Wednesday, December 9, 2015

2015 Trip West - Day 5

Day 5:

Corbin had written in his itinerary that this would be our longest, but our most breath-taking day of our journey.  Our plan was to drive across Wyoming to Yellowstone National Park, drive the loop through Yellowstone, go to Grand Tetons National Park, and go through the mountain pass that used to trap people traveling the Oregon Trail.  We would end up in Pocatello, Idaho.  Other than the first couple of hours crossing Wyoming, this would be all new territory for Corbin, so he was excited for this day.  He had long wanted to go to Yellowstone, and today would be the day.

We had breakfast on this Tuesday morning at our motel, and left Gillette, Wyoming at 6:30 am to cram as much as we could into this day.  Passing through Buffalo, Wyoming, we stopped to get gas, and left I-90 to take the scenic route US 16 to Yellowstone.  We passed over Crazy Woman Creek.  I often tease Susan about being a Crazy Woman, so I particularly had to let her know by text where we were.  They named a creek after her.  

Our first scenic site to visit was in Cody, Wyoming.  We stopped to have lunch at Taco Johns (very good!), then drove through Cody to Old Trail Town on the western edge of Cody.  Cody City, as it was originally called, was named after Buffalo Bill Cody.  He was the one who laid out the original town site in 1895.  In 1967 western historian Bob Edgar wanted to preserve the lifestyle and history of the Frontier West.  He collected authentic structures and furnishings from across Wyoming and Montana to put together Old Trail Town.  Original cabins used by old west outlaws, such at Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, are located here.  There are 26 building total, and also grave sites of notable western figures.  

Old Trail Town exists as a memorial to the uniquely American experience known as The Old West.  I took pictures of every building, but have decided not to include them in this blog.

 Here is Cody, Wyoming, as it looks today.  

Just outside of Cody is Buffalo Bill Dam, where we stopped briefly.


Time to head on to Yellowstone.

We anticipated seeing wildlife on our drive through the Park, but this fellow almost jumped in front of us as we entered through the gates.  He changed his mind, as there was a whole long line of cars behind us, and his chances for crossing the road right then were slim.  I caught his picture as he was moving away from us.

We entered the Park at the East Gate and drove in to the Museum and Visitor Center on the north end of Yellowstone Lake.  It was so sad, nothing like I was expecting, as the trees and vegetation had been devastated by forest fires the summer before.  Every now and then we could see some pines, but most of it looked like the trees in the pictures above at water's edge.  We never saw any other wildlife during our southern loop drive.  I wonder if the fires and lack of vegetation chased them to other areas of the park.  There wasn't really much to take a picture of except burned out forests.

Realizing how mammoth Yellowstone National Park is, we opted to just drive the southern route around to Old Faithful.  That's an icon I wanted to see on this my first (perhaps my last) trip to Yellowstone.  We stopped at the Visitor Education Center and found out our timing was very good for seeing the geyser spout, so we headed out to get a seat.  We only had about a twenty minute wait until Old Faithful proved true to her name.  I'm including a video for you to watch...particularly those of you who have never seen this phenomenon before.

Road construction and road painters, repairing the roads from the fires from the year before, slowed our traveling time way down.  We probably lost two hours driving out of Yellowstone through the South Entrance.  We had hoped to go to the Grand Teton National Park, but all I could do was try to capture pictures from the distance.  Certainly Corbin and Susan will have to make a trip back to Yellowstone National Park and see this whole area more closely.  They like to hike, so this area just beckons them back.  

I'm a walker, but not a hiker.  I like to see my wildlife in cages at the zoo, not up close and personal.  Just the week before we were at Yellowstone, a hiker was killed by a grizzly bear.  This hiker was a former ranger for the Park, so he knew all the guidelines to follow.  However, he neglected to have bear spray with him.  Mama Grizzly was no doubt protecting her cubs.  After she killed the hiker, she partially consumed  him.  The DNA matched the bear to the hiker, and the bear had to be euthanized because she had been feeding on a person.  How sad...for the hiker and the grizzly bear.  This information was taken from the USA Today on August 11, 2015.  Just so you know, if you are planning to hike in bear country, be sure to have your bear spray with you!

The above picture is the best one I could get of the Grand Tetons, given the distance and the time of the day.  You can see snow in those the middle of August.

We had hoped to eat supper in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but the town was packed, and the day was getting away from us.  We just got gas there and I took a few pictures while passing through.  It looks like a town that would be fun to visit.  It made me think of Gatlinburg, TN.  You can see the ski slopes that look like they come right into downtown.

Instead of trolleys, like Gatlinburg, they have stage coaches to transport people around.  Would have been fun to spend some time there!  However, we had a narrow mountain pass to get through, hopefully before dark.  We left Wyoming on State Route 22, and crossed over into Idaho on State Route 33.

We got on US 26 and drove over to I-15.  Would have loved to stop in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to see what the Falls are all about, but it was 10:30 at night as we passed through, so we just stopped at a truck stop Subway to get some sandwiches for supper after our long day of traveling.  From there we drove on down to Pocatello, Idaho, to our next motel reservation.  This was by far our latest night, and longest day!  So much to see, so little time, so far to go.

I have this AP on my phone called "History Here" which will let me know what all there is to see and do in the area I am in.  It mentioned that Pocatello had a Museum of Clean.  Corbin and I both got a chuckle out of it was something that only people like us would choose to go see.  So the next morning, Wednesday, Day 6, of our trip, we drove by it.  It was still closed, too early in the morning, of course, so I snapped a couple of pictures.  Just in case you are curious.

This is a good place to end this segment of my blog on My Trip West.  Still more to come....

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