Leaving the put-in at seven thirty, our spirits buoyant and our eyes feasting on the sights of the Snake, our first speedbump toward joy was about to present itself.
Not far from the put-in was a flagger and detour on highway 89, about twenty miles before Jackson. While waiting for the pilot car to lead us closer to our promised land, the friendly motorist directly behind us approached us with bad news. He said we had no brake lights at all.
We broke out the Leatherman and checked the driver's side brakelights, they were alright. The next order was to look at the fuses, they were just dandy. I looked for some sort of relay, there was none, so we concluded that the problem was to be found in the switch in front of the brake pedal.
After adjusting to the worry associated with brakelight absence while on the road, we stopped in at the grocery in Jackson to buy our stores for the trip. Apples for 1.89 a pound was the highlight of our purchases, the rest was pretty close in line to our prices here in Sanpete County.
We set ourselves to find a garage to diagnose and fix our problem as quickly as possible, but finding none (besides a chap at a Big O who suggested that we check the brake fluid level, stating confidently that such would affect the functioning of brakelights. Hm.), we scoured the three open autoparts stores for a brakelight switch. None would be had in the town until Monday morning, so after an hour of time wasted to the pursuit of vehicular repair, we headed out of Jackson after a stop at the glorious Jackson Thrift Shop and purchases of cheap shoes, fleece caps, a jacket and a 1947 hardbound copy of The Upanishads purchased for only a dollar.
The next mistake was soon upon us, it too brought upon by a flagger and a brief stop to wait for passage.
While stopped for a resurfacing crew on the shores of Jackson Lake, I got out of the truck to stretch and check the oil level. While I expected a long wait, before I had time to get anything done but unscrew the cap and find the oil to begin pouring, the cars ahead began to start and move out.
In my haste to get going, I must have forgotten to secure the oil cap. I put what I thought was everything back and jumped in the truck and drove off. I remember vaguely hearing a clatter behind me not long after leaving, but my only thought was that I knew for a fact that I hadn't left anything on top of the truck, so I hadn't to worry about it at all. Silly me, I'll learn someday.
The rest of the trip into Yellowstone was uneventful, beautiful and marred only by all of the people riding their BMW motorcycles all over the place. To Ryan and I, it seemed as though they were mocking our old truck, flaunting their speed, freedom and panache as they whizzed by on short grades.
The day was beautiful. I've not been in Yellowstone this early in the season for a long time. The colors were beginning to come out, so the contrasts were stunning and a reward for the troubles of getting out and on the road so late the day before.