Travelogue – Finding America Part Two

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September 19, 2022 by Scott Crosby - Views: 83

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Travelogue – Finding America Part Two

Part One of our Travelogue, in the August issue of the Sentinel, took us through North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and into Yellowstone Park.  

From there, we headed south.

Leaving Yellowstone, our first destination was the Grand Teton mountains.  You cannot take a wrong turn going from one to the other:  the south exit from Yellowstone Park is the north entrance to the Grand Tetons Park.   

The Grand Teton Mountains
The Teton Mountains are visible miles away as you leave Yellowstone Park.


The Grand Tetons are an awesome, majestic sight – in some ways even more remarkable than Yellowstone Park.  We stopped several times, as each vantage point provided a different perspective on a very different kind of grandeur compared to that seen in Yellowstone.  The mountain range is a vista that has to be experienced – photos do not do it justice – so be sure to add a visit to the Grand Tetons to your bucket list.  

We continued south from the Tetons on US-191 and then US-89.  Near Alpine, Wyoming, we stopped for lunch at Yankee Doodle’s Café. 

A sign just inside the entrance says, “Guns are welcome on the premises.  Please keep weapons holstered, unless need arises.  In such case judicious marksmanship is appreciated.”  One waitress’s t-shirt read, “Paper, Scissors, Rock, Gun, I win.”  As we were being seated, two gentlemen sat at the bar, one with a holstered Glock on his belt, open-carry style.  The two could be overheard discussing the virtues of the Glock 19.  

The café was filled to overflowing with patriotic Americana paraphernalia, and our lunches were good.  Both the staff and the customers were all friendly and happy and worth knowing:  our kind of people, as was everyone else we had met so far – and everyone we would meet everywhere throughout our journey.  

We were finding America, and it is good.

After lunch, we continued southbound, driving through Freedom, Wyoming, where we crossed the border into Idaho.  We drove on Idaho route 34 through a cut in a rugged mountain range to reach Interstate 15, heading south to Utah and Arizona.  

We spent that evening in Utah’s Brigham City, and continued south the next day.  We had visited Utah’s Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon – definitely worth seeing – several years ago, so we reluctantly passed them by, continuing on into Arizona – but not before stopping to snap a few quick photos of the house where the outlaw Butch Cassidy lived as a young boy.  

The Grand Canyon- All Carved by the
Colorado River.

We were headed for the east end of the Grand Canyon, in Arizona, and specifically, for the South Rim area.  We spent that night just east of the Canyon, in Tuba City’s nice NavahoLand Inn, with its convenient attached restaurant, and its welcoming greeting, Ya’ at’ eeh, above the door.

That greeting sounded familiar; John Wayne spoke something very like it in the great movie, McLintock!  The friendly staff at the Inn’s front desk were Navahos, and they confirmed it:  John Wayne was not just spouting meaningless gibberish; he was giving an actual greeting in the Navaho language.

We arrived early the next morning at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim area, parking in the Grand Canyon Village.  On the way in, we passed the Canyon’s east end, which is outside the Park.

The Village is the departure point for the “Red Route” scenic bus tour, which is the best way to see the Canyon.  The Red Route takes you to several stopping points from which to view various parts of the Canyon.  The route also includes a number of hiking trails, for those so inclined.  Buses depart several times an hour, so you can get off the bus at any stopping point to hike or take pictures, and then board the next bus to come along, and continue your tour.

After visiting the Grand Canyon we headed to Flagstaff for our overnight visit.  

The car had begun leaking coolant while we were in Yellowstone Park, so as we were leaving the Grand Canyon we phoned ahead to the Flagstaff Chevrolet dealer for help.  Short-staffed and with a three-week backlog, they managed to find the time to make repairs on the car of someone 3,000 miles from home in South Carolina, arriving mid-afternoon into their schedule.  They overnighted the needed parts, and had us on our way by noon the next day!  

Repaired and on our way, and on schedule!  Finding America never felt better!

Ride the Stage in
Tombstone, Arizona

Leaving Flagstaff, we drove south past Phoenix and Tucson to the town of Sierra Vista, just eight miles from the Mexican border.  En route, the temperature outside topped 110 degrees, but the car’s a/c kept us cool, and our engine’s repairs kept it cool!  

We stayed in Sierra Vista for two days, visiting family.  Not far away is the famous town of Tombstone.   Tombstone began as a mining town, but its claim to fame is its OK Corral, the site of the shootout between the Earp brothers (and Doc Holliday) and the Clanton gang.  We visited Tombstone to have dinner at the Depot Steakhouse restaurant with about a dozen members of our family.  The food was delicious, and the people there were great.

The next we were once again on our way, headed for Santa Fe, Taos, and Los Alamos, in northern New Mexico.

Next Month:  Finding America concludes with Part Three, in October, traveling through Santa Fe, Taos, Los Alamos, and Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico, and then on to the American Railroad Museum in Frisco, Texas, before finally heading home to South Carolina!  

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