Remembering the road, Day 10

I just got back from Puerto Rico, where, among other things, I told people how important it is to update your blog regularly. I suppose I should follow my own advice…

Anyway, here’s installment 10 of the 2002 USA Road Trip blog:

Day 10

Today we left Yellowstone via the southern entrance, which took us through the Grand Teton national park. Ah, the Grand Tetons, a name provided courtesy of horny French trappers a little too far removed from French maids. But I think the name is appropriate (Cynthia disagrees). Either way, the mountains here are beautiful. They are snow-capped and rise suddenly from a flat valley to create these stunning vistas. We didn’t spend much time there, mostly just driving through the park, admiring the views, and pausing for occasional pictures.

The Grand Tetons

Backing up for a moment, we almost didn’t make it out of Yellowstone alive… not because of bear attacks, or anything like that. No, our end nearly came thanks to this old Alaskan idiot. While gassing up the car for the long haul south, this old leathery man fueling his pick-up with Alaskan plates decides it’s time for a smoke. He looks like the type of guy who can’t take a breath unless the air is filtered through a lit Marlboro. Anyway, here he is flicking his lighter right next to the pump. I think it was the only time I heard Yellowstone employees yelling at one of the guests… very nearly the last thing I ever heard.

I also possibly committed a mail felony as I had to dig through a post office box to find postcards destined for Australia. Why? I assumed 68 cents would be enough to get the cards there, but after dropping them in the box, I found out that 70 cents was the necessary postage. D’oh! I was able to get them out again, though, and add postage. Don’t tell the postmaster.

So, we made it through the Grand Tetons (heehee…) and through Jackson (passing by the National Museum of Wildlife art… we nearly stopped there to see if it was art of, from, or by wildlife… but we wanted to keep moving, so it’ll have to be another time), dipped ever so briefly into Idaho, and then into Wyoming again where we came upon one of the most stunning sights we’ve yet seen: the world’s largest elk horn arch. A high arch made entirely of elk horns spans the two-lane road and a sign proclaims it as the world’s largest elk horn arch. I shudder to think what the competition for that honor is… and, it makes me wonder even more about that museum of wildlife…

Elk antler arch

I’m kicking myself now because we passed up numerous opportunities to stock up on bait, tackle, guns, and ammo.

One of the fun things about this part of the world is that every town goes to great pains to point out three things: the location of the post office, the population of the town, and the elevation. For some reason, I like knowing that info.

Driving into Utah provided us with a completely new landscapes to wow us. We drove on small two-lane roads for most of the day and passed through numerous beautiful national forest areas, including this stunning canyon with red rock walls, sliced by a raging white river, and topped with green pine trees. It was another beautiful piece of scenery, similar to but different from the views of Yellowstone.

One of the first towns/cities we came to in Utah was Logden. We arrived there around 5:30 in the afternoon and being a Sunday, nothing… and I mean NOTHING was open. Cynthia did manage to spot a computer store featuring Macs (with many iMac boxes in the window), although it too was closed. Yes, I have trained her well. (Some would say brainwashed, but let’s not quibble.)

An hour or two later we hauled into Salt Lake City, HQ of the Mormon church. My impression of Salt Lake City (before ever setting foot here) was that it would be clean, devoid of any sinister activities, wholesome to the point of nausea, and very polite.

Mormon HQ

Now that I’ve been here for several hours, I am pleased to report that I was both right and wrong. I turned on the radio to get a taste of the local flavor, found a good rock station and immediately heard a saucy ad for Trojan condoms. (Let’s just say there were numerous puns that included words such as “blow,” “stroke,” and “good.”)

So, as I’m sitting there smiling, another ad comes on for St. Provo beer poking fun at the Utahn predliction for stuffiness. Hey, I’m liking this city!

Once we found a place to spend the night (the Best Western across the street from Mormon HQ for just $69… an ironic price, I feel…) Cyn and I took a little walk. SLC is a clean city and Cyn pointed out the wonderful trams here. I could spot only a single piece of graffiti in the neighborhood: “Jesus Loves Us.” This place gets better and better!

Being a Sunday night, nothing was open… well, not nothing… there was a XXX strip club two blocks from Mormon HQ and an Olive Garden restaurant just a block past that… both were open.

Not wanting to indulge in either, we returned to the hotel restaurant. I ordered a ginger ale, only to be politely told that the restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol. Hmm, no wonder I drive funny while drinking Canada Dry. Those pesky Canadians! So I instead ordered a Coke, hoping the waitress wouldn’t call the DEA on me. Luckily, I was able to order an entire meal that didn’t include a single piece of red meat. Yes!

Tomorrow we head to Sin City… Las Vegas. I wonder if they’ll let me have a ginger ale…

Josh and Cyn (mileage: 26,340)


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