The Road (or flight) Home

On the road again

The road home from Jackson turned out to be an interesting challenge. I woke up around 3 am only to find that it had snowed.  Yup 6 inches of slippery, sloppy white stuff. My concierge told me I had a front wheel drive car so I’d have no problem getting to the airport. Then he went out to bring the car around and got stuck!

Plow Schedule

Loading my bags into the car my valet cheerfully explained that the roads aren’t plowed until after 9 am. He didn’t even know if they would bother to plow today or just let it melt. I could expect to have snow covered roads and highway all the way to the airport. Oh Joy!

The Snowy Drive

The first part of the drive was pretty dicey. It’s very dark out there in Wyoming! The snow was still coming down and when you met another car or truck, splat! Jackson was a different story. With less snow and more traffic most of the road was just wet. It continued that way until the airport. I’m sure the locals hated me because I kept my speed right around 35-40 mph. Once in the airport I found the car rental return only to face a windy, cold trek to the terminal.

Delay upon Delay

stock photo

Jackson Hole Airport (stock photo)

Once inside I learned my flight was delayed due to the condition of the run way. Ok by me. I’d rather be safe on the ground that plastered against one of the mountains that ring the airport. As I chatted with a fellow traveler I learned she was the same person that had watched the elk herd with me a few days before! Small world.

Elk Migration

Are we ready now?

As we chatted they changed gates for my flight and started to check in. But it was not to be. My connecting flight is in Denver and turns out the airport was closed  due to fog. We had to wait for Denver to reopen. Finally we had the green light and boarding began. One last trip through the de-icer and we were ready to roll. Everyone held a collective breath as the plane slid (quite literally) into position but finally we were airborne, climbing steeply over the majestic Tetons. We were lucky to get out of Jackson Hole!

stock photo

 

The Continental Divide

Craig's Pass Continental DivideCrossing the Continental Divide

Do you remember what the Continental Divide is from High School geography? On one side of the divide, water flows to the Gulf of Mexico. On the other it flows to the Pacific Ocean. When I saw the Continual Divide sign I thought of an old John Belushi movie by the same name. Ha, that’s not even relevant! Anyway because of the way the road and the mountains intertwine you actually cross the Continental Divide two or three times between the South Entrance and Old Faithful.

 

Each time there is a sign with the elevation. As you can see, there’s snow at these higher locations. This stop is between West Isa LakeThumb and Old Faithful called Craig’s Pass.  Lake Isa is  another spot on the Continental Divide. 

It’s marked by a sign because it drains on both sides of the divide. Although I passed it several times, it didn’t look like much from the road so I just tucked it in my mind as an interesting fact. 

Grant Village

Grant Village Visitor Center;
Ed Austin/Herb Jones;
1987

I should mention Grant Village. It was closed for everything except gas so I didn’t even slow down but it’s located on Yellowstone Lake. Named for President Ulysses S. Grant it is mainly lodging inside the park. Grant Village is made up of 6 two-story chalets, each containing 50 rooms. This complex is close to many of Yellowstone’s famous attractions. Old Faithful is just a little over 20 miles away, and Grant Village is also closer to Grand Teton National Park than any of Yellowstone’s other in-park lodges. It’s also just before the road splits. The left goes toward Old Faithful while the right goes to West Thumb. I was on my way to Old Faithful. After all, that’s a bucket list stop for sure!

Marker for Kepler CascadesKepler Cascades

As I left Craig’s pass (the dividing line of the Continental Divide) behind, I came upon a large turnoff for Kepler Cascades. This was definitely worth a stop but I wouldn’t know what a great stop until I explored a little. 

Is that Snow I See!?

Is That Tiny Snow Flake?

Jackson Hole Aerial TramThe weather report is for snow.  I’ll break out the winter jacket. At least I packed one. I have an appointment at 10 am to pick up a Gaperguide but I also want to take the tram to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. They closed it yesterday because of the high winds. With a storm predicted I’m afraid it will get closed again and this is the last day! The concierge says they have a waffle shack at the top. If I go up when it opens at 9 am I can have breakfast at the summit.  As I watched the tram glide down from the top I saw a tiny flake of snow drift slowly down. That’s it. I’m going up. I’ll just be late for my appointment.

