Big Sky Journal

Travel notes squeezed out somewhere between internetless camp sites…

Aspen. Snuck out early to avoid the Aspen City Departure Tax on those not rich enough to fit in properly. Leadville. Coo. Nineteenth century mining town on the Roof of the World. Kinda Tibet with spurs. Somebody ought to make a movie here about gay cowboys who are too cold to have sex. Drake. Put tent up with almost negligible amount of intrafamilial bloodshed. Sausages and marshmallows for tea of course. Great Divide Basin. Wyoming is BIG. Endless miles of rolling hills with nothing but sagebrush and pronghorn. Re-assuring clatter of kids on their DS consoles ignoring the scenery. Laramie. Hang on. Aren’t there some astronomers round here someplace, with an IR telescope ? Fambly not interested. Apparently there are “astronomers everywhere”. Rawlins. Toured Old State Pen. Absolutely gruesome. Highlight is a rusting gas chamber. They let you sit inside and shut the door. Apparently after each “use” the seals were changed and it was tested on a pig. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Dubois. Coffee twenty five cents. Take that Aspen ! Grand Tetons National Park. Surely these mountains were drawn by an eight year old ? Or taken out of a catalogue of Perfect Pointy Mountains ? Bought “organic beer” called “Grand Tetons blonde au naturale”. Doesn’t this mean Big Tits Naked Blonde ? America is a very strange place. Yellowstone. Hundreds of steaming vents and bison warming their butts on same. Saw Old Faithful of course. Mused on non-linear feedback making quasi-periodic phenomena. The way you do. Has anyone made a model that works equally well for Geysers and Dwarf Novae ? Jackson. First motel for five days. Kids frantically recharging thirty eight different electronic devices and apologising to all their Facebook chums.

Time to head back to Frisco. Step on the gas and wipe that tear away.

11 Responses to Big Sky Journal

  1. Tony says:

    Looks a pretty cool itinerary, Andy. We’re hoping to head out to SF next year for a few days there followed by few weeks following a similar route. Might tap you for advice nearer the time (tho’ we certainly won’t be staying in campsites 🙂 ).

  2. Steve W says:

    These lines from Nancy Sinatra must have been ringing in your ears (well perhaps not the last line):

    “Well, go on down to Jackson, go ahead and wreck your health (hmm)

    Go play your hand, you big-talkin’ man, make a big fool of yourself

    Yeah, yeah, go to Jackson, but go comb that hair”

  3. Nick Cross says:

    I love the Tetons and Yellowstone. I did a wonderful walk in the Tetons, up one valley and back down another ~20 miles with Hien Tran, another astronomer, now based at Keck Observatories. We saw a couple of moose on the way up. In Yellowstone I was lucky enough to see a grizzly on my first day and a few black bears on another occasion. When I took Cassia there several years later, we didn’t see any bears, so she was pretty disappointed. Still there were loads of bison and elk and dear and a lot else to see.

    I think I probably got a little too close to the grizzly, but he had his mind on other matters: he was eating something – possibly the last tourist who ventured too close.

  4. andyxl says:

    Steve – probably the wrong Jackson unfortunately. Jackson Tennessee is the one in the songs usually I think. Road trip not so good now. Got blow out in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday…

  5. telescoper says:

    Indeed, that Jackson’s on the 55 between Memphis and New Orleans. Brings back memories of driving from St Louis to the coast many years ago….

  6. Alan Penny says:

    Wyoming sights:

    Wyoming Infrared Observatory – 25 miles from Laramie

    ‘The Oldest House in the World’ – made entirely of dinosaur bones, Medicine Bow

    Little Bighorn battle site (actually 60 miles north of Wyoming)

  7. andyxl says:

    We went through Medicine Bow … didn’t spot the oldest house in the world. Only the Virginian Hotel..

  8. Martin E. says:

    but was the 25c coffee just colored water? always used to be out West BS (before Starbucks).
    yours, unrepentant Aspen lover.
    ps Leadville is great too. The Inn of the Grey Wolf on the road between the two is well worth a stop.

    • andyxl says:

      Martin – it did taste of something, just. I do love Aspen too – its just hard to find somewhere to feed a family of six every day …

  9. Martin E. says:

    well, there’s your problem, guv.

  10. mikew says:

    Leadville: 3000m
    Tibet: 4900m average
    so Leadville must be more like the attic than roof

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