On to Yellowstone
Trip Start Jun 12, 2005
41Trip End Aug 2005
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This morning was another beautiful day in Helena! Sunny and bright, moderate temperatures, and we only had about 200 miles to drive to our destination of Yellowstone National Park. Because we had reservations in a "dry" campground (no hookups) in Yellowstone, Pat did a couple loads of laundry and I added water to our fresh water holding tank along with the usual preparations for travel.
The travel day was neat! We saw some of the most interesting vistas of our trip. Early on it was typical Montana, but soon we were alongside a beautiful lake with lots of homes. As we continued south we were soon in wheat country (I think I forgot to mention that we had seen lots of wheat fields yesterday, some harvested, some not). Today we saw more of the same, wheat fields, both harvested and not. As we crossed Interstate 90 heading south toward Yellowstone we got into ranch country, lots of cattle ranches. The scenery really became interesting with more hills, then mountains, and good looking trout rivers and streams. We also saw lots of antelope, the first of the trip. Soon we had mountains on the east, as well as the west. We also started to see interesting small towns, one was Ennis, where an arts festival was just getting underway. The town was jammed. It looked like an interesting spot and Pat regrets we did not park and walk around a bit.
Soon we turned east toward Yellowstone and went through the town of Yellowstone, a very crowded and busy tourist "trap" or town if you prefer. As we entered the park, we soon saw the effect of the 1988 forest fires. Fortunately, the new trees are quickly growing to replace those lost in the fire, and are six or seven feet tall and exceptionally thick.
We went through the waiting line common in national park campgrounds and were soon (relatively) at our campsite. After disconnecting our home from our truck and a hearty lunch we were ready to see Yellowstone National Park.
We headed south the 16 miles to Old Faithful Geyser. The drive was interesting but not particularly impressive. When we got to the Old Faithful area, and figured out the traffic control system, we just missed an eruption by the star. So, like any good tourists, we went to the gift shop... While wandering among the over priced trinkets, who did appear but the two couples from Minnesota who had been on the caravan with us. We caught up on each others activities since Hyder, Alaska, where we had last seen them. After an ice cream, and it was time for the next Old Faithful performance. We said our goodbyes (again) as they had caught the prior show, and headed out to the audience viewing area. Well, it was nice to see, but a bit of a disappointment. It was not one of her better eruptions. With that we headed on our planned route, the southern loop of Yellowstone. Again it was nice, but a bit shy of our expectations. As we traveled the nearly 50 miles we were stopped frequently by bison herds which seemed to prefer the roadway to their pastures. What traffic the buffalo didn't stop the tourists did by stopping to view the animals. After numerous interruptions (including one ridiculously long one caused by tourists stopping to see two elk who were just off the roadway, we finally made the circuit and were back at our trailer at about 8:30. Definitely a bit disappointed with our first exposure to Yellowstone.
Perhaps tomorrow will be better.