Technically the “Destination Alaska” label is incorrect at this point as we are actively traveling away from Alaska, but I might as well stick with it through the end of the trip.
This morning we left Missoula, Montana, heading east on I-90 around 9am. At least I think it was 9am. We’ve been through so many time zones at this point that nobody really knows or cares what time it is anymore. We get up when we get up, we eat when we’re hungry, and we stop driving when we get to the hotel.
Our only destination today was Yellowstone National Park, which none of us have ever been to before. To be honest all I knew about the park was that it was the home of Old Faithful.
The first thing we discovered about the park is that it takes a long time to get in to and out of. From the interstate we had to take a two-lane road at least 60 miles south (maybe further) which, thanks to construction, we averaged around 30mph on. At that point in the trip, I was regretting our decision to drive through the park. Once we got inside, I changed my mind.
Some of the land inside the park is so foreign looking that it’s almost like visiting another planet. There are dozens of geysers shooting up steam and water at any given moment. Some of them spray mineral deposits up and out as well, turning the ground white, or yellow, or red. It was strange to see, to say the least.
Eventually we made our way to Old Faithful, which has its own parking lot and was another 30 or so miles inside the park. When we walked up to it we learned that the geyser blows every 90 or so minutes, and it was due to go off within the next five or so minutes. True to its name, about five minutes later Old Faithful erupted, shooting water a hundred feet into the air right in front of us. It was something to behold.
Another thing I did not know about Yellowstone was that it is full of wild animals. I knew there were bears (which we did not see), but we did see wild bison, deer, mountain goats, and wolves. Apologies for the slight blurriness of some of the pictures of the wild life. As you can imagine, I snapped these pictures from inside the car, mostly while moving.
And speaking of Bison, we made it to Cody, Wyoming just in time to catch the fourth quarter of the Thunder game. Cell coverage lies somewhere between spotty and non-existent within Yellowstone, so the first game report we heard was that the Thunder were down by 14 at the half. Fortunately the boys in blue turned it around and were able to make a historic comeback. Mason was SO excited at the end of the game … and so was I. We even paraded up and down the hotel hallway a bit with our Thunder hats on.
Tomorrow we’ll hit Mount Rushmore, our last official destination before setting the GPS to “home”. According to our niece who has been house sitting for us, Dusty (the cat) has been missing us awfully bad and the kids have been missing her too.
Apparently I hit the upper limit of 1,000 photos in a single photo gallery, so day 9 and above have been moved here: http://robohara.com/photo/index.php?album=Vacations%2FAlaska_2012_Pt2. When I get back I’ll pull out the best of the best, add captions, and put them in their own gallery. I know no one really wants to look at 500 pictures of mountains.