June 22nd, 2020

And cold I was. I tossed and turned quite a bit trying to stay covered. I had trouble getting to sleep.

I finally fell asleep about 10:30 and woke up after midnight. I decided I needed to go outside to have a look at the night sky. Pretty amazing! I got come and went back to bed. As I was laying there almost back asleep something hit me in the hand so I crushed it with my lightning-fast reflexes.

I woke up again a few hours later (must have been around 2:00 A.M.) and wanted to get another peek at the stars. This time of year the sunlight is still visible late into the night, but this time I went out it wasn’t. Looking up at a sky like that you realize just how little you matter in the universe. I went back in and slept until about 6:00.

I woke up and I laid there thinking about stuff. I looked and that thing I crushed in the wee hours was a damn spider from what I could tell of the remnants. I don’t like spiders inside where I live. At all. Outside I leave everything alone to move on with their lives.

I also thought of heat so I got up and turned on the thermostat. I flipped the thermostat on…let there be heat! I figured at least I am awake so I will know if there’s a problem. No alarms and warmth! I still want a shower, though. I washed up with a washcloth but that wasn’t what I needed.

I heated up some water, put on my sandals, grabbed a towel and shampoo, and enjoyed an awesome shower out in nature. Think about it… which one would you prefer?

…or this?

That’s what I thought.

I made a reservation this morning for one last KOA, this one at the west gate of Yellowstone. It is only a couple hours from home but I need to empty the holding tanks before heading back so one more night out on the road won’t ever hurt my feelings.

Earlier yesterday when I got into Utah I noticed many of these interpretive geological signs all along the road.

Interpretive sign in US 191 near Flaming Gorge

The signs are interesting and something to check out if you get this way. On this trip I came across many other geological interpretive signs, and many about people or places of history (some local, some maybe more familiar). Some I stopped at for a look, others I went past due to time or traffic considerations.

My drive on US 191 continued north toward I-80. Many very steep grades with winding curves and no guardrails along the way kept things interesting. At one point the road climbed upon a plateau with some great views.

I got to the interstate and went east a few miles, then back north toward Pinedale. It was a long 90-mile stretch so I topped off the tank to be sure. Good thing because there was, as I remember, only one or two fuel stops along the way.

I decided to wait for fuel until I got farther down the road. I am getting a little better mileage now with no winds to fight and I still had over ¾ of a tank. I did, however, stop to whip up some stir-fry for lunch at a roadside parking area with a nice view of the mountains to the east. I used the overlay function on an app I have to ID the mountains in the Wind River range and Bridger Wilderness Area. Gannett Peak, just left of center, is the tallest mountain in Wyoming.

I went on north to Jackson. It was another beautiful drive and it was still on a road I had never been on before. I have been to the Jackson/Grand Tetons/Yellowstone area about seven times prior to this, the last time I spent any time there being about 17 years ago. I really do not need to go there again – the stifling crowds and atmosphere is someplace I really do not like to spend my time in. Overpriced and way too touristy to be authentic (my opinion and the traffic jams in Yellowstone are the stuff of legend.

I decided to go west out of Jackson and take the Teton Pass route into Idaho and head north. It was a s-l-o-w slog up the pass – it has a 10% grade up one side and 10% down the other side. My truck was doing 45 mph uphill and would not go any faster. On the downhill I pulled over to give the truck a break. I have been over that pass before but not pulling a trailer. If you don’t know, a 10% grade is going either up or down one foot for every ten forward. That is steep and I hve not seen many grades steeper than that.

I got into Idaho and went through Driggs and continued north and west, the Grand Tetons getting smaller in the rearview mirror. The fields were bright green with potatoes and some other crops I could not identify without stopping. It is a beautiful valley.

I went through Ashton, where parts of the movie “Napoleon Dynamite” were filmed. I was here once before (on the aforementioned trip), prior to the movie being filmed, and had eaten at the drive-in featured in the movie. We were watching the movie one day and I saw the diner and recognized it immediately.

The last stretch for the day the scenery drastically changed and became more of the National Forest with a road cut through it. I pulled into my spot and got the trailer set up for my final night of the trip. I even busted out my portable grill and bought some hot dogs and buns. Not the same as charcoal or wood but still good.

It’s too bad it’s back to reality tomorrow. Then again, my version of reality is something I enjoy and am fortunate to have!

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