Jackson Hole – Day 1 – The Wild West

Posted on September 20, 2013

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After more than 22 hours travelling and three different flights Noodle and I finally landed in Jackson Hole. The night air was the first thing to hit us. The crisp, icy chill took us by surprise as we wearily trudged down the steps from the plane onto Wyoming soil.

“Dammmm it’s cold”, I gasped as I tugged at my jacket zip.

Noodle threw me a broad smile and nodded. For he had brought a heavy duty winter coat which he had suffered wearing as we teared across different boarders, until this particular leg of the journey.

All around us the shadows of the mountains engulfed us  and even in the darkness I was blown away by their sheer size and majesty. We hooked up with our US contacts, The Jersey Girls – J and D – at baggage claim. We immediately hit it off. They’re sassy, cool, bright and “on-it”. Exactly the team players we need for this trip. I had a good feeling.

After checking into out hotel in town we decided a drink was in order to iron out the knots. We headed to the Cowboy Bar – yeehaw!! This place has to be seen to be believed. The bar stretches along one side of the wall and every bar stool is a proper saddle with stirrups. Needless to say none of the men were straddling a stool. Nope, they were all stood up and leaning with one elbow on the bar. But as a tourist I was game to “throw my leg over”. But as I “mounted” my seat, and I use that word cautiously, I realised this was not a look I felt entirely comfortable with. The sentiment was innocent and had everybody else been sat legs akimbo like bronco billy it would have been fine….. but they weren’t and it looked crass, so off I got sharpish.

We took some ring side seats by the stage where a trio of stetson-wearing country folk, were belting out a mixture of rocky tunes and ballads. At one point I did think there’d be a line dancing moment, but to my disappointment there wasn’t. People were dancing, but in couples and D and I did toy with getting up, but decided that we’d look mental dancing solo. A couple of bourbons later I shot Noodle a look which said “unless I hit the sack now, you are gonna have to roll me down the street.”

As J got up to pay up at the bar, she was pounced on my a group of out-of-town insurance men. Circling like sharks they moved in. The ring leader, a 50-something, bald, slightly portly Irish man called Carl was giving it the hard sell and failing miserably:

“Where have you flown in from?” asked J politely as she paid up.

“Ahh well I’ve come in from Miami, but I’m heading to New York tomorrow. You girls gonna stay for another drink?” he said. By this time we’d arrived as back up.

“Nah don’t think so,” I said.

“So are you here for the Ape thing too?” He gestured to me, while clutching his whiskey glass and completely ignoring Noodle.

“Yes.”

There was a definite moment where we all knew the small talk was beginning to get very awkward.

“So you know it’s a shame you don’t wanna hang out, because I’m going to LA on Thursday.”

“I thought it was New York?” I shot back.

“Yeah,” he stammered “I will be but my son’s got a place so I’m visiting first and then……” blah blah blah.

Enough I thought, this idiot can’t even be bothered to get his story straight. I am in no mood for a yarn especially from a prowling fool. “Carl enjoy your drink, we’re off, we’ve been awake for more than 24 hours. J you coming?”

“Yeah, see ya.” she called out without even turning around as she walk out with us.

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I woke up at 0536. You are kidding me. No amount of tossing and turning was helping me get back to sleep. So I got up, unpacked, ironed my clothes and tuned in to the Grand Tetons channel. Wow, TV possibly at its worst. How do these channel survive and who commissions this? I flicked over to CNN. Two hours later after I was sated with my fill of rolling news it was time to deal with my appetite.  I bounded into the dining room to meet the others for brekkie. The afternoon was spent taking in sights of the town, doing a recce of the Arts Centre -where yours truly is moderating the first session on Saturday morning  – and meeting some of the film festival organisers.

Then we climbed into the people carrier and headed for the national park. The route was breathtaking. Some of the shots we’ve started to film already are fabulous I can’t wait to see the finished results. We’re planning to file interviews, self contained content, as well as mini packages if it’s warranted throughout the day. Inside the national park is a lodge were most of the VIP delegates are staying and where the last 2-days of the summit are being hosted. The backdrop is fan-bloody-tastic. Beats having to scout for a decent location. God I love my job!

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