Friday, September 05, 2008

I feel like a man on the moon

I feel like a man on the moon
Originally uploaded by rod lewis
August 11, 2008
To Jackson, Wyoming
445 miles (6,390)

I’m sitting by the fire on the bank of the Snake River, staring up at the sky, watching for the Perseid shower, while the moon rises over the Tetons. The river is singing a lullaby. Actually to my left is the Snake River, and to my right is a creek - literal flowing surround sound of my favorite noisemaker in the world. The moon is rising over the mountaintops. It is a slow process. I watched it rise 3 hours ago as I fought my way through the less traveled passes on my way to Jackson, but here, by the river, it is just beginning to show its face over the hills.

Yes, it is cold. There is snow on the mountaintops. But the fire is warm and crackling and the occasional meteor shoots across the sky, and you tell me you don’t wish you were me right now!
I set the tent up in the complete dark, with only the glow of the baby fire, but I doubt I’ll get in it. The sky is crystal clear, and there’s a show up there. It’s the fireworks display at the end of a day of spectacular scenery.
In fact, the day started out well. I awoke early, and was actually awake when I woke. So I rolled out and got started. I showered the sleep from my eyes, sipped a cup, and packed the windhorse. Today, as expected, was the day that the horse hit 6,000 miles for this trip. That, of course, means 6,000 miles on this oil, so I set about looking for some accommodations for an oil change. I first tried a quick lube place and was refused, as I expected. Eventually, I came across a guy in a mechanic’s outfit, and asked him for assistance. Turns out that he services power company trucks and would be more than happy for the company provided my presence in his shop. So we made our way there and talked about marriage, bikes, trade-school, professoring, wives who make more money than we do, Three Dog Night, Oklahoma, friends who’ve laid their bikes down and suffered the consequences, heaven, heaven-oklahoma-and three dog night, college, air filters, and the weather, while he worked on a diesel engine, and I changed my oil and air filter. I’d been carrying around my air filter since I bought it in Albuquerque and subsequently rounded off a bolt head with my cheap, Honda-issued kit wrench and was unable to finish the job. A fine Craftsmen wrench was all it took to remove the rounded bolt, and all’s well that ends well.
I bid my new friend goodbye, wished upon him the peace of Christ, and made my way Eastward, toward the glorious US route 20 across Nowhere Idaho. Back here, on US 20, there is nothing, and no one. One can really peel away the miles on US20. Which I did.
In no time, I was upon the Craters of the Moon National Monument, which I expected to merely roll through, be amazed, and move on. Wrong.

I stopped at the Visitor Center to get my National Park Passport cancelled, and learned that there was a 7 mile loop along which one could climb craters, walk through underground lava tunnels and be otherwise amazed at this amazing wonder of a lava field. So I spent a couple hours being otherwise amazed.
Back on the road, I arrived in Jackson, Wyoming at sunset, and began looking for a campsite. I thought Jackson was an actual town, but it turns out that it is a fake town used to bilk bucks out of unsuspecting city slickers out to spend a week in the wilds of the Tetons.. Everything but McDonald’s Chipotle Chicken Snack Wrap is price-gouged. So a quick phone call home, and Allison googles me a price-gouged KOA just south of Jackson, smack on the Snake River.
That, folks, is where you find me tonight. sitting by the fire on the bank of the Snake River, staring up at the sky, watching for the Perseid shower, while the moon rises over the Tetons.
Good night moon. Good night bears. Good night people, everywhere.