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Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

Leaving Salt Lake City. Hello Manchester.

We were out by 7am on Friday 17th Oct, returned the car, and picked up Dad’s boots and phone charger.

I was then relaxed enough to have breakfast.

We had a bit of a nutty pilot who came out with some choice phrases. And the flight staff were kinda similar. One of them referred to the passengers as their hostages!

Back in Manchester by 8am on Saturday 18th Oct.

Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

Jackson to Salt Lake City

Had a delicious breakfast in The Bunnery. We then wandered around Jackson trying to find places that were real Western shops instead of tourist places. Gave up after much browsing through tat, and went to the Corralwear outlet store instead.

It was a long drive back to Salt Lake City, starting at 2pm. We stopped for a drink in Montpelier, which was a hole. There were loads of long stretches before then and fast driving. Once we reached Bear Lake and turned for Logan, it got twisty and windy. It was very pretty but rather slow going.

After Logan we got onto the I-15, full of stupid drivers and with a crap road surface once we got near Salt Lake City.

We reached a motel around 8pm, and packed and re-packed to fit everything in.

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Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

Cody – Yellowstone – Grand Teton – Jackson

Cody is a proper Western cowboy town. Just what I imagined the whole trip to be like. We stopped at the Custom Cowboy Shop where I got a hat and Dad got some chaps. They have to be altered so are being mailed on, and they also need my credit card details which I don’t have yet!

After Cody we went back into Yellowstone. There were some great views along the way, and we had enough time to see West Thumb and Old Faithful.

We drove through Grand Teton, which was just gorgeous.

We arrived in Jackson by 6pm. It can best be described as a ski town. Very touristy. We stayed in the Painted Buffalo Inn: the same motel as everyone off the horse drive did. We had dinner in the Wort Hotel, and went to bed quite early.

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Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

Gardiner – Yellowstone – Cody

I finally got through to the bank. They thought my details had been copied and so cancelled my credit card. Thankfully I still have my debit card.

We went to Kellem’s Saddlery before leaving town and I got some awesome spurs.

The on to Yellowstone. We saw the hot springs, but with more snow than steamy water. And we saw loads of bison and a coyote. And lots of geysers. Lots.

We drove to Cody to stay for the night. It’s amazing how each state seems to have its own type of terrain, despite being next door to each other.

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Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

Bozeman to Gardiner

The houses and mountains looked very pretty in the snow.

First we visited the Museum of the Rockies, which had loads of interesting exhibits and stuff on dinosaurs.

We parked in downtown Bozeman, had lunch in Wild Joe’s cafe and did some shopping. We left around 4pm.

It didn’t take long to get to Gardiner, even with stopping a couple of times to take photos. We checked into a motel, and didn’t bother with supper tonight.

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Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

Missoula to Bozeman

It’s Sunday. Most places are closed, but we found the Book Exchange was open and had a look around. We had breakfast and then drove on to Bozeman. The first snow of the season was today.

The drive to Bozeman was a bit scary because the roads were covered in snow and slush and people were still driving past at 80mph!

We reached Bozeman by 4pm, and checked into the Bozeman Inn. We did some laundry and had supper across the road at Applebees later on. I decided to order two starters thinking it would be lighter. I was wrong.

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Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

Post Falls to Missoula

This morning Iona took us for brunch with Catrin and Brad at their house. We found out that Ben and Tyler are in university in Boise and Moscow, so we could well have passed them on the street and not even known! JJ stayed in bed almost the entire time we were at the house, but we said hi as we left.

It was a really lovely day. Having not really seen them in my adult life, I never really knew that much about them.

We went back to Iona’s and spent a bit more time there, eventually leaving around 3pm. We had a quick stop at an internet cafe to check weather forecasts in Yellowstone, and drove to Missoula.

We arrived around 8pm, checked into a motel and went for dinner at the Cracker Barrel. There was also a store already bedecked with Christmas gifts and decorations. I bought Mum the most awesome decoration: a singing snowman who grows and then shrinks, saying “I’m melting!”.

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It has been a good break at Iona’s: took the strain off it being just me and Dad. Cabin fever! Don’t know how long it’ll last but definitely needed it. 

Decided I should do a family tree because there’s so many people on this side and I have no idea who they are!

Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

Family Day

After breakfast, Iona took us on a quick drive around Post Falls and Twin Falls, where she teaches tennis. We visited the falls the town is named after, but there wasn’t much water because of the time of year.

We had a coffee and then drove over to Coeur d’Alene and had a drive around the lake.

Back to Post Falls, where we stopped at Walmart and then spent the afternoon in Iona’s, reading and watching TV.

Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

Moscow to Post Falls

After having breakfast and checking out, I checked emails and then we found a nice coffee shop. We drove over to the Appaloosa Museum before leaving town. It was really interesting, with stuff about the horse breed and also the Native Americans.

We drove on to Coeur d’Alene, getting lunch in Tito Macaroni’s and having a quick walk around town and along the floating boardwalk.

Dad spoke to Iona last night and arranged for us to stay with her for a couple of days. So after a coffee, we drove to her house in Post Falls.

