Saturday, July 27, 2013

Wonderful Wild Wyoming

We came to Jackson, Wyoming, so Rob could paraglide. We met our host, Walt Kirby, while we were in Villa Grove, Colorado, last year for a fly-in event, which was also the catalyst that propelled us onto life on the road in a motorhome. Walt is both a paraglider pilot and a hang glider pilot. We now count Walt as a good and dear friend. He was a great host, calling Rob every morning with the weather and wind reports, coming to pick him up and showing him several places to fly. He is an easy person to be around and we enjoyed his company immensely. We look forward to visiting him again.

The first week was focused on Rob, but he never did get to fly. Conditions just weren't right. The second week was to be focused on me with trips out early in the morning to photograph the amazing Grand Tetons. Conditions just weren't right. As it turned out, the first week should've been focused on photography and the second week on paragliding. Rob did get to fly yesterday, thank goodness, but my sunrise photos never materialized. I was hoping for an opportunity Saturday morning, but we had an unexpected thunder storm during the night and the morning sky was clouded over. With how the sky looked at 7 a.m., however, I think I should've gone anyway. It would've cost me nothing but a couple hours sleep and some gasoline—and the reward may have been a few superior photographs. The wildflowers here have been abundant and beautiful, though, and I photographed many of them. I especially loved the thistles.

The daughter of our friend and fellow paraglider pilot, Susan Kent, lives in Jackson, so we went to the knife store where she works to surprise her. Rob told Kim that her mother asked us to check up on her. Susan never said to do that, but it did get a bit of a rise out of Kim to Rob's delight. Stinker. But he came clean and told her the truth. 

The day after we arrived in Jackson, Rob and I made a grocery run to the local Albertson's. Rob posted about this on Facebook so many people already know that he recognized Dick Cheney, approached him, shook hands and had a quick conversation with the ex-vice president. (I know many of you don't think that's very impressive, but I think he's a man of far superior character and has far more integrity than who we've got in the White House right now, hands down). Dick Cheney was there all by himself, no Secret Service detail, choosing vegetables in the produce isle and consulting his grocery list as he pushed his cart up and down isles just like I was doing. I chose not to approach him. I thought he'd rather be left alone.

We made friends with a family who hail from Minnesota. They spent a few nights next to our campsite. Nick is the Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division and a member of the FBI Cyber Crimes Task Force in Superior, Wisconsin, which is just across a bridge not far from their home outside Duluth, Minnesota. Jamie teaches first grade. Nice couple, and they have two boys, Daniel and Lincoln. Daniel is just a few months younger than my grandson, Jaydon, and Lincoln is the same age as my grandsons Jack and Leo. They offered to let us park our motorhome at their house when we come to Minnesota, will fill us in on the best places to visit and at which lakes would be best to camp for a summer. We will take them up on it because we'd enjoy seeing this sweet family again.

Although they stayed only two nights, we enjoyed meeting Walter (I hope I remembered his name), and Linda (couldn't forget that name). Their last name is Campbell. We laughed that Linda's and my initials are the same, so I asked her what her middle initial was. Yup, you got it, we have the same initials: LMC. Go figure! What brought us together was my desire to meet their dogs, Maggie and Sadie. Maggie is a black lab/golden retriever mix and Sadie is purebred black lab. Those who know Rob and I know that we have a soft spot in our hearts for black labs. In fact, a photo of our black lab, Belle, is the only photo we brought with us out of all the many pets we've had over the years. (Please, Linda, if you are reading this blog, please do shoot me an email. We'd like to see you as we pass through Oregon in the future).

Then there were Henri and Martine, the french couple who Rob and Walt met coming off the mountain above Teton Village while awaiting the gondola. In their 60s, this couple had just finished a near 6 day backpacking trek through the upper ridges and backcountry of the Grand Tetons. Talk about fortitude, eh? Rob and Walt gave them a lift, first stopping by to drop off Rob at our campsite, so I, too, had the pleasure of meeting them. Very nice folks.

DeAnna, Curtis, and their three sons stayed in the campground in their fifth-wheel. They are from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. DeAnna is a country singer who just finished recording with Jason Aldean's producers in Nashville. She's been working a gig at the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson. Rob and I went to watch her perform the other evening. Live music is always way too loud in places like that and it makes it hard to know if the performers really have talent or not. But, I think DeAnna does. If you're interested, you can hear some of her music at You can find her on iTunes as well under, I believe, DeAnna, Luckiest Woman.

We haven't seen too much of wildlife here, unfortunately, even though there are electronic signs warning of moose in the area and that three had been killed along the stretch of road on which our campground and Teton Village are located. We have had an abundance of crows and magpies, however, and they are always entertaining to watch.

