S: Our Mountain Vacation 2011 part 1
FC: Our Mountain Vacation 2011 part 1
1: Trip started Monday, August 8. I had a meeting with Haslett Schools about subbing in the fall. The meeting lasted till 2 pm. got home and Detroit Edison had been at the house and cut limbs from the tree in front of the house. They were supposed to take all the wood and rubbish but they had not. So we had to clean it up before we left for our 3 week trip. We worked great together got everything cleaned up, packed a cooler and were off by 3 o'clock. Clyde had eaten oyster stew so we stopped at Webberville, McDonald's for my lunch. $2.12 later we were on the road. Next stop Bemis Woods Park to use the bathroom. It was a long way into the park and it was raining. Clyde drove down to turn around and I ended up pretty wet waiting for him to get back. We got back on 94 and headed to Laura and Jason's. The traffic wasn't bad but the rain was so hard we could hardly see past the hood. When we hit 90 the traffic was almost dead stopped for 10-15 minutes then it picked up. Got to Laura and Jason's at about 8:40 home time. The first leg of the trip was 335 mi. As always we had a great time talking with them. Laura made Cuban sandwiches and sweet potato fries. Yummy! | $32.57 | Paw Paw 5:00pm Speedway $3.59/gal 9.05 gal 31.9 mpg
2: $35.72 | 6162 Hwy 52 Deforest Wisconsin Shell $3.59/gal 9.925 gal | Day 2 - Very comfortable accommodations at Laura and Jason's. It was a great visit at their new home. We took time to shower, have coffee and some conversation then we were on the road by 8:40 Ill. time. (9:40 home time). Beautiful sunny day. Crossed into Wisconsin 9:00 (10 home time). Drove 68 mi stopped for gas and seriously needed a potty break.
3: This was the first sign of the mountains. We were just 4 mi. south of Oakdale WI. There were several spires jutting out all along the road. We crossed the Mississippi at 12:35 PM (1:40 home time) 308 miles from Laura and Jason's.
4: Minnesota | Entered 12:36 | This was a beautiful rest stop just over the line. Linda drove rest stop to rest stop. Then Clyde drove. He drives better than he rides. :) Time: 1:52
5: Taken for our friends Mary Lou & Russ Geyer | 39.88 | Avon, Minn Tesoros 2:29 pm $3.62/gal 10.98gal 31.2 mpg trip info. 64.41 mph 31.2 mpg 759 mi from home 416 from Laura's | 3:52 Fergus Falls We stopped for Silicone spray for the tent, and food for Hobo pies. Bread was crazy expensive and there was a Sara Lee store in front so we went there for bread. Still not any deals. But the walking did us both good. | Now as far north as Deer Camp in Crystal Falls, UP MI | Yellow stone | Home | Grand Canyon
6: Buffalo River St. Park Glyndon Minn. 56547 5:25 Pm Site 10 $30.00 with electric | Clyde had found this campground on the Internet before we left home. We followed our directions carefully except we turned on county rd. 10 instead of US 10 and ended up at a dead end. After back tracking and working with the Tom Tom we found the right rd.
7: After setting up camp we were ready to eat. Checked with Tom Tom and he told us to go to a Moorhead about 30 miles back over the construction zone we had just driven through. When we got there we had the choice of several chain restaurants or this local one. What a great choice we made. Clyde had all you can eat chicken, veggies, mashed potatoes, with soup and salad bar. I had grilled herb chicken, baked potato and beans with soup and salad bar. Yummy! Below is our sunrise camp. We were up at 6:30 and made coffee on Missy and Dane's stove. We had cereal and broke camp. It went very well, no difficulties and not a single cross word. | Day 2 8:24 after filling our bellies and the gas tank we headed back to camp. Mosquitoes were testy and we were tired so we showered and went to bed, 10:45. | Dillsworth Tesoro $3.49/gal 6.44 gal 30.3 mpg 63.5 average mpg trip | $22.53
8: Entered 9:10 | North Dakota | 75 | Land looks so flat. Fewer trees and more open land with a few wood lots was now the scenery. We changed drivers because Clyde was tired.
