Tom & Charlene's Excellent Adventures travel blog

The Sitzman Motel

Our cool shades

enlarge& look really close there is a star far left of the...

Jackson Hole during totality


We bid a fond farewell to Rocky Mountain NP and pointed our buggy toward the Tetons. As we headed north the landscape was mostly flat with a few rolling hills and the mountains in the distance. Hay was the only crops we saw. There were house-size stacks of baled hay. Many of the hay fields were being irrigated. The fire risk has been severe in this area. We saw 10-15 white tail deer running across the fields. They had easy pickings in the hay fields. Other than the hay fields the ground was covered by brown grass, sagebrush, and a few small trees/bushes.

A big surprise as we drove north on route 191 – The Sitzman Motel – my maiden name is Sitzman. Didn’t know there were any other branches of the family. I met Micaela Sitzman Michelson. Her parents and grandparents moved to Farson, WY from Ft. Collins, CO when she was a young child. They moved to start a sheep ranch and ended up with the small mom & pop motel and café. She took over running the motel and café after her parents passed away. Thought it interesting that her dad ran the motel and our dad ran a mobile home park.

Driving into Pinedale, WY the local EMS service was broadcasting eclipse info. We stopped at their temporary headquarters to get maps and find out about glasses. They were very helpful and directed us back into town to buy the glassed - $3.00/each. They also told us about Forest Service camps they thought had spots still available. After finding three campgrounds full we pulled into a big open lot next to the Hoback River and fell asleep listening to rushing water.

Up early Monday to stake out a spot for the eclipse in Jackson Hole. We anticipated a long line of cars clogging the road into Jackson. Surprise! No problem getting into town or finding a parking place. Found the Visitor Center and received info about the best viewing sites in town. The VC was very nice with ample free parking and very nice restrooms. Jackson had planned well for this big day. Volunteers were everywhere answering questions and directing traffic. We decided on the Town Square as our viewing site – great choice. We were in the middle of town with an enthusiastic crowd sharing the experience. A volunteer was at each corner of the Square giving out FREE glasses (and we thought our $3 glasses were a bargain. . .). As the eclipse progressed the volunteer would tell what to expect next. When totality occured a cheer went up from the crowd. It was one big party! It was dark. The temperature dropped about 20⁰, took a while to warm up after totality. Street lights came on, we could see stars in the sky. As the next phase happened we were told to watch shadows. The shadows of leaves were “bent”, very pretty. The crowd dispersed quickly after the total.

We drove to the Yellowstone/Tetons info center and received info about both parks and camping. The Forest Service opened a gravel pit on their property north of Jackson and spray painted slots for 160± RV spaces – free camping! Drove back into Jackson and found the traffic jam we didn’t see earlier. The volunteers were at intersections directing traffic and allowing the crowds to safely cross the streets. We enjoyed a late lunch sitting on the balcony of the Town Square Tavern. Met a couple from the Akron area who live in Montana for the summer. They noticed Tom’s OSU shirt and told us 2 of their sons graduated from OSU. After lunch we walked around Jackson. The party mood prevailed. Jackson definitely is a tourist town but all the souvenirs were of the expensive variety. Still full from lunch we decided to have dessert for dinner. Ice cream from Moos filled our tummies!

We made our way us Rt 191 to the newly made Forest Service Spread Creek Campground. We also found more of the traffic jam we missed earlier. The line of cars coming south from Teton and Yellowstone was backed up 2-3 miles. Glad we were heading north. We were warned that the drive back to the camp area would be rutted and dusty – they weren’t kidding. Think I knocked a few molars loose! There were 10-15 units already settled in. Found our spot for the night and turned out the lights.

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