Thursday, July 31, 2008

The journey continues through Wyoming

After waking up in the Medicine Bow National Forest and drinking coffee to warm us enough to pack up camp, we headed back down the mountain to Laramie, WY and the free wi-fi at their Safeway to figure out what else Wyoming had to offer us. It turned out that Wyoming has a lot to offer. Hot springs (Thermopolis has a free one in accordance with Chief Washakie's agreement), Devil's Tower (Emily thought this was just a figment of Steven Spielberg's imagination), Yellowstone (we had our pic-a-nic basket), the Grand Tetons, a rodeo in Jackson, WY and so much more. It became clear that there was too much to see and do if we wanted to keep our schedule of reaching Portland by August 1. Making it to Jackson, WY for the evening and catching their rodeo, perhaps checking out a hot spring on the way and driving through the Grand Tetons in the morning seemed like a reasonable plan.

Our drive criss-crossed us over the Continental Divide and through vast empty areas. We have never been to a part of the country that was as unpopulated that it was possible to run out of gas if you didn't plan ahead. As we drove across the treeless landscape, Emily grew hungrier and hungrier and wanted to stop and make sandwiches with the Laramie salami and Iowa cukes. Just as blood sugar was dwindling to a bickering level, Wyoming DOT's Sweetwater Station rest area appeared on the horizon. We dined in a windy picnic shelter. As we were preparing to head out, three bicylists that we had passed a few miles earlier rode in to take a break. As we are on our way to document a similar journey, we struck up a conversation and learned that they too had left from the Baltimore area and were making their way to Astoria, OR. Small world.

Internet and cellular signals continued to be weak, leading us to drastic measures to find a wifi signal. Max found one behind the Exxon that we stopped at in Dubois, WY.

It turns out that Jackson, WY is a pretty happening town. To keep out the rif-raf (us,) hotel rooms were $200 and up, and all the campgrounds in the area were filled. As darkness was quickly approaching and the cost of a hotel room was way out of our budget, we decided to drive towards the Grand Tetons and hope to find the perfect campsite/RV park: cheap, with a restaurant so we wouldn't have to set up the camp stove and eat beans again for dinner, and with free wifi so we could catch up on our blogging.

As we approached the National Park, we spotted the Grand Teton Park RV 'Resort', called and found that it was $40 to stay the night. As previously mentioned, we (Emily in particular) are quite scared of bears entering our camp and decided that the perceived safety, and wifi signal, were worth the price. We checked in, met a real cowboy in the convenience store (he was advertised as a horse whisperer on the cowboy church flyer in the bathroom), bought a can of chili for dinner and a Wyoming sticker for our rooftop carrier and set up our tent as the sun set behind the Teton mountain range. Our tent had wi-fi, so we sat side by side in our layered clothes and sleeping bag and typed away.

The quiet of the evening, albeit interupted occasionally by the humming of RV generators, was broken by the sound of galloping hooves punctuated by snorts. Buzz immediately sat up and we peered out the mesh door of our tent to see that the field next to us was now inhabited by horses grazing about ten feet away. Horses beat out bears any day.

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