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I’m trying so hard to stay calm and not get angry. But he can’t read maps. He mumbles so that even I can’t understand him. He snores and keeps me awake. He leaves the door open when he goes to the loo. He farts lots. And he won’t make any decisions. I have to decide where we eat and when, where we stay, when we stop. Everything! It really is like travelling with a child, while he slopes along behind me. If I wanted to travel with a child, I would’ve stolen Marcus!
Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

Cottonwood – Grangeville – Lapwai – Nez Perce – Moscow

We had breakfast at the motel restaurant – far too many pancakes.

We drove back to Grangeville and looked around Ray Holes Saddlery. On our way back we stopped at Dog Bark Park, and ended up chatting to Dennis and Frances for about 3 hours!

We drove to Lapwai, stopping at Moccasin Flats Trading Post. Then the Nez Perce Historical Centre in Spalding a little further along. There was some amazingly intricate beadwork on display.

We carried on going to Moscow, and we stayed at Hillcrest motel, and found a Mexican restaurant for dinner.

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Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

“Life is Hell. Death is Heaven.” “Life is what you make it. Live it up!”

(Toilet wall graffiti in Riggins)

Today was beautiful but a little overcast. We wandered around McCall, stopping for coffee and checking emails. The bank have now closed my internet banking, so the stress is back on!

We went to Ponderosa State Park before leaving, seeing 5 deer and great views of McCall and the lake.

We drove on to Riggins, playing the alphabet game by myself. We drove 20 miles up a dirt track (Seven Devils Road) to look into Hell’s Canyon. It’s 2000 ft deeper than the Grand Canyon, but doesn’t have steep sides, so you can’t really see the bottom. There was snow on the surrounding peaks and clouds coming in. It was cold, and time to leave!

We got some food in Summerville’s Cafe in Riggins, then drove on to Cottonwood. We found Dog Bark Park but reception closed at 4pm and it was now 6pm. We went to a different motel which also had a restaurant, where we had supper. Went to bed early because we’re now on Pacific Time and one hour behind.

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Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 USA

Stanley to McCall

We saw the mechanic. He told us to call Avis roadside assistance. We had the options of driving back to Boise and picking up a new car (no thank you), or waiting around for them to deliver a car from their nearest garage. We had breakfast and killed time in the two local shops, until Troy arrived with our new, better car, at no extra cost. Much happier.

We drove to Redfish Lake, which had very clear water, forested slopes and craggy, snowy peaks surrounding it. We were pretty much the only people there.

We carried on, stopping in Haven for a late lunch, and making a couple of photo stops along Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway.

We didn’t stop again until McCall, but the scenery was fantastic. McCall is the biggest town we’ve stopped at or passed through since leaving Boise. It has a population of 2500. We also got a 10% discount at the motel for no real reason!

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I’ve always kinda felt like I believe in karma. If bad things happen to you, you deserved it. Which is why I’ve found these past couple of months so difficult. I thought I was a good person and couldn’t understand why so much shit was happening. Maybe I’m paying for bad things I’ve done a while ago. Maybe it’s because I’m treating Dad so badly. Maybe it’s all a test of my ability to manage stress.

My new theory is more along the lines of “shit happens”. I hate that. I would rather feel like I had a bit more control. But I don’t think I’ll be able to stay/return to stable by thinking that bad things are happening for a reason. There are plenty of examples of good things happening to bad people and vice versa.

I think I just need to concentrate on being a good person for the sake of it, and if bad things happen then I need to learn to deal with them better.

Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 Music USA

Boise – Idaho City – Stanley

We had a fun morning of doing laundry and important stuff like checking email and looking around The Record Exchange. Bought a couple of albums to play on the long drives.

We drove to Idaho City, where we had lunch in a friendly little diner on the roadside. Idaho City is absolutely tiny. We had a bit of a wander around but there wasn’t much to see, except for signs in shop windows: “Gone hunting. Back November.”

We drove on to Stanley, but I managed to hit a big rock sometime before Lowman, knackering the wheel. Not that we needed the help, but a couple of drunken yokels pulled up anyway, and changed the wheel for us. A bit worrying when he kept dropping the wheel nuts…

So we had to drive to Stanley at 40mph. 60 miles. We arrived at 7pm and booked into Mountain Lodge. A guy at the motel is a mechanic so hopefully he’ll be able to fix the wheel, or its a 40 mile drive in the wrong direction to the nearest garage.

We had dinner in the Mountain Restaurant, owned by the same people as the lodge. A monopoly in a village of 100 people.

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Horse Drive and Rockies 2008 Horses USA

Leaving Silver Spur

We had our last breakfast together this morning and said our goodbyes. I felt myself welling up a bit – amazing how close you can get to people in a week!

M was leaving the airport a little before us, so me and Dad had some food with her.

We got a flight to Boise, where we picked up our rental car. Unfortunately what I wasn’t told when I booked was that I needed a driving licence and credit card in the same person’s name. And as Dad doesn’t have a credit card, I had to use my licence, bumping up the rental price quite significantly. Not happy.

So I did a couple of circuits of the the car park, trying to get to grips with a left-hand-drive automatic. Then out into a city I don’t know with road rules I don’t understand!

We checked into a motel called Catana, and found an nice pizzeria in town for supper.

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