August 3, 2006

Big Horn.

Yesterday, I drove from Teton Village, up through Teton and part of Yellowstone National Parks, toward Route 90, which is the long last leg of my drive back home to Madison. It was nice having the very easy and fast driving of Route 90 for the last 300 miles of Wednesday's drive, but to get from Yellowstone to 90, I chose Route 14/14A, the Big Horn Scenic Byway.

Here, Silvio takes a rest:

resting the car on the Big Horn scenic byway

And here's the view from the vertiginous height of 9430 feet. Look closely to see the distant horizon.

Big Horn

Big Horn

Climbing this mountain by car was challenging and scary. There were beautiful views that I could barely stand to look at, because of the height and the unguarded drastic edge. In this picture, there's some solid ground next to the road, but much of the time there was not. Only a flick of the wrist would send me plunging into death -- I kept pushing that thought out of my head.

I remembered that movie monologue -- the first time we ever saw the sublime creepiness of Christopher Walken, as Annie Hall's brother Duane:
Can I confess something? I tell you this as an artist. I think you'll understand. Sometimes when I'm driving... on the road at night... I see two headlights coming toward me. Fast. I have this sudden impulse to turn the wheel quickly, head-on into the oncoming car. I can anticipate the explosion. The sound of shattering glass. The... flames rising out of the flowing gasoline.
Don't drive with Duane on the Big Horn Scenic Byway. Think life-affirming thoughts if you're the one with the hands on the wheel. And if you're the passenger, don't say a thing or make the tiniest move that might jar the essential, steely calm of your driver.

23 comments:

Meade said...

And never... ever get into a car driven by Mel Gibs...

oh, never mind.

Brent said...

1) Favorite Christopher Walken role is . . . .

2) What is it with women naming their cars? My wife has names for every car we've owned, and now my grown daughters have names for theirs . . .

Dave TN said...

First an anonymous hotel and now a car without license plates. Is Ann Althouse really your name?

Goesh said...

-stunning scenery and a neat car, most of what you need for a good vacation..

peter hoh said...

Love that scene in Annie Hall. Woody Allen at his most brilliant.

As for Dave TN, a car without license plates is the modern equivalent of a horse with no name. The ideal mode of transit for those crossing a desert.

Joseph Hovsep said...

"sublime creepiness of Christopher Walken"

Very well put. Walken is such an interesting actor. One of my favorite Walken roles is as a dancing hotel guest in this Fatboy Slim music video for the song Weapon of Choice.

SteveR said...

When my Mom got out of school (early 40s) she lived in the Sheridan area and worked on ranches in the Big Horn area. When she died we spread her ashes on the mountains from a plane. So its a special place for me.

Definetly a good choice for a drive.

Christopher Walken so many good roles, I liked the exterminator in Mouse Hunt.

Tibore said...

Grand Teuton ("Large Teat")... Big Horn... anyone else get the impression that there was some seriously pent up sexual frustration in settlers times?

------

Re: Walken

Back in '04, MSNBC did a story (hey! It's still accessible here!) on ideas for the uncast (at that time) lead role in the then upcoming Superman movie. Some of the actors they listed were arguably reasonable, but then the author decided to have fun with the last suggestion: Christopher Walken.

Quote:

"A friend of ours insists, tongue firmly in cheek, that Walken’s strange intensity and battery of unnerving tics and mannerisms would make him perfect for the role. We won’t argue, since we’re having too much fun imagining Walken staring balefully down on Metropolis and causing screams and general panic."

My screams would be at the image of that man in a skintight blue outfit, but I digress. Wouldn't it be a crazily off-kilter move to do a Superman movie that way? The Man of Steel being a baleful (love that term in describing C Walken!) superhero imposing his will on a fearful Metropolis... and, to further increase the "WTF" factor, make Lex Luthor's antagonistic character actually be some sort of good guy in opposing Supe?

That'd kill the franchise faster than Schwarzenegger as a cryologist (cryobiologist?) and nipples on the Batsuit, but what an exciting flameout it'd be. I'd pay to watch it.

SteveR said...

