Saturday, 2 October 2010

Jackson Wyoming October 2nd
Breakfast was excellent. I turned up at Bonnie’s mobile home at 8.00 and she popped her head out of the door. ‘Come right on in’, she said and proceeded to introduce me to the other members of her family. It turned out there were 10 of them, occupying three mobile homes. 88 year old Ned and his wife Margene have nine children. Those nine have 36 between them. Those 36 have 112 children and those 112 have 15 children so far. That makes 174, in total, when they have a family get together.  They do that once a year, often by taking over an entire campsite. None of those present batted a single eyelid at my appearance. It is, evidently, a regular thing of Bonnie’s. She was unable to explain why I was the recipient of her hospitality, except that I happened to be in the right place at the right time. All Ned and Margene‘s nine have names beginning with K. I met Kim, Kevin, Kent and Kara. One of the great grandchildren, Aubree ( sic, female ), had time off because there is a local holiday in Idaho, where her family live, for potato picking. They were all hugely welcoming. I was glad that I didn’t bad mouth Missoula, as it turned out that Kevin and Sandi live there. I was also cagey about anything religious and was glad that I had been when it transpired the family are staunch LDSs, i.e. Mormons. I ate waffles, sausages, easy over eggs x 2, scones and coffee. Not bad and, as you will realise, enormously providential given the rest of the day.
I did the Old Faithful southern end of Yellowstone, having been lucky to have seen the classic Yellowstone scene of bison grazing against a backdrop of steaming springs on the way there. All the geyser activity is impressive and I will need to be asked, rather than offer description. I have been extremely blessed with the weather, apparently.

I drove south from Yellowstone. I stopped a couple of times at viewpoints before going into Teton National Park. The Tetons are another snow-capped range and at one point I stopped to take a shot of them across some grassland and a bit of Jackson Lake. And locked the keys in the car again. The first time was forgiveable, as the car locks automatically when the driver door is shut, which no car I have ever owned does. This time was silly. It was not a good location. A bloke whose wife had gone for a stroll did his best with a coat hanger. Another very helpful bloke from Michigan, on a similar type of trip, phoned AAA, with whom I took out insurance in Portland. Eventually they said someone would be there in 30-75 minutes. After an hour and a half, I was becoming a bit anxious. Another very helpful couple phoned them again and it turned out they had a completely different idea of where I was than where I actually was. They then put the correct GPS reference into their operation and told me it would be three hours until someone could get to me. So I settled down to wait, nervous about the prospect of waiting that long, with fading light, 7000 feet above sea level and wearing only a polo shirt and jeans. At that point, one other family van pulled in. They had spotted a moose and were keen to photograph it. They also had another suggestion, which was to phone the Teton National Park Information Centre. They did this and within 15 minutes a ranger had come and done the business. I drove to Jackson, the first town south. I tried the number I thought was for AAA from a public call box.  It turned out that it was the number of the car rental company, who had closed for the day. So it is possible that some bloke has driven three hours to find me and I am not there. Now that does cause me some stress. I expect, when I drop the car off in Denver, that there will be several questions to answer. AAA insurance is like AA membership, so it shouldn’t involve more than cross words but I am not looking forward to it.
So I have retired to an overnight lodging and am not going to go out tonight other than to get some food from the local supermarket.
A very good morning but not so hot in the afternoon.
And I will carry the burden of responsibility for a AAA breakdown operative for some years.
Golly, it looks wet at Celtic Manor.

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