It is cloudy and cool this morning with a light breeze. It rained last night. After breakfast I took the kids for a walk down the gravel road so they could see the neighbors chickens, turkeys, goats and horses. Ethan wanted to make an electric wire pop. I would not let him. We found a dead Magpie which is a medium to large sized bird, much like a crow, only with white panels on the wing and tail. I plucked two feathers from its corpse and brought them back to stick in the flower planters on our front deck. It is long pants, long sleeves weather today as long as the sun is behind the clouds. We will take it easy today and venture close to the cabin and shake off our car travel legs. Most likely we will go on a hike this afternoon.
One Day Later
We drove to Jackson Hole instead of going on a hike yesterday. The main town square with its board walks and thriving businesses and antler stacked arches on all four center park corners was packed with tourists, including bus loads of camera toting asians… seriously. As we walked past a large group of them talking in Japanese, taking a group photo, I'm spontaneously uttered, Say English! Petty, I know… but funny. We ventured out of the square madness for a bite to eat. Several blocks out we found a burger joint and after a short wait we sat down to order. The burgers were only $15.95. The buffalo burgers were $24.95. Kris and I split a burger and the kids did the same. At least they were half pounders.
We found a thrift store a block over and picked up a several neat items for $20, including a three dollar REI sun hat that is practically new. The hat alone would nearly cost the price of two cheeseburgers where we dined, so I look at it as breaking even… sort of.
Today the sun is out, the wind is blowing and it is a dry 67 degrees. Kris and Summer went into Driggs (Idaho) to do laundry. Ethan and I are goofing around the cabin. We bout Scrabble and Yahtzee the other day as diversions and to help teach Ethan and Summer letter/words and counting the dots not he dice. The Yahtzee game did not come with dice. Who does that? Anyway, Kris just called and said they went into a store across the street from the laundry and actually found dice! It will be Yahtzee after supper tonight! Today we hike.
Here we are in our little cabin in the Teton Valley in southeastern Idaho. We added a new animal to our first seen list, a prairie chicken. He was standing on the side of the road, no, he was standing IN the road. We did not see him until the car in front of us drove over it. All of a sudden there was this giant quail standing inside the white line, dazed. I had to call Greg Harkins to find out what it was.
An easy drive up the Yanna River valley to Springboat Springs yesterday We finally began to see bigger wildlife in northern Colorado. We spotted a few mule deer on the roadside just before Steamboat and we saw numerous pronghorn, many good bucks, around the Colorado-Wyoming border. We got one of the last motel rooms in Rock Springs, Wyoming at a Days Inn that might be one of the first Days Inns ever built. There are roll out windows above the door. The room is clean and odor free though. We check into our cabin this afternoon in Victor, Idaho for ten days of high altitude, cool temperature, Teton viewed bliss.
Happy Birthday to my beautiful bride of almost ten wonderful years. The young lady on the left is Allie, Stephen's daughter. She has a red velvet cake batter goatee.
We pack up momma's car today and head to Wyoming. We leave behind our friends and several new friends that miraculously remember us from last year when we passed thru in our RV. Stephen and Donna had a big cookout for the little neighborhood which consists of a short street with an entry at either end and condos up and down both sides of the street. The families are very receptive and friendly, young kids bike, scoot and run from house to house and the sun sets colorfully over a green mountain beyond the west end of the street. I told one of the moms their little community that meshes so well reminds me of the neighborhood in the movie E.T.
We love coming here but we look forward to our cabin on the plateau below the Tetons.
Everyone is at the pool today. No car time for me though as I am chilling on the couch with Cubby (pictured above) and watching the cottonwood feathers float around everywhere in the breezy 71 degree day, windows open, me and Cubby playing footsy... for now.
I would tell you where we went today but I do not know the name of the place.
Just as we were about to drop one hundred and twenty plus dollars on a tram ride up a mountain to an amusement park and cave system, lightning crashed and the workers shut down the system. So we spent an hour watching hurricane force wind and rain from the car for free. The drive back was wet and keeping up with Stephen meant speeding along the curves of the upper Colorado River. Rafters were pulled up to shore and the people took shelter under heavy evergreen trees, under rock ledges and in shallow caves. We saw an entire family sitting side by side in a cave waiting out the severe thunderstorm. I thought about pioneers braving their way across the country, taking shelter from the storm, only they did not have to worry about being captured, tortured and killed by locals as they passed thru. I never understood it. It is such an enormous land with plenty of space (still) yet that violent territorialism existed. I used to see it in a microcosm in the surf line ups on both coasts... but nobody was ever killed.
Stephen and I just fell into a conversation about the good old days growing up in Madison and how the bullies (our older friends) ruled the neighborhood. So many funny and some brutal stories I will not relate here.
Hours later after local pizza and taking the kids to a movie... the rain made it up the river and canyons of Interstate 70 and watered down the landscape during the movie. The temperature before dark is in the fifties. It will be in the forties overnight. I wore a longsleeve t shirt all day today... and shorts.
I asked our hosts why there were so many clouds in Colorado, many of them not white but amber-ish. They told me it was from all the pot smoke. I have been pot free (and alcohol free) for quite a while now so I guess the people can do what they want to do... unless they want to display the ten commandments or a rebel flag. Someone might get killed!
We drove west all day, into Denver, right down the center of the city on the old state highway east-west past the capitol building and back out of Denver and into the Rockies. Summer does not like cities, not the big ones. It was either the urban blight, homeless people, people covered with tattoos, piercings and dayglo hair, the massage parlors, head shops and ethiopian restaurants, all the traffic OR me telling her big cities are filled with people who want as little responsibility as possible because they rely on restaurants, laundry mats, bus stops and the rest of the service industry to do everything for them. Maybe not. Summer did mention she would never eat in any big city because the food is terrible. She said this on her own but changed her mind when she saw Taco Bell and Chick-fil-a. Yep, the best fast food chicken sandwich is in Colorado. Munchies anyone?
So now we are staying the weekend with friends in the Vail area well over a mile above sea level. The temp is in the low 70's and dropping. I am wearing a long sleeve t shirt. This is why we drive so far for our summer vacation, to escape the deep south heat. We did bring a tray of home grown tomatos with us for our hosts, Stephen Jacobs and his wife and daughter. Stephen is still savoring the tomatos.
We almost stayed in Dodge City tonight but we figured it a tourist trap so we sped west with the sun in our faces to Garden City. I have never heard of it either. Up here the Arkansas River is a dry bottom. Crazy how the Arkansas is out of its banks down in Oklahoma.
The radio stations in western Okla-Kansas are far better than the ones at home in Mississippi. When you can hear classic Willie Nelson or the Black Keys you have better radio programming.
As far as the scenery, the state highways are lined with short corn fields, harvested wheat or scattered sunflower and wild sage. The cattle yards smell exactly as you might imagine. I also saw a road runner today.
We drove across the Mississippi and Arkansas deltas, thru Little Rock and thro rain all the way into Oklahoma. The Arkansas River is flooded. They have had alot of rain around here. Once we were 30 miles into Oklahoma, the rain stopped, but they had plenty of rain already. We cut north to Broken Arrow (Tulsa) and got a hotel room after we ate supper at the Santa Fe Steakhouse.
Not much to make note of aside the man at the counter who checked us in. "Day?" he said. "The only Day I ever heard of was Daniel Day... I think he was an actor."
"He's my dad!" I replied. The old man looked at me and shrugged and gave me the key cards.
We chose this hotel for the hot breakfast and indoor pool. The pool is the size of my living room but the kids are having fun. Our room did lack a shower curtain but Kris went and asked for one. They asked if she would put it up! The Quality Inn has been disqualified.