~Sunday, September 13, 2020~
Day 91 (travel day)
A huge amount of smoke today-the first for us in Montana. I’m sure the smoke is nothing like they’re experiencing in California and Oregon, so I’m not complaining. We have been very fortunate to have had the clear skies that we did while in the Yellowstone area. But on our drive to Jackson, Wyoming today, you could not see even a sliver of the Grand Tetons which is usually incredibly jaw dropping...ugh 😂! Hopefully tomorrow we have clearer skies.
Climbing and descending the Teton Pass at a 10% grade is the most talked about in the RV community, and we had to take it today. There isn’t a steeper grade for cars to drive on in the U.S. than this one. The pass is usually void of semis as it is extremely dangerous with their heavy loads and have other options to get around it.
Already exhausted from last night’s lackluster sleep, we had to contend with the crowds in Jackson. What is going on?? COVID. I think we just need to accept the fact that EVERYONE is traveling right now, since most Americans can’t travel outside the U.S. Campgrounds that are normally easy to get into this time of year, like the one we tried to get into today on a first come first serve basis, are full, unless you want to start getting in line at 4:00 a.m. No thank you. We’d rather drive an hour away to where it’s just as nice or even nicer to avoid this insanity. Restaurants too, are usually booked in advance due to operating with fewer seating capacity. It’s every man for himself out here!!
Once we were told there was nothing available at Gros Ventre Campground, we quickly had to come up with a plan B, again. Now mind you, when pressured, our plan B usually ends up being even nicer than our plan A. After an hours worth of phone calls, I finally got a referral for an unknown spot in Irwin, Idaho which was about an hour away from downtown Jackson. So book it we did. Toni, the owner of The Rusty Spur, told us she just started providing full hookup RV sites on her property back in June and hadn’t even started advertising, which is why we couldn’t find her originally on our searches today. At $45/night, we took 1 of her 3 cancellation spots. Apparently all 3 of her bookings were a group and couldn’t arrive in time which we were grateful happened. Her setup is pretty modest with some needed improvements, but it was nice having a picnic table and a firepit. However, the hookups should have been located further up towards the road so all hoses from any rig can reach. I’m sure in time it will be more dialed in. Very nice hostess though, and I’m sure amazing views on a clear day.
While Jeff drove today, I made a list of some other National Forest campgrounds outside of Jackson, and in fact, passed a few of them getting to Toni’s place. Before dark, we took a drive to a few campgrounds in the Irwin area and came across one that we really liked-Riverside Park Campground where you can’t beat $12/night while being right on the swift moving Snake River. In a way, we wished we had spotted this first before making our reservation at the Rusty Spur, but it’s all good. We’re in a nice, safe place for the night.
Toni had forgotten to tell us before we arrived, that the nearest grocery store was 20 miles away, but luckily we had enough food to whip up something delicious for tonight’s dinner...salad, leftover Pasta Fagioli soup and french bread by the fire…..and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to boot. Exhausted and off to bed early tonight.