We had been dry camping in Buffalo Bill State Park last weekend. Monday we had the opportunity to move to a site with electricity for five days. After a little mix-up (the first assigned site was too small), we were moved to a site in a nearby campground. Problem was, there was still someone's trailer in our site. With little warmth in the forecast, we didn't have time to wait until they decided to leave. After a brief visit with the camp host, we left our truck and trailer (still attached) in an unreserved site and headed "up into the mountains" to see Yellowstone National Park. We had no clear plan as to what to do once we arrived at the park, but we'd figure that out once we got there. At the East Gate, we bought an America the Beautiful annual pass. For $80 we get free access to all National Parks for a year. We plan to visit many parks in the next twelve months!
After passing the gate, we rode through forest until we came upon Lake Yellowstone. It was a beautiful view, but there was quite a swift breeze coming across the lake which made that part of the trip quite cold. We stopped at an overlook and took notice of the trees behind us. The trees were all wasted from fire. There are many areas of the park still recovering from the 1988 fire that devastated so much of the forest in Yellowstone. As we drove around the park, we could see remnants of the fire - even twenty-six years later. We were amazed at the number of still-standing trees - trees just like those pictures below. That fire was fought by brave fire-fighters for months. A little rain and snow in the middle of September finally put it out. Today, we learned that monday a tourist was hit in the head and killed by a falling tree from the 1988 fire. Sad news indeed.
It was a 65 miles from our campground to the first gas station in YNP. Our little 2.5 gallon tank can only go so far - even at 60 miles to the gallon. We determined our first stop would be gas at Fishing Bridge fuel station. after that, we continued west toward Old Faithful. Not one mile from the fuel stop, we came to an intersection and had to wait for cars to pass before we could turn left. About 20 feet way and walking steadily towards us was a large bison. We couldn't turn, we couldn't back up, and that bison was getting closer. "You can turn now. You can turn now!" was all Trey heard as Susan tried to will the buffalo to stop about ten feet away. The force was not strong in the young padawan After what seemed like forever, the traffic cleared and we moved on. That was a little too close for comfort! The buffalo was fairly calm through the whole ordeal.
We made a couple of stops to view hydro-thermal systems (pictures below) but for the most part, we kept moving. The 30 mile drive along the lake was windy and cold, so we were glad when the road finally turned toward the forest. When we arrived at Old Faithful, there were already a crowd people waiting for the next show.
We only had to wait about 20 minutes before the spouting began. It was great fun to watch!
By now it was about 3 PM and we hadn't eaten lunch. We grabbed a quick bite in the Old Faithful cafeteria. One word of advise: do not order the chicken sandwich. If the hour wasn't so late, and the price wasn't so high, it would have gone in the trash. It was intolerable and left half-eaten. Usually asking servers for recommendations in unfamiliar establishments pays off. Not his time. Lesson learned: next time we pack a lunch. With starvation staved off for a bit, we planned our next move.
Rather than returning the way we came, we decided to take another way home. It would take a bit longer and we still had to move into our campsite, but avoiding most of the cold lake drive lake was worth the extra time. We stopped at another geyser basin and saw two
moose elk cows on the side of the parking lot. They were just close enough to get a good shot with the camera and far enough away to keep Susan in a relaxed frame of mind.
Yellowstone has over one-half of the world's geothermal features. We only saw a small fraction of those on our stops throughout the day, but here are a few pictures.
On the way home we had a few delays because of animal watchers stopping in the middle of the road. One of those delays, however, lasted about twenty minutes because of animals in the middle of the road. It seems that a small group of bison walked about 3/4 mile or so down the middle of the road just a few vehicles in front of us. As they moved to the side, we got a quick picture of them as we drove past.
Taking the long way home was a festival for our eyes. We didn't get too many pictures because we were trying to bet back before dark and were already an hour behind schedule. We arrived home just before dark and got our trailer moved to our electric site. It was a exhausting, but wonderful 228 mile day - the longest day on the scooter so far. We have a feeling longer days are yet to come!