Mad dogs and all that...

Trip Start Jun 30, 2010
Trip End Aug 15, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Friday, July 23, 2010

We think that it should be mad dogs and aussie pom and greek women! 
I was thinking that I could title this episode 'Bison are so passe' because we have seen so many. They are lovely docile beasts in the national parks and cause so many traffic jams. Due to the hot weather they look really scraggy with their winter coats falling off in bits. People love to take photos of them because they stand still and look at you - some cartoonist would be able to put a great caption on it but I am too tired to be creative.
Once again we started late, had a leisurely breakfast, went shopping first and then decided we should see more of Yellowstone. We wanted to see the most photographed vista of the canyon and then do a hike along the south rim to get away from the crowds. Actually it was very hard to get away from crowds even along the hiking trails. It is no wonder I have yet to see a bear because there are so many loud human beings everywhere you go! I really think that to visit Yellowstone Park you need to be staying inside the park and spend at least a week. My guidebook (the Lonely Planet) did not say that you could do overnight hikes with a guide etc and it is not until you are in an accommodation place that you see these signs. I would like to do that someday - there are hikes for all levels of fitness so they really do cater for everyone. 
I have been struggling with the altitude even though the highest we were in Yellowstone was about 8,000 feet (2.4 km) and many of the hikes are uphill over fairly rough terrain - as soon as there is an incline I have a lot of difficulty breathing. The flat areas and naturally the downhill are OK. I had to pike out half way through a hike as I was really struggling so sat watching the people on the other side of the canyon take pictures, I made friends with a squirrel and chipmunk and basically just enjoyed the solitude such as it was. About 10 groups walked past me but I don't think they knew I was there. It was rather nice.
By the time we left Yellowstone it was 3pm and we had a 9 hour drive in front of us (hence the title of this blog) to Glacier National Park up near the Canadian border. It was OK at the beginning but we were driving west into the sun for a large part of it which was pretty bad. Irene doesn't mind that so much and seems to like the interstate highways where you can drive really fast so I did the last half during the dark at lower speeds. The roads are quite badly lit and the lines are not reflective so it can be quite hairy. During the day you can drive at 70mph (112kph) but at night this goes down to 60. We saw more than 5 cop cars catching speeding drivers and at one place 3 cop cars were lined up behind 1 car. Unfortunately, we missed the chase but fortunately we did not get stopped. The other thing they do is turn off the traffic lights so they just flash orange and you just have to go through slowly in case someone is coming from the side. Driving down the highway all I could see was sets of flashing orange and it was not until I had gone through a few that I realised what was going on. The moon was almost full and we were driving beside a lake so even though we could not see everything it was still rather beautiful. 
We got to Whitefish but had a lot of difficulty finding the hotel - being about midnight did not help either. We drove up and down a street where it should be but could not find a sign or number and the numbers jumped from 40 to 140. We had to ring and wake someone up and realised we had driven past the place about 3 times. A couple of women sitting outside their house also got a surprise visit from me at nearly 1pm. 
The place was not acceptable either as it only had one bed - the other was a sofa bed which had a dirty cover on it and place was not that clean. Irene found a fingernail on the carpet! Neither of the beds was comfortable and it was one of those prefabricated units so when anyone walked about the whole place shook. At least we could open the window and get some fresh air. There was no milk or tea/coffee either.
It was one of those days that started well but ended very badly... We have to stop this late start, late finish, we had better get some takeaway, aaahhh we can't find our accommodation pattern that we seem to have got into!
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