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Cross Country Trip, Day 4: Casper to Jackson Hole

Our hotel in Casper didn’t have breakfast, so we came here:

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Sometimes there are restaurants that make you believe you’d be willing to drive cross-country just to visit again. Eggington’s is one of those.

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The cowboy skillet was…there are no words to describe how good it was. The orange juice was fresh-squeezed. Fresh-squeezed, people! In the middle of Wyoming. It’s a blessed time to be alive.  They had free samples of their brownies. They were outstanding, but I refrained from buying one; this is my version of self-control.

We all agreed that Casper is a delightful city. As we arrived for breakfast, they were preparing for a parade. I can’t say the parade was for us, but the timing was certainly coincidental.

Next we headed due west toward the Grand Tetons. What is the logical thing to do after eating a huge breakfast? If you’re a Gray, the answer is to find a milkshake place you read about in a guidebook. We tried two different places before giving up. Driving fruitlessly around the desert made us feel like this:

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Here’s a view from a rest area, one of only a few in the area. Handy tip to future travelers: build up your bladder endurance. For as far as the eye can see, there is only desert, brush, and pronghorns. Occasionally a tiny house or trailer dots the landscape, but it’s as if the locals put their money into land, equipment, and livestock instead of dwellings.

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Eventually we begin to see the snowcapped mountains of our destination. As we grow closer to these, a curious thing happens. The land becomes spotted with crystalline lakes. Blotches of green begin to dot the landscape again, providing a lush oasis in the midst of so much brown.

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As the drive stretches with no milkshakes in sight, I begin to regret the brownie I didn’t buy. This is what I get for trying to diet on vacation.

The closer we get to Jackson Hole and the Tetons, the more the wealth is on display. Here there are businesses, and they’re open. Houses begin to resemble resorts. Paint isn’t crumbling. Buildings aren’t condemned. This morning we stopped in the middle of nowhere to inquire about milkshakes from a woman whose teeth and features showed obvious meth abuse. The “town” was a few blocks worth of ruined dreams. Now everything is streamlined to look like one big log cabin and the stores could dress people in coordinating cowboy paraphernalia like Lloyd and Harry from Dumb &Dumber.

 That brings up an important point: Jackson Hole is expensive. I don’t usually talk much about the places we stay because they’re usually run-of-the-mill hotel chains I’ve located on Hotwire. I love Hotwire and use it often. (This is not a paid endorsement.) But sometimes not even Hotwire can find me a deal, especially in a place like the Grand Tetons. My philosophy is to stay cheap and eat well, which is how we ended up like this.

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Being almost 40 and sleeping in a bunk bed with your parents: priceless. Especially if it means being able to see views like these:

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Supper was a special treat.

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We took in a real live cowboy chuck wagon show.

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Why is it that cowboys—the quintessential American icon of masculinity—are such exquisite singers and dancers? Tomorrow we’ll finish the Tetons and head north to Yellowstone, and we’d better see a bear. Or else.

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About vanessagraybartal

Author. Eater. Wife. Mother. Not necessarily in that order.

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