We ‘broke camp’ in good time, the only delay being the necessity to wipe all the mud off the cabling and pipes before stowing them away.
We managed to find the Snow Mountain Resort easily enough (GPS: N43.473996 W110.757100). The Chef popped in to the posh reception area to ask where we could park the RV. They asked that we didn’t park it near the front of the building, and preferably down on the highway. So I parked it in their overflow car park off the highway but within view of their posh reception area. I call that a compromise.
The sky was threatening more showers which gave us concern, especially after we'd read a notice, (which we don’t recall seeing displayed until after we’d gone through, having paid for our tickets) saying that if it starts to rain, the ‘Alpine Slide’ is then closed, and those on the slide must pull up, climb off, and walk down the rest of the way, because the rain impairs the brake on the toboggan.
We grabbed our ride on the ski lift to the top of the mountain. There we picked up our toboggan and walked to the start point. I’d decided not to take the video camera with me which was my original intention, figuring I would need both hands on the toboggan to stay in control. I took the stills camera and suggested The Chef went down first, but she wanted to go down second, so off I went down the 2,500ft dry toboggan run. I was running pretty quickly to start with, but then it started to rain lightly and I could tell the difference with the effectiveness of my brake, then it rained harder, but there was no way I was going to get off and walk down, and so I persevered but I had to slow down to be safe. When I got to the bottom I handed in my toboggan then got the camera ready to take a picture of The Chef's arrival. I waited for ages and wondered if they were refusing to let her come down because of the rain, but neither could I see any sign of her coming back down on the ski-lift.
Eventually a staff member told me she was coming down but really slowly. True enough, eventually, I could see her working her way down at a very steady pace, and as she approached the bottom I took three pictures which had no chance of blurring. The Chef explained that they debated whether or not to let her go down due to the rain, but eventually said she could, but she would have to ride very slowly.
After the Alpine Slide we wanted to park the RV in Jackson itself and have a look around, and so asked advice from a bus driver who was parked up at the Resort entrance. He was very helpful and gave us directions to a free public car park which had an area dedicated to RV’s and other oversized vehicles (GPS: N43.482294 W110.761284).
Having parked up there we had a bit of a look around before making our way to the studio of the folk who had taken our rafting trip photographs. They were very helpful when we explained that we couldn’t wait 24 hours for the pictures as we were only in town for today before moving on. They said they would have the photographs ready for us at 15:00.
Jackson, or Jackson Hole itself was very pleasant but very touristy. Many of the shop fronts were in the old Wild West style. There were lots of lovely articles for sale in the shops but with price tags to match. We do try to resist buying souvenirs as, no matter how nice they look in the shop, when you get them home and display them they can look a bit naff.
We popped in to the ‘Million Dollar Cowboy’ bar for a drink and lunch following a recommendation from 'Dustin Hoofman'. It was very pleasant. The bar stools were saddles which bought back sore memories of yesterday.The Chef went to order a couple of burgers while I ordered two small bottles of 'Stella' which cost $10. For that price they should have been served by a topless cowgirl.
After lunch, there was more dragging ourselves around the shops before we could pick up the photographs. After collecting them we left town for Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
Just out of town we passed Teton Village which apparently is where Harrison Ford lives, close by is a very nice executive jet airport. Harrison Ford is a qualified pilot who owns his own aircraft, so I guess he keeps them there. Seems like a hell of a nice lifestyle for those who can afford it.
The scenery approaching Teton was lovely including a mountain range to our left. On parting with $25 and entering the park we took a nice steady run through it towards Yellowstone. There was still an awful lot of snow lying around and a number of side roads were still closed. We decided to make for Flag Ranch campground which was close to the border between the two national parks, that way we would be in a good position to enter Yellowstone first thing in the morning. On the way we passed Lake Lewis which was still frozen over. This was a wonderful sight and one we had never contemplated seeing, as by now all of the snow should have melted. Unfortunately when we arrived at the campground it was still closed and we were forced to travel a further 46 miles towards Fishing Bridge campground within Yellowstone Park. It was getting late; we were tired, but still couldn’t resist pulling over to take photographs.
We came across Bridge Bay campground before reaching Fishing Bridge and decided to stay there for the night instead. It was a National Park campground and was very basic. There were lots of do’s and don’ts about sealing food up and keeping it away from bears, but best of all campers were allowed to light real campfires. Unfortunately the fire pit at our pitch was full of water from the thawing snow and so we couldn’t light one, but could see the smoke rising from the many which were lit, mainly by campers in tents over the other side. This was a really nice basic campground with a real feel of the wild about it, and this evening when I stepped out of the RV I was in total darkness, I mean total darkness. There was no light pollution from anywhere, not even from neighbouring RV’s. Unfortunately the night sky at that time was not clear enough to appreciate the stars.
The evening was very cold and we became very low on auxiliary battery power due mainly I think to the heating system being on and working hard. After a visit to the loo the water pump wouldn’t stop running and I was fearful that the water in the exterior pipes had frozen and the poor thing was trying to pump and pressurise ice, so rather than have it burn out I switched it off. Then the heating system made a funny noise and so I turned that off as well - this was going to be a long night.
LOCATION TONIGHT: Bridge Bay Campground, Yellowstone National Park, WY (GPS: N44.534549 W110.437073).