Jackson Hole Aerial TramTram at the Bottom

This is really convenient. The tram is right next door! As I lined up I was surrounded by skiers anxious to get to the top for the new snow. They all planned to have a waffle breakfast too. The tram operator had some bad news for us non skiers. The storm had already started at the summit.  The walking was treacherous. It was all ice and the wind was blowing. He strongly advised that we ride up and come right back down. Going up we all watched for animals. Bears and Moose are often seen on the  mountain but not today.

MountainSide

Still ClimbingSeriously Serious Snow

Once the tram docked I stepped out onto the platform and nearly took a header. My feet could not get any traction at all. I didn’t even make it to the path to the waffle house. Safety First, I reluctantly agreed to skip the waffles and returned back down the mountain. The tram operator recommended a restaurant called the Mangy Moose as a substitute. He said it was close to the tram and had excellent breakfast.

 

Pretty Rugged

Scenic Vermont

Scenic Vermont

As we pulled out of the Robb Family Farm we called On Star for directions to the 2nd Sugar House on the list. With the big snow flakes coming down it was easy to see why Vermont has a reputation for being scenic. The rural ambiance was only enhanced by the wintry weather.

http://dustyroadsphotos.zenfolio.com/p362485518/h87e207dc#h87e207d8

Creamery Covered Bridge

On the way in we’d passed a red, covered bridge. Now Joe suggested we pull over for a photo op.

http://dustyroadsphotos.zenfolio.com/p362485518/h87e207dc#h87e207dc

Named the Creamery Covered Bridge it is the only covered bridge left in Brattleboro, Vermont. It is well maintained and it seems the town is serious about keeping it that way. A large boulder has been placed in front of it to prevent cars from driving over it. You can walk but you can’t drive.

http://dustyroadsphotos.zenfolio.com/p362485518/h87e207dc#h87e207da

Of course the bridge is an iconic shot but the stream that runs under the bridge is interesting too. I took some time to take a few photos of that as well as the bridge.

http://dustyroadsphotos.zenfolio.com/p362485518/h87e207dc#h87e207d5

I heard that this is a popular spot for wedding photos during the summer. I can see why.

Let’s go Maple Sugaring!

Let’s go  Maple Sugaring!

After breakfast at Raff’s Cafe in Haverhill, we headed out to see how many  Maple Sugar houses we could visit in one day. Joe had downloaded a map with all of the places taking part in the Maple Sugar Festival. We decided to start with the southern-most farms first and work our way north if we had time. The closes farm looked to be the Robb Family Farm in Brattleboro, VT. We plugged the address of 827 Ames Hill Rd. Brattleboro Vt. into my On Star and were given an drive time of 2 hours , 6 minutes.

Getting there.

As we pulled out of the parking lot we noticed the overcast sky. Driving to Haverhill I’d passed through bands of rain, like squalls. It would be raining then dry then rain again. Joe checked the weather app but it did not give any indication of storms, just gray, cold and overcast so off we went!

Turns out the route wasn’t very direct. The old Maine phrase “Can’t get there from here” kept running through my mind as we backtracked south on RT 495 until we reached RT 2. Soon we were traveling along the scenic Mohawk Trail. A nice trip to make when spring finally gets here.

We picked up RT 91 north and pulled off at the first exit in Vermont. It had started to snow or maybe rain. It was hard to tell. I guess the weather term is “wintry mix”. The views from the visitor center were scenic but we didn’t linger for pictures because of the weather.

Something to do on another trip.

Vermont Arrival

It didn’t take long to reach Brattleboro. On Star led us through the village and onto a little dirt road. The road was snow covered by now and starting to get muddy in places. Fun! First time going “mudding” in my Equiniox!

We could see the plastic tubing running along the trees by the side of the road so we knew we were headed in the right direction. Plastic tubing  replaced the traditional buckets for commercial production in the late 1950’s.

Topping a small rise in the road we saw a large farm house on the right. The sugar shack was on the left with clouds of steam billowing from the opening in the roof. This was a traditional Sugar Maple Scene right out of Currier and Ives!

There were plenty of cars parked along the road. It made me wonder what kind of traffic there would have been on a nice day? Time to get the car parked and go inside. Let’s see what this Maple Sugar Festival is all about.