9: $31.77 | Bismark 12:09 $3.69/gal 8.59 gal 29.7average mpg 63.8 mph 1157 mi from home 213 today | In Bismark, as with some of the other big towns, there was a lot of new construction - houses, apartments and buildings. We changed drivers in Bismark and while I was driving there were many large lakes beside the hwy. on both sides . They have had lots of rain this summer and it has taken its toll. At one point we had to slow to 25 mph. because the water had been over the road. Trying to hold back the water they had banked what looked like sand bags by a fence. Then we saw huge bags with barriers with 20ft. long and 2 ft. around with another row in front of it- still some water got across the road. We were below the water on both sides for several miles.
10: The little white butterflies were everywhere. They were beautiful and awesome to watch but when we stopped we had thousands of them all over our car. | Trees are now sparse but we are beginning to see lots of foothills. Interestingly it is a common practice for the farmers to mow and bale the road sides.
11: It appeared that as the landscape changed so did the atmosphere. We drove for miles. Seeing many, many exits that had signs reading, "no services". These were just that exits to the far, far beyond no services and no houses as far as the eye could see. We watched a crop duster over the sky line and were able to watch it a very long time as we grew closer. How different than at home where he would have been in our line of sight for only a few minutes. Farming looks a little different too, it's mostly hay now with round bales left on the fields everywhere and bee hives popping up all over.
12: These pictures are of Medora Campground in ND which was one of our destination. We decided we might come back this way because it was so fascinating and beautiful, but as for today we had to much daylight left and to much more to see to stay. 2:25 pm We crossed into Montana at 3:04 PM
13: Rosebud rest stop. This was a great spot to take a break but we didn't get very far off the walking path. We are starting to see so much open grazing of cattle so it was interesting to see all the different brands used to identify the owners. We are now in MST 4:25 EST 6:25. | Forsyth Minn 12.625 E85 $3.73/gal 29 average mpg 64.7 mph 1487 mi from home 543 today | $47.20
14: The mountains are covered with pine trees and are dotted with cows and horses. This also seems to be train and truck country as we have been surrounded by trucks on the road and are seeing extremely long trains. Farms are huge, we are guessing the fields are greater than 50 acres couldn't tell where they started or ended and every one was irrigated. You can see so far that we have been watching rain coming for several hours. We made it to our destination the KOA, in Billings MN at 6:09 local time/8:09 at home. Clyde went in to check us in, the cost for a tent spot was $39.00 we decided not to stay. We went to McDonald,s for a sandwich and to connect to the Internet. After a little web searching we decided to go on towards Cody and US 212, our next designated destination. So we were back on the road at 7:05 and it was raining extremely hard, with lots of wind and some sun shine. We saw 2 large rainbows. The rain stopped around 7:25. Along the way we found Cooney St Park on Cooney Lake. We drove around the lake investigated the North Shore first, but it was full, so we moved on to the South Shore Campground and happily settled on site 10. ( the second time on a site 10). The cost for the night with out of state senior rates was $23, no electric and $2.00 for a 3 minute shower. It was 8:30. Even though we were setting up in the dark our previous practice prevailed and we had the tent up and were ready for the evening in no time.
16: After getting every thing set up I decided shower. When I got there the only booth was full, so I waited. The gal seemed to be taking a very long time and I was freezing. She stopped for several minutes shuffled around and got back in. I was just about to give up when she got out. She was very nice and explained that she had run out of time with a head full of shampoo and had to look for more money. I had no idea it was a pay shower and since I hadn't brought money with me gave up on the idea all together. | Day 3 Wed. Aug. 10 end of day 1653 mi from home 709 mi today 28.8 mpg. 63.4 mph | Our site was right by the front stake. The camper on the right belonged to a very nice couple, Marla and Marvin from Billings. Marvin was a retired teacher. We talked with them for quite awhile. He told us that having snow still on the mtns. is very unusual this time of yr. and that it was due to start snowing for the winter in a couple of weeks. We could just see some snow caps from camp.
