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Thursday, August 11, 2011


The marvels of current technology assist the family road trip and the assistance provided. As mentioned in perhaps the first post I have a Verizon wireless modem and power adapter for the laptop, not to mention GPS on the Blackberry. These tools have enabled us to find accommodations for the evening while on the fly, calculate/guesstimate how far ahead of us to stop for the evening, and for me to keep in touch with clients in order to ensure I have some income upon our return from the trip.

Yesterday after leaving Yellowstone with Leslie on the helm I dozed off for several minutes, awakening to a "How beautiful" coming from my right. Waking myself from a dream of riding a roller coaster with two friends from high school and David Hasselhoff, I looked out my window to see Jackson Lake about fifteen feet from my window and the Grand Teton range towering over the other side of the lake. Wow.

Through the trip we have been amazed at how quickly many of the mountain ranges have risen from the plains, several miles of some foothills next to most. Not the Tetons. They just spring up, almost straight up, to their maximum elevations. Truly spectacular.

Having no set plan yet as to where to stay the night, just an intention to head below Jackson, Wyoming which we figured would be a nice place to stay but not as nice on the wallet. From Jackson into Utah there are a few routes, going almost due south puts a string of small towns in our path, cutting back east there are fewer towns but a bit bigger and they add distance to the trip. Looking at the map we determined to head south and start looking for hotels from Alpine south.

Firing up the laptop as we drove next to Jackson Lake I pulled up the AAA site and put in directions from Jackson to Salt Lake City and was greeted with yellow warning dots along the route from Jackson to Alpine. It seems a mud slide had closed the road. Uh-oh.

A suggested route was to go over the Teton Pass at 8431 feet and into Idaho. Checking the maps and the towns downstream we determined we could cross into Idaho and make Idaho Falls for a late dinner and a place to spend the evening.

We are glad we took the detour. The trip over the Tetons was pretty quick, only about twelve miles with steep ascent and descent and beautiful scenery. The view back down the mountain and across the valley was magnificent. As well we were in the tree line the entire trip, not sparsely vegetated as in the other mountain passes we have crossed on our journey.

When we dropped into Idaho the landscape was considerably different than the other side of the mountains. We were greeted with huge, vast fields of wheat. The largest continuous fields we have seen in our travels including Nebraska, the Dakotas and Wyoming. Golden fields surrounded us as we moved towards the Snake River. When we reached the Snake we followed it winding through the valleys into Idaho Falls where we checked into the Shilo Inn for a very comfy nights rest before setting out on the final legs of our Great American Road Trip.

As we finished our day we commented that it was the first day on our trip that we did not experience any rain or thunderstorms. As we head into Utah, Nevada and finally California we anticipate rising temperatures from the high sixties low seventies and clear skies.

A shot of the Tetons from the Odyssey.

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