Exactly what i hoped to avoid What my preaching of unpressurized travel warns against The best laid plans…

Exactly what i hoped to avoid
What my preaching of unpressurized travel warns against
The best laid plans…

Okay. You heard me complaining about the nothing-to-do-in towns.
So I wake up yesterday and decide this: I will drive 430 miles today, using the flowering of the concept of the drive being the destination.
A good concept.

But it is nonetheless a long drive.
Made longer by my frequent stops.

Slow down!

Slow down!

Made more bearable by stopping at a place that served huge quantities of first rate ice cream at ridiculously low prices to appreciative Nebraskans.
Chocolate and chocolate chip, my order.
Ate slowly from my hot cup (no dripping; slowed melting; easy to hold)
So good.

Also on this trip, in one of the interesting towns (not many of them, I assure you) at an unpretentious ‘coffee’ shop that didn’t mention espresso on its signage.
What a surprise.
The most modern equipment, space age, really, where they weighed the beans and ground them to order.
Must rank this Wyoming town’s coffee as world-class.

But a long trip, from 8am to about 5pm of non-stop driving.
During which I lost my internet connections twice, about 20 minutes each.
Driving on long routes, the loss not so critical.

Did I mention I’ve developed a head cold.
From the car’s air conditioning.
How do I know that?
Am driving along with hot coffee in my right hand and the steering room in my left.
I must have been sitting on my third hand because when the sneeze came, fast as a bastard it did, I had nothing covering it.
‘It’ being a full sneeze, expelling a geyser of sneezelets.
Thousands of them.
Baby snots.
Traveling at the speed of the internet.
Instantly coating the dashboard and the windshield with tiny droplets, each of which spells revulsion for all those in its line of fire, except me, who casually wipes his hand on my jeans.
No one else wet.

Get to Jackson, Wyoming.
Still quite the distance to Yellowstone.
If I bunk here, my original plans, in the morning I’ll have a ninety minute trip to the gate of Yellowstone.

Pull over.
Look for a hotel and find one with a very expensive room, 229.00, but close, a mere 1.8 from the West Yellowstone gate.
I book it, last room, non-refundable.

Did I mention that on this entire trip, I have foresworn snacks in the car.
The ice cream my only nourishment since breakfast.
A popular rhythm on vacation: big breakfast, skip lunch, then dinner.
But I was hungry and would love a drink w dinner.

Smiling, I plug in the address expecting 90 minutes away, and that a struggle.
I gasp when I’m told: double that.
Three hours from here.
180 minutes.
In the mountains.
Yes, at the gate.
But the f------- Montana gate.
Leave Wyoming.
Drive through Idaho and into Montana.
Sun going down.
And hungry and thirsty (not for water.)
And the internet!
Will it behave?
And if it doesn’t?
Oh shitso.

Three-hour drive.
I don’t want to drive in the mountains in the dark.
Sun setting.
The race is on.
Beginning with an in-Jackson traffic jam before I get onto the mountain highway.
Clock ticking.
Sun plunging.

Mommy! I want to go home.

Well the in-town traffic finally gives way and I race that sun.
What’s that song about the devil and the best fiddler?

"Fire on the Mountain." Run, boys, run!
The Devil's in the house of the rising sun;
Chicken's in the bread pan picking out dough.
Granny, does your dog bite? No, child, no.

Charlie Daniels, The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

In the event:
The Internet behaved.
Traffic clipped along.
To the wire but…
I made it!

Today is Thursday, September 13, 2018
This is my 156th consecutive daily posting.
Time is 1.39am.
Last night I ate at a terrific Chinese restaurant.
Fried Chicken Wings and Vegetables with Coconut Curry.
Followed by a Pot of Chicken Broth with Noodles.

I ate a lot.
Is there something (msg?) that they might have put into their delicious food that is keeping me awake?
And double-suck, the electricity in the entire town of West Yellowstone is out until 5.00am.
is that keeping me awake?

Anyway, am heading to Salt Lake City later and the weather there will be a spectacular 82* and partly cloudy.

So I did a lot of complaining regarding the timing of the trip.
Okay, but don’t let that take away from the beauty of it.

Early in the trip I left Nebraska and entered Wyoming.
Soon, I entered foothills and the excitement was rampant.
In and out of the car to take photographs.
So lovely the scenery.
And exciting. 

Mid-afternoon things change from the lovely and exciting to the dramatic and overwhelming.
We enter the Bridger-Tetons.

Bridger-Teton National Forest is located in western Wyoming, United States.
The forest consists of 3.4 million acres (14,000 km2), making it the third largest National Forest outside Alaska.
The forest stretches from Yellowstone National Park, along the eastern boundary of Grand Teton National Park and from there rides along the western slope of the Continental Divide to the southern end of the Wind River Range.
The forest also extends southward encompassing the Salt River Range and Wyoming Range mountains near the Idaho border.

And it is stunning.

Will continue this tomorrow.

Amazing. This, the drive-through of the Bridger Tetons National Park, not the Yellowstone, was the best part of the trip to Yellowstone Park. Few cars; few people. Not admission. Pull over anywhere and walk anywhere.

This, the drive-through of the Bridger Tetons National Park, not the Yellowstone, was the best part of the trip to Yellowstone Park.
Few cars; few people.
Not admission.
Pull over anywhere and walk anywhere.

