Entry 18 - 7 September 2000
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|Jackson Hole to Salt Lake City
There was ice all over the car this morning! We were told it is normal for this time of year - frost in mid summer! Although it was clear skies and bright sunshine, it was very cold.
We packed up the car and arrived back in Jackson for a leisurely 9 o'clock breakfast. We did not have quite so far to drive today, so we were taking things at a more relaxed pace.
|We parked in the main part of town and then walked around looking for somewhere to eat. Not far from where we had left the car was a film crew set up on the pavement to do a scene in front of a shop. There was a policeman guiding traffic around them. We didn't want to get in the way, so we quickly crossed the street. By now, we were getting quite hungry.|
|I found the town of Jackson to be a very artificial place. The whole area of Jackson Hole is one big tourist trap, catering for skiers in winter and fly fishing, hunters and white-water rafters in summer. (Jackson Hole is the name of the long mountain valley to the west of the Teton Mountain Range. Teton Village and the town of Jackson, as well as some other towns, dot its length.)|
|From the number of stuffed animal heads decorating the walls of our motel's foyer, hunting is definitely a very popular past time in this area. Jackson is a strange mix of a pseudo-Western town (one place had a pair of pistols for door handles!) and a European Alpine village. There were a lot of very expensive and tacky tourist shops.|
|Antler art is very big in Jackson. There were antler door handles (I thought they were a little dangerous as the spikes could easily stab someone if the door suddenly swung shut), antler table bases, antler hat stands and, of course, a huge variety of things carved from antlers. The town square has a large arch made of antlers on each of its four corners. I was pleased to see a sign saying that the antlers were all naturally dropped from elk living on a large reserve to the north of the town. The moose theme was also promoted - there is a local beer called "Moose Drool"- but the only moose I saw were dead - stuffed heads or antlered skulls.|
|None of the eateries we found in the town centre appealed to us, so we got back into the car and headed down the highway, hoping to find somewhere more suitable on the outskirts.|
|We were in luck and stopped at a place called the "Howling Coyote Grill". We both had fried eggs for breakfast. I had hash browns with mine while Chris had potato and bacon. It was a very ordinary meal, but nicely filling, which was all that we wanted. I was curious to see that the butter - beautifully fresh - had been whipped to a creamy white consistency. Really nice!|
|After breakfast, Chris filled the car's tank with petrol at a petrol station just down the road a bit from the Grill and we finally began the day's journey. The road from Jackson headed south and travelled through some mountains and the Targhee National Forest. There were lots of road works, but no delays. I was delighted to see that some of the trees on the hillsides were turning to their autumn colours of red, orange and yellow. There weren't many trees as the area was very dry and mostly grass or bushes.|
|Beyond the National Forest and mountains, the road went through farmlands. The fields had mostly cattle, horses or wheat in them. Some were dotted with hay bales.|
|In Afton, there was an elk horn arch right over the main street! As we drove through/under it, I saw that the antlers were supported in a wire-netting frame.|
|In the Bridger National Forest, there were sheep grazing on the hillsides. In places, the soil was bright pink which looked quite pretty against the silvery grey bushes and lush green creek banks.|
|At 3,325 miles into our trip at 12.21pm, we crossed into Idaho. This was the southern corner of the state and was a very dry, flat looking countryside. There were a few hills with scrubby trees and... road works.|
It was a perfect day for hay making and most of the farms we drove past were dotted with people on large machines, mowing and baling the stuff.
At 1.10pm, we entered Utah after spending a grand total of 49 minutes in Idaho.
We drove along the shore of a huge lake, Bear Lake. There were some maple trees near the road that had turned bright red - quite a sight against the clear, blue sky. Lunch was at Garden City, on the shores of Bear Lake. It was at a small roadside take-away where you ordered your lunch at a counter and then ate seated at tables and benches set up outside.
|While we were waiting, I admired some of the garden benches made of wood and cast iron. The metal inserts were in the designs of flowers and hummingbirds. Not five minutes later, I was treated to my first sight of a real hummingbird! It was about three inches long with a grey-brown chest, green-brown back and black and white striped tail. It was feeding on some fuchsias growing in some hanging baskets. The tiny wings were a blur and its delicate beak was about 3/4 inch long.|
|Our lunch order was called out and Chris collected his bacon and cheese burger and my chicken burger. We found a table and as we were eating, we (and the other customers) were entertained by a ginger-striped kitten playing amongst the table legs. I was not impressed at all by my burger. The mayonnaise tasted horrible. Even though I was hungry, I left half the meal uneaten.|
|On the road again, we found the highway turned away from the lake and headed into some hills. There was a wonderful view of the deep turquoise lake and the arid hills on its far shore. We found a lookout and stopped to take some photos.|
|The highway continued into the hills and mountains and passed through some rocky gorges. I think this was the Wasatch-Cache National Forest.|
|We entered the northern part of Salt Lake City about 4pm. There were mountains to the east and a lake, Salt Lake, to the west. The city seemed to be much like other cities. It was spread out over a large area and many of the houses we saw had the same reserved colour schemes I had seen in other parts of the USA and Canada. I did see some very nice home gardens. The afternoon was warm, but not unpleasant. It reminded me of Brisbane's summer weather. After all the cold weather we had suffered, this was quite pleasant.|
|As usual, Chris had booked a place to stay the night before. It was at the "Cotton Tree Inn" in Bountiful. Check-in was no-fuss and in no time at all, we were resting in our room. I was very glad of this, because by now, I was feeling very ill. We think I had a bout of food poisoning - probably from the chicken burger I had at lunch. I had a nap for an hour or so before dinner, but I was still too ill to eat out. Fortunately, the room had a microwave oven, so Chris kindly went to some shops and bought me a microwave dinner. Chris, however, had a hankering for some Mexican food. I was well enough to be left on my own, so he ventured out. While he was gone, I had my meal (bland, but it stayed down) and watched an episode of "Charmed" and one of "Star Trek - the Next Generation". Both were episodes I had already seen before.|
|Chris||I went for a drive along a major road nearby and found a place called Casa Melinda. There were lots of people there, so I thought it would be ok. Big mistake. It was bloody awful. The dip sauce for the corn chips was based on tomato soup and the sauce for the enchilada was some sort of gravy. I left feeling very disappointed.|
|Vanessa||Later that evening, Chris also had an upset stomach. He had drunk some water from the tap in our room. It had tasted horrible, almost brackish, and he thinks that might have been what upset him. I think it might also have been a belated reaction to his lunch. Between episodes in the bathroom, he managed to get online to check our email and put up two more of our journal entries.|
|Chris||I also took the time for a stock-take of the film we had used so far. Thirty one rolls, of mostly 36 and 27 exposures and 2 panoramic disposables of 15 exposures. When I had got Vanessa her dinner I had also bought more film and another panoramic disposable camera, as I realised we wouldn't have enough to last the rest of the trip.|