This morning starts with some blogging and working again. I’ve come to realize that when I do it first thing in the morning and just a few hours that I don’t mind it so much. I have to work a bit, because the Dutch or European government came up with some new rules for websites and now some adjustments to be made on few of the websites that I maintain. It annoys me a bit, because I think governments shouldn’t make rules for the internet. Like the plans they have to monitor it all, I’m strongly against that. The internet a free place and it should stay that way. I think the problem with many governments is that they want to control everything. This has not so much to do with traveling, but I feel I had to get that out there. Anyway, not to get into trouble I’ll try to follow the rules and make the adjustments. After a double espresso and a cappuccino I’m ready to start driving around eleven in the morning. It’s about 4,5 hours driving to the town Jackson, which is in the South of Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park. My plan is to go there today and travel through the National Parks back to the North to end up with my family in Montana as final destination for this journey.
It’s beautiful to drive through Montana. A little less spectacular than Washington state, but also here the views are very wide and endless. There are high mountains at the horizon behind wide open fields. I’m thinking about how this all compares to New Zealand where I was about half a year ago. What makes it so different is that here in America you can drive for many hours and stay in the same kind of landscape, where as New Zealand is much more compact. Down there the different landscapes are much closer to each other. I think that Washington state comes the closest to the landscape in New Zealand. That’s why I said the other day that if you can visit only one state, you should visit Washington. There are so many beautiful places in America, but there you have it all. The Pacific Ocean, the North Cascades, Olympia and Mt. Raineer. There are more places I love, like Montana and Colorado, but you quickly start missing the ocean and the beaches.
I drive to Jackson in Wyoming, just under Grand Tetons National Park. It’s one of the most touristic towns I’ve visited, but it’s nice to walk through. There are many tourist shops and restaurants. I think I’ll park next to one of the hotels tonight and go to the National Parks early in the morning. While walking through Jackson I suddenly see a modern building of glass. It’s a vertical green house where you can buy lettuce. I walk inside and there’s a Dutch guy sitting behind the counter. That’s a fun surprise to speak Dutch for a moment. He tells me there are only two of these vertical green houses in America. I think I’ve seen a YouTube video about this in the past, I like the concept. There is a small park in the center of town surrounded by stores and bars. Somehow this place feels familiar and I wonder if I’ve been here before. I might have to check my 80 days in America blog for that.
Just when I drive out of town I see a toy store. ‘You’re never too old for that’, I think by myself and I stop the car. When I walk in I am amazed immediately. The whole store is an animated shorting gallery. There is a talking moose who is having a conversation with a bison and all the walls are covered with targets. At the entrance is a Sheriff’s office where the owner greets me with a big smile. After some small talk he hands me a toy gun and tells me to explore the store. I am having a great time and play around for at least fifteen minutes I think. When I come back by the entrance of the store, the owner tells me that I have scored 6000 points, that is the score for the status of a Sheriff. We talk further with each other and he explains that he created this store so that children can experience the Wild West and really get the feeling that they’re on vacation. Something I believe he really succeeded in. I’m amazed by what a wonderful place this is and with how much passion the owner talks about it. He is one of the kindest people I have met in my life. If you ever visit Jackson in Wyoming, make sure that you will visit Jackson Hole Toy Store. It’s an experience you won’t quickly forget.
Overnight parking is hard to find in Jackson. Everywhere are signs that camping and overnight parking is not allowed, so I drive out of town again. Just at the edge of town I see a big yellow M and decide that I stay there for the night. I don’t feel so much like eating fast food again tonight, so I go to a restaurant across the street and plan to come back here for an ice cream dessert, because you have to be a customer to park there so I think that’s a good excuse, isn’t it? Going to the restaurant across the street is a great idea. They have burgers and salads and I decide to go with the healthy choice. It’s a delicious salad with chicken and probably one of the healthiest meals I’ve had here in America. It also feels good to eat something else than burgers and pizza. When I’m back home it’ll be Summer, I think I’ll also make more salads myself then. When I’m walking back to my car I think about how nice today was. The main part was driving, but it doesn’t feel like that. I think it’s because the visit to the toy store was such a great experience and just visiting this town in general is very nice as well.