Saturday, May 31, 2014

Yellowstone: May 31, Saturday. Drove the Figure 8

We didn't have reservations for May 31, so we left at 6:30, hoping to obtain a campsite. It took an hour to reach the park and we drove directly to Madison campground. They only had a few sites left. I accepted one. While she was entering my information, someone else took it. She started to explain the next available site and I said, just take it before someone else does! We got it. We had place to sleep in the car for the night.

Next we decided to drive the figure 8 loop and to the north entrance from Mammoth and the east entrance off of Tower-Roosevelt.

At Mammoth, I was in front of the visitor center, waiting for the car in front of me to move, and a parked car began backing up toward me. I laid on my horn. The car kept coming. Hit my car then drove off. I checked my car and the edge of the front passenger side had a stripe of paint missing. I stood behind the car that hit me , waving my arms. It kept right on going. I went in to the Visitor's Center, reported the incident, and they called the law enforcement ranger. While I was on the phone with the ranger, the driver returned, and I could hear him outside saying he didn't hit my car. I asked the other tourists in the Visitor's Center if anyone had seen it. A couple had. And, it turned out that they had followed him to the restaurant and told him that he had to return to the Visitor's Center where I was reporting it. Meanwhile, outside,he was saying he wouldn't go into the Visitor's Center, where I was with the ranger by this time. But, Mule told him if he didn't go in, they'd just put an APB out. Meanwhile, the ranger had arrived and took the statements of me and the witnesses. Then she took his statement. He had a rental car and from what I hear didn't have any of the insurance or other papers with him. He'd left them in the motel. At the end of it all, I had a case number and called and reported it to my insurance agency and they said I could deal with it when I return home. The damage is minimal, but it sure was frustrating. I'm glad the two very nice witnesses went out of their way to help.

Mule took a picture of the hit and run license plate.

Mishap #2 really happened before we reached the park. At Canyon Village (in the park) I went into the store and tried to buy some food. My credit card was refused! Turns out that I brought the old, expires card! Oh brother! So, we're using only Mule's credit card. Oh well.

From there we continued out trip around the park and saw geysers, herds of bisons, pronghorn, black bear, deer, elk, and Mule took pictures. Except for mishap #3, he couldn't get the camera ready in time and missed the picture of a coyote. Day 2's pictures more than made up for that mishap.

We were delighted that, although the road had been cleared, there was still now in the area between Tower-Roosevelt and Canyon.

We went to sleep exhausted and slept soundly.

Many of the roads are two lane and curvy, but the speed limit goes down to 25 and 35 mph. If there is wildlife, it may slow down to a stop as everyone gets out to take pictures.

The following two pictures are from the 17 mile drive between Tower Junction and Canyon Village.

Below: Bison near Madison campground, on the way to Mammoth.

Bear at Lamar Valley

Friday, May 30, 2014

Enroute from Medford to Yellowstone

We're arrived in Medford on Thursday and left at 6:23 on Friday morning. Not knowing if it would take us two or three days to search Yellowstone, about an 18 hour drive.

We drove past Klamath Falls.

Tiny farming communities

and for miles and miles, dodge hundreds of tiny rodents about the size of a chipmunk. Several would dart back and forth on the road, going every which way, unable, to make up their minds.

If I stops, they kept darting around. There were many corpses on the road. Happily, none were killed by our car.

Next, we passed Lake Albert, which is 1,000 years old and too alkaline to swim in.

Drove on and on and on

Then we reached the Idaho border, about 9 hours into the drive and the first potential place to spend the night.

We refilled the gas tank, cleaned the bugs off the windows, bought sandwhiches to eat in the car, and turned south into Idaho.

At Twin Falls, we decided to continue on. At Pocatello, we continued on. At Idaho Falls, we saw a sign for a campsite 68 miles up the road, so decided to continue on.

It was 11:30 when we reached Ashton, 17 hours after leaving Medford, having stopped only for gas, to clean to windshields, and for sandwiches to eat in the car. It was only an hour more to reach Yellowstone.

But, I pulled off the highway, into the motel next to the highway. I had no idea where the next camp site or rest stop was. Due to my experience at the Frontier Motel in Winnemucca, I looked at the room before renting it.

One bed was too saggy, but it had two beds and the other one was ok. The neon light filtered through the blinds, but it was clean. So, although it was expensive for what it was, I took it and after we fell asleep, we slept soundly.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


On the road again :)

We stopped at the


Elwin had breakfast

I had a vegetarian burger

Then we continued on

And arrived in Medford, just in time for dinner:)

For those that couldn't make it .... Elwin ate your share :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Still wet in Yellowstone (Home day 9)

Glad we're home and warm and dry. Yellowstone webcam shows that it is still raining and snowing.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Weather (Home days 5 - 8)

Everyday we check the a Yellowstone weather

and see the forecasted rain and snow showers. Even Yosemite has snow forecasted for today.

Meanwhile, life is warm, dry, and comfortable at home, with friends and family.

We caught up on tv shows that we missed.

I read YELP Help \ How to Write Great Online Restaurant Reviews,

read some Jonathan Gold reviews, and essays

and practiced writing YELP reviews

--- all while it's raining and pouring in our north-west national parks.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Powder (Home Day 3)

According the literature, many types of soil exist in Arizona, including one that is so that it accumulates organic matter much slower than normal. I think that this is the powdery, adhesive soil that clung to our tent footprints and car.

I tried washing the footprints by hand . . . over and over. Still when it dried, the red powder was still on it. Finally, Mule put them in the washing machine and they came out clean.

Today was the day to re-try to clean the car. It had already tried three times and yet, the powder remained.

I decided to clean the upholstery and carpeting first. I had found that pieces of tape picked it up, so I went to our local Target store to look at sticky products. I purchased a Evercare pet hair roller. It worked. I cleaned the carpeting and holsters knew foot at a time and eventually they were clean.

However, the car rubber floor mats, doors, console, dash board, etc. still had a red powder film. We tried washing them one more time. When they dried, the powder remained. My father suggested a Swiffer duster. We used it to clean the dashboard, console, doors, and rubber floor mats.

Finally, the car is clean. I hope that Wyoming dirt is easier to clean. I don't know though, because Yellowstone has it's own sandstone canyon. At least now, we know the products to use.

The forecast for Yellowstone is still rain and snow showers. If we'd stuck to our original plans, we'd have been setting up camp today. I'm glad to be at home, warm and dry.