We began our journey at Salt Lake City, UT - staying with Jerry's sister for a couple of days and visiting family. Then on the road in our rental - a Kia that definitely pulled to the right and only felt smoothe if you were going over 75. As the Utah and Wyoming interestates are marked for 75, no problem!
Our first stop, after a 5 hour drive with miles of nothing but sagebrush and mountains and ranches miles apart, was in Jackson Hole, WY. Stayed in that TTOS (Tourist Town on Steriods) overnight before heading out again the next morning on our way to Old Faithful Inn.
Jackson Hole is like Gatlinburg, TN - only twice the cost. Art galleries selling paintings for more than you paid for you car are common. Very few watercolors, but I did see some Dean Mitchell and some David Drummond watercolors - about 1/2 sheet matted and framed for a DM would cost you about $8-12 K while a very small postcard-sized David Drummond was going for $400. Pretty steep compared to what things sell for around here but, then, you're in Jackson Hole! The best thing about the place, other than seeing some watercolors and some truly gorgeous and boldly colored acrylics in the galleries, was the ravens in the town center. I didn't get a good photo, though, because it was cloudy and threatening to rain - a good day for ravens but not for photography on the fly (Jerry didn't stop but had me take the photos out the window as he was looking for a place to eat).
Also...on the way out of town we stopped at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Fantastic place on a hill overlooking an elk refuge where the elk and bison come down from the mountains in the fall and spend the winter around the area.
The Wildlife Museum was home to artwork by John J. Audubon, Robert Bateman, Albert Bierstadt, George Catlin, William Merritt Chase, and Georgia O'Keeffe. But the best part, for me, was finding two full gallery rooms full of paintings there for a silent auction. They were local artists who had their paintings for sale with 1/2 the proceeds going to the museum - and there were some gorgeous pieces there, many in watercolor. We weren't allowed to take photos, though, and a docent followed me around and talked about the local artists. I especially fell in love with artwork by September Vray and Nancy Dunlop Cawdrey. (Can't find a link for September Vray but her work was stunning - small, lots of white, powerful, meditative).
The Museum entrance was huge - these gigantic lodge poles - ubiquitous in the western US - with many sculptures of bears, elk, bison and other critters outside around the grounds.
Of course, as we left we were heading towards the Grand Tetons and the beauty of the plains - I kept thinking of "amber waves of grain" as we drove along miles and miles toward the southern entrance of Yellowstone and on towards Old Faithful Inn. (When we came to the southern entrance of Yellowstone I was surprised that we were just entering the park!! No wonder the roads are posted as 75 or 65 unless there is construction - if they weren't, it would take you days to get anywhere in the big, wide open west!
Come back tomorrow to see day two - have you seen Old Faithful?