After rolling down the windows and waking up, we decided to take a detour for the day
. Shyanne we met at the Hot Springs suggested that we go into her town of Soda Springs and then town to Montpelier to the Oregon Trail history museum. So we did. I'd been wanting to have the kids learn about the west and the Oregon Trail and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. The south road was closed to Yellowstone which means we missed the Grand Tetons, so we had the extra day to explore. I wasn’t sure we were really near parts of the Oregon Trail… but apparently we were.
Soda Springs was first… population 3,371. They have their own geyser that goes off each hour. Then you drive to their Spring. Actual soda water comes right out of the ground. Aha! The name "Soda Springs". It is just down-gradient of the phosphate mine (whose biggest customer by the way is RoundUp). Well, of course we had to try it. We weren’t sure you could drink it because no one was around trying to sell it to you. It just comes out of this spring all the time. Well it was. Bitter. . fuzzy… but not really great. So Katie had the idea of putting kool-aid mix in it. Low and behold we had Grape Soda! Now that was good! We bottled up some grape and fruit punch (which actually tastes like Spite… makes you wonder what they put in Sprite) and off we went quite tickled inside and out.
We arrived at the Oregon Trail Museum and next door was the Old Time Photo Shop “by appointment only”
. I made the call and the nice gentleman Mark said… well…”we really don’t open until May 1st , how long are you going to be in Town?” “A few hours.” I said. I had been also looking to do that “thing that I wouldn’t normally do” with a few extra dollars that had been given to me. He thought about it a minute and said, “I’ll be ready in 2 hours.” “Perfect”, I said and we hit the museum first. The Oregon-Trail museum is a living museum where the take you through the planning and executing of a wagon trip from Independence Missouri to the Colombia River. It was real neat and you should have seen James’ eyes get as round as saucers when they told him that the buffalo chip he was holding (cause kids used to have to pick them up for the fire each morning and night) was buffalo pooh. We all laughed so hard.
Once that was over, it was off for pictures next door. Brian was unshaven for a few days so he looked pretty rugged, Lis found an outfit that looked like Annie 0akly, Kate dressed like the cowgirl at heart she really is, James dressed like the bank robber “Jesse James” and me? I just had a hard time altogether. Why don’t they have LL Bean in the 1800’s? Regardless, the photographer was an artist and did his thing. This was a favorite activity for James.
Who would have guessed? He was so funny! Every time someone said something he didn’t like… He shot them. He even began to set up his own scenes. The final sale… we bought all the photos in electronic format. I now have a jump drive full of fun!
You know when Brian and I did this trip 20 years ago, people in different parts of the country were so different. There weren’t any chain stores except Sears and McDonald’s there was no internet… no cable TV …no cell phones… I remember out west in every truck stop you had the cowboy belt and the big buckle. I haven’t seen one yet. The people are very nice and accommodating, but not as different anymore. This country is homogenizing.
Warning… this paragraph is PG. Last night was the worst sleep ever. It should have been the best sleep since we had that great Hot Springs Soak… but the Chuckwagon Diner had the last laugh. An RV is way too small for the digestion of Onion Rings. I of course naturally stay away from them out of consideration of others… but everyone else is the group was not so considerate… and the onion rings have never really effected everyone else in such away… before… On top of that Katie crawled into bed in the middle of the night and I found myself between her and Brian. It was too much. I gave up… I had nowhere to go. Even though it was freezing, I cornered myself in the upper bunk and opened a few windows. Needless to say… onion rings are outlawed for the rest of this trip.