Thursday, September 13, 2012

Yellowstone Road Trip - Day 15

“Traveling is like flirting with life. It's like saying, 'I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.'”   Lisa St. Aubin De Teran

We left Jackson, Wyoming much earlier than we expected this morning. The alarm was set to go off at 6:30 but Linda got up a few minutes before 6:00 and John was up shortly thereafter. We were headed north on Hwy 25 by 7:04 and  were soon on Hwy 189. We got to drive through Grand Teton National Park again since it was on our way and the road goes right into Yellowstone's south entrance. So we got to flirt with the Tetons again before moving on to Yellowstone. This morning, John hooked up the Hero2 video camera on the windshield and shot several minutes of video as we drove through the Tetons. The camera performed just fine, even though the outside temperature (where it was) got down to 25 degrees. He will post a video in this posting once he can get it uploaded to YouTube. It isn't going all that well here in West Yellowstone as far as wifi goes.

We were at Moose Junction by 7:33. Didn't get to see any live moose but we saw some buffalo along one of the main drags our first day through the Tetons. Other than that, our animal sightings were chipmunks and blackbirds. The visitor centers had some great displays. In one you could feel fur samples from about 12 kinds of animals found in the park. The bobcat was the softest of any and the buffalo was the most coarse. The furs were about 5 inches by 18 inches. Some had been rubbed so much that the fur was pretty bare in the center.

The John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway is a part of Grand Teton National Park and runs between it and Yellowstone National Park. An odd thing happened when we were almost to Yellowstone's south entrance. All at once Wilma's navigation system and our compass were gone. A message said “Disk Error See Dealer for Service”. The old buzzards were disappointed because, despite having a lot of maps, they have come to rely on Wilma's GPS and the compass as well. And the old buzzards were nowhere near a Honda dealer. But, we do have John's Droid2 phone and the Wilson Sleek range extender. So, we had 3G pretty much all the way and were able to use the phone's navigation app.

Soon we were in Yellowstone. And right away it seemed so very different than the Tetons - lots of pine trees, abundant water in creeks, rivers and lakes - less of the wide valleys and scrubby desert-like plants. Our route to our lodging in West Yellowstone, Montana took us past the Continental Divide twice and by Old Faithful. We stopped at Old Faithful, the most famous of all the park's geysers, even though we will be going there again Saturday on a bus tour. We took our Passport into the visitor center to get it stamped and to get a park pin for Linda. As we walked back out into the main lobby, a ranger announced that the "window for Old Faithful to erupt was in the next 20 minutes". So we figured we might as well stick around for that. It goes off every 90 minutes, give or take 30 minutes, and lasts from 5 to 10 minutes. What a thrill! It was a beautiful day and the white steam and hot water shooting up a hundred feet or so looked extremely dramatic against a very blue sky. We felt lucky to have timed our visit just right. There are several photos of the eruption in today's photo gallery.

Shortly thereafter we were on our way again, John noticed that the compass had shown up on Wilma's dashboard. Sure enough, Wilma's GPS seemed to be “healed”. But not for long. It was gone again in about 15 minutes. John had come up with two other systems (phone and tabled) to use so with them and all our maps we were fine. When Wilma's GPS and the phone and the tablet were working at the same time, we would get three voices (all female) telling us " a quarter mile make a right turn onto....". Pretty bizarre.

There are only 21 photos in today's gallery and you can view them by clicking here.

Below is a short video of our drive through the Grand Teton NP as we were going from Jackson, WY to West Yellowstone, MT. The drive through the Tetons was shot entirely with our Hero2 camera suctioned to the windshield. It performed very well in 25 degree weather.

After a few more curves in the road, we were entering Montana and soon were at the west Yellowstone entrance. The cute little town of West Yellowstone is in Montana. We found our lodging – The Pony Express, got unloaded and found a grocery store to get some lunch fixings for the next few days.

Fannie Mae had a visitor after our return. Her dog sitter during the day for the next two days, while we are on bus tours, came by for a greet and sniff. They got along fine. Heather is a very sweet lady and an animal lover since childhood. She is the Assistant General Manager of the company that owns several lodging properties (including the Pony Express), a tour company and a snow mobile tour company.

We had soup and salad bar at the Timberline Restaurant in downtown West Yellowstone, Montana. Then we found a grocery and got a block of ice for our “refrigerator”. Now it's time to get down to business and study our Yellowstone book and maps so we are ready for tomorrow. We will be going on the north loop.

Happy trails!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you two are seeing some great sights. I will be arriving West Yellowstone on 9/18. We will have to compare experiences when we are all back together. Watch out for bears. -Susan-