Monday, October 26, 2015

Live longer, but die?

Opdivo is the name of the drug.

The commercial starts out with words like:

Live longer

Have a better life

Live longer

Then the side affects of the drug?

Organ shutdown or perhaps death.

What the fuck???

When does the live longer come in?

When does the better life come in?

How much longer and better before your organs shut down and you die?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Home again, home again.

So Friday came and we headed for home.  We said good-bye to Fred & Christine, packed up the car and hit the road.  We did not get very far when we spotted a few cars on the side of the road looking at something.  So of course, we had to stop to see what they were looking at.  It could be a moose!

This is what they were looking at

If you zoom in on this you see a momma bald eagle and her fledgling.  We felt that they were saying good-bye to us - more like - until next time - I think.

So we head out to Jackson to a bakery recommended to Christine by a friend of hers.  They are said to have the best granola to be found on the planet. Since I was the only one to try it I can say it was pretty damn good.  I am not sure I like Jackson or maybe I didn't like the people that came in around the same time we did.  Young, well off and loud and they seemed to take over the entire place.  They were from the bay area (I saw a license) and were all in cowboy hats and boots.  There was a man who looked like a model - like he should be on the cover of gay magazine - well kept, nice hair (that is how my mother judges if a man is gay) nice gym body, earrings and his little wife.  Short, cute and cutoffs and boots on.  As they stood in line she picked up some napkins and said - wouldn't these be good for the house in Tahoe.  He says - yeah baby those would be great.  She says I'll get them.  

They were $45 for four of them. She got eight.
They ordered their food and took up a lot of space outside and just generally bugged me.  Maybe it was because they were young, in shape and well off?  Three things I hate in people.

We took the required photo of the stag horn arches that are at each corner of the town square.  I listened to one man say - these aren't real - these are plastic.  Stupid man.

Then we hit the road for the trip home.

We left Wyoming and headed towards American Falls, Idaho.  We went thru places where I thought AAA you did it again - where the fuck are we?  We drove thru lots of farm country wondering how do people live out here.  There was lots of irrigation equipment - big wheels with tubes running between them, that I think they move around the fields to water.  We were driving down the road when all of a sudden the car got drenched.  It was a good thing Mare and I had our windows up at that time otherwise we would have gotten soaked.

We drove by Massacre Rocks State Park it is a spot on the Oregon and California trails, the Snake River runs thru it.  The Snake River is over 1200 miles long, did you know that I did not.  It seemed that  every mile we drove it was alongside the Snake.  Supposedly, there were a few fights between people crossing the plains and the natives - wow surprise surprise - people defending their land from invaders.  

We got to American Falls - it was VERY windy and hot.  91 degrees in Idaho in late September - is this natural?  We visited a nice rest room - as I have said before - women of a certain age...

Yes, we were here.

We continued on to Nevada.  Lots of Nevada is ugly - route 80 is long and flat and has lot of exits with funny names.  Winnemucca - say it fast - it is funny.  It roughtly translates to One Moccasin - Winnemucca was a Paiute chief.  The railroad came here.  Followed by Basque sheep herders - believe it or not, Winnemucca hosts an annual Basque Festival.  It had a vibrant Chinatown - all gone. and the sex workers that live here have to register their cars with the cops here.  

Then there was Pumpernickle Valley - I assumed that said valley must have been settled by Germans that made bread.  Well... you know if the Google can not give you any information about the name of a place, it is just not worth going any further in the search.  So Pumpernickle Valley if I go by your exit again, I'll pass you by.

Now here is something that was not in our trip tic - this area of route 80 thru Nevada is the haunt of a serial killer.  Yeah, I said serial killer.  According to the FBI there have been over 500 bodies left along American's highways - and a lot of them along this stretch!  So, never travel it at night (not that you can't disappear in the day) but night makes it easier for those serial killing truckers (that is the FBI theory, not my own) to grab you.  Never travel it alone and only stop at well lighted places for gas.  Oh and drive fast, really fast.

