And the mystery location was….
Jackson Hole, Wyoming!
Jenni and I left the Triple L at 4:20 AM last Wednesday–yikes–headed for Spokane International Airport. (I’m not sure where the ‘International’ part comes in, as I don’t think you can fly directly to Canada OR Mexico from there). We caught a flight to Salt Lake City and then went on to Idaho Falls, ID, (of course), where we picked up our rental car and headed up into the high country, toward Jackson. (There is an airport in Jackson, but it’s REALLY expensive to fly in, so we decided to drive from ID Falls, enjoy the view, and save a few sheckels.) The drive is scenic, over twisty mountain roads, and takes about 2 hours.
Why did I choose Jackson? Because my new “Marriage” series is set in that area, and I needed to get a good look at the place, boots-on-the-ground kind of thing. While I had the story all figured out, I couldn’t quite get a handle on the setting–and the setting is always a character in its own right–so I felt stuck. Looking at the pictures online and in books just wasn’t working for me–I needed to BE THERE. I needed to SEE what my characters saw, in order to get inside their heads and hearts and spin the best possible yarn.
So, off we went. We stayed at a lovely lodge, complete with log walls and beautifully carved bears, mostly cubs, frolicking on the sides of the building, etc.
That first day, after all the flying and driving, we were pooped. We had dinner in the hotel and crashed.
The second day, we were taking things at a leisurely pace–the altitude affects energy levels, until you have a chance to get used to it–mostly driving around, checking out the touristy but still fun Town Square, buying our fair share of T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.
The third day, Friday, we got up early, enjoyed the hotel’s free breakfast, and set out for Yellowstone Park, wanting to see Old Faithful. Along the way, we passed through another National Park, Grand Teton, and we stopped often to take pictures. The scenery was positively staggering, it was so beautiful. Now, the Pacific Northwest, where I’ve lived most of my life, is nothing to sneeze at, scenery wise, but the Tetons took my breath away. Talk about rugged.
Old Faithful was amazing, of course. We arrived just as it was blowing, so we hung around another 90 minutes waiting for the next blast, having lunch and buying more T-shirts and coffee mugs and generally admiring the territory. We had a wonderful day, and after the long drive back, stopped at a restaurant for supper before heading across the street to our hotel and calling it a night. The place was called Sidewinder’s (probably still is ) and they serve great food. I had some of the best barbecued beef ever.
On Saturday, we did some more exploring and picture taking, indulged ourselves with mud wraps at the hotel spa, and, later on, rode the tram at the ski lodge outside of Grand Teton Village (about 12 miles from Jackson), up to the mountain top. The view, of course, was spectacular. Just to add a romantic flavor, there was a bride and groom aboard the tram, along with their wedding party. The happy couple had already tied the knot, but they wanted pictures on the peak, and I could see why.
Sunday was the wrap up–after checking out of the hotel, we lunched at Wendy’s (by this time, we wanted ordinary food), and headed back down the mountain to Idaho Falls, singing along with Patsy Cline most of the way and generally marveling over what a good trip we’d had.
It was late when we got back to the ranch, for sure, and there was one very happy Yorkie waiting to greet me.
I had some soup and fell face first into bed, surrounded by my in-house menagerie–two cats and the Yorkster–thinking how true it is: the best part of going on a trip, no matter how wonderful it may be, is coming home.
I fully intended to blog yesterday, but I was essentially a zombie. I stared at walls and took a long, long nap.
As we speak, Jenni is notifying two book winners for last week, and there’s a new contest underway now, so be sure to comment.
I’m still a little tired, but I’m certainly inspired, too. I can hardly wait to get back to “The Marriage Pact”, now that I have a clear sense of the place.