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Dad and Kerry's 2003 Trip to British Columbia

Day 2 - Jackson Hole, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

FRIDAY, 15 August 2003

Tonight I'm writing from my tent again, but from a National Forest Service campground in Montana, about 40 miles north of Gardiner. It's not exactly what Dad had in mind (no showers) but I gather that it's fairly close.

It took a while to break camp this morning.

The tent flys were damp, and we had an Amish man (who was there with his very neatly dressed wife and daughters) tell us about some "wonder oil" (my term) that lasts 5 times longer than other motor oils. He gave us his card, which included a web address (!) for the manufacturing company. [That's him chopping wood in the above photo.] We had Pop-Tarts for breakfast, and were on the road by a little after 9:00. And this time I had gotten over 8 hours of sleep.

We went north to Jackson, where I almost caused an accident. I followed a car that made a left turn, but the turn light had already expired. Two cars came from [the 2 lanes in] the oncoming direction, and I ended up riding/walking my bike in between them and then hightailing it out of the intersection. It seems like there was at least one other near-incident with the traffic in town. Boy, was I glad to get out of town!

Dad and I spent probably a couple of hours in Grand Teton National Park.

We stopped at one of the Visitor's Centers [Map Point #2], and also took the "Scenic Drive" past Jenny Lake [Map Points 4-6].

We stopped for gas (for me) and then hightailed it to Yellowstone National Park. We decided to go clockwise around the first part of the lower loop and stop at Old Faithful [Map Point #7]. It had just "gone off" when we arrived, so we took our lunch stuff and waited for about an hour in some shade, on a log, near the observation platform.

[By the time another hour had gone by, there were LOTs of people waiting to watch the geyser go off. I took the next two pictures from the same spot, looking first one way and then the other.]

Dad took a picture of an older couple [in the center of the picture above] in front of the geyser as it was going off (with their camera) which they really appreciated.

Meanwhile, we had seen several people with ice cream cones, so we went to get some after "the show".

As we walked back to the bikes I called Sue and Edgar. Sue told me about her "adventures" with Mom - not knowing how to open the fuel door on the Subaru at the gas station, and getting rear-ended(!) without any damage to the car. Whew! Edgar said that things were pretty quiet at work, which was also good news.

I was already pretty fed up with the slow traffic and heat, so I decided to "see" as much of Yellowstone as I could (from the road) without doubling back or stopping much. We continued our clockwise rotation around the lower loop road (and got treated to an atmosphere of forest fire smoke and bits of ash falling from the sky at one point) and then picked up the upper loop road and went counterclockwise on it until we got to the Mammoth Hot Springs and took the North Exit out of the park.

[We saw a couple of elk a little before Map Point #8, and passed through a traffic jam just past Map Point #8 where someone had spotted a moose. The following pictures were taken at a turnout shortly before Map Point #9]

We still had 2 or 3 hours of daylight, so we decided to go a little way further and check out some of the string of campgrounds that my Montana state map showed near the Yellowstone River north of the park. After that, the next campground on U.S. 89 was another 100 miles later. When we got to Emigrant, MT I had to fillup and so Dad did too. We went another 7 miles up the road and crossed the river,then followed the signs on MT 540 north for another 7 miles or so, and then about 3 miles off the road to this campground.

We took our time picking a site, and found one close to a restroom and a water spigot. [I took the following picture not far from a day-use site that we decided against.]

We're in among tall pines, and the sites are a healthy distance apart. We got our tents up and started heating some water for hot chocolate. We supplemented that with some MRE food, and did OK for dinner I guess.

As it got dark we could detect faint lightning flashes that were diffused by the cloud cover behind an intervening mountain. We couldn't hear any thunder, so we figured that the rain (if any) was pretty far away. We sat at the picnic table talking in the dark for a while, and eventually heard a few growls of thunder to go along with the lightning flickers. But it still seemed like the storm was going to pass us by. (And as far as I can tell - it has!)

I told Sue that I would try to call again tonight, but I haven't. We're so far off the main highway that I doubt I could get a cell phone signal up here. Hang on, I'll give it a shot... * Hey, it worked! I asked Sue to look up the name and address of the guy in Vernon, B.C. and to contact Bro. MacTaggart about getting (a) youth speaker(s) for Sunday. She said that Randy had called and passed on the news that Bishop Butler had died on Wednesday. I'll have to remember to tell Dad tomorrow.

[I forgot, of course....]

Miles covered today: 254
Total miles covered: 586


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