Thursday, July 5, 2007

This does not suck!

Today we drive from Cody, through Yellowstone National Park, through to Dillon, MT. And for the second day in a row, we have breakfast at a place called "Granny's" for breakfast. We have discovered a direct connection between a name like "Granny's" and really good breakfast. And once again we were proven correct!

Wyoming really is a stark and beautiful place.

And sometimes, not so stark.

As we drove by, I got a quick glimpse at this old mining operation.

As with most major national parks such as Yellowstone, it's bounded on each side by a different National Forest. On our way into Yellowstone, we drive through Shoshone National Forest.

In many ways, Shoshone is just as beautiful as Yellowstone.

Ride ambiance: U2, Buddy Guy, Pat Benatar, the Soundtrack to "Avenue Q"

We eventually make it to the North Eastern entrance to Yellowstone. A couple years ago, Paul and I drove Route 66, and went along this same section of road. In fact, this is the same fifteen miles of road that were washed out with mud, and required we follow a pilot vehicle. It was the scariest time I've ever spent on a motorcycle. It's much more enjoyable driving it today, when its clear and dry.

It's under construction today, so its mostly gravel. A bit tricky, but no where near as scary as it was the last time I drove it.

Like New Zealand, Yellowstone has an incredible diversity of ecosystems. There are rivers...

And burnt out forests...

And places where they meet lakes.

And the lakes meet mountains. At this point, I turned to Paul and said "I know what I'm going to call today's blog." He looked up and said "This doesn't suck!" Two great minds!

I could sit and watch the water lap against the shore all day.

Driving through Yellowstone, Paul caught a picture of this 1939 Ford. It amazes me to see these beautiful cars still on the road, happily cruising the road just like me.

The best part of Yellowstone is that the animals always have the right of way. Here, the traffic is backed up so that a family of buffalo can make their way across the road.

It's amazing to get so close to such a strong and noble beast.

They are pretty incredible creatures.

The problem with a place like this, is that you want to sit and watch a view like this all day. I just have to be happy to have seen it, and be glad that there is so much more to see as well.

Coming through the mountains, we find this sign marking the continental divide.

And shortly afterwards, traffic is once again stalled so we can see this huge reindeer!
[Paul: It's not a Reindeer, its an elk!]

Eventually we make our way to Old Faithful, and the Old Faithful Lodge. Since I called Tim the last time I was here, it seemed only fitting that I call him again. It's good to have reminders of my friends as I travel.

Good thing we decided to walk back past the bikes. Paul had left his wallet in his jacket, and just left that laying on his bike. Everything was in its place, but it did give us a bit of a fright.

Now it was time to see Old Faithful blow...

And blow she did! Isn't it amazing that a geyser blows so consistently, that you can tell people when they can come by to see it?

They geysers are only one of the many geothermal sites in Yellowstone. Here's another...

And as wild as some parts of the park are, others are completely serene...

We couldn't leave without at least one more encounter with nature. These deer are so used to people being around, they happily nosh on grass as we all take our pictures.
[Paul: These are elk too!]

We even got a glimpse at this bald eagles nest, although its resident was no where to be seen.

As we leave the park and head towards Dillon, I take one more look at the sky.

The Montana sky always reminds me of a Maxfield Parish painting. No wonder I love driving here.


Lhaffinatu said...

Geez Peter, sure wish I could have been there with you guys. Yellowstone is one of the places I've always wanted to visit, but I never seem to have made it up there. And here you've been twice in the last three or so years! I'm gonna have to plan a visit there in the next year or so and take enough time off to make it worthwhile.

BC said...

With the pics of the meals and the animals, I am reminded of an exhibit at the fair that had stalls with a cow, pig, and chicken with signs proclaiming "beef", "pork", and "poultry" hanging above them.