Kickin’ Around in Jackson, Wyoming

Day 38: Thursday, June 6, 2013

Today, we took a ‘down’ day in Jackson. Yes, Jackson is a touristy town. And yes, we’re tourists. 🙂 Hanging around the Cowboy Village Resort has been a great, relaxing haven from long days of driving (and fun!).

Office at the Cowboy Village Resort

Office at the Cowboy Village Resort

Cowboy Village Office - Carved pillar

Cowboy Village Office – Carved pillar

Back side of the pillar

Back side of the pillar

Back side of the pillar

Back side of the pillar

We slept in and then went over to Bubba’s BBQ for breakfast. Now, you wouldn’t think that a BBQ joint would be your first choice for breakfast. However, the front desk clerk at our resort highly recommended Bubba’s. She was spot-on.

I had the Chicken Fried Steak breakfast. I had been mulling over biscuits and gravy or the chicken fried steak…the waitress said that I could have both if I had a biscuit with my steak. BINGO! Tom ordered the Mexican Breakfast Burrito, and we split some blueberry pancakes. Yes, it was a heavy meal. And yes, we just about finished it all. It was SO good!

Breakfast at Bubba's

Breakfast at Bubba’s – Chicken fried steak, gravy, two eggs, hash browns and a biscuit.

After rolling back to the resort, we decided to take a stroll downtown. We put the girls in the doggie stroller and did some sightseeing and shopping. The galleries here have some interesting stuff, from a $450,000 Triceratops head fossil to your normal t-shirts and souvenir shot glasses. I ended up with a Bison purse and Huckleberry taffy. 🙂

Elk Antler Arch - Jackson Town Square

Elk Antler Arch – Jackson Town Square

Bear? Where?

Bear? Where?

Tom REALLY likes Bison

Tom REALLY likes Bison

We also took the opportunity to get the oil changed on the car and to do laundry. Do we know how to party, or what? In fact, we had so much fun that the dogs were just…dog tired! They are definitely bonding more and more every day.

Tired puppies

Tired puppies

Tomorrow, we head to Fort Collins, CO in preparation to see the Rocky Mountain National Park. Then, we’re going to motor through the Midwest before exploring Kentucky, Tennessee, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachians until heading home.

Home. Yes, we’re moving in that direction. Part of me really misses home. The other part kind of wishes that the adventure could continue on indefinitely. But hey, we still have a few more weeks of rolling.

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The Grandeur of the Tetons

Day 36: Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Visited: Grand Teton National Park
Miles Driven Today: 94
Total Miles: 5,504

Grand. That’s an appropriate, albeit modest, description of the Tetons. In reality, the Tetons blew us away.

We started the day making breakfast in the room and then heading out towards the Tetons. The resort we’re staying at provided us with a ‘guided’ scenic driving tour that gave us some really great spots to see and explore.

We started with the park entrance and sign. We got a great shot of the sign with the magnificent Tetons in the background. A German couple was kind enough to take our picture. The views from the highway were incredible. The day was partly cloudy, adding drama to the scenery. I was simply in awe of the beauty of this place.

Entrance to Grand Teton National Park

Entrance to Grand Teton National Park

Entrance to Grand Teton National Park

Entrance to Grand Teton National Park

Majestic Tetons

Majestic Tetons

We went on to the Mormon barn, one of ‘the most photographed’ buildings. I (of course) skirted the trend and took a picture of one of the homesteads. 🙂 Stunning.

Mormon Village w/Teton Backdrop

Mormon Village w/Teton Backdrop

Mormon Cabin in the Tetons

Mormon Homestead Cabin in the Tetons

We headed over to the park, where I got my National Park stamp. If you didn’t know, there are National Park passports and stamps. Each park has a stamp with their location and the date. You can keep track of the parks you visited. I’m getting quite a collection. However, I almost blew it by leaving my passport in the Visitor’s center. Luckily, I discovered that it was missing and was able to retrieve it!

National Park Passport

National Park Passport

We drove the park loop road and decide to stop for a picnic lunch at the very large Jackson Lake. But before we got there, we found a friend. This little guy wasn’t afraid of us at all. He kept munching away on the grass as I took pictures.

Hello little mule deer

Hello little mule deer

We bought some sandwiches and sat on the shores of Jackson Lake. The day was a bit cool, but we hardly noticed…we were enthralled at what we were seeing and experiencing at this magical place.

Jackson Lake reflecting the Tetons

Jackson Lake reflecting the Tetons

Picnic spot at Jackson Lake

Picnic spot at Jackson Lake

After lunch, we decided to go searching for some of the ‘residents’ of this area. We encountered a herd of bison, but they were so far off that they were hard to see (and photograph). We really wanted to see a moose, so I referred back to my ‘scenic drive guide’ and we headed on to Moose-Wilson road behind the Visitor’s Center. Within ten minutes, we spotted a collection of cars along the road…and YES…there he was! My first MOOSE!

