The Third Crossing

above: The Big Dude views the Teton Range from an erratic.


I envisioned our third trip across the continent as one in which we would meander and pick off a few more interesting places and states that we missed on the first two crossings. But, that was just a fantasy. The fact is, we are out of money and time. So, our third crossing turned into an express trip though the heart of the country during a heat wave without air-conditioning. Can you just feel my excitement?





left: A moose “munching” at Grand Teton N.P.







right: Crystal clear waters of Lake Taggart.





It wasn’t all sweat and misery though. The Hippygeek picked out friends and family to visit along our route (yippee, they all had air conditioning!) which created a more relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere despite the heat.





left: The Lil’ Dude thinks he’s “big stuff” at Jackson Lake.






right: A bat on a post in front of the visitors center.





We made visits in Charlotte N.C., Tuscaloosa, Al, Shreveport La., Palestine, Tx., Granbury, Tx., Santa Rosa, N.M., Cheyenne Wy., and then made our only two sightseeing stops in The Grand Teton National Park and Craters of the Moon National Monument before finally arriving in Bend.













A big thanks to all of the friends and family along the way who provided us with great company, a wonderful meal and of course air conditioning!



I could have shown pictures of us sweating our butts off across the country but decided pictures of scenic beauty might be a little more enjoyable. We spent several days at Grand Teton N.P. which turned out to be exciting and disappointing at the same time. One of the most picturesque spots in the country turned out to be shrouded in smoke from wildfires burning out of control in Idaho.





left: Smoke from the wildfires near Boise blew all the way to the Tetons resulting in pictures….




….like this.






When we first entered the park, we had to squint just to see a faint line in the sky which represented the distinctive craggy peaks. The smoke dissipated just a bit the second day so we could appreciate what the mountains might look like on a clear day. Then the smoke took over again on the third day which convinced us that we would have to return another time to fully appreciate their magnificence.










right: The Grand Teton (literall translation: big boob) is seen behind.





We did two hikes, one by Jackson Lake and the other by Taggart Lake both of which were  easy scenic walks. We also attended ranger talks on porcupines and the history of the native people and plants of the area which fulfilled the requirements for the Dudes to earn their 37th ranger badges.











right: Getting their 37th ranger badge.




Our last night, our neighbor Jim presented us with fresh trout from Jackson Lake which were still squirming before they made their way on to the campfire. There is nothing like really fresh fish although the Lil’ Dude declined a piece as he is still a little unnerved at the reality of eating something he once saw alive. He may be headed down a vegetarian path.




left: Mmmm, trout for dinner!











right: Our neighbor Jim’s dog, Boomer, an experienced camper.







The route from the Tetons to Bend, Oregon takes one right past Craters of the Moon National Monument so we couldn’t very well pass up the opportunity to see it. We stopped in for the afternoon to see the largest lava field of it’s type in the lower 48 which contains 60 flows and 25 cones with the most recent lava flow being only 2000 years old. Asphalt trails laid upon the mounds of lava described by an Oregon Pioneer as “Devil’s Vomit”, enabled us to walk among the lava blocks, pahoehoe and a’a flows, lava bombs, spatter cones and tree molds.











right: A Pahoehoe lava flow.





The barren eery landscape truly made us feel like we had landed on another planet and fascinated the Dudes. One of the hikes lead us up what looked like a giant sand dune except that it was jet black. Once on top, the wind blew a steady 40mph which just about lifted the Lil’ Dude into the sky like a kite.




left: The guys try not to fly away while on top of the “inferno cone”.







right: Rainbow colors can be seen on some of the volcanic rock.





We, of course, stayed long enough for the Dudes to earn their 38th and last ranger badge of our big trip although we plan to add to their collection in the years to come. Only 356 more to go for a complete collection!











right: A small cave with a view of the cinder cones in the distance.







left: Beautiful flowers in a barren wasteland.


above: The 38th and last ranger badge of the big trip.


After two weeks and 3300 miles, our third crossing of the continent ended at our new home of Bend, Oregon. We endured heat, smoke and long hours on the road but, when we arrived, it was sunny and 85 degrees, a perfect start to a new life.


above: The guys hike up the “Inferno Cone”.


 “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers.”  Pat Conroy


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