We also met a larger-than-life character while in Jackson. This person is audacious, sociable, gregarious, outgoing, confident, optimistic and good-looking, too—downright cute. This person made friends with everyone and made sure the neighbors were rounded up and engaged. I guessed, correctly, that this person is an Aquarian. Her name is Ella and she is five years old. 

As I think I've mentioned before, Rob makes conversation with everyone (he's also an Aquarian). He stopped by the campsite two over from us and chatted with Ella's grandmother. Then he chatted with the folks right next to us, who had a couple of kids a little older than Ella. That's when he met Ella for the first time. She wasted no time making friends with them and, I think, they'd all just arrived a couple of hours beforehand.

That evening was so nice that we decided to have a campfire and as we sat around the fire, Ella charged into our campsite for a visit dressed in a cute denim skirt, quilted vest, pink cowgirl hat and pink cowgirl boots. She walked by one of our open basements, and before we even had a chance to say hello, she informed Rob (being he's who she knew), that "you have popcorn!" I was watching her, but I hadn't noticed her even glance into the basement. Then she spied Rob's electric Razor scooter and said it was "really cool" and began climbing on it. Rob asked her if she'd like a ride, to which she announced that she'd "have to get her helmet." Good girl! Rob went over to check with Ella's mother or grandmother to make sure it would be alright to take her on a quick ride. So Ella got to ride on the scooter. It wasn't far, but she seemed quite satisfied. Next thing we knew, Ella was back over and asking about Ollie, who she saw in his cage on the dash. Rob asked if she wanted to go in and see Ollie. That was affirmative. To make sure there would be no misunderstanding, Rob motioned to me to take her in, which I did, and when Ella saw one of the cats, she had eyes only for them. After I told her that Louis was probably sleeping in the closet, she headed right back there to see him. Not a thought in the world that she could be anything other than welcome to do so. Then we heard her mom calling for her, so out we went. I told her mom that Ella just had to see the kitties, to which she replied that Ella probably missed her own kitties. At that point Ella invited us "to come over to their place anytime!" Ella's mom and I shared a giggle over her audacity.

A while later, as it was getting darker, Ella came back with the two kids next-door. They parked themselves at our picnic table. Ella had skinny glow sticks and was explaining the rules to whatever game she had in mind for everyone to play. On the other side of us, another family had arrived earlier. They had three daughters, one whom was about 6 years old, named Ryan, and just a bit bashful about making friends. Well, Ella wanted to make sure everyone was included so she headed over to her camp and returned with a couple more glow sticks for Ryan. Ryan took them, but was still behaving bashfully and seemed unwilling to engage. None of which phased Ella in the least. It was just expected that everyone would play and get along.

Rob and I laughed a lot over our little, friend Ella. She was something else. As long as nobody makes the mistake of reining her in or breaking her spirit, and her mom makes sure she has positive outlets such as sports or wherever her talents take her, that girl will go far in life. Ella's mom certainly has a big job keeping tabs on her daughter, for safety's sake, of course. Because she is very trusting and everyone is a friend, I pray the child never meets anyone who would take advantage. I wanted to ask her mom if I could photograph her, but they were gone before I had the chance. I don't think we'll ever forget Ella.

Thanks mostly to the great people we've met and our friend, Walt, we've had a really good time in Jackson. It's pricey, though. Our campsite is costing us almost $90 per night, we're pretty much packed in like sardines and there isn't much in the way of amenities, either. They call it a resort, which is an oxymoron to say the least, but the up side is there's word of improvements to come. I just hope they don't increase the price. It could not be justified. Nonetheless, we'll be back.

Some photos of Jackson and vicinity:

The Magpies of Jackson Hole Campground and Fireside Resort

Meet Cayenne, guard dog extraordinaire, at Dali's Jewelry store.

Rob at one of the entrances to the Town Square

Busy Bee on a Thistle.

A backroad by one of the paragliding launches.

Determining, once again, that the conditions weren't good for flying.

Just can't beat the view.

Rob, wishing he could fly.

Magpies making a mess of someone's campsite. The crows joined in later.

A place called home.

Our Minnesota family from left: Jamie, Daniel, Lincoln and Nick.

Rob and Kim Kent throwing tomahawks.

The Grand Tetons.

Part of the Teton range and moon.

Ride 'em Elkboy!

Local Draft Horses. They pull the sleighs in winter.

Sweet, friendly horses and almost as big as Clydesdales.

I loved the local flora.

Justin, the Naturalist from Pennsylvania, and Rob, at Jenny Lake.

Jenny Lake

I was amazed how red this wood was.



  1. Your photographs are amazing!!! Too bad you didn't get a picture of Ella; it would've been nice to put a face with the personality. Love and miss you!!!

  2. Love it, Ma! My favorite photo is "Rob, wishing he could fly". It dawned on me that any photo of Pop could have that same caption. :) Love and Miss you both!

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