Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Jackson, Wyoming and the Cloudy Tetons

At Huskey RV Park, Irwin, Idaho...

Since we couldn't get a space in Jackson (even at $90 a night at most parks), we trekked over there from this tiny place about 50 miles away. By the way, this little park is a very pleasant and clean place to stay, with great wifi and a bargain at $30 a night.

We enjoyed the drive along the Snake River, where we had scenes like this outside the window:

We didn't know what we would find in Jackson, but a couple of things really stuck in our minds once we arrived: 1) The egregious commercialization of what we expected to be a quaint community setting, and 2) The crush of tourists.

This stagecoach was giving rides in downtown Jackson.
We knew there would be a lot of tourists visiting the area this summer, especially with the lower fuel prices, but we weren't quite prepared for the crowds we encountered this day. Traffic was terrible, and walking around downtown couldn't be done without dodging people everywhere. Nevertheless, we took in most of the obligatory sights, including the elk antler arches and a view of the Million Dollar Saloon and its famed saddles serving as barstools.

There were many more tourists captured in this photo, but I was able to crop most of them out.

We dined al fresco at Genevieve's downtown, another restaurant that had been visited by Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives:

The weather at lunchtime was drop-dead gorgeous, with temperature in the mid-seventies, almost no wind and no insects--not even one.  I have found that TV personalities having visited restaurants does not necessarily mean they will always turn out to be good. (Our experience at Pat's BBQ in Salt Lake comes to mind.) However, Genevieve's was really worthy of a little honorable mention. Sandy had fried chicken and waffles, and this was very tasty (I stole some).

I had a smoked trout salad that was not nearly as appealing but, for what it was, it was well prepared. I'm not sure why I ordered that frou-frou salad; I suppose it was because I hadn't tried anything like that before; I hope my sanity has returned by the time I get to the next restaurant. I figure the ingredients of this meal cost about five bucks, and our bill, with tip, was $40.

In consideration of tourists like us who have no better sense than to pony up their hard-earned cash in this way, every conceivable inch of storefront space in Jackson has been converted to retail sales. Like our lunch, the prices therein are rapaciously inflated, according to Sandy, who is a world-class expert in these matters.  An example: A kid's game that sells for $6 at Target will cost you $24 in Jackson.

The throngs of tourists made it difficult to find a parking place, even though we showed up on a Monday. Even so, we finally found one, and Sandy was able to get in what turned out to be a little window shopping. I scored a plush chair in one of the shops while she roamed around, and I was prepared to defend my occupation of the comfortable chair with a hail of lead, presuming I was not napping at the time of any attempted eviction.

Once Sandy was satisfied that no bargains could be found, we made our way back to Mae and took off to see the Grand Tetons. The iconic view of these mountains grandly pops into view a few miles north of the city and, to my dismay, they were pretty well obscured by the clouds and rain that are often promulgated in the mountains by their atmospheric uplifting action. The conditions for a photo were awful, so I didn't even get out the camera. However, I've decided to take this route into Yellowstone tomorrow, and I'll try again for some photos.

I don't mean to leave readers with a negative note about a beautiful area that is certainly worthwhile to visit. However, I do believe that it would be a much better idea to be here on the shoulders of the summer season when the kids are in school. That should thin out the crowds and make for a much more enjoyable time. We would certainly have done that if we didn't have to be in Seattle for the Alaskan cruise departure on a date certain. I can't help but be concerned about a similar overcrowding situation at Yellowstone; I hope it won't be too bad. 

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I do not appreciate it enough each day.

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