S is up in the small hours and creeps out to read for a while. I wait it out and go back to sleep.
The breakfast we ordered in arrives 30 minutes early. No worries, our jammies are company- friendly.
We can feel the ship making small adjustments for the docking procedure. Over coffee & hot chocolate we grin that of course they’d be extra careful – they hit a dock here a few weeks ago. The rear of the ship bears the signs of the repair.
After we arrive at our hotel in Florence, we both get the obligatory shower (airports & airplanes – ugh) then change to go out for a while. We had debated a nap – even without any significant traffic, the drive felt like eternity – but by this time it’s after 4pm and we realize a nap now will mean we don’t sleep at night.
So we pull ourselves together and explore the area nearby. We find the local tram station and ride down into the center of Florence, seeing the Duomo at night and strolling down cobblestone streets and having hot chocolate (warming the hands and the belly).
We only walk around for about an hour though, before we head back to the hotel and have dinner, and make our plan for tomorrow: Florence by day and a train ride to Pisa in the afternoon.
Back in our room, we settle in and are both out cold by a few minutes after 10:30pm local time.
I stir at 7:30am. I could get up. Maybe.
At 9:30, we both stir. Check the train schedules. Get ourselves ready.
We time our day to depart in time to get coffees at Tumbleweed, just down the street from the Riverside Cottages. They open at 7.
Well, first we see the deer that are right in our own parking lot this am. Then…
We each get a coffee plus a thermos to let us top off through the morning. We originally thought we might cross to Pebble Creek, near the Northeast entrance, for an early-morning animal seeking session (we would so love to see moose) but already the morning is warm, and the 40 miles across isn’t going to get us there in anything like prime viewing time. And we want to see the Terraces we skipped yesterday before it gets appallingly hot again.
So we visit Mammoth Hot Springs upper terraces instead, first walking it, hearing the elk trumpet as rut season begins…
We check out of the Old Faithful Inn, with an aim of seeing the Great Prismatic Spring ahead of the crowd. It is a good theory. But it is still early and cold – so much steam is rising from the springs that they aren’t visible.
Dad is up already, and in the next room getting himself ready to find coffee and a paper. 6:15am.
We signed up for 8am breakfast but by 7:30 we are all in the main house, sipping coffee and easing into the morning.
After a delicious if oversized breakfast (none of us finishes), we head out to see the Grand Tetons.
Which comes from the name the French explorers gave it originally: the Three Breasts.
The mountains are beautiful and majestic and not at all reminiscent of breasts. I suspect those explorers had not seen a woman in a while.
The Shoshone called it something that had more to do with many pinnacles. Far more apt.
We see a beaver dam, pronghorn and bison in the distance, as we loop from Jackson to Moran Junction to Lake Jackson, to Lake Jenny and down to Moose Junction.
Then we meet our group for a Snake River scenic float tour with Triangle X. Our captain is John, and the strong winds today mean he has to fight every minute we are on the river to keep us where we should be.
He works hard but we have it easy, watching the river and the mountains, hoping for a glimpse of moose (not today) or eagles (several soaring overhead).
After our float tour we head back to Huff House for showers before we head out for the BarJ Chuckwagon.
I briefly misplace Dad (really he went to run an errand and I worried like a crazy person for No Reason Whatsoever) but then we settle in for a cowboy dinner and show.
After dinner it was a short hop back to the Inn to settle in and…
Dad moves first. He’s up and headed downstairs for coffee. Girls, it’s 9:15. I’m going to go get coffee, he whispers to mom and I, as he heads to the door, pausing to make sure he has a room key. I hand him one phone so he can reach us, and look at the clock on the other. It’s 7:15, I tell him. He’s forgotten that he didn’t get a chance to change his watch.
Still, he’d be up early at home too. And we might as well get up and going. There’s ground to cover today.
We’re headed up to Jackson Hole, WY. First step: back to the SLC airport to get our rental car. Then a stop to pick up the essentials we didn’t pack. A cooler. Water. Odds and ends forgotten.
We start up Rt 15 and miss our turn to 91, requiring a brief backtrack. We could go via 15, but the point is not to get there fast; it’s to see the country. So we sidetrack over through the mountains – when they’re remarked on, I remember that the stone formations that look like walls built into the mountain are called rimrock – to the pretty town of Logan and then pause, briefly changing so I can drive and Dad can look, Mom opting to take the back seat.
Winding along the Logan river, beautiful country. Up to Bear Lake Overlook. Gorgeous aquablue water on this beautiful day.
We stop in Garden City, right down by the lake, for the requisite raspberry shake. They just had their raspberry festival a few weeks ago, good timing. It turns out one of the best raspberry shakes in the area is at the Chevron food mart.
Well worth it.
We continue north through mountain valleys and little towns (including the aforementioned Paris, Idaho), past hoodoos, with the Salt River winding along with us.
And eventually, we meander into Jackson. We’re staying for two nights at the Huff House Inn and Cabins, in the Mount Moran cabin. Walkable to the center of Jackson Hole with its famous antler arches and Cowboy bar (with the saddle stools).
We stop in for dinner at Local, right on the town square, then pop into the occasional shop on our way back to the Inn. Which is lovely. And we settle in and get arranged and …
Well I can’t tell you any more than that. Because I went straight to sleep.