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10 Cities, 10 Days: Features Editor Katy Ruth Camp's Journey West, Post 7: Morrison, Colorado to Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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A ranch at sunset near Jackson Hole, Wyoming

A ranch at sunset near Jackson Hole, Wyoming

I suppose with any long trip you’re bound to hit a bump or two in the road, and I hit mine yesterday. But if this adventure through our beautiful country has taught me anything, it’s to understand what is really important and beautiful in this world and to focus on that.

As I was uploading my story yesterday, I sat in the front room of the main lodge and enjoyed a big cup of coffee and an omelet made by one of the lodge owners in the nearby kitchen as she sang to the baby on her hip. It was a sweet moment, and a great way to start the day.

As I walked out, I saw the same cat who followed me into my room the day before sleeping peacefully on the lobby sofa. So he does belong here! If you have been following my photos on Instagram or Facebook, you will know who this dashing cat is.

This was going to be a haul of a trip – eight hours to Jackson Hole – and I had originally thought about breaking it up by making a stop in Wyoming but everyone who had been to Jackson Hole advised me to set my sights there, so I did. The drive itself was beautiful with amazing, diverse mountains at every turn so it was a nice setting for a long drive.

About four hours into my trip, which wasn’t met by many other drivers thus far, I noticed a lone driver in my review mirror creeping up on me. Then I noticed it was a police officer. I checked my speed and realized I was going a little bit over the speed limit, but the highway was so flat and desolate, I confess had been more focused on The Wailin’ Jennys playing through my speakers than if I was going the speed limit.

Then his lights kicked on. Ugh! Long story short, he was nice, I was nice, I got a speeding ticket for going 10 over some three miles back. If anyone knows the police department in middle-of-nowhere-Wyoming, help a sister out.

After pulling back onto the interstate, I was so mad at myself. The trip had been more than perfect before that point. But I decided that I wouldn’t let it ruin my trip and it did help me to be more cognizant of my speed for the next four hours. It happened, I couldn’t control it after the fact, and there are worse things that could have happened so I chose to look on the bright side of the situation and prepare myself for the beauty of Jackson Hole that was awaiting me.

I have done an excellent job, I will say, of booking good rooms and stays during my trip. When I was researching where to stay in Jackson Hole, most of the hotels were so expensive so I was afraid I might have to stay somewhere outside of town. Luckily, I found a place in Teton Village right next to the Jackson Hole Resort and the Four Seasons that had a king bed room for a little over $100 a night. I was to stay in Jackson Hole for two nights so I couldn’t afford to splurge on a nice room as I had in a few of the other cities I’ve visited. The reviews on the hotel were good and it was in a great location so I booked it.

After I checked in at sunset, Connor, the front desk employee, advised me that I was staying on the fourth floor and directed me to the stairs, as there was no elevator. Having packed 10 days worth of clothes, shoes and everything else into one suitcase, lugging that up four flights of stairs was going to be work! Again, I tried to look on the bright side and I needed the exercise after being in the car for eight hours anyway, so up the stairs I went. But God surely was testing my positivity that day!

Once I breathlessly made it to my room, I opened the door and I’m pretty sure I audibly said, “Oh, no.” It’s a barren, no-frills room with no television, not much décor, not much of anything, really. Dad called me in that moment and after explaining my current situation, he asked if I could find another room, but I had already paid for two nights so I told him I was just going to make the best of it. It’s not as if I planned to stay in my room all day, anyway.

Once I got settled in, I opened up the giant map of Jackson Hole Connor had given me and realized that I was actually nestled in a great part of Jackson Hole, and that a famous bar/restaurant called The Mangy Moose was right next door. I looked the restaurant up online and saw there was a bluegrass band playing so I thought would be a perfect little bit of home to comfort me and end my night.

I sat at the bar and ate while the band played and struck up a conversation with the bartender, Romo. I asked him to explain to me the difference between Jackson the city and Jackson Hole, as I had heard it referred to as both several times. He said Jackson Hole refers to the “hole” between the mountains, where we were situated. Jackson itself is a city but the area is a hole. I, in turn, taught him something in explaining that, in Georgia, that’s called a hollow. So we then referred to Jackson Hole as Jackson Hollow the rest of the night and had a good laugh at our inside joke.

A few minutes later, Connor came and sat next to me at the bar and told me that members of the band were close friends of his. I said I was excited to hear bluegrass and he kindly said, “Oh, it isn’t bluegrass. This is mountain grass.” There’s a banjo and they’re playing “Man of Constant Sorrow.” At least to me, this is bluegrass, ha!

After the band finished, a large crowd came into the lounge and it turns out they were wrapping a film that was being filmed in Jackson Hole. I spoke with a few of them then headed back to my room to go to sleep.

The room actually slept great last night and, after waking up this morning, I walked next door to RMO Breakfast Café for breakfast and to write, where I am now. When I asked for suggestions last night of what to do today, Connor had mentioned a place where you could do a short hike and jump off a small cliff into the lake below. With the temperature currently at 43 degrees, though, I think I might just stick with exploring the city!

Listened to: The Wailin' Jennys, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, local radio

Up next: Jackson Hole, Wyoming today and tonight

For more pictures from the trip, follow Katy Ruth on Instagram at @katyruthc.   

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