It was getting dark and we decided we would stop in Elko.  Yes the thriving metropolis of Elko, Nevada.  We actually got a really nice room, had an ok sandwich for dinner and a nice breakfast the next morning.  We decided to make a stop at Virginia City!  On the hunt for Hoss  and Little Joe.  On the ride to Virginia City we noticed lots of motorcycles on the road going the opposite direction.  We are thinking - well, this is a nice road to ride on.  Nice and smooth, flat, not a lot of traffic.  When you take this road, you come up this hill and you are in Virginia City.  Yeah us and 50,000 motorcycles!  Yes, I said 50 thousand!  It seems that this particular weekend was a very large and well attended motor cycle weekend in Virgina City and Reno!  Yeah us!  We took a right and just make our way out of town without seeing any of it.  Will just have to get back some day.  Onward!!

We passed Reno and headed for home.  We were on 580 South for a minute and we thought, wait 580 goes East and West, right?  Well, down by us it does.  But up here, it goes North and South and it is were Jax Teller met his maker.

So, finally we are back in California coming down thru Donner Pass.  We all know what happened at Donner Pass - and I sure hoped that Tessla we passed on the road had enough charge because...

Finally Sacramento is in view.  Then Tracy.  Then finally Pleasanton

I want to say this was a wonderful trip.  I know in my blog I have left things out, like the stuffed animals on our beds in Yellowstone, or the fact that pigs are everywhere, even in the most beautiful natural places you can imagine.  Or the fact that I might have gotten a little cranky at times.  Or how I was scared about bears, but tried not to show it.  Or what a great job Mare did as Snack Monkey.  Or how there were so many places on this trip where I just wanted to stop the car and explore.  Or how excited I got when we saw our first bison.  Or how there was a hint of sadness in Yellowstone for those that were not with us and were supposed to be.  Or how hard can it be to drive an RV?  I'm sure my beloved could drive one without too much trouble.  I did not leave anything out on because I did not want to blog about it, but because I would be here for a month, trying to remember and writing it down.

I also want to say that this country is beautiful and I think most of us do not see enough of it.  We need to get on the road and see it.

I also want to say that you can see when travelling the highways that this country runs on trucks and truckers!  Without them nothing would get anywhere, be kind to them and never cut a trucker off.

Until next trip.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Grand Tetons

The Grand Tetons:

The story goes that The Grand Tetons was named by French trappers, who had obviously spent far too much time in the wild.  Grand Tetons roughly means large breasts.  Anyway, they are grand.  More like Glacier then Yellowstone.  Interesting fact, if you are coming directly from Yellowstone, you do not pass a ranger station because you never leave the national park system.  We were staying at Colter Bay, only about an hour or so from Old Faithful Inn.   An easy ride.  The mountains here are spectacular.  Again, we had fantastic weather, clear, sunny, cool.  The trees were turning 

Aspen trees I have been told.  I have to admit I really did not know what to expect here, but I did not expect these pops of color.  Not the reds and oranges of a New England fall, but no less beautiful.  We staying at Colter Bay Cabins, these cabins were originally built in the 20's & 30's and moved to their current location in the 50's when the places like Jackson Lake Lodge and Signal Mountain.  It is a small little community, it has a grocery store, a gift shop (yes, we did pay a visit) a marina and a few other things.

This was one of the rooms of our cabin.  Two rooms like this and a bathroom, it would have been perfect with some type of common room in the middle.  Oh, if I only ran the world.  This was a very cozy space, but due to the fact that you could see the outside from the inside in a couple of places, I am pretty sure I would not want to spend a winter night here.  Of course, that would be difficult since it was closing 8 days after we checked in.  The women at the office seemed quite excited by that fact.

But it was great for a couple of nights in the fall.

