For one reason or another, we hadn’t been able to take Lulu for a swim – pools are chlorinated, lakes are often too cold and the midday sun too strong. So we were delighted when we got to Thermopolis, Wyoming, which advertises itself as the ‘World’s Largest Hot Spring”. Our RV park, the Fountain of Youth, had its own pools – three of them, each progressively hotter, with the last one ending in a orange glowing mini volcano-like mound (the spring). These pools were in fact larger than the town’s own facilities, two of which had slides and spas, with the third one offering a free 20-minute soak. This was because the chiefs of the Arapaho and Shoshone tribes sold the land including Thermopolis to the US government under the provision that baths would continue to be available free of charge to the public. So, back to Fountain of Youth. It was a freezing cold Saturday night, and we arrived just before complete darkness fell. We debated whether to jump straight into the pools, or to have a beer and snacks. Swimming won. Lulu loved it – the first pool was at almost the same temperature as her (most) nightly bath, and once she adjusted, she was able to move to the second one. She kicked and cooed and smiled, possibly remembering the joys of the womb…albeit a sulfur-scented one. We hung out with other RV park residents – some of whom drank light beer from insulated can holders - chatting through the steam rising up from the water about places of origin and also the oncoming snowstorm. At home among strangers, we rejoiced as the full moon, Jupiter and a gigantic Big Dipper made themselves known in the clear Autumn sky. Then, relaxing further, we listened as the camp’s owner, Ron Foote, sang and strummed his evening songs.
So, we remained in Thermopolis for three days and three nights, waiting out the cold front before crossing the Rockies. Day and night, we ran shivering in the snow and sleet between electric heater in the Airstream towards the embrace of the hot pools. Not bad.
Claire – On maternity leave from career as editor of monthly finance trade magazines, and occasionally a freelance translator. Half-American/half-English, raised in the suburbs of New York, has lived in London for almost nine years.
Daniel – Furniture designer/maker based on London’s Columbia Road flower market, for ten years, also an aspiring painter and DIY supremo. On one-year career break to reconsider options. English by birth, but mother is half-American and spent part of her childhood in Bronxville, New York.
Sophia – 3.5-year old spitfire who loves school, singing, swimming and being a big sister
Lulu – Born May 8 of this year, a model baby who eats, sleeps and gurgles.
Special guests – American, British and international friends and family who drop in along our trip to see whatever part of the country they fancy. They’re welcome to travel in the car with us and sleep in an adjoining tent.