Sigh...... The last day of Girls Weekend 2011. The day that I always have mixed feelings about. I hate to see Girls Weekend end, but I also miss my family and am usually ready to see them again by the time our (extended) weekend comes to an end.
Kathi's flight leaves out of Jackson at 1:23pm, and we are looking at around a 3 hour drive from West Yellowstone to Jackson, so we agreed to get up early (5 a.m.) to allow ourselves enough time to make the drive in case there happens to be snow or ice along the way. We also decided that, rather than
drive through Yellowstone Park, where the speed limit tops out at 45 mph and there could be any manner of animals crossing the road, causing delays and even weather related road closures, that we would take the surer road back to Jackson through Idaho. So we were actually in three states today as we traveled. We woke up in Montana, crossed into Idaho for several hours, then ended up in Wyoming. Pretty impressive, huh?
Needless to say, it was still quite dark when we pulled out of the WorldMark parking lot at 5:26am. We both were longing for a gourmet coffee of some kind since we have been having coffee in our room the last few days (and it just isn't the same!), but realized that we had not seen a Starbuck's or anything like a Starbuck"s since arriving in Wyoming. There is a McDonald's in West Yellowstone and both in Oregon and in Indiana, the McDonald's DO have gourmet coffees (you know, mochas, lattes and the like), so we pulled into the McDonald's drive through to get that cup of joe, only to be told that all they had was small, medium and large coffees. We declined and decided we would wait until we found a "real" coffee place to satisfy our want.
As we were driving along the sun started to come up from behind the Grand Teton mountains. The colors and silhouettes of the mountains were absolutely breathtaking. I am convinced that there is no artist on earth who can match the artistry of God and love it when I see demonstrations of this painted across the sky.
We did have a couple of kind of weird experiences while making this trip. The first occurred as we were coming up a small rise. We could see this strange, glowing, golden light at the top of the rise that was rather bright and looked enormous. It appeared that we were going to drive right through whatever the source was. I was almost convinced that there was going to be a gigantic spaceship with glowing lights parked at the top. (This is the land of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you know!) It turned out to be nothing quite so exciting. It was only a semi-truck coming up the rise from the opposite direction with fog lights on and the fog that we drove into was causing the weird, glowy look. Not too long after that, something that looked like a shooting start dropped out of the sky very near us. As in, it looked as if it dropped off the top of the nearest telephone pole, not out of the heavens. I am still baffled by the source of that strange sighting, but no harm came of it, so I guess it will just remain a mystery.
Around 8:00 am we came to the small town of Driggs, the first real small town we passed through, and they had a coffee store in the strip mall next to the grocery store. Hallelujah!! We could finally have that mocha we were longing for! I got my usual soy mocha with a shot of peppermint and Kathi got an Irish something, something hot chocolate with a shot of espresso. This also gave us a chance to stretch our legs and, I must say, that felt pretty good.
Back in the car and back on the road, we started climbing upward to cross the mountain pass, then take the winding road down, first through Wilson, Wyoming, then on into Jackson. Another reason we wanted to get an early start this morning (along with potential weather-related problems) was so that we would have one last chance to shop in Jackson before going to the airport. I had found gifts for my co-workers and for the kids, but I had not yet found anything for Tom, aside from the buffalo jerky I bought him the first day. (Tom is a big fan of jerky and I don't think he has ever had buffalo jerky, so thought he might like to try some!) So back to the great shops in Jackson for a final wrap up and we both were fortunate enough to find things. One store even had ALL of their clothing items for at least 40% off. We both wished that we had found this place on our first shopping excursion in Jackson.
Final souvenirs bought and stowed away in luggage and it was time to get to the airport which is about 7 miles out of Jackson proper. We stopped for one last photo opportunity of the Grand Tetons, then turned into the airport.
We got the rental car returned and got checked in, then settled in for the wait. Kathi's flight went out at 1:23 p.m. while my flight doesn't leave until 5:50 p.m. (what was I thinking when I booked THAT??), so here I am, sitting in the airport, typing up the last day's events. This airport is so small that when there are several hours when no flights go out, they actually close the gate area until about 2 hours before the next flight, which means that I am currently sitting in the gate area, completely alone, while waiting for my flight. Crazy, right? I had 2 airport security people come to me to find out what time my flight leaves and to let me know that the LOCK this area down and that if I wanted to go back out into the main terminal area for the wait, this would be my last chance until 4 p.m. I chose to stay because I have a comfy chair to sit in, outlets to plug all my devices into, a bathroom and a small deli/cafe where I can get food and drink if I want. I am perfectly happy here. I can even stretch out over several chairs and take a nap if I so desire!
So, once again, a completely enjoyable and blessed Girls Weekend has come to an end. Will write again next year from Oklahoma.