Another night of rain. If there is a silver lining to this weather, it is that we are extremely happy with the tent we purchased for this trip. It does not leak at all, and as a bonus, it assembles & disassembles fast. Consider this the Traveling Kings Seal of Approval for the Eureka 1312 tent.
Stephanie and I got up at 6:00 in hopes of pulling out by 8:00am. We were dealt a slight setback by the fact we made a hot breakfast this morning – oatmeal. It took us 3 hours to eat, break down camp and leave the campsite.
We had interesting neighbors at the Moraine Park Campground. Across the road was a family from Miami, Oklahoma – a town only about 100 miles from where we live. Next to us were four young (early 20s) campers from the Czech Republic, 2 women and 2 men. Their Czech flag hung outside their tent. These two females were the most beautiful women ever to come out of that country.
Also next to us was a rowdy family from Canada that let their kids scream & holler the entire time we were there. We were so glad we had not planned to camp there for a week. Stephanie was tempted to bang some pots & pans outside their tent at 6am but she somehow resisted.
We hit the road at 10:00 with a long day of driving ahead of us, but it started with coughs & spurts. We had to stop at the little grocery store in Estes Park for ice, where all of the employees I saw were Jamaican. We also stopped at Walmart in Loveland, Colorado, to purchase 2 sleeping bags (even though we knew it would be cold, we are unprepared) and baby aspirin (nobody wins when Marissa has a headache).
Finally, we hit the road. Our first tourist stop of the day was “Tree Rock”, a small pine tree growing out of solid rock, which is conveniently located in the median of the Interstate. The tree is possibly up to 2,000 years old. The tree has been a curiosity since the 1860s, when the railroad passed near the tree.
Down the road just a few miles was another one of our scheduled stop – a memorial to Abraham Lincoln. This memorial designates the highest point on what was the Lincoln Highway, built in the 1910s. (It is also the highest point on I-80.) It is a 13.5 foot bronze bust of Lincoln, mounted on a 35 foot granite base. It is MASSIVE.
I thought it would be just a parking lot on the side of the road, but we found a large information center there. We ended up eating lunch at one of their picnic tables. It was 70 degrees and breezy, which caused Stephanie and Marissa to wear jackets during our meal.
All of these activities were before we reached Laramie, Wyoming. Once we passed Laramie, there is not a lot going on except for sweeping landscapes. I thought it was beautiful. We could drive for 20 or 30 miles without seeing a house, a power line, or even a road.
We did see a considerable number of wind farms, especially in the regions marked as “high wind advisory” areas. Over the last few days, we had seen these giant windmill blades being trucked north. Now we know where they were headed.
After driving for a hundred miles past Laramie, we come upon our first town of any size – Rawlins, Wyoming. This town even had a golf course right along the interstate. We didn’t see any golfers on it, but we did see about a dozen pronghorn grazing on the fairways. Classic Wyoming!
As we neared Jackson, Wyoming, the road followed the Hoback River. This was a clear and fast moving river and it would move from side to side under the road. Miles claimed the river was artificial. We claimed Miles was on the crackpot. (The “crackpot” has turned into our family’s endearing term for somebody who is doing something crazy on this trip.)
We had reservations for camping at the Mike Harris Campground in Idaho. We pulled into our spot at 8:15pm. Fortunately, we had planned to eat dinner out tonight, so we put up our tent in 20 minutes and headed for town.
As we were just a few miles from Victor, Idaho, we had scoped out a few places to eat. Our first choice was closed by the time we showed up, so we went to second choice, Grumpy’s Goat Shack. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
When we walked up, it was close to 9:00pm. We found a couple drinking a beer on the patio when we walked up. I asked if we ordered inside, and he said to go on in and check the menu. He would be inside to help us in a minute. The couple we saw turned out to be the owners!
We ordered up some burgers and hot dogs and took a seat outside. While we were waiting for our food the owner, Mike, gave the girls some chips to feed the goats. This was a big hit.
Everybody loved their food. Stephanie and I also tried some Montana and Idaho beer. I highly recommend the Salmon Fly Honey Rye by the Madison River Brewing Company in Montana.
Following our meal, we moved inside and the kids ate ice cream while Stephanie and I visited with Mike and his wife, Liz. They gave us some advice about things to see when leaving Yellowstone, and also about their restaurant business. And perhaps most interestingly, Liz told us that her little brother lives in Owasso, Oklahoma, which is about 20 miles from where we live.
We made it back to our campsite late, around 11pm. Since it was not raining tonight (small miracle), we left the fly off the tent and were able to look straight up at the pine trees and the stars. It was a beautiful way to end the day.