Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Road Home Part 1: Town Square Shootout

After weeks of driving west and then making our way up the California coast, it was finally time to head east and eventually, home. Since I had already visited San Diego, San Francisco and Klamath Falls before, I was kind of happy to get back to exploring new destinations, like the national parks.

But before hitting the parks in Wyoming, we made a stop for the night in Boise, Idaho. There, we picked up Chris' Uncle Barney. 

Uncle Barney's name isn't really Barney. When Chris was little he thought Barney's new car looked like a race car and I guess the grownups made a joke about Barney Oldfield and then "Barney" stuck. Just want to be clear that it has nothing to do with a big purple dinosaur. Also - I had no idea who Barney Oldfield was until I heard this anecdote. Here is Barney:

Flash forward to Sioux Falls.

That picture was taken days after he joined us. The only other one I have is of him on a horse. Not exactly an introduction image.

Barney originally offered to come help me with some of the driving. But then I actually started all of the driving, and decided that I wanted to do ALL of the driving. Luckily, we had no idea that was going to happen when he booked his flights and we got to have Barney with us for several days. He helped me with the kids, and encouraged me to add Yellowstone to our itinerary (where I actually did let him drive). So he totally earned his keep.

Our first stop was Jackson Hole. 

We arrived mid afternoon, giving us just enough time to walk around a bit and then watch the nightly Town Square Shootout. Town Square has an arch of antlers on each of the four entrance corners (an estimated total of 8,000 antlers in all). All come from the elks' annual antler shedding - so no animals were harmed. 

We had some time to kill before the shootout. Which means we had time to get ice cream (dessert before dinner is totally allowed on vacation).

We (my kids) also gazed longingly at a stage coach offering rides to tourists. It's like a Wild West horse and carriage ride. 

When we noticed people starting to gather by one of the arches, we knew it was time to stake out a spot for shootout viewing. I asked about this at the hotel and got some good advice on when to go and where to stand. Our position was perfect. We could see everything and the sun was behind us (very important so late in the day). See my notation below...

Here is our view. If you do this, make sure you are facing Dali's so the sun isn't shining directly into your eyes.

The guns were real, but of course, they were all shooting blanks. I only mention this because the show is LOUD. There were a few little ones around us and at least one was in tears when the shooting started. My kids are of a "the louder, the better" age, so we were fine. At the end of the show, all of the children got shells from the the cowboys.

Moos's is where we got our ice cream - which was really good. 

That was pretty much it since we had to get up at the crack of dawn the next morning for one of my "aggressive" schedules. It included two national parks - so I'll cover that in a separate post. Tomorrow: Grand Teton AND Yellowstone.

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