3. Kib (Little Known Destinations)

Little Known Destinations and Seldom Seen Scenics
My trip with Kib from somewhere east of Pocatello, Idaho

In the course of working at various places in Lander, I met a man named Andy. He and I had worked at The Alpine Haus(the backpacking and mountaineering store) together and we had become friends. Andy was a very nice person, and I enjoyed being with him, but he did have a disability in that his eyes vibrated back and forth sideways. He actually received a Social Security disability payment for this condition, which I believe was hereditary. It was my understanding that he was classified legally blind, and yet he did have a driver’s license.

One day Andy and I decided to make a trip to Washington state in his Volkswagen Jetta. Devon, who was now divorced and living with friends, agreed to feed and care for the dogs and cat while I was gone. Andy and I started off from Lander in the rain. As we headed west, the rain continued all the way to the top of the pass into Jackson. Then the rain stopped and the sky cleared up, just as if on cue. We drove north to Missoula, Montana, without any more weather problems. At that point, we headed west again and encountered more rain. Which became harder rain. I was driving at that time and all of a sudden the driver’s side windshield wiper went on an outswipe and stayed in that position, sticking straight out from the car. I pulled over and Andy got out in the pouring rain and tightened the wiper screw and we headed off again. Only to have the wiper do the same thing a little while later. We repeated the same acts. I pulled over, Andy got out in the pouring rain, tightened the wiper screw, and we headed out again. The rain turned into snow, at which point it became not enough to simply tighten the wiper screw. Now the windows had to be scraped as the wiper was not doing its job. It was a lonnnnnnngggggg trip over THAT snowy pass, until we made it back down into the rain and into Spokane. The rain stopped then. We had a pleasant trip through the Cascades, with an overnight campout in the trees; then we drove into Bellingham, pulling off the highway offramp directly into a Volkswagen agency. Andy was able to get a new wiper screw for $1.80 and the wiper was fixed!

We spent a day in Bellingham, then began the trip back to Wyoming. We started out, Andy driving, and made it on through Washington east on I-90. We drove through Oregon, and on into Idaho on I-15 past Pocatello when it began to get dark. It had been a long day and Andy was tired. With his eyesight the way it was, I felt we would be better off if we pulled into a rest area and had a good night’s sleep. Andy, though, wanted to drive on.

I didn’t feel good about this. He was driving too fast and was tired. I finally told him to pull over and let me out. Kib was in the back seat. I threw out my backpack, my music tapes, got Kib on his leash and got him out, and I closed the door and Andy drove away.

It was 12:00 at night and I was on the Interstate in Idaho miles from anywhere with my backpack on my back and Kib on the leash. I started walking along the right side of the road. I had Kib on my right and as I walked I stuck my arm high up in the air, thumb up, to show anybody passing that I was hitchhiking.

After I had gone a mile or so a semi pulled over. I went up to the window; the driver rolled it down. He asked me where I was going and I told him Wyoming. He was hauling a load of seed potatoes, he said, and he could use somebody to talk to him and keep him awake.

Little did he know!

Kib and I got in the truck. Kib lay down on the doghouse – the word used for the box the big truck engine is in between the two seats – and I sat on the right. The truck driver continued on his way, now with a white dog and a woman as passengers.

I talked and talked and talked. And talked some more!

The truck driver was heading from Oregon to Rexburg, Idaho, where he was to deliver the seed potatoes the next day. He was married and told me a bit about his family. He’d been driving for a number of years. I did the Truck Driver Interview as we went along. Trying to keep my end of the passenger bargain going.

We finally made it to Rexburg, the truck driver apologized to me for not having any better accomodations, and then he crawled back into the sleeper and went to sleep. I was sitting in the passenger seat and Kib was still on the doghouse and we did the best we could to get some rest where we were.

We were parked on the road just outside a little store and I was able to go in there the next morning and use the toilet and get a few small things to eat, putting a few in my backpack to possibly snack on later. The truck driver bid us adieu and headed on his way. I got back on the road and started walking with my thumb out.

