't bother him, he did insist on complete quiet.

Methinks he doth protest too much.


But once you're past that? Look at the view. Paul had me note down in the travel journal we saw the mountains in all their glory at exactly 5:15 p.m. on Monday, June 29, day two of our vacation. Why? I have no idea, but far be it from me to question.


Recognize this? It's Pedro's house. The sidewalk in front is where Pedro and Napoleon took Pedro's bike on those "sweet jumps." Where Pedro got "like, three feet of air that time."

It's a complete mess out front. Wouldn't they be thrilled I'm publicizing that? They must get this kind of thing all the time. What were they thinking leaving it such a mess? That'll teach them.

I'm justifying myself, obviously.


Preston High School! Yes, it's real. They didn't change the name for the film, nor, obviously, the name of the town. And if you go there you'll wonder why on earth they chose this particular location. Why? Why? It's a dingy town, rundown in places. There's nothing remarkable about it. Then again, maybe that's why they picked it, for its quality of being unremarkable.

I have several photos of the tetherball pole, but I'm writing this from our brand new computer which, for whatever reason, won't allow me to flip photos around and save them. So I could insert it, but it would be sideways. And what fun is that? I'm sparing you the vertigo.

Considering I like to turn the camera vertically I'd better get this issue figured out. And soon.


Before I (further) bore those who haven't seen the film, I'll skip over Trisha's house and Summer's house, plus the burger joint in the film, and end with this on the fly photo of Napoleon's house. Since someone was sitting on the front porch we didn't feel too comfortable stopping and taking a proper photo, so this was the best I could do. Sad, I know, but you get the idea.

The bad news is: no Tina! There were no llamas to be seen; that broke our hearts.

Departing Preston, on our way to Wyoming, we had a bit of a problem.

Which happened exactly here:


Luckily, we had a spare. But what if we hadn't? To replace the spare I called around (God love searchable GPS systems!) to find another. They had it within an hour, bless them, and we were back on the road.

But all was well after a good night's sleep at a comfortable hotel. The next day we we hit the road, rested and rejuvenated. Or something like that. That day's destination: the ash hole and Crater Lake.

Now you're officially updated from the very beginning of our trip to the photos I've already posted. Not quite linear, but about as close as I get on a good day.

The story continues …


4 thoughts on “Vacation 2009 – Backtracking to the Land of Napoleon Dynamite

  1. Oh my, you did it, you went, you got back. Love your account; especially love the picture of the ripped-to-shreds tire.


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