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Vacationing in Wyoming

22 August 2007
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I haven’t updated in a while because I’ve been on vacation. Our family and our friend’s family caravaned to Yellowstone, and we came out of it with a mixed impression.

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The scenery was fantastic! The picture is of one of the dozens of pools in West Thumb Geyser Basin. We also saw Old Faithful, of course.

That’s all we saw of Yellowstone Park, though. We had our car in for its 40k checkup, and the battery wasn’t re-sealed properly, and it failed while we were there. We said at a mountain lodge in the Grand Tetons, and what would have taken a couple of hours in town took a day.

In large part, though, it was not because of the remoteness of the lodge, but the people we encountered in the area. By and large, they were downright unfriendly. In my past travels, I’ve found local folks more than happy to offer advice and assist out-of-towners in need. This trip, people did a competent job, but they conveyed a strong sense of being inconvenienced, whether they be hospitaliers, tow truck drivers, waitresses, or store clerks.

There were exceptions, of course, like the park ranger, who after four hours of waiting for the promise of a tow truck that never came, followed my wife and our friend all the way into Jackson, jump-starting the car as needed. And the flagger of the highway repair crew that kept them entertained in the meantime. But I hear they both came from out-of-state.

And the $2.30 the lodge charged us to mail back something we forgot in the room has closed the door on us staying with them again.

Next time we go, we will stay in the park, probably camping. And we’ll allow a week or so of shakedown after a major maintenance cycle before we travel. I guess experiences like ours are what inspired the phrase, “it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

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