The Grand Tetons is pretty small (compared to other National Parks), but it sure has a lot packed into it.  There is Jackson Lake Lodge, where you can sit and look out over a meadow and see the Elk, the occassional bear and perhaps a wolf, all while you drink your favorite cocktail or fake beer.  All while waiting for the sun to set behind this:

There is Jenny Lake:

Jenny Lake is crystal blue glacier lake named for the wife of a fur trapper that worked in this area.  His name was Beaver Dick Leigh and I am assuming that he trapped beaver and his full name was Richard.  Not that he was a dick that chased beaver.  Don't worry Dick has his own lake, Leigh Lake is named after him.  

We took a boat tour of Jenny Lake, just an hour or so out of our day and well worth it.  A local boy, named Jessie, born in Jackson Hole and raised in these mountains.  He was full of great information and presented it really well.  He had been a history major in college and I really wished I had gone to college and been a history major right then.  Anyway, we tooled around the lake and got to look at beautiful things and hear some great stories.  

We visited the Jackson Lake Dam.  It was a dam good time.

And they had nice pit toilets here.  Always a plus.

One morning my beloved and I got up early to go in search of Moose.  We went to a little trail near Jackson Lake Lodge, Christian Pond trail.  Just right past the horse corral and keep in mind the horses use this trail and had been out not long before we used the trail.  Good thing we know what horse poop looks like or we might have been afraid that there was some bear on the trail with some bad digestive problems.  We met the lovely Fred & Christine on the trail (they were on their way back) we got to the pond, which by all descriptions was a perfect place for moose to be, but alas no moose were found.  We did hear some bear like growling, so we made some noise and turned around and headed by the way we had come.

You can leave the park pretty easily and at one point we did.  I was glad because we came upon this historical site:

This was the Cunningham cabin.  Mr. Cunningham and his wife lived in this cabin in the 1850's for two years, they then moved into a much nicer house which I am sure they were both grateful for.  Mr. Cunningham was a rancher that originally opposed the Grand Teton National Park, but eventually was instrumental in getting over 70 other ranchers to donate land for it.  He went onto to be a advocate for the park.  Thank you Mr. Cunningham and your strong wife that put up with living in this place for two years while you built your ranch.  

We also hit a place called Moose, yes that is the name.  We had drinks at a place called Dornans, started out as a homestead and evolved into a very cool place to rest, relax and maybe get a little something to drink.  Yes, there was a giftshop here and this is where I had two women tell me that they had just seen moose, I got the details and off we went.  We travelled up the road and back, we did not see moose.  One would think that at a place called Moose Junction, one would see moose.  But no, they were not cooperating.  We headed back to the park and pulled up to the ranger station and while chatting to the ranger, asked if anyone had reported see moose in the park today.  She told us, yes, over at Oxbow Bend.  Well we had been there earlier and did not see any.  While I do not usually buy into conspiracy theories, I am beginning to think that everyone you ask about moose lies!  What would be the reason?  I don't know, but I have a sneaky suspicion that moose do not really exist.  Kind of like bigfoot (well, not bigfoot because I do believe that).  But the thought of them keeps people coming in search of.

We explored Menors Ferry Landing.  Two brothers with homesteads on different side of the Snake River and opened a ferry business to get people from one side to the other.  Holiday and Bill Menors tough men that in addition to running a ferry, one of them ran a lime kiln.  That is put linestone in an oven and burn it for a few days until you have powdered lime to use to whitewash your house or to throw in your pit toilet.  Bill opened a general store on his property.  Both brothers stayed in this land for a long time, but eventually moved on to California where they died within a year of each other.

In 1925 a small little chapel was moved to this area:

The Episcopal Chapel of the Transfiguration - a lovely little spot.  On any trip you come across places that are spiritual, whether it is a little church like this or a spot on a rock over looking a lake or Notre Dame you feel it.  I felt it in this place, maybe it was because of this view:

Our time is drawing to a close.  We leave the next morning to start our ride home.  While not as long as the ride to the first stop, long enough.

Next time - the ride home.