BTW Ann, over at Instapundit you raised the "I'm sorry you were offended" apology issue. That just makes me want to scream when someone does that. So sometimes I'm a little slow but they aren't really apologizing are they? Aaaaarggh!

Tom said...

Ann -

This is completely off topic, but I'm wondering what kind of camera you, what lenses you use, and where you got it from?

dick said...

I would be a lot more afraid of being in the situation of the movie Duel where Dennis Weaver is being chased by that big truck.

The most scared I have been in a car was when I was driving from DC to Ohio on the Pa Turnpike in a snowstorm and there was a car in front of me that slid and ended up balanced on the guard rail on the side of the mountain. The driver got out but just think if you overbalanced the car in that situation.

The other one that scares me is being behind those big logging trucks with the tree trunks strapped down with chains. If the chain breaks you are dead meat.

Icepick said...

Another Christopher Walken moment:

I feel like a little boy who's lost his first tooth, put it under his pillow, waiting for the tooth-fairy to come. Only two evil burglars have crept in my window, and snatched it, before she could get here... Wait a second, do you understand the CONCEPT of the tooth-fairy? Explain it to them... Wait. She takes the god damned thing, and gives you a quarter. They've got my tooth. I want it back.

Maxine Weiss said...

Annie Hall:

But look what actually happened---her driving was worse than Christopher Walken's.

"We'll walk to the curb from here"--

I thought Walken was pretty steady at the wheel compared to her weaving and choppy-ness.

Peace, Maxine

Jennifer said...

Tibore - Maybe the owner of the Grand Tetons and the owner of the Big Horn came together and made the Gros Ventres? Which gave birth to what I'm not sure...

Jennifer said...

Ann - Your pictures bring back wonderful memories. I spent a summer working on a ranch at the base of the Gross Ventre Mountains. (Which, no, do not look like a big belly, but that's what the name means. Hence the previous post. No, jokes aren't funny if they have to be explained.) I miss that place.

Oh, how I wish my photos were digital.

Jennifer said...

Wow, the Internet is awesome. This is where I worked! Digital pictures galore.

howzerdo said...

Years ago, my husband worked for an advocacy organization that employed people who were diagnosed with mental illness. (He and one other person were the only staff members who were not.) One time he was riding to a conference and the guy who was driving had a "thought disorder." The guy said to him "sometimes I feel like steering into oncoming traffic." My husband shouted, "well, stop thinking that!" Now I am wondering if the guy was inspired by Duane?

Tibore said...

"Maybe the owner of the Grand Tetons and the owner of the Big Horn came together and made the Gros Ventres? Which gave birth to what I'm not sure..."

Gros Ventre? Big Belly? ROTFL... too many entendres!

BrianOfAtlanta said...

Tibore, the Gros Ventres mountains gave birth to one of the largest landslides in the world. Dammed up the entire Gros Ventres river for 2 years until it all gave way, taking the downstream town of Kelly with it.

Ann, I lived in Moose, WY for a few years as a kid. Teton Village, at that time, was the upstart kid trying to take on Snow King in the town of Jackson. My family and I were there during the latter part of June this year, visiting old my haunts and friends. Too bad you mostly missed the wildflowers which were peaking when we were there.

BrianOfAtlanta said...

Sorry, Tibore, that was Jennifer who missed the obvious birthing angle.

joeschmo1of3 said...

Ann,

Sylvio? When did you name your TT that? Okay, silver - Sylvio, I can get behind that, but your car is german. Does it just sound better to be handling your Italian companion as to your "Grand Teuton"? (Sorry Tibore, had to do it) How about Sebastian? Nice Swiss name, almost like the german silber. Or is there some other story behind the name? Do tell.

Drew said...

Isn't that third picture the Windows 98 background!?!

UW Student said...

I know exactly what you mean about the driving. My spouse and I took our honeymoon in Iceland, which features narrow, steep, unguarded gravel roads that twirl dizzyingly around the fjords, and there was one whole evening where I could hardly stand the insane beauty. I'll say one thing, though -- that sort of scenery sure does wonders for clearing the mind of everything else.