[As always, travel posts are delayed for our safety.]
Our first “big western circle trip” started in Denver and then went north and counter-clockwise through the Tetons, southwestern Idaho, northeastern Utah, and northern Colorado.
We left the condo early, but got off to a late start. E’s back was hurting (sore muscles), the inverter (which was running the fridge off the batteries/solar) had turned itself off for the second time. We also had some kind of signal interruption for the left blinker. His back is getting better and both seem to be resolved, now, but it took us longer to get the rig out of storage and on the road. Right after we left, we saw a car with Texas plates and a Miami Hurricanes sticker.
First stop: Rawlins, WY
Along the way, we saw quite a few horses…way more than we ever saw in Texas, some kind of small elk or deer, some ground critters, and a dried up lake that was white as if it was all salt. The roads had a lot more construction than we anticipated; I (L) even hit a cone near our stop.
Once we were all settled into our evening, I finally opened my new MacBook Air and started the setup. Setup was quick, but migrating from my old MacBook was set to take 49+ hours. I went to bed.
Luckily, my machines migrated everything overnight.
Our drive was less (ahem) eventful, but we did cross the Continental Divide Trail two times (at 7100′ and 6700′).
We saw more dried “salt”; this time it was a river. Strangely, we saw another Miami Hurricane (from Colorado) on the road.
Next stop: Riverton, WY
We also entered the Wind River Reservation. We stayed at a Harvest Hosts where you boondock for free at a local place–like farms, wineries, museums–in exchange for patronizing the business. We were happy to arrive early enough to patronize the large museums, make a donation to them, and take a private tour. Since much of it is about Native Americans and the colonizing of this area, I pointed out the very close proximity of the two tribes in my family’s lineage. I was speechless–yes, me, speechless–both times the staff members were utterly racist. The town itself isn’t any better, and the bars allow smoking.
Update: Harvest Hosts was appalled. When I told them what happened, they gave a textbook-perfect customer service response. They were embarrassed and hurt and 6-stars professional. We will give them a second chance.
If you ever have to come here, stay at the Holiday Inn. We strangely ended up there for some food and found a diverse and lovely staff who truly cared about our experience. And they have a pretty little indoor pool.
This was also the first time (other than testing) we used our Starlink Internet. We’re in the perfect area for it, so it’s lightening fast, especially on this new machine.
For our evening entertainment, we sat outside, fought the bugs, and watched the stars appear.
The first driving shift was one of our most beautiful ever.
National Museum of Military Vehicles
E loves this stuff and we were going right by there, so we had to stop. The place is huge. There are dozens of vehicles outside, including a Russian jet. It’s a privately-funded museum that is made up of the collection of Just. One. Guy. It’s crazy big.
On the way to our campground, we drove through the Shoshone National Forest. Our route mostly followed the Wind River, which was winding lots from side to side.
Just before we hit the top of the pass (at 9584′), I saw a moose. I’m guessing he was fully grown, but just entering adulthood. He was running through a small field. This was my first ever sighting of a moose in the wild! Next we hit 9658′ and the Continental Divide before entering the Teton National Forest. The whole drive was covered in tall pink and purple wildflowers that resemble delphiniums.
Next stop: Moran, WY just outside of the Tetons
At first glance, our campground seems pretty basic. The spots are gravel and a little tight, but we have full hookups and a clear sky for both stars and Internet. The gem of this place is up front, however. An unassuming gas station, convenience store, game room, and bar is a tiny “hub” for those who don’t want to drive an hour to Jackson. I even met another Miami Hurricane vacationing up here from Florida.