7:45 a.m.- Muffled Hispanic voice: "Housekeeping?"
Confused/perplexed/WTF look across my face as I sit up in the grimy hotel bed.
Muffled Hispanic voice: "Housekeeping? Sir? I need to change linens?"
Stumbling over to the door I ask for ten more minutes to get ready. I had no idea that my morning wake-up would be a petite woman asking me to change the sheets this early. I think I would have preferred the earwig instead.
8:02 a.m.- I think I feel less clean after taking a quick shower here. For some reason there was sort of a film that came out of the shower head along with what they think is water. I fumbled with my shampoo/conditioner that came in an imitated ketchup packet until I threw in the towel, literally. The second I get home I am going to take a long shower with actual soap. Not a meager splashing with condiments that I've been doing all week here.
8:31 a.m.- Walking into Big Piney High School I am greeted by their 8-foot tall mascot. See above picture. I don't even think I need to say any more about this.
8:54 a.m.- An anonymous Wyoming recruiter comes over to make conversation while we wait for the students.
Wyoming Jane Doe: "So where'dya stay last night?"
Swamp Thing: "Oh just up the road in Marbleton."
Wyoming Jane Doe: "Really, we all stayed in Jackson. You should've stayed there. We all went to the bar last night and had a real good time!"
The dark circles under her eyelids and bloodshot retinas make me wonder why this trip is making attempts at me becoming an alcoholic.
10:01 a.m.- A young student wearing bleached Levis, a "Wyoming Rules" t-shirt and a bruised green cowboy hat approaches my table.
Cowboy student: "Whoa, what the heck is that?" he says pointing at my display.
Swamp Thing: "Oh, that's an iPad."
Cowboy student: "An iPad? Like, can you watch movies on it and stuff? What does it do?"
Sighing, I give the cowboy a pat on the shoulder and ask about his academic interests.
Swamp Thing: "So do you know what you want to go into?"
Cowboy student: "Yeah, Florida!"
Only a few more hours...
11:17 a.m- Just passed South Park, Wyoming. Somewhere, Kyle and Stan are plotting another great 22-minute episode.
11:58 a.m.- I stop by the Wendy's in Jackson Hole. This has to be the most advanced town that I've been to on this entire trip. The most modern at least. I glance up in the mirror and notice that I haven't shaved the entire week. A decent beard has started to develop adorning my face. Grizzly Adams had a beard. Grizzly Adams did have a beard. (LTT)
12:09 p.m.- I pull into the parking lot of Jackson Hole High School and notice a smorgasbord of trucks all around me. Suddenly, my Nissan Rogue feels a bit intimidated. I then realize how many trucks I have seen while on this trip. I think if you don't have a Ford F-150 up here then there is no way you could survive from October to June.
2:06 p.m.- The fair is done, I am getting the heck outta here.
Anonymous Wyoming recruiter: "Hey Dixie, what are your plans? You wanna come with us? We're goin' to the bar again tonight!"
Turning my back on them, I ignore the last futile attempt at my ingestation of alcohol.
3:45 p.m.- I pass back through Star Valley on the way home. Hesitantly, I keep my eyes open for the four-pointed furball who was two yards away from becoming a hood ornament for me on Monday. And they say Utah drivers are bad. I pass by the Lazy B Motel. I bid farewell to the place that had an insect as my continental breakfast, and the golden retriever who was posing as the manager.
4:38 p.m.- Cross over from the Wyoming border into Utah. It's almost as if a breath of fresh air has suddenly taken over. I feel more clean, more rinsed off, would you say? Despite the fact that I've been playing connect the dots with all of the splattered bugs on my windshield, I can sense a glimmer of hope that I am almost home.
6:09 p.m.- I pull into the driveway and take a long, deep breath. That was one heck of a trip. Between earwigs and alcohol and dressed up cowboys, I will say that was one of the more draining points of my life. The fact that I have been in the seated position for 916 miles over five days says something. It's a good thing that "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" as an audiobook was my consistent companion throughout all of this. I am now back to my satellite "home". A place where actual wi-fi connections exist. Where credit cards are put to good use. Where random drunks don't yell out phrases about bobcats in suitcases. Yes, that is my life. Now if you'll excuse me good reader, I have one long shower to take.
Location: Big Piney, Jackson, WY, Home
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