Day 27

Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, trouble in Yellowstone The room I had cost $19.95 for the evening, I made about 6 calls on-line, and the bill came to $26.43. They were lucky that I gave them the money-that's highway robbery. If money were no object, than I would not have a problem, but you know the cash flow situation. I checked out and then drove north into Wyoming. Crystal clear Blue skies with thick white powder in the flat lands in front of the vast snow-capped mountain regions. I stopped in a small town for breakfast at the Colter Lodge. They had an elk arch in the center of town. I drove through it and thought that I should stop. It was 8 degrees outside. It was a cold stop. I dropped yet 9 more postcards at the post-office. When I came out, this cowboy was looking under his hood in distress. I saw jumper cables, and quickly offered the Phalcon's assistance. The late 40's man's face lit up with relief, and myself filled with that energy made for a quick solution. He was back on the road in no time. I then crossed the road and nearly froze. It was so cold my nose froze. I stepped into the warm Colter Lodge. This place was cool. It was everything built in one. A lodge full of food and spirit, and moose and game hanging on the natural wood of the walls. I sat down in the dining area and had a full breakfast with bacon and eggs and all the fixins'. After breakfast, I drove to Jackson Hole, a very cool cowboy town. It was in Jackson that I discovered more elk arches, and funds. Tom & Nicole Lillis had made a recent donation of $200-, and the last time I checked the ATM, there were insufficient funds. By the way, the financial part of the Haul is a very complex difficult department to deal with, especially this far down the Haul-Way. Things are now just starting to move smoothly. Nonetheless, it will be a very interesting chapter for you all to appreciate. James McIntyre is a fantastic financial advisor that has been processing all of the many donations that have been streaming in. Thank you all for the checks here and there, we're keeping track of everything and have a real clever way of thanking you and all of the many people who have sponsored me, or hosted me for a night, or gave me something for the road, or pointed me in the right direction, all of these kind gestures have made the Haul such a magical odyssey full of great spirit and optimistic energy. Thank you all. The ATM on a corner in Jackson Hole, Wyoming magically spit out the $80- dollars I requested and thought for sure was to be rejected. I was so surprised I shouted yes and eyes were staring. I shot video the whole time, and thanked Tom & Nicole right there live as the money was spit out. This went a long way. After stepping around town, I went further on the road into Grand Teton National Park. Magnificent Mountain ranges created awestruck feelings. It was Saturday, and there were all sorts of dudes in pickup trucks dressed in orange camouflage. Several had big game dangling in their truck beds. As I drove further into the park the snow began to pile higher and higher. By the time I got to Yellowstone, it was dark outside, and the snow was so bad that the roads were closed indefinitely. This meant that I had to back track and circumnavigate the Tetons. The roads were dangerous, so I had to drive slowly. By the time I made it back to Jackson it was 6pm. My next destination was Missoula Montana, an estimated 6-7 hours north. I had never intended on leaving that late, but when you're on the Haul sometimes there's not time to stall. In order for me to get to Montana, I had to go over Teton Pass; this is and was the most dangerous road that I have ever been on. As I ascended into the pass, the roads were narrow and with a snow covered base. Going up was real tough on the Phalcon, a lot of weight and altitude. Upon reaching the summit, the descent is what became quite dangerous. As I was driving down this one steep stretch, the Phalcon was gaining too much speed for the sharp 45-degree turn. Instinct told me that there was no way I could make the turn. So I tapped on the breaks, and she fish tailed. With sharp, jagged rock of the mountain on my right, and miles of cliff to my left, there was no time to panic. She fishtailed into a 360 into the turn. I was praying for my life, and I could see traffic headed towards me up the mountain. After the first 360, inertia kept her going, and we would do yet another 360, right through the turn and back into my lane. It all happened so fast and without incident or accident. As I drove out the after shock effects lasted throughout the mountain range. It was not until about an hour after the pass that I realized that that was my second near death experience on the Haul. I never knew the Phalcon could maneuver in such a way. The rest of the night I would be challenged by the elements on I-15 north to Missoula. Low clouds on an icy highway make for downright dangerous Phalcon flying conditions. I arrived in Missoula past midnight and grabbed a room for 2 nights at the Rode Way Inn.