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Keep the Show on the Road!

04262008 Dubois, Wy, 9,600 Feet On The Hypotenuse Trail

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It has been an exciting day on the Hypotenuse Trail! Mountain goats, soda fountains, old signs, snow covered roads, and the magnificent Grand Teton Nationa Park.

 

To quickly track the route today: I left Lander, relieved that the predicted 5 inches of snow did not fall there last night. It did fall nearby. I was headed for the Grand Teton National Park via Dubois on US 26. Originally I had mapped the Hypotenuse over South Pass on US 28, but the snow that did fall last night looked like it had deposited a lot on that road. The Wyoming DOT does a great job of showing road conditions!

 

I went over the Continental Divide at a little above 9600 feet on a solid surface of packed snow, and then to the National Park. After spending a few hours looking around the Park I went down to Jackson, over a very steep pass (10% grades on both sides) via state 22 and into Victor, Idaho, Driggs, and on to Rexburg where I’m spending the evening.

 

This is the kind of day you live for when you travel the American road! It was sunny and clear most of the way, I enjoyed a conversation with an Englishman who owns a soda fountain in Wyoming, photographed mountain goats, antelope, and elk, braved a 9600 ft pass on fresh snow with “Florida” tires, and had an opportunity to explore the magnificent Grand Teton National Park after a snow storm…..and had the place almost to myself!! When does it get better than that??!!

 

I have now done more than 3,000 miles, all but a tiny fraction (14 miles) off the interstate. The vast majority of the roads have been two lanes, with short distances four lanes. The towns along the way have presented a taste of America, as it was, and as it is. All but a couple of the towns along my route have been under 20,000 and the vast majority have been under five or six thousand, probably under 3000.

 

The 14 miles I spent on the interstate was unavoidable, given that the car couldn’t swim the Mississippi, and that it couldn’t fly between Walcott and Sterling, Wyoming. I don’t regret that 14 miles, because it quickly reminded me how much the interstates separate you from the land and people. They are fast, smooth, and even in beautiful country, mostly boring.

 

So back to the land and people. The town of Dubois is touristy. It sits astride the route to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and if the town did not take advantage of that situation….this wouldn’t be America. I looked for touches of the “authentic” and found it in the Dubois Drug Store sign. So I had to go in. And lo and behold, there was a 1947 soda fountain. I peered over the counter and spotted a couple of syrup pumps, and knew I had the real thing. Having been a soda jerk myself, the fellow behind the counter and I exchanged a few jokes only “jerks” would appreciate, and I ordered astrawberry malt.

 

Ian, who owns the place, is an Englishman! His wife is from Wyoming, and so he is now a Wy-o-man. It really isn’t so amazing, as the English wealthy actually settled much of the wild west. They came to hunt and stayed to ranch. Ian wasn’t a rancher…but he was a nice guy…the kind of people you always meet on the two lane roads. I enjoyed my malt (recommended stop), but had to be on my way too soon.

 

Before I reached Dubois, I had passed through some spectacular country in and around the Wind River Reservation. On the way, I spotted a mountain goat not far from the road, and when I stopped to photograph him, I noticed the harem on the cliffs above. Nice wildlife experience!

 

After I left Dubois the road climbs gradually to about 7500 feet, then gets serious and starts up a grade through spectacular mountain scenery to 9600 feet. The snow that fell last night had left several inches on the road, and the packed snow didn’t offer a lot of traction for my Florida tires.

 

What awaited me on the other side was jaw dropping. Over the pass it had been cloudy with a little snow falling, but once down the other side, the skies cleared and the entire Teton Range was spread before me.

 

Tonight I am only going to have time to post one photo of the mountains, which will just give you a taste of what is to follow. Suffice it to say, the Park was magnificent in its white robes.

 

The Hypotenuse Rules!!

 

Keep the Show n the Road!

 

Dave

 

ARDrugSign.jpg

 

ARFountain.jpg

 

ARRam.jpg

 

ARGoats.jpg

 

ARPass.jpg

 

ARTetons.jpg

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I went over the Continental Divide at a little above 9600 feet on a solid surface of packed snow...

Have you had the top down on that convertible much?

 

Chris

 

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And did the cost of your treat at the drugstore reflect the 1947 prices??? LOL

 

That shot of the mountains is indeed spectacular - could make a small fortune making that into a post card.

 

Hudsonly,

 

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

Edited by Alex Burr - hester_nec

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Have you had the top down on that convertible much?

 

Chris

 

Jim,

 

Oh, Yah. I might was well have rented an SUV! Yesterday the weather in the Wind River range was in the 30's with a chill factor standing still of -6! I kept looking at the blue skies, and thinking I would put the top down, then I would roll down the window and change my mind!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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And did the cost of your treat at the drugstore reflect the 1947 prices??? LOL

 

That shot of the mountains is indeed spectacular - could make a small fortune making that into a post card.

 

Hudsonly,

 

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

 

Alex,

 

Thansk!

 

You will enjoy the shots closer up, in the park itself. I was really lucky to be there just ater a snow fall. The snow ws jutstarting to fall off the tree limbs as the sun warmed them. And there could be no more spectacular mountains than the Tetons.

 

 

Thanks for the comments!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

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That's fun to read someone else's point of view from a road I have traveled many times. The Tetons have to be my favorite place I've ever been.

 

Dubois Drug is a new one to me, though. I'll check that out next time I'm through there. Thanks for the tip.

 

By the way those were bighorn sheep, not mountain goats - a common mistake. Check out my blog for an explanation of the difference. http://dakotagraph.blogspot.com/search/lab...ountain%20goats

 

Have a good time the rest of the way. I hope you don't hit too much more snow!

 

Chad

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I've seen snow fall in June during my lifetime, but I've never seen that much snow in late April before. Wow.

 

To me, chocolate malts are proof positive that God exists and he loves us. And the best chocolate malts generally come from the old fountains like this -- because if the soda jerk knows or likes you, they put in extra malt!

 

jim

 

 

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Dave,

 

I wish that I had known of your plans a few days earlier (that is what happens when you drop out for a year). When you said that you were spending an evening in Rexburg, my jaw hit the floor - I live in Rexburg! I would have loved to have met you. I could have given you the nickel tour.

 

Your trip is quite fun to follow. I did not know that there is a Dubois, Wyoming but I am very familiar with Dubois, Idaho and I must say that they sound like sister-cities. The Idaho Dubois is probably just 80 miles NW of Dubois, Wyoming (as the crow flies).

 

Have fun and a safe journey. I am glad that you are able to post as you go - makes it all the more interesting!

 

 

 

- Brian Atkinson

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