Don't forget to communicate with me @

Tony Cintolo did:

GO DOM GO!!!!! Very much enjoy sharing your adventure. Have never been thru the real "heartland" so much new and interesting for me.

Moved to write you today on this sad memorial day. So many sad and scary personal memories of 9/11 tragedy reporting and fears of what the future would hold. If it fits your agenda, I would be curious about your observations on any visible 9/11 "memories" out there 1000+ miles from the scene. Even in retrospect.

Be safe

Web Master Responds: Delighted you’re enjoying my reportage.

Sadly, I did not notice a single memorial, here in the Trump heartland where one might expect something dramatic.
Otherwise, friends have quietly recounted their personal losses to me, the full extent of memorials.

Thanks for bringing it center-front.

Sally Chetwynd did:

Oh, Dom, you got me slavering over that photo of the prime rib!  I'm with you - bone-in.  Not only for the visceral pleasure of nibbling the last shred from the bone but for the added flavor the bone imparts to the meat during roasting.  Win-win for me. 

Your Iowa photos must be making Linda Malcolm slaver, too, over images of home.

No apologies necessary for including your own image in the blog.  I like it.  You look like a seasoned traveler.

 Traveling mercies to you, and come home safely.


Web Meister responds: Thanks, dear girl.
And I love the word: slaver. Don’t see it much.

And so did Marc Oliviere communicate:

Beautiful pictures, Dom. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for including one of yourself. It provides to the overall presentation a more personal touch. Lookin’ Good!  

And that back story about Amana. It’s kind of like the Amish, or the Shakers, only they aren’t at the head of a major corporation. 

Thanks again.  

I look forward to your posts.

Web Meister responds: Thanks, Marc.

And so did Tommie Toner:

Great photos! Thanks for sharing! You are looking good - especially in the SC hat. Happy trails!

Web Meister responds: I remember! Was it a cool and cloudy day?
I certainly remember your dinner and the meal we had at ???
Good memories.

The time pressure is closing in on me so I’m taking the liberty of stopping here although I haven’t yet discussed the trip itself, with the extraordinary scenery.
Will leave that for tomorrow’s post.

So now it’s Howard’s turn.

Dispatches from the East


Your peregrinations, back and forth, to and fro, are conjuring all sorts of associations. One of them inspires me to offer this for your consideration… It is September. Your experiences are evocative (clearly). So:

I hope you’re familiar with this, but maybe not. I’ve loved this song, and the whole show, The Fantasticks, since it opened off-Broadway 58 years ago. I was 14, and you were… older.


When I get a chance, I’ll send you a file of the whole song.

I don’t know if you were a fan of Jerry Orbach, who played the character El Gallo in the production and sings this song. He’s best known these days, though he’s gone now and no doubt memory fades of a fickle public, as the sad-faced detective Lenny Briscoe on the original Law & Order, or as the dad in the original of the film “Dirty Dancing.”

But to me he was always the song and dance man on Broadway that made for his initial fame and recognition.

He was 25 when he appeared in “Fantasticks” and on the cusp of his ultimate power and talent. In his obituary, Ben Brantley of the Times said Orbach was “one of the last bona fide leading men of the Broadway musical and global celebrity on television.” [as you like to say, thank you Wikipedia]

Anyway, enjoy the song. This is, after all, the kind of September we should all try to remember.


And while I’m more or less just free associating, with the natural prompts of your news out west, where you are and what you’re doing (or not doing):

People out there, as you’ve no doubt discovered, love an open road and a fast car. You know, like to see how much over 80 they can do…

 And in Montana… you know, “big sky country” as in “how to get to heaven faster”… they didn’t even bother with numbers until 20 years ago. The speed limit was posted as “reasonable and prudent” which has a flexible definition, especially once you’ve had a few shooters of vodka…

 Now it’s 80, like where you are, right next door. A speed to conjure with. So close to 100.

Please be careful.


Oh, and one other thought… Give me a second. Oh yeah. Quotidian.

Really. There was a time, probably starting soon after I had spent a brief sojourn (anything less than a year is “brief”) in LBF (la Belle France), when everything I said (or mainly wrote) was “quotidian” this and “quotidian” that. I had realized that my subject, mainly photographic, since I was a teenager, capable of taking serious photographs that could be taken seriously, was the quotidian.

William Dean Howells, a novelist in his own right, was a friend to both Mark Twain and Henry James (of which there could be no greater differences as writers, and yet both implacably American writers, indelibly so, each sui generis). They were relationships that started naturally enough when Howells was editor of what was then (in the late 19th century) the most important and influential intellectual and literary journal in the country, a little magazine out of Boston called The Atlantic Monthly. 

So anyway, Howells, who I considered seriously as the subject of my doctoral thesis, that is, his novels, was famous for writing about ordinary people in their everyday lives. The moment I came across one particular thing he said, “Ah poor real life. How I love thy foolish and insipid face…” it became a touchstone of mine, and, along with quotidian, became the words I looked for excuses as contexts for using them. One friend of mine made fun of my use of quotidian by sticking it in randomly as a qualifier in an email he sent me in response to one of mine.

In France, of course, it’s so much less esoteric a word. There’s a national chain of bakeries, called, naturally enough, “Au Pain Quotidien”… Your daily bread. Where have we heard that?