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Thayne, Wyoming, is located about 50 miles south of Jackson, Wyoming, and is very near the Idaho border. Our reason for going to Thayne was because there was a Coast to Coast campground there, it was in a good location for where we were coming from and going to, and we had never been there before. 

Our campsite at Star Valley Ranch RV Resort
The welcome sign at the edge of town stated that the population was only 267, we noticed a lot of neat stores for that small number. There was a video store, bank, liquor store, inn, book and gift shop, real estate company, feed store, drug store complete with soda fountain, tackle shop, furniture store, carpet store, café beauty shop, computer sales and service (that one really surprised me) True Value/ variety store, saddle shop, market, and of course a gas station. We really didn't expect half of that since the larger town of Afton (15 miles south) had a pretty good shopping area for its larger population. As we were driving into town from the south, we fully planned that Afton was where we would have to go for any groceries we needed. After we were in Thayne for a little while, we discovered a larger population base just outside of town towards the small village of Alpine Junction. 

Thayne is located in the Star Valley which is a picturesque area. This lush valley is surrounded by mountains and at the time we visited (late June), there was still plenty of snow on the mountain tops adding to the beauty. Beautiful log homes set back from the highway and nestle up against the base of mountains; cattle graze peacefully near the highway. 

Star Valley Ranch RV Resort is one of the nicest Coast to Coast campgrounds we have ever stayed at. It is just a short distance from town and like so many of the ranch houses, it is nestled close to one of the mountains and to complete the perfect setting a cold mountain stream runs through the park and in front of the cabins they have for rent. The elevation in Thayne is a little over 6,000 feet and when we arrived, it appeared that Spring had just preceded us. Wild flowers were bright and plentiful in the meadows and the many lilac bushes in the park were full with fresh, brilliant, fragrant, blooms. I picked some every day and kept our house full of their sweet perfume. 

The sites in the campground are big, level and have wonderful hook-ups. The bathrooms are like none other that we have seen even in the most expensive commercial parks. We were parked across from one which had individual bathrooms (just like a house) and they were immaculate and very modern. Closer to the office and store is another bathroom with equally beautiful showers, but not individual rooms. The park is on a golf course with a restaurant, has a nice pool, hot tubs, saunas, tennis courts, cabins, motel, store, and a huge recreation building. 

There are lots for sale and we were surely tempted, but for now are satisfied that we can come and visit twice a year and understand that owner's lots can be rented by the week or month through the office. We may do that some time. As I have said hundreds of times over the past nine and one half years, " I could live here --- at least in the summer time." 

The people in the park were wonderfully friendly which is typical of so many of the membership parks. We met up with Ann and Gary who live in Phoenix in the winter (they raised their family there), have a Bounder and use that at Star Valley during the summer. They were very helpful and suggested some of the sights to see in the area.

One thing we missed was the junior rodeo in town. Ann said that little tikes were roping and doing their thing and it was a delight to watch, although she added that at times she felt like a protective mother and couldn't watch at some points. 

Gary and Ann, suggested that we take a drive on Grey's River Road which runs behind the mountains that are behind the ranch. They warned us that we couldn't go all the way through because there would still be snow on the road. 

Grey's River Road is east off of Highway 89 in Alpine Junction (turn right just after Bette's café if you are heading toward Jackson). This national forest, gravel road  was a spectacular ride along the rushing Grey River, through thick forests. We went slow not because of the roads, but because of the scenery; we wanted to be able to take it all in. 

The view from Grey's River Road
Just after the 13 mile marker, we stopped at Murphy's Creek campground. What a delight. There wasn't a soul in there and we wished that we were. Don't get me wrong, we loved the ranch, but the serenity, seclusion, and beauty of this small campground with huge level sites beckoned us. Our rig would fit in beautifully. Mind you, there are no hookups, but there were water outlets about every fourth site with fittings for a hose too. If Ron hadn't just put a new diesel air filter in the motorhome, we wouldn't waste a minute getting up there for a week or so. 

We drove and drove Grey's River road, never tiring of the scenery and after 33 miles, we made a decision to continue on to Big Piney (63 more gravel miles) and make a huge circle. The road deteriorated after we turned east and we wondered if we would ever see civilization again. We did see lots of wild life including our first moose sighting. A huge bull moose let us watch him (from across a meadow) while he kept on doing his own thing. It wasn't until he moved close to a tree that we got the full impact of his size. We were glad that we had the binoculars with us. A little further on we saw hundreds of graceful antelope. They were so beautiful to watch. 

If we had had a four wheel drive vehicle we would have kept on, but after about an additional 20 miles, we turned around and retraced our steps and we didn't mind. It wasn't the same show; everything looked fresh from a different direction. And we wouldn't hesitate to take that same drive again. Might even go to Murphy's Creek campground. 

South of Thayne at Afton, we visited the World's Largest Intermittent Spring. This again, entails driving a good gravel, national forest road but only for about five miles. At the parking lot, one needs to walk three quarters of a mile to the spring. In the spring time, though the spring runs continually, but at other times of the year, it flows, stops for 18 minutes then runs again. We were expecting a fountain like spring, but this one runs down a moss covered hill and looks like a water fall. I can imagine how strange it looks when this water fall stops as though a faucet were turned off then goes on again. The ride and the walk were well worth our efforts and we will return just as we will also return to Thayne and the Star Valley Ranch.

The Afton Spring

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