I know I’m not keeping up as much as I should but the good news is that I have been busy and thoroughly enjoying myself. Hopefully that counts for something. Also, I have not been eaten by a bear, mountain lion, wolf or snake which, in my humble opinion is great news too.
After 3 days and nights in Yellowstone, I had planned on staying a few days in Grand Teton national park. They are connected by a series of roads and for all intents and purposes, they are the same park. It just takes half a day to drive from one end to the other. As I was driving through, I noticed that Grand Teton had a number of very appealing bike paths and excursions (damn you bike thieves!) but at that time, rather than my feet it was my hand that was acting up and it makes holding a steering wheel very uncomfortable much less handle bars on bumpy terrain. So that put a damper on my plans. Then, as I continued through, I realized that it reminded me of B.C. Canada, just with smaller, less majestic mountains. It is a spectacular place none the less, but it’s like going to Epcot Centre when you live in Disney World. Sorry, that’s a bit of a weak analogy but the only other one I could think of was; it’s like going to Grand Teton when you live in B.C. Either way I think I’ve made my point.
I think the brain juices have dried up a little in the relentless, sadistic heat down here.
Point being, I decided to press on through GT and head towards Arches National Park in Utah.
Point of note: Up to this point, I had only really planned out my trip as far as Yellowstone/Grand Teton. After that, it was either aim for Salt Lake City or Denver and that call was about as firm as a coin toss. Heads won so I was Denver bound. Keep in mind that this is a day and half away if one is not prone to unshakable bouts of indecision.
By the time I drove through GT the better half of the day was done so I just kept heading south with no particular plan and followed signs directing me to Jackson, Wyoming. A few people I spoke to along the way had mentioned that Jackson was a nice little town etc… so it seemed fitting that I should pop in and perhaps find some lodging for the night. What I did not realize at the time was that Jackson was in fact Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
In my life, other than soccer, the only two sports/activities that i ever really got into were skateboarding and skiing and to a lesser extent, snowboarding.
Being a ski fanatic when I was in my teens, I watched a lot of Warren Miller movies. If that rings a bell, congratulations!!! If not, I’m not sure that they would be of much interest to you at this point but they were the hottest skiing, sports documentaries at the time and they just made you want to jump through the TV screen and ride that mountain and be in that moment with those guys.
Well, Jackson Hole was featured more than once in those films so, for me, it was a real treat and surprise to realize that I was in Jackson Hole and that that mystical mountain of my youth (although green and completely devoid of snow) was front and centre. Towering over this strange, little, beehive town.
It’s amazing how much retail space you can squeeze into a few small town blocks!
Again, being tourist season and me, being one, completely lost and apparently clueless, based on various reactions from various people, I was ill-prepared. The reality of the situation was made swift and clear. Not a room to be had in town unless you want to stay on the outskirts and really, at this point, if I’m going to stay in a motel, I’m not really interested unless I can walk out the door and be in the thick of it or unless I’ve been driving all day and I have to find a place to sleep before I drive off the road.
Things I have learned: There is a certain glare or glaze that comes over peoples faces when you try to explain that you had no real, prior plan on being here but now that you are here, you need a place to stay. It’s a mix of disbelief, incredulity and sometimes… sympathy. I’m sure this applies most of the time but during high tourist season there seems to be an added sense or attitude of amazement. Like the kid who shows up for the first day of school with no pen or pencil or notebook.
– I’d love to help you but…really!? What were you thinking?! I’m afraid there is no cure for idiocy….. are you sure you’re supposed to be in this class?
– I’m not sure I’m in the right school….. can you help a guy out anyway?
And so on….
It appears Jackson Hole is quite a popular place in the summer as well as winter. Who knew?
I was able to walk around town for the afternoon, watched a street performance of an old west style shootout/hanging in town square and somehow managed to order an iced Americano coffee at a local Italian coffee house.
I would like to state for the record that I would never, EVER, deliberately order an iced Americano or any other iced coffee variation or derivative. This was a gross misunderstanding or perhaps they were just used to people ordering iced coffees and they were just running on auto-pilot?
Either way, I gave it a try. Abomination!!!
This just adds fuel to my argument that there should be a coffee only line in coffee shops. If you need more than 3 ingredients or any additional machinery, like an ice crusher/blender for your “coffee” or if it takes you more than 10 seconds to place your order, you should have your very own, VIP line where you can feel free to confuse the hell out of your barista with a laundry list of obscenely detailed specifications and proudly wait in the VIP room at the far end of the counter for an additional 5-10 minutes where your name is called out loud for all to hear and receive your colossally convoluted beverage with your name and a smiley face written on the cup.
Meanwhile, those of us just looking for a proper coffee can go about our day without having to hear “low fat”, “chai”, “soy”, “half squirt of….” or any other such none sense.
How’s that for a tangent? Sorry.
Slightly dejected, I decided to move on but was quickly reminded, by myself, that there was a whole, crazy, awesome adventure ahead, so without too much reluctance, I drove as far south as I could before going cross eyed. Goodbye Jackson Hole, hello Rock Springs, Wyoming!!!!!
The drive from Jackson to Rock Springs, I have to say, might be one of the most beautiful I have seen in my life. I can’t do it justice with words and my camera was equally incapable of translating the immense, majestic and jaw dropping landscape. I was literally talking to myself and exclaiming out loud and giggling at the fact that I could barely believe what I was seeing. This went on for hours until the sun disappeared and the distant, dark silhouettes drew their curtains and prepared for the following days matinee performance.
At this point I have been camping in a tent for the better part of a week and the idea of a bed is pretty appealing but wouldn’t you know….as soon as I got into my room at the Days Inn in Rock Springs, I’m checking for bed bugs and other nasties that I never considered while sleeping on the ground…in the forest…where all manner of creature are encouraged to thrive and are provided every opportunity to do so. This seems, to me, much less disagreeable than sleeping on a bed where who knows what has sloughed off of who knows who over however many years…I don’t think I need to go into any more detail here. Suffice it to say that I am, in this current state of travel, more comfortable sleeping on the bank of a river surrounded by bustling fire ant colonies and strange “What the hell is that thing!!!” creatures than a dodgy roadside motel bed.
Although things appeared to be clean enough, I chose to sleep fully clothed and on top of the covers and have maintained this habit for the most part throughout this trip.
Stay tuned for the next leg. Denver to Arches National Park.
Tah tah for now!
Although there is an obvious delay in my posts, for various reasons but mostly because I have chosen to visit some of the more remote areas of the US which usually means there is little to no internet access. I would like you to know that I thank you all every single day for making this trip possible and I hope that you, as I am, are overwhelmed with gratitude every day for everyone and everything in my life. Thank you! I love you! It’s a great day to be alive!!!!