Sunday, October 4, 2015

We're on the road again!

Way back last year sometime, my friend Beth asked if I would be willing to go to Yellowstone with her. Would I?! And so, right after New Year's Day, we booked our room and promptly forgot about it. Fast forward to last month when we realized we still needed to buy our plane tickets! Bah! How did this sneak up on us? Tickets were booked, car was rented, and we started to get excited about our upcoming adventure. A week in Yellowstone, with a trip through the Tetons.

Today was a long one, starting at 5am to get picked up by dad and be transported to my brother's. From there, he would drive us to La Guardia. We got there in record time, the beauty of nabbing the first flight of the morning. The TSA agents were still friendly it was so early! It was a packed flight for our first leg of the trip to Chicago. There was much debate over whether we should check our bags or risk having to gate check. Miracle of miracles, we chanced it and were both able to fit our bags on the plane. The second flight to Jackson was much nicer. Nearly empty plane, free earbuds, and they unlocked the premium tv stations so we could watch more than the one free show. Even Jackson airport was super nice. Clean, empty, friendly. We got our rental and hit the road!

There are two ways to get to West Yellowstone, MT from Jackson. One cuts through Idaho and the other through the Tetons and Yellowstone Park. Obviously we went for the scenic route. Although I have my suspicions that every route is scenic around these parts. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day, and you couldn't see the tops of the mountains. I really had hoped to get some nice pictures of the Tetons, but I had to make do with what I had. Hopefully on the way back it will be a clear day and I can get some shots then.
Stupid clouds
By this point we were both getting pretty hungry, so when we saw a sign for restaurants we pulled off and followed them. Unfortunately, the restaurants are only open during the peak season. But the gift shop was open! I picked up a cool patch for my bag that I'll iron on tomorrow, some magnets, and a National Parks Passport, which I was immediately able to stamp with two stamps, one for the Tetons, one for the Rockefeller Parkway. Still have to get my Yellowstone one and then I'll have this area covered. We found a convenience store, picked up some snacks, and got back on the road.

Once we entered Yellowstone we were on immediate animal patrol. And within minutes we came across our first deer. Like most, he stood on the edge of the road and couldn't make up his mind which way he was going. So we creeped by until it was safe and moved on. Then I thought I spotted a moose, but we couldn't pull over to see for sure. Then the bison came. As big and dumb as ever. When we entered the park they gave us a flier warning us not to go near the bison lest they gore us. Naturally, people ignored these warnings and were out of their cars trying to get close shots. That's what a zoom is for people! We drove along and realized that the park was not what we were expecting. We both had envisioned large, open plains. Instead, you were driving on a path cut through the trees, so dense that you couldn't see into the forest. Unlike anything I've seen. It was still beautiful, but you just couldn't see anything. Thankfully there were plenty of pull-offs for you to get on and take your pictures. There were so many vistas that you'd never get anywhere if you actually stopped at all of them. We decided that as it was getting later and would be dark soon, we should skip Old Faithful and just go straight to the hotel. We spotted some elk, another moose, and more deer before getting to the condo.

The condo is great! An actual table and chairs, a full kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, and large bathroom, plus a balcony. There's even a fireplace, which we turned on. It's chilly out there! As soon as the sun disappeared, it got cold in a hurry. We found a place to eat and now are back in the room. Beth went to bed a while ago, I had to edit my pictures and post this. I'll do my best to update everything daily. It's 10:30 here, 12:30 back home. I'm beat. I think it's time to call it a night and see where the road takes us tomorrow!

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