Yellowstone - Day One

Friday, July 11, 2008

A beautiful morning greeted us, cool enough to need to bundle up on the trike but sunny. We pulled on our jackets layered over a lighter layer, chaps, warm gloves and helmets. We planned to stop in West Yellowstone for breakfast before venturing into the park itself. We were both anticipating a great time...while I had been there in 2005 on my solo motorcycle tours, Stu hadn't been there since he was a kid.

On the way to West Yellowstone we passed Earthquake Lake. There was a visitor's center but it wasn't open yet so we planned to catch it the following day.

West Yellowstone looked very familiar to me but I didn't think it was anywhere near as busy as it had been in 2005. It's a neat little town with a wide variety of places to eat. I've already forgotten the name of where we had breakfast but did snap a shot inside the bathroom that showed the local humor. Breakfast was good and we found that we both had a good cell phone signal while in West Yellowstone so used the time to catch up on phone calls. My main concern was the status of my RV work but it was well underway.

We took the same entrance into the park that I had so I kind of knew what to initially expect. One advantage of riding with Stu, he loves taking out of the way roads (and as you will see, eating at out of the way places). Any side road that appeared was a road taken. I got to see much more of the park this way...compounded by the fact that when I was traveling through, I was always on a schedule. We had none, other than to be back at the RV for bed. LOL! After the first detour we quickly approached the slow down for the eagle nest...someone always has to stop, regardless of the signs telling them not to.

Soon we were running along the river where the signs of the fire while still apparent now showed more growth. I took many photos along this stretch on my previous visit and it was no different this time around. The first photo is one I took the Friday before Memorial Day in 2005.

We had decided to do the southern loop today and the northern loop tomorrow. That meant that today would be lots of hot springs, geyers, thermal hot pots, sulphuric smells, strange landscapes and lots of water. Here are a few of the shots we took...lots more in the full album on SmugMug. Stu used my Canon camera with the long zoom while I used my Panasonic pocket camera, great for quick pics while riding. You'll see a combination of you can't tell the difference. LOL!

Lots of walking....lots of walking in riding boots, by the time we had walked what felt like miles visiting several thermal areas, we were ready for a little sit down time. We pulled into the lodge by Old Faithful to get gas, browse the store and take a break. While I was snapping the photo of Stu in one of the handmade wooden rockers, a lady came up behind me and asked, "Is he yours?". Well, at that point I could only answer, "For now....". She laughed and told me he was cute...I told her that I knew it. LOL! As we got ready to leave, a couple came over and started to talk to us about the trike. As I glanced across the street....Holy Eruption, Batman!

We continued on, drove past another lodge and headed towards Yellowstone Lake. That was virgin territory for fact I hadn't even realized there was a huge lake there. Boy, when I say HUGE....believe me, it is. The day had warmed up and we had taken off our chaps and removed some layers. Not long after hitting the coast of the lake we realized that the combination of the time of day and the effect of the water meant putting them back on. The last photo is where we stopped to dress again. Beautiful vistas....I could have sat there for hours just looking.

Throughout the day I noticed how many wildflowers there were...I only got a couple of shots to share though.

We found a place to stop and eat our picnic lunch...and got our first wildlife glimpse (other than the eagle). No was a mother wolf and her cubs way off in the distance. With our binoculars we could barely see them but we were excited, not only wildlife but WOLVES! I did manage to get a shot of me taking a shot...LOL!

As the afternoon waned, the wildlife came out. First was a sole buffalo...not far from the road. We got several good shots. Then as we went on further down the road ther was another hold up on the road. Two large elk not far away. I sat on the trike while Stu walked up the road to grab some good shots.

We headed back into West Yellowstone for some dinner and little window shopping, trying to decide what we might want to pick up for ourselves or gifts. We were tired so decided to do more of that in the morning.

Arrived back at the rig before total darkness (of course sunset was around 10 pm), exhausted and exhilarated. Stay tuned for day two!

Till next time - keep on rollin',


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