Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WILDLIFE, GAME AND DRIVE-IN SPUDS...


Leaving the Land of Atoms we head further east to the Teton Valley.  We stay a few days at the Teton Valley Campground in Victor, ID.  Their premium spaces are spacious, clean and level and the Tango WIFI works great. There is a great gourmet market up the road where we successfully forage for produce, meats and staples.

(note the 'sold' tag)
The town of Jackson is just over the hill, in this case the hill rises approximately 2,224 feet in 11 miles with a 10% grade.  In Jackson, we check out Wild West Designs.  This emporium specializes in (you guessed it,) Wild West D├ęcor. Now this is not a Ralph Lauren Chaps cowboy style. This is kick ass in your face, high-end merchandise that can turn any home into an authentic Wyoming old money ranch.  Picture stuffed heads of: moose, elk, antelope and deer. Whole bears, cougars and raccoons holding Hams beer cans. AND pelts from foxes, beavers, coyotes and all kinds of fur bearing varmints displayed from hanging racks. Collections of American Western art and Native American artifacts displayed on shelves and log tables, surrounding sofas and overstuffed recliners covered in bison and alligator skins. (i.e. every member of PETA’s worst nightmare done cowboy style.)  You could say that these animals are just dying to hang on someone’s wall… ok groan… After that, we walk around town and through the famous elk antler arches.

We stop for lunch at the Town Square Tavern.  Sitting on the outside deck overlooking the Town Square, (thus the clever name of the restaurant) we share an order of the Nachos With Kick Ass Chili and a Chicken Quesadilla.  Both dishes where decent in a high standard bar food way and were definitely enhanced by the atmosphere. (Although the pile of fries on the quesadilla had us scratching our heads.)  The best part of the meal was the discovery of Moose Drool Ale, from the Big Sky Brewing Co. in Missoula Montana.
Town Square Tavern on Urbanspoon

Spud and Dave
While in Victor, we receive an email from a friend back in Santa Cruz asking if we took Dave through the “Drive Through Potato.”  Unfortunately there is no drive through potato in Idaho.  (At least not any on Roadside America – and you know that if there were a drive through potato it would be listed there.) There is however, ten miles away in Diggs, a gigantic potato on an old flat bed truck in front of the Spud Drive-in.  There, we catch a double feature of the latest Ice Age installment and Total Recall 2012.  Now we get the whole Ice Age – animation that entertains the kids without totally boring the rents thing, but who thought that the Arnold cult classic, set in blade runner land, overloaded with exploding physical effects, strapped with a weaker plot and characters who are just plain boring, was worthy of theatrical release?

Grizzly
The rest of this week is spent in the Grand Teton National Park. Here we stay in Coulter Bay.  We have a full hook-up space in a lodge pole pine forest with a peek at Jackson Lake.  When we check in, we are warned that a grizzly bear was spotted in the campground the previous night.  We are prepared, we have read all of the bear safety materials and we understand the dangers of leaving food or anything that looks or smells like food to bears around.  We also have our bear spray and know that it does not work the same as bug spray.  What we didn’t expect was to find huge claw tears in the Tahitian pareo that we use for a tablecloth on the picnic table the next day.  Guess Mr. Bear was checking out the fish designs…it must have looked like food to him…

Jenny Lake - smoked
Unfortunately the heavy smoke from the fires still burning in Idaho, Utah and California mars the views of these spectacular lakes and mountains.  (This may explain why this post is more of the snarky variety.)  Foraging here is excellent as the Coulter Bay General Store has a great selection of quality and organic foods and condiments.

Smokey Sunset
Ignoring the air quality, we forge ahead with hikes along the lake, photos, exploring Jenny Lake to the south, Ranger talks and films about wolves, bears, moose and Native American art.  We take an evening boat trip to Elk Island for a cowboy BBQ highlighted by cooked to order steaks, fresh Trout, cowboy beans and corn on the cob cooked in half and half, butter and thyme. (True cowboy decadence if you ask us.) After dinner we spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes flying over the island and on our return we see a couple of moose foraging in the willows at the edge of the lake.  Unfortunately, the distance and the moving vessel make for less than crystal clear photos of these huge creatures but we are thrilled to have the opportunity to witness them in the wild. 

Marina at Coulter Bay
Speaking of wild…. and this is just an observation, in Oregon and Idaho signs along the road warn of “game crossing,” (we joke about Monopoly and Candy Land dashing across the highways) and across the border in Wyoming signs warn to “watch for wildlife” (we keep our eyes peeled for biker bars.)

Tomorrow we head for Yellowstone.  Our plan is to stay for four weeks.  Not sure how good their WIFI is… but we will try to keep up with the documentation of our adventures…

k






1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi C and K, this is your Montana friends, D and V following your adventures and enjoying your photos! We call all those heads and hides "dead art" and there are many homes with "dead art" all over their walls! I think a moose head would fit nicely in the back of Dave...he he...ok, maybe not! have a great time in Yellowstone! Here's hoping for the end of the fires and smoke! D & V