Just outside Rexburg Kib and I were picked up by a Mormon potato farmer. I rode on the passenger side of this man’s older white pickup; Kib sat on the floor between my legs. This man was an older fellow who invited us home with him to meet his wife and have breakfast with them. I told the man, no, that I really appreciated the offer, but that I felt I must continue on. He dropped us off at his driveway.

My next ride was with a young girl and boy. The girl was driving a small pickup with two pairs of skiis sliding around in the open pickup bed where Kib and I rode. They took us to Driggs, where they dropped us off in the parking lot of a convenience store.

Back on the road again, Kib and I walked a little way before we got a ride in a large dark Lincoln luxury car whose driver was a young man in a big cowboy hat. The car, he told us, was his grandmother’s. He was on his way to his first day of work at a Jackson Hole dude ranch. He took us over the pass and as far as downtown Jackson, where we parted ways.

Kib and I walked through Jackson just to the outskirts where we got a ride in a yellow Volkswagen. The young man driving was heading to the Jackson airport. This was only a little way, and he apologized for the shortness of the trip, but any port in a storm I always feel, and this ride got us just that much closer toward our destination. I was headed to the junction toward Dubois and then on to Riverton.

After being dropped off by the yellow Volkswagen we walked quite a way before being picked up by a big sedan which held three females – two were a little bit older and they were in the front. One, the younger of the two in front, was driving; the other one sat by the right side window. A younger girl rode on the left in the backseat. Kib and I got in the back seat on the right. Kib got in and sat on the floor. These ladies admired the dog and we made a bit of small talk. They took us a little way, then came to their turnoff. Kib and I got out and headed on down the road.

Our next ride was with a young man who was heading to work at Jackson Lake Lodge. He took us in his small pickup all the way to the intersection for Dubois. Then he headed on to Jackson Lake Lodge and Kib and I started down the road toward Riverton.

I walked with Kib on his leash down this road for a while. A number of cars and trucks passed us. We were passed by an older red pickup. Then here it came back again the other way. Then here it was again next to us. The two men inside asked me where I was going and then asked if I wanted a ride with them. The one closest to me on the passenger side got out and we got Kib tied to a bolt eye in the back of the pickup. We got back in the front – me in the middle – and headed toward Riverton, which is where these two men were going. They had just participated in the Jackson Hole Pole/Pedal/Paddle race, had a great time, and were on their way back home.

As we passed through Dubois, we stopped at a small cafe and they got something quick to eat. I got a hot chocolate. One of the fellows – the one who wasn’t driving the truck – turned out to be on the college board of Central Wyoming College in Riverton. He was married with children, had a teaching job. As we got closer to Riverton he offered to take me on in to Lander. I didn’t care much for the way this contact was progressing, though. He seemed a little “too” interested in me, so I said no thanks I would head on my way when we got to Riverton. These two dropped Kib and me off in RIverton at the Lander junction. They went on their way, and I went on mine.

Kib and I walked on the side of the road for a mile or so, me with my thumb out and many cars and trucks passing on by. Then an old green pickup with a camper shell on the back passed us, turned around, and turned around again, and there was an old white haired couple asking me where I was going and if I wanted a ride. I told them I was heading to Lander, which is also where they were headed. They offered me a place in front with them, but I decided to ride with Kib in the camper shell in the back. They took me the 25 miles on into Lander and stopped at the Lander post office. I got out of their truck and thanked them so very much for their kindness and we both wished each other a Happy Easter, as this was Easter Sunday.

After the many miles walking since exiting Andy’s car outside Pocatello it was but a short walk to the NOWCAP parking lot where the travel trailer sat and the other dogs and cat were. This trip had been quite the experience. I was tired, but my faith in humanity as a whole had been restored and I felt very grateful for the kindness extended by those strangers along the road.

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