Tuesday, July 14, 2009

[day 190 ... july 9]

Yellowstone at last!

After a long, beautiful drive from Cody, we drove through the Yellowstone EAst Gate and embarked on our day-long exploration of the park. Not nearly long enough! A beautiful drive through the mountainous east side of the park gave way to the huge Yellowstone Lake and then the West Thumb Geyser Basin. Incredible place - gorgeous geyser depths and cool paint pots. Plus we happened to bump into Sieglinde and family - yay! They left camp while I was in Cody getting new tires for the tent trailer (not sure if I mentioned that we got a flat in Cody coming through town yesterday), so it was great to see them one more time before they headed for the Grand Tetons and then back home to Michigan by way of Nebraska.

Here are Cory and Niall with bison in the background. Niall was happy that we finally saw some interesting animals! There were groups of buffalo up close several times by the roadside, include this herd that included a number of calves. Quite thrilling! The bisons' heads are SO big. Actually, they are just big in general.

Seeing Old Faithful do its thing was a classic and delightful experience. We were lucky and only had to wait about 20 minutes for the show. The boys were pleased to see a geyser finally erupt, after seeing lots of steaming paint pots, etc. at West Thumb Basin.

It was 5:00 by the time we saw Old Faithful and we had a long way to go yet. Our campground for the night was about an hour past the north gate, and north gate is a *long* way from Old Faithful. So we stopped at one of the big tourist stores and got ice cream and postcards, then hit the road. We ran into construction and delays, and eventually 30 miles of gravel road (led by a "pilot car" for some reason), so we won't be going back tomorrow as we had thought we might. But at least we got to see what the fuss is all about with Yellowstone (richly deserved!) and are already plotting for when we can come back and spend a lot more time. Except for Cory: the West Thumb area terrified him ("What if we fall in?!") and he has sworn that he is never traveling to see geyers ever again. Sigh.

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