10:45 amMorfar's coffee index is still good. $3 total for full egg and bacon breakfast including coffee. Later a the gas station we bought some refill at the cost of $1.19!for a medium coffee
Our late start was due to some excitement from the drive the night before, ... Jay was right, we did see antelope yesterday evening - a whole family of them, big-eared and sweet eyed, standing like statues next to Rt 18W. What dear Jay Red Hawk forgot to mention, however, were the prairie fires- and we ran straight into one of those. What a new, western smell those prairies held for our New England noses, accustomed to brine, coffee, green grass and exhaust. We didn't realize the smokiness of the prairie air was in fact smoke. After passing a few black patches of the normally gold colored grass, we wondered if these were controlled fires, perhaps for fertilizing the grounds. We quickly realized that was not the case when we saw flames licking the road. Sofia quickly stops and gets ready to turn around as I am clicking away with the camera. She does not want to die from smoke inhalation I just wanted to gun it and go pass it, a judgement I made based on all the cars that passed us coming from the other side. We chatted with a hot rocker dude on a Harley, he shared Sofia's concerns about the inhalation but decided to go for it, we followed his example.
This trip has been about the stories of the people we met. It is amazing how people just open up and spill their hearts out with the encouragement of genuine curiosity and a kind smile. Tears were welling up in our breakfast waitress Jenny's eyes as she told us that today was the first day she put her 6 year old son on the school bus. The bus left at 6:15 in order to get him to school by 8:30. She worried that he might wonder of while waiting at his layover where he waits for bus number two. "He is a good kid, nothing faces him, rattle snakes, horses you name it, he just might get impatient". It turns out they live on a farm 25 miles outside Casper, WY with no running water and a generator for electricity. This has some of the authorities worried and they feel she endangers her child and are trying to force her to move to more civilized places. not easy when she as a breakfast waitress earns more money than her carpenter husband.
Andy was the bartender at Plaza Hotel. 17 years of service. He just finished his first 100 miles bike ride he told us as he simultaneously tended to the increasingly intoxicated Texan barfly. Casper's claim to fame is that Dick Cheney was born there. He recently attended his High School reunion that was hosted at the hotel we stayed at...
Sofia noticed that many of the people we met had bad teeth. My response was "teeth are expensive" this was especially true for our hostess, with the mostes in this case not teeth. Her broad smile displayed one brown front tooth and diagonal across it at the bottom was another tooth. the rest of the mouth was filled with dark weird looking stumps. She liked my camera and shared that her brother is working on an oilrig in North Dakota, 2 weeks on and 2 weeks of.
We finally peel out of Casper to be met my an ever changing landscape of rolling hills. We pass small towns like Highland, population 10 and elevation 5998. Wow, imagine living on top of Mt Washington and have everything around you be flat. We stop in Kianna, population 44 and elevation 5430, a cute variety store owner try to sell us Indian Necklaces and a variety of bits for our imaginary horses. The postmaster had been to the East Coast and actually seen the White mountines. Compared to the Tetons they are like this and he made a wavy motion with his hand. "It's nice,' he said. "You can keep it".
We stop for lunch at Wind River, a fly fisher mans mecca with a stream that could have rivaled any of the ones pictured in the movie "a river runs trough it". The sun is baking and the water is inviting, the fact that no one would fine us $10000 for a swim made us peel of our clothes for the first river swim of the trip.... Refreshing
The landscape quickly changes and more and more trees shows up, we slowly climb over Tobawago pass at 9200 feet and get our first glimpse of the Tetons. the view is breathtaking. Every turn just reveals more and more of natures beauty as we finally makes it into the park. Hungry and tired we pitch our tent and then go in search for food. it turns out the park offers gourmet restaurant and our meeger camp dinner turns into a feast on bison filet with a demiglace and haricoverts... Who knew such amenities existed in the wild!
For more pictures from Day 5, check out the slideshow below!