Road trip diary

Travels with Smartacus. Part one.

I am already flavored with Best Western coconut-scented hair conditioner, an aphrodisiac in some cultures, a bug repellant in others.

As Smartacus points out, they don’t call them Best Westerns for nothing.

In Utah, we had our first batch of hash browns, crisp on the edges and soft in the middle, like a good ribeye. They were splendid, how they soaked up the yolk, as we plowed them around our plates with little chunks of toast.

If the Best Western execs were really on their game, and it’s just a matter of time, they’d also offer a hash-brown scented hair conditioner. That would really set them apart from the Four Seasons of the world. They’re already a slightly better value.

 I can promise that folks like me and my son, Smartacus, and anyone else who prefers overalls to a tux, would stay at Best Westerns almost exclusively.

In the meantime, we also stayed at a Motel 6 in Jackson Hole, a point of debate when it gets out to the sisters and friends back home.

“Dad’s wallet squeaks,” was the consensus.

Might’ve actually been a Motel 5.5, for they didn’t have an ice machine that I could find, and the towels were so thin they could double as wedding night lingerie.

Not much nice to say about the Motel 5.5, especially at 200 smackers a night, which is better then during ski season, when the rack rate is $300.

That’s Jackson Hole, where as my high school chum Becky points out, the billionaires have chased out the millionaires. Not many scraps left for guys like me and Smartacus.

The Tetons were great, however. As I told Smartacus, they don’t call them Grand for nothing. These weren’t just any old Tetons, I can assure you that.

It was 35 the morning when we woke up, such a refreshing blast. Apparently, the Grand Tetons are a big block of ice that never quite thaws.

In downtown Jackson, they have this cowboy joint painted in neon. I could move to Jackson Hole based on that alone, were the home values a little more in line.

We had a rockin’ dinner at a place called Gather in Jackson, though, at a table out on the edge of the street, the kind of place restaurants put you these days, out there where they used to place the trash.

Now they call it “patio dining.” So be it.

One thing: Don’t ever order the trout Caesar at Gather. Everything else on the menu was first rate, especially the bison. But the trout Caesar at $9 is a crime against Rome, and the manager gladly knocked it off the bill when I complained.

“How’s everything over here?” he asked.

“This Caesar sucks,” I said.

I find that if you complain with charm and a little smile, they really respond.

Maybe trout doesn’t belong on a Caesar? Maybe I don’t belong in Jackson Hole? I never did find the hole, and there were so many RVs, you could barely see the surrounding mountains.

Travels with Smartacus. Part one. Two drifters, off to see the world…#ChrisErskineLA #roadtrips #jacksonhole

Yet, I sat so long drinking gin & tonics with my high school chum Becky that I might’ve crushed the nerve that runs to my left ankle. Now my heel tingles. Big deal. Not my driving ankle. That’s why God gives you two.

Bottom line: I really like Jackson Hole on my inaugural visit. Idaho is unusually green for this time of year, and the rivers are thrashing in Wyoming, including the mighty Snake.

This is not the parched landscape of mid-summer California. It is green, like money. Green as Becky’s eyes.

Next stop: Colorado, where I hope to find quieter rivers, where Smartacus and I can float slowly along on inner tubes, the greatest summer joy of all.

Two drifters, off to see the world…

Welcome to our three-week road trip. Sorry the car smells like socks. Look for my posts on Wednesdays and Saturdays (if I wake up on time).

20 thoughts on “Road trip diary

  1. You might wanna check out Carbondale. Our LA kids have been there for two weeks– small town with absolutely beautiful wilderness surrounding it and very few people. They rented an Air B and B.

  2. Chris- We are all craving hash browns now. Any recommendations for those left behind in Los Angeles and Santa Monica and San Fernando Valley?

  3. Is your furry companion along for the ride, or is pretty blue eyes house
    sitting for you back at the homestead?

  4. A few issues to discuss with you:
    1. Can I join the Gin & Tonic Club with Vodka? I didn’t even drink before you formed the club, and vodka was already in the house so now I’m addicted.
    2. Thank you for not bringing Fang along. Caesar isn’t healthy for dogs.
    3. What? No visit to Yellowstone?

    Loved it! Thank you!

  5. Chris
    Sounds like you may be experiencing a little gout in your left ankle. Hours sitting driving & drinking gin could contribute. Going easy on beer, avoidOmg liver may help, but don’t give up G & T!
    It’s an essential reward on road trips and shopping @ Costco.
    The voice of experience!

  6. Love the stories of your cross-country odyssey with Smartacus. Enjoy your inner tube float down a Colorado river. The fireflies and cicadas are (loudly) waiting for you in the Midwest. But don’t hurry…there’s so much to see.

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