Sunday, June 5, 2011

Memorial Day and Memorable Day

Memorial Day's weather was unpredictable and staff prepared for an "indoor" picnic of T-Bone Steaks, corn on the cob, grilled asparagas, salad and a dessert.  Folks brought their own beverage so I uncorked a bottle.  

The food was incredible, especially since I had saved up my appetite and was looking forward to my final social interaction with these wonderful folks who had welcomed me--an outsider--to their staff function.

I asked the group if anyone was a "Fugitive from Justice" before I took this pic.  One never knows--WorkKamping IS an alternative lifestyle!  (Kent is in the blue shirt in front.)

After dinner, I again asked the group if anyone wanted to challenge me to a game of Scrabble.  Lo 'n behold, a retired attorney with a Scrabble dictionary threw down the gauntlet!   "Competitive" meets "Cutthroat"-- but I ended up beating him, much to my and the onlookers' delight!  It's not often you can get the upper hand with an attorney.  

Departure Day was bittersweet as I had grown fond of my new friend, Kent and enjoyed our easy comaraderie and the other WorkKampers, several of whom were from Florida.  Kent and I promised to stay in touch by phone, since he doesn't "do" the internet, and we are both on Verizon network!

My eastbound trek back over the Teton Pass was even nicer than the westbound one; it was like a completely different route!  There were several more scenic turnouts because the eastbound trip has a greater distance UP the grade (whereas the westbound is steeper and shorter)!  This pic is at the summit which is 8431 ft.  And I can tell you that their air up there was very thin because I was breathless with virtually no exertion just getting this shot!

When I arrived at Jackson, I decided that NOW was the time to take my whitewater rafting trip.  There were many rafting outfits in town vying for tourist dollars and, of course, you have the famous Snake River to provide the thrills!  Usually the Class 2/3 rapids are what rafters can expect, but with the extra rain and snowpack meltdown, the water was running very fast!  I was told about 16K cfm's though that is a meaningless amount to me.

I contacted one of the many outfitters to make the usual inquiries, including where to park the RV for the morning.  They directed me to the KOA campground which, in this area, begin at $79++ for one night--for a TENT site!  Unbeknownst to me, the whitewater tour company also owned the local KOA (aka Keep on Adding...).  I was horrified and had never encountered such a high price for an urban campground which was...crowded and not especially attractive.   

I knew that Jackson was RV unfriendly in the sense that they do not permit any RV's to be anyplace but a campground and will roust you big time if you are discovered outside your designated enclosure.  This is admittedly, probably necessary as the streets are narrow and choked and there is not much space in town to park even for a small car.

After spending an hour online, I found a place that was 12 miles away in Hoback Junction right on the Snake River for $30 so I booked the rafting trip, while unknowingly insulting the tour guide office saying I refused to be ripped off by KOA.

Arrived at the Rafting company's office early to park the RV and get Cassie situated.   Pigtailed my hair as I knew I would get wet.  Also, I wanted to make sure I got a wetsuit that kept me warm in the 46 degree water if I should go overboard!   

I wouldn't say it actually fit cuz the wetsuits are really sized for the male frame so mine was very long in the torso and legs.  Not a pretty sight!  Here I am with just the body suit and no jacket.

On the 30 minute bus ride to the launch site, I became friendly with my BusBoys, a family of 4 men (Dad, 2 sons and a son-in-law).  Dad was from Stuart, FL about an hour away from Lake Wales.

The guys "adopted" me and here we are all suited up at the launch site.  I felt very protected as they were experienced rafters.  We were prepped with a fairly lengthy and detailed paddling and survival techniques by our raft guide, who appeared to be 19 years old and was wearing only surfer shorts.  He was a very funny guy and added a lot of fun to the trip.  He thanked us at then end and said because we spent money doing this, he didn't have a get a "real job".

I didn't get a pic of the "safety" kayaker; however, he was a gorgeous man.  Like a outdoorsy Donny Osmond-beautiful.  He should be featured on all their brochures.

During the trip, our guide let everyone who wanted to "rodeo" on the raft to see who could "ride the bull" the longest!  Here's what happens-a passenger climbs up on the nose, grabs a rope and the rest of the passengers paddle in circles like crazy and/or shift their weight to rock the raft and try to knock the rider off into the water.  Crazy fun!

After the last rapid (waaahhhh), we disembarked, re-dressed and were transported to a lovely picnic site where we had....sandwich lunches bagged by....KOA!

Here is my BusBoy gang walking from the photo studio that got a professional  action shot coming out of a rapids.  We bought a pack of 5 pics and each took one.  I tried to make a .jpg to post here but I can't get good enough resolution.  (They wanted like $80 for a .jpg  as opposed to $5 for a paper photo.)

There was supposed to be a Rodeo in town but for some reason they didn't hold it, so I headed north toward the Grand Teton NP.  Fair skies ahead--RAFT ON!


  1. Yeah, take a couple of those good lookin' guys and....hmmmm! Got guts to do 46 degree water!! Looks liker they took care of you just fine! School's out, road schedule starts this week so, as you say, "head 'em up, movin' out" as of tomorrow. Never a dull moment for either of us, huh? Take care, look forward to hearing from you "on the road again"! Luv ya', girl! Annie

  2. Hey Sue and Cassie too,
    Glad you are having a blast and meeting lots of men - experienced and youthful.. ;-) hehe. But I have to wonder..are you on a "Bucket List" mission of sorts? 46 degree water..YIKES! It's bad enough when the air temp here gets below 72!! hahahahahaa
    LOVE your blog..take care and see ya soon, karen park- saddlebag