Hello Mr. Moose!

Hello Mr. Moose!

Mr. Moose unconcerned by the paparazzi

Mr. Moose unconcerned by the paparazzi

We moseyed after waving ‘bye’ to the moose and stopped to view the lovely Snake River. It just so happens that one of the views was a favorite of Ansel Adams. Of course, I’m no Ansel Adams, but my iPhone very adequately captured the serene beauty of this valley.

Snake River and Tetons

Snake River and Tetons – An Ansel Adams View

It doesn't get any better than this

It doesn’t get any better than this

We headed back to the resort and then walked to downtown Jackson. Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, we’re tourists. So, we happily window shopped and looked at restaurants in search of a decent meal. One of the shop owners told us that at 6pm, there would be a shoot-out show at the town square. So we moseyed on over and watched the show. Cheesy, but still…fun!

Stagecoach in downtown Jackson

Stagecoach in downtown Jackson

Shootout show in downtown Jackson

Shootout show in downtown Jackson

We had a nice dinner and an ice cream at the local parlor and headed back to the resort. We actually have changed our plans a bit. We liked this place so much that we are staying two more nights and using Jackson for our ‘home’ base for our Yellowstone visit. It’s not much further of a drive than Bozeman to Yellowstone, and we really love our quiet and comfy log cabin. We’ll leave on Friday for parts unknown…we’re still discussing where to go next. But that’s the beauty of an unstructured vacation. We love it!

Today was a great day. But then again, we’ve had over a month of great days…and more to come.

Today's open road

Today’s open road

All this sightseeing and sniffing make the dogs sleepy

All this sightseeing and sniffing make the dogs sleepy

Up to the Tetons

Day 35: Monday, June 3, 2013
Start: Richfield, UT
End: Jackson, WY
Miles Driven Today: 418
Total Miles: 5,410

Today was a mega travel day. We decided to drive straight through to Jackson, Wyoming so we could spend a full day exploring the Tetons. We originally were going to stop at the Utah/Wyoming border, but I’m glad that we motored through and reached Jackson. The dogs were rarin’ to go!

Let's go!

Packing up the car. Juliet says, “Let’s GO!”

Once again, the scenery was incredible. We have found the Utah landscape absolutely breathtaking, ever-changing and a dream to drive.

Route 89 in Utah

Route 89 in Utah

Blue skies, open road, lovely drive

Blue skies, open road, lovely drive

Breathtaking Utah scenery

Breathtaking Utah scenery

Our journey to Jackson took about 10 hours total, including a few stops. We mainly took backroads, but there was a stretch of I-80 that couldn’t be avoided. Our route took us through Utah, into Wyoming, BACK into Utah, back to Wyoming, a quick flirt into Idaho and then solidly in Wyoming for the rest of the journey. Whew!

Wyoming! Yeeeehawwww!

Wyoming! Yeeeehawwww!

Winding road

Our route took us from Utah to Wyoming, back to Utah, back to Wyoming, Idaho then Wyoming

Wyoming was a mixture of large ranches and pastures surrounded by hills and mountains. The “Home on the Range” song kept playing in my head. And yes, we did see some antelope grazing amongst the cows!

Many ranches, cattle, sheep, goats and a couple of alpacas

Many ranches, cattle, sheep, goats and a couple of alpacas

Today’s travels skirted and went through a host of National Forests. In Utah, we started around the Manti-La Sal National Forest and then drove on the edge of the Uinta National Forest. In Wyoming, we went through the Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee National Forests. As we approached Jackson, the road followed, crossed and played around the Snake River.

Bridger-Teton National Forest

We went through Bridger-Teton and Targhee National Forests today

Beautiful Bridger National Forest

Beautiful Bridger National Forest

We went through many small towns. Most had populations around 100. Afton, Wyoming was the largest town (aside from Jackson) that we saw along the way. It was a quaint little town with a really awesome sign!

Afton Wyoming

Afton, Wyoming

We really enjoyed the drive, but it was a long day. We were happy to reach our destination in Jackson–the Cowboy Village Resort. Cowboy Village is made up of individual cabins. Each cabin is complete with a kitchenette and sofa. We opted for a one-bedroom suite. The accommodations are really comfy but have the rustic feel of a cabin. But hey, if all cabins had Wifi, a kitchen, nice carpeting, granite countertops…I’d be going ‘rustic’ every day!

More of today's open road

More of today’s open road

Cowboy Village Resort

Cowboy Village Resort

Once again, the girls did great on the long ride. We did stop for dinner in Alpine, Wyoming and fed the girls before we fed ourselves! They are definitely getting more chummy. It’s great to see.

Closer every day

Closer every day

Tomorrow, we explore Grand Teton National Park. I can’t wait!