17: Day 4 Packing went really easy we seem to be getting a rhythm. We left camp at *8:20. We were well rested and excited about the day. The mtns. were finally in view and we were heading for US 212. Clyde had planned our trip to include one or more days on scenic 212 through the mtns. He quoted On the Road with Charles Kuralt as saying it's the most beautiful road in the US,. It's 2 miles high with switch backs all the way up.
18: Oh my, when we passed this place and Clyde turned around to go back I thought he'd lost his mind. It looked like a real dive. I wasn't sure I even wanted a cup of coffee in this place, much less breakfast. Oh well, this vacation was supposed to be an adventure so why not. :) | The café was a ways off the road. At first all we could see was the sign and all the "clutter". The swinging doors lead into the "outdoor eating area" but of course one could walk around them if preferred. I was feeling a little queasy, and I wasn't sure that what we were going to be served would be anything we could recognize, after all they were out in the boondocks and the norm here seemed to be very different than at home. | By now Clyde is getting a kick out of this, so we just walked through the "outside eating area" and followed the signs to the ...
19: side door ?
20: Ok, so this was when I started thinking I might have to eat crow. Not real crow, but the place was really cute. There was so much to see it was hard to take it all in. We walked through a separate dining area to the main café and realized we had come from the backside of the building. The pictures above were taken from the front door area. The one to the right was from our seat.
21: There was one big table in the front where several older local men were having breakfast. A few other local guys stopped to get breakfast or coffee on their way to work so maybe it would be alright after all. There was a TV with the local morning news program on the big rains of the summer seemed to be a hot topic. Our waitress was friendly, conversing with everyone about local happenings. Clyde ordered Biscuits & gravy with coffee for $5.00. I ordered 2eggs and and English muffin with coffee. for $3.50. They both came with watermelon wedges. And I must say it was very good. Left about 11.
22: This is the front view of Robert's Café. There was a nice little town on this side of the café and a pretty big main street that we hadn't realized was here. We took a few minutes and walked around looking at the different local business.. Later we would hear that Robert's Café is known from nearly 100 miles away.
24: The scenery was rapidly changing now. My neck was spinning around as I was trying to see everything. It was so incredible there seemed to be a different scene in every direction.
25: The scenic turn off was incredible. We stopped to use the bathroom and while I was waiting. The lady caretaker started talking to me. She told me she was from Conn. and had moved here to help a friend get settled. The friend ended up moving back east but she had fallen in love with the area and stayed. She shared that her business both here and back east was making jewelery. She told me she got the job as caretaker because she was complaining that it wasn't being taken care of well. She lived just down the mtn., had been to Red Lodge and had heard of Roberts Café. She had so much info. could have talked longer but Clyde was ready to go.
26: To say that the mountains are breathtaking doesn't even begin to describe the beauty and majesty of these surroundings. I haven't seen Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon yet but I can't imagine anything more incredible. There are beautiful yellow and blue flowers growing on the side of the road, snow covered mtns., mtns. that drop so far you can't see the bottom and wonderful deep blue lakes. Every turn provides a different majestic view. Every mtn. has it's own unique beauty. As we go higher we begin to see the switchbacks, the road ahead and the road behind and we realize we are now above the snow. I can't possibly take it all in. God has made such an awesome world.
27: Leaving and re-entering Mt. | 1721 mi. from home 76 mi from camp 28.2 avg. mpg 59.9 Avg. mph | Look closely and you'll see people playing with tubes on the snow. | Even though we had entered Shoshone Nat'l. Park we frequently saw these ranch signs and other signs that read open range loose stock watch for cattle on rd. | Temp. is 53 and dropping.
28: We drove over this deep gorge and pulled into the scenic turn off to take a little break and a photo op. It was so windy it felt like you could get blown over the edge.
29: There was a lot of road construction. When the construction involved heavy equipment,which seemed to be most of the time, they stopped one lane of traffic, the passing lane, which was often a mile long, was lead by a pilot car. The wait was often lengthy. On one such wait the gal stopping traffic in our lane came up to our car to remind us not to pass the pilot car. She said there had been an accident earlier because someone did and it caused lots of damage to the guys 5th wheel and a huge ticket. Picture on the left. | While waiting in these lines people got out of their cars and talked with others, some had mini picnics, most took it as just the way it is here.
30: We made it to Cody Wy. by 2:28 PM. It was a surreal experience as the landscape had been very rural for 200 mi. yet Cody was a busy bustling tourist trap of a town with entertainment and lodging everywhere. There was lots of traffic and it was challenging to read road signs or change lanes. After getting gas we stopped at Wall Mart to get stuff for breakfast and Hobo Pies (burger, potatoes, carrots, milk bananas and sodas). We needed info. about Yellowstone, found a visitor center that was very helpful. They gave me a couple of maps and info about the park. We headed for the East entrance. | Cody, Wy 919 16th St. 13.113 gal. $3.69/gal 28.4 avg. mpg 58 mph 1812 mi from home 267 today | $48.50
31: Yellowstone was about 60 miles from Cody. The scenery was spectacular. The sky had a deep owly look which magnified the intensity of the mountains. We seemed to be in a long valley with mountains on both sides. The scenery seemed to be more dramatic on Clyde's side of the car but my side wasn't slouchy. My camera battery was dying so I was only able to get a very few pictures on the way in. No pictures at this gate or our camp that night. | We stopped at the East gate. Clyde bought a lifetime senior pass for $10.00 which allows him and anyone in a vehicle with him to get into any National Park . We also bought a 3day fishing pass for $15.00. We asked about sites for a tent. Only 2 locations have possible sites open, Indian Creek and Lewis Lake.
32: Rules are very strict about food and food odors. You must put everything back in vehicle or in sealed vaults. (above). Dishwater must be disposed on in the toilet. Garbage must be stored in vehicle then taken to special garbage. No burning of anything that has touched food due to odors. Even cosmetics must be stored in vehicle. Bear spray is recommended if you are going on trails. It's supposed to be better than fire arms for protection. | It was a slow but beautiful drive to the site. At one point traffic was stopped for about 30 min. or more. Only one lane moving at a time. We checked a couple of camps but no places for tents. At Lewis Lake campground we found a site, C42. It was built up with logs around it and had a layer of pea stone. Just big enough for our tent. Cost was $6.00 per day, 1/2 the regular price because of the senior pass. This site has no electric but there is potable water a ways away. Vaulted toilets down aways too. | We got the tent set up and started a fire to cook our hobo stew and some asparagus. It was a little work getting the fire started because the only wood around had been heavily doused with water. | Day 4 9:12 local time watching the fire and waiting for dinner then bed we're both tired 377 mi today 1922 from home
33: Day 5 We had breakfast cereal and coffee while we looked over the map. We decided to go to Jackson to get an inverter to charge batteries since the south entrance was the closest to our camp. We left about 9:30 only 22 miles to the entrance but it took about 45 min. When we left Yellowstone we had 55 miles to go but we were immediately in the Grand Tetons. It was 56 out and beautiful. It had been much colder in the night. We went directly to McDonald's, set up the computer to look for a store and charged the camera. | Picture on the upper right is in front of the Radio Shack we found. We ended up getting the inverter, an adapter & extra card for the phone and a new Tom Tom(since our Tom Tom had been acting up.) $211 later we were set up and on our way. | The Grand Tetons & Jackson Wy. | Philip's 66 7.18 gal. $3.79/gal 28.3 avg. mpg 53.9 mph 2007 mi from home 196 since fill up yesterday | $27.28
34: Out of Jackson we went north towards the west entrance. Took hwy 22 to 33 to 20. First town of Wilson had a pop. of 200. :) Crossed into Idaho at 2:51. | We were in a long deep, wide valley. The Teton Mtns. were so different, much more severe with many harsh ridges and treacherous peaks. | The area was a little more populated. Ranches with out buildings and several clusters of trailers or small houses. Hay was stacked almost like a fence row for miles at a time.
35: When we got onto 20 we started seeing fields of trees with signs of yr. they were planted. The trees are lodge pole pines. Everything is built of them from fences to ranch houses. | We also saw huge farms with acres and acres of one crop, primarily potatoes, oats and wheat. All of the farms were irrigated with expansive equipment.
36: Back in Montana we stopped at a Mountain Man Rendezvous. People were dressed in Indian or Mt. Man garb. You could find anything from food to clothes to trinkets of all kinds. | Soft Buffalo robe $650. | The weaver is making sashes. Some of the yarn for the sashes costs $4. an oz. It took her about 8 hrs. to do what was on the loom. Looms come from Canada cost about $250. She started as a hobby but now she teaches. | The gal with the Indian outfit works with the pelts. She and her husband trap during the winter. She works all day on the furs in her basement. She is from Idaho Falls. There was a beaver pelt that was sooo soft she said they comb them almost like down.
37: This painted Buffalo was the center piece in Yellowstone Mt. Just outside of the west entrance. 6:00 | Traveling this rd. we followed the river and it rolled back and forth. As we drove we could see and hear it rolling faster and faster.
38: Fire Hole Falls The roaring rush of the water and then the silence was awe inspiring. Standing near the edge made you feel like you it would sweep you away.
39: We were heading towards Ole Faithful but evening was falling fast. We noticed the sulfur smell and saw the rising steam long before we got to the area where the ground was boiling. The land looked so desolate, covered with the white dried sulfur. At 7:55 we stopped looking for the night and headed for Ole Faithful Country Store. When we got there Ole Faithful was erupting so Clyde dropped me off to get pictures. I was able to get a few from a distance as it was ending. The reason it's called Ole Faithful is it erupts about every 1 1/2 hrs. around the clock. It would be to late to stay tonight so we decided we would come back another day. On the way back to camp we crossed the continental divide at 8:38, then recrossed it at 8:50. When we got back to camp we both wanted a shower. There were no showers at our camp so we had to drive back to Grant, where showers were $2.00 for 6 minutes. It felt so great, it was worth every penny and more. | Day 5 28.3 mpg 52 mph 202 from Jackson 2210 miles since home
40: Lewis Lake in the morning.
41: Day 6 Saturday August 13 Left is the sun rising over the mt. across from our camp. Below was our camp, We left at 8:45 Many more people were camping on the weekend.
42: We stopped at several different geyser locations. Many of them had walkways that went out over the thermal areas. Signs all over warn that the ground is very dangerous. There may only be a thin crust layer over the boiling hot springs or scalding mud. New hazard's can boil up overnight.and some are acrid enough to burn through boots. Many people have been scalded, burned badly and scarred. The picture on the left shows a geyser that came up over night right under the walk and next to a support. You could see the under\water geysers.
43: This bison was in the road sauntering in front of a long line of cars. He was actually this close to our car. Took the picture out of the side window. Bison are huge animals that could easily damage a car, Trying to pass may be difficult and dangerous so you have to wait for them to amble off the road.
44: After seeing the first bison now the landscape seems to be scatter with them.
45: Canyon Falls was another amazing coincidental stop. We had to walk quite aways in to get there. This is the upper falls. The gorge that the river cut is impossible to capture with the camera. Most of the time we could not see the bottom with the naked eye.
46: As the river winds it's way to the falls it moves more and more ferociously.
47: Up to it's crescendo and it's power is unleashed. | Canyon Falls Yellow stone $4.09 gal. 9.64 gal 28.2mpg 50.4mph 2275 mi from home 65 mi today | 39.51
48: We saw many acres of Yellowstone that had been burnt at different times. We saw various stages of regrowth.
49: Vista's from Canyon Falls area
50: Our plan for exploring the park was to meander from our camp through the park towards each of the entrances. So today's expedition was taking us in the general direction of the far north entrance and the mammoth hot springs. The closer we got the higher we were but the mnts. we were looking at were even higher. The mnts. in these pictures are all 9-10,000 ft. | We crossed over the 45 parallel (1/2 way between the equator and the north pole) just before we went out the north gate about 4:55. We went into the town of Gattalin. Not as big as the other entrance towns but very much a tourist town. Drove over the entire town trying to find a grocery , finally we stopped at one place we had been by a couple of times. It really didn't look like a grocery but it was the only possible option. Could not believe the prices considering the locals have to shop there too. Bought hot dogs, buns, apples bologna, ham slices and pizza sauce and $2 bags of ice, $22.00. | North entrance to Yellowstone
51: The sage brush really is everywhere here it's very poky and gnarled but if you pick it it smells like the sage we know.
52: Mammoth Hot Springs | Located on a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine,(a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs) and adjacent to Fort Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District. It was created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over two tons flow into Mammoth each day in a solution.) The hot water that feeds Mommoth comes from Norris Geyser basin. The hot water travels underground via a fault line that runs through limestone, which is the source of the calcium carbonate. Shallow circulation allows the Norris superheated water to slightly cool before surfacing at Mammoth generally at about 170 F.
53: Driving into the Mammoth area we were stunned to find elk walking around the town. They were in the road stopping traffic and laying on the lawns all over town. | The fort area still has barracks, several beautiful historical buildings, and many older officer's homes. The elk don't seem to mind sharing. | Yellowstone National Park, the world's first national park, was established on March 1, 1872. In the yr. 1886 the US Army was delegated control over the park, and for 32 yrs. the Army managed the park from Fort Yellowstone. The hats used by the National Park service rangers (Ranger Stetsons) are descended from the hats originally used in Army uniforms of the time. | Made it all the way around the park today. Ate PB&J in the car. it was getting late and would be dark soon. | 6:55 local time 2421 mis. from home 210 today 28,2 avg mpg 48..7 Avg mph
54: End of day 6 6:55 local time 2421 mis. from home 210 today 28,2 avg mpg 48..7 Avg mph | We made it all the way around the park today. I built PB & J's hanging over the back seat and we devoured them because we thought be were going to get home late. However, we made it in plenty of time and even built a fire. The sites were large with plenty of space in between. Our table was on the right. The table above it the next sites. We fell in bed at 9:45. | Our fire wood was dead wood we found along our journey and loaded in the trunk.
55: Made it all the way around the park today. Ate PB&J in the car. it was getting late and would be dark soon. | Day 7 A large deer walked right by our tent this morning. We got up late went to use the laundry and take a shower at Grant Village. We stopped at Lewis Falls by our lake. When we left it was getting windy and very choppy.
56: Broke camp at 12:25, headed north west to the west entrance and Ole Faithful.
57: We had a little time while we waited for Ole Faithful to erupt so we went into the general store. There was one at each of the main camps. You could buy anything you might want or need during your stay at Yellowstone. The prices reflected the fact that it was such a long way to any town outside of the park. Our list shows some of the items: 1 sleeve Premium saltine $4.29 Hot dog buns $6. 99 Hot dogs $6.99 Cereal sm. box $6.29 Ice $.3.00 Cup of coffee $.2.25 Shower 6 min. $2.00 Laundry soap $1.25 Washer $1.50 Dryer $.1.25 | We were there in plenty of time but we still had to park 13 rows back. When we came out of the store people were moving to the seating area fast so we went to get ours. We were about 2-3 rows from the front. Everyone was excited and waited with great anticipation. We had groups of people from many different countries sitting around us, speaking several different languages. Everyone was friendly.
58: A park ranger was sharing some information about Ole Faithful while we were waiting. It sends boiling water 140 ft. high. The sulfur smell isn't too bad here but much stronger farther north towards Norris. Where we sat we got quite a bit of spray . Many yrs. ago people parked cars where we were sitting and walked up much closer,but it was very dangerous because of the scalding water. | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Ole Faithful erupts approximately every hour and a half
59: 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
60: Day 7 Sunday August 14, 2011 We left Yellowstone via the west exit 2:40 PM towards Sevier Ut.
61: 32.99 | Corner Conoco 8.57 gal. $.3.84 gal. 62.9 mi from camp to West entrance