Monday, June 15, 2015

Leaving Grand Teton National Park

Sunday morning we said goodbye to Grand Teton--but it's only a see ya later kind of goodbye--of course we'll be back!  As we were just about to get out of the park, we came up on a line of stopped traffic--at first couldn't tell why, was it an accident? was it construction, of which there's a lot going on now? But it was Sunday morning, so couldn't have been construction, right?  So then it hit us--what's the number one reason why cars stop along the road in any of these national parks?  Wildlife sighting!  Sure enough, as we were sitting there, and began to see some folks getting into cars and trying to move, a man came walking back and Trisha asked him what it was:  a grizzly bear, eating a deer!  As some cars began to move and we could inch forward, we saw a ranger come up with his radio--apparently someone had called it in, and he was there to try to make sure none of the people got stupid by trying to get too close, which some tourists seem hellbent to do (you