10/8/2014: Jackson -> Fontanelle Reservoir -> Kemmerer, Wyoming

Jackson, Wyoming was pretty much what we expected it to be.  It’s a gussied up tourist town loaded with good looking buildings and high end merchandise.  There were a bunch of places to buy a staggering array of hats and, I do love to buy myself new hats.  But alas, there’s just no room in Flipper for any more hats.  Bummer.  There was also a wide selection of western clothes, outdoor clothing and leather goods.  And, if I’d been a gazillionaire and had some big empty closets in Flipper I probably would have gone crazy.  But, alas once again, we’re not rich and our closets are full.  So, since Jackson’s pretty much a shopping and skiing town and there’s no snow, there wasn’t much there for us.  We walked around downtown for an hour or so and then hit the road.  I’m sure everyone has seen the following photo before but, in case you haven’t, those are all deer and elk antlers, except for the moose rack in the middle, and there’s one at each of the 4 corner entrances to the town park.  Granted, it’s not solid as there’s a big core that the antlers are attached to, but that’s still a LOT of horns.

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As we wended our way south from Jackson, the landscape changed from the wooded mountains to the more desert-like landscape that we remembered from when we lived in Rock Springs back in 1977 and part of 1978.  And always the snow-capped peaks in the distance.

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We began to see a lot of prong-horned antelope but I failed to get any photos as they were either too far away when there was a good place to pull over, or there was no good pullout when they were nearby.  Typical.

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We decided to hit a BLM campground along the west shore of Fontanelle Reservoir.  The reservoir is a back-up of Green River.  Along the way we stopped in Big Piney for groceries and beer.   Wasn’t too much there that looked like a grocery store but there was this store next to a truck stop that looked like they had some of everything, so we stopped.  Indeed, they did have some of everything except groceries and beer.  As we wandered the shelves filled with everything from fishing tackle to shoes, and anything else you could think of in between, we were both wishing we needed something, anything!  But, we couldn’t come up with a single thing and left empty-handed, but not before inquiring about a grocery store.  We were directed back a mile north to Marbleton. We found the grocery store but also found out that they don’t sell beer.  For that we had to backtrack another half mile or so, to the liquor store.  Oh, it’s so hard to keep track of the various laws pertaining to alcohol sales from state to state.

Re-supplied with necessities, we pushed on.  We pulled over at Names Rock and looked at the names of early pioneers carved into the sandstone.  There were also a lot of names of not-so-early, non-pioneers who decided to scratch their names in alongside the likes of Jim Bridger.

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We’d chosen the Fontanelle Creek Campground from the many along the reservoir because it was the first one we’d come to.  The ones further on were non-fee places and this one was $7.00 but we figured, what the heck.  Especially since my America The Beautiful Senior Pass would bring the price down to $3.50 anyway.  We pulled into the empty campground around mid-afternoon.  There was a class C motorhome parked in the Campground Host site but we never saw any signs of life in it.  The facilities consisted of picnic tables, wind/sun shelter and a very clean vault toilet, the water, and therefore the flush toilets, having been turned off for winter.  Our site overlooked the reservoir.  

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We set up the Sirius radio,  unwrapped some soft blue cheese, opened a box of crackers and cracked open a couple of beers.  We ate cheese and crackers, listened to Outlaw Country, sipped our beers, worked on our crossword puzzles and generally enjoyed our solitude on a pleasant afternoon.

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We had a very nice, quiet night.  You couldn’t even hear the sounds of the sparse traffic from highway 189 which didn’t really seem all that far away.  But it must have been far enough because we heard nothing.  We had a full moon that night and the next morning it was still high in the sky as I watched the sun come up.  I was living up not having any neighbors by having all the curtains in Flipper wide open to let the morning sun in.

After breakfast we headed to Kemmerer, Wyoming.  Why kemmerer?  Because that’s where the J.C. Penney “Mother Store” is.  The first store that James Cash Penney opened under his own name was right here in Kemmerer, Wyoming.  The store is still in operation and, although I’m sure they’d have loved to sell us some clothes, they were very gracious when they found out we were just tourists.  They gave us a handout about Penney’s life and told us a bit about the history of the store.

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This is the contraption they used to slingshot money up to the office so the office folks could make change as the associates weren’t allowed to handle the money otherwise.  This is a shortened version as it used to go all the way from the back of the store to the office in the front, upstairs.

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And here, just down the street, is where JC and his family lived for a few years.

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After Kemmerer, we headed to Utah.  First stop: Dinosaur National Monument.

Jackson to Fontanelle Reservoir: 132 miles

Total: 2795 miles


About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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5 Responses to 10/8/2014: Jackson -> Fontanelle Reservoir -> Kemmerer, Wyoming

  1. Shelly says:

    Looks like you’re lone travelers, just as you like it. You are seeing some beautiful country in what I think is the prettiest time of the year. I am thinking of you every time I slope a cold one in me blue koosii. Enjoy you travels.

  2. Shelly says:

    I think I meant to say “slip” a cold one. Just goes to show ya what it takes to watch the U of I game on TV.

  3. Nita says:

    Very interesting about J.C. Penney – had no idea whatsoever. Thanks for the great photos and descriptions. I can almost FEEL the sunshine!

  4. sailmama says:

    How in the world did you know about the original JCP store? The photo took me back 50 years as the JCP in my little hometown of Logansport IN looked exactly like that when I was growing up. It was THE place to shop when I first learned to drive way back then.

    Fyi: No stinkin’ snow here in Southern CA -still 80, sun and flip flops/shorts. Thought of you two today as we traipsed around the open air Steam Engine Museum in Vista CA, complete with a Gem & Mineral Show, a Wool/Weaving/Handicrafts Show, live alpacas AND a 5-piece bluegrass band!! My darn phone/camera was in the car so no pictures (see why I thought if you?), but it was right out of the Old West. Next weekend they are having a full-on old-fashioned tractor pull!

    • sryoder says:

      I think it was our friends in Moscow who reminded me of the vague recollection I had about the Mother Store being in Kemmerer. If it was someone else, I apologize, but we’ve talked to so many folks about so many things so far on this trip that a lot of it becomes a jumble. Anyway, I rode by the JCP store here in Price yesterday and it looks an awful lot like the one in Kemmerer. But, from what I read, once ol’ JC got rolling, he built a LOT of stores in a short time.

      Our flirtation with shorts and flip-flops weather was short-lived. It’s been pretty cool at night all along but, at least until the stupid gale-force winds of yesterday, it had at least been warm in the day. The wind has dropped off nicely but it’s only 40 degrees outside at 6:30 AM.

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