High Desert to Rocky Mountain High, Wells to Tetons


Day 3: 411 miles (1135 total route), 17.6 mpg, 10 hours. Highways US 93, I-84, I-86, I-15, US26, ID31, ID33, WY22, US89

To say the desert has its own kind of beauty is faint praise; it almost apologizes unnecessarily that the views of US 93 are not what you get on CA 1. Such an endorser might as well add that, gee, the desert after all has a swell personality.

The high desert north of Wells, NV, is a warehouse of space. The personality of this expanse is more than just swell, it is confident. It don’t need no tourists, thank you. And after an overnight at the serviceable if unimaginative Angel Lake RV Park in Wells, the romance of the sage-studded emptiness had us charmed.

DriveGet across the state line and it’s as if Southern Idaho agriculture looked at their part of the Great Basin and said don’t just lay there, get up and do something. This part of the US is known for local cultures that turn deserts into paradise, with an ethic of industry and community, but the area also has water–the Snake River. Our route followed this fabled river off-and-on through the hay and corn toward Wyoming.


Jackson Hole from the top of the grade.

Idaho starts to look more like Wyoming even before you get there. The mountains start to ripple and crunch up to the Tetons’ back-side, as reckoned from where we usually see them. Ranches and farms make a few last stands up into the mountain valleys, then soon it is all peaks, pines and smaller roads. One such road from Teton Valley of ID into Jackson, WY gave us a 10% grade on each side, testing our transmission on one side and our brakes on the other.

WetOur pop-up’s water intake hose showed its lack of integrity at the Wyoming line, eventually leaving our water supply on the ground at the roadside turnout. This will not trouble us much where our camps have water hook-ups, but in a few places we will need a water supply from our tank. The nice fella at the Ace Hardware in Jackson sold us some magic tape that stretches and seals, but after some time spent under our trailer with this stuff, our camper holds its water a little bit better, but remains incontinent.Under

Now on the busy National Park side of the Tetons, they silhouetted themselves darkly against an even darker sky. Afternoon thunderstorms were inevitable, and menacing as they were, nevertheless they kindly withheld their fury until we were ensconced inside. We gave up on cooking the salmon at this point, and just picnicked at our table: Apples, salt/pepper rice crackers and jalapeno pub cheese, and beer.

We slept well.Jackson


About Cal Stevens

Learning professional, a training manager, speaker, writer; two careers in helping others succeed. Travel writer for the common road trip.
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2 Responses to High Desert to Rocky Mountain High, Wells to Tetons

  1. Barry Stephens says:

    Cal & Nancy – Kit and I are following your 49-day adventure with envy. We lived in Idaho Falls and enjoyed nearby Jackson Hole for two years (1976 – 1978). Amy, our oldest, was born there. Loved the place….just not that white stuff that falls from the sky and stays for 6 months each year. The day we moved (May 15th) it snowed. Our all time favorite park is Teton National. We’ve seen more wild life there than in Yellowstone. Jenny Lake is spectacular in the morning …….several years back we enjoyed a breakfast cruise, with its reflection of the Teton Mts in the background. Spectacular.
    Small group meets tomorrow. You and the Lauritzen’s will be in our prayers.
    Loving your updates. Stay safe,
    Barry & Kit

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