Travel to Yellowstone

Trip Start Nov 07, 2012
Trip End Jan 10, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Saturday, December 22, 2012

With the alarm going off at 415 a.m., it was an extremely early start to the day for us. We were all ready and out the door by 5:00, and we had a clear run to the airport – although the route chosen for us by the GPS unit didn't seem to male a lot of sense. Nevertheless, we got there quickly, and got our toy car dropped off back at the car rental place quite easily. From there, we caught a shuttle train to the airport – it was very similar to the shuttle train they have at Orlando airport. Once we actually got to the airport, we discovered a very long line of people waiting to get tickets. We had to obtain our boarding passes from the automated self check-in machine, then check (and pay extra for) our luggage. Time was getting quite tight by the time we had checked our bags. Then it was off to security, where there were a number of long and seemingly inefficient lines of people waiting to go through the x-ray machine. It is interesting that airports can vary so much in how well they deal with security issues – (and also how friendly their security personnel are). Once we were through security, it was over to the boarding gate, as our flight had already started to board. We did cut it a little fine this time. Two flights (we had a short leg to Atlanta, then a change to another aircraft for the leg to Bozeman. Bozeman is a small airport, with only about 6 or 7 gates . It was designed to look rather like an oversized log cabin and had a nice homey sort of feel to it – open fireplaces, a number of cosy looking eating areas etc. Just after we got on the plane, a woman sitting near us notified the attendant that she had lost her iPhone- that she though that it was on-board and she had dropped it while getting onto the plane. The flight attendant put a message over, and a number of people were asked if they had seen it. No response. Finally someone mentioned the 'find my iPhone’ function and used their iPhone to get the missing iPhone to give out a signal. The missing phone was found – in a luggage locker in the inside compartment of someone else’s backpack. The steward contacted the captain, who radioed ahead and had airport security waiting to ‘talk’ to the person as he disembarked the plane. We saw him leave the airport about 30 minutes later after what must have been a most unpleasant time for him. J We collected our rental car – it had only just been returned by the previous renter and hadn’t had time to be cleaned or washed – we had to start by taking the rubbish out of the car. The temperature in Bozeman was slightly under 0 degrees Celsius and there was ice and snow all over the place. Fortunately, they are very efficient at clearing snow from the roads and there were no driving difficulties at any stage during our time in the area. We got some McDonalds as a snack – having had nothing but airline pretzels to eat since 5:00 a.m. and, after a few detours, left Bozeman for Yellowstone National Park. The road was wide, easy to drive and well maintained. It was dark by the time we arrived in Mammoth Hot Springs to check into the hotel for the night. We were not all that impressed by Mammoth to start off with. Although the front part of the Hotel was quite modern looking, the accommodation wing looked (and was equipped like) something from the thirties. Period charm is all very well – but there are limits. The room was tiny, but at least it was warm. We made it over to the dining room (a separate building) in time for tea. It had been a very long day, and with another early start tomorrow (5:00 alarm, 6:30 breakfast, 7:30 on the snowcoach heading for Old Faithful Snow Lodge) we needed a reasonably early night). So we avoided the Ranger talk in the activities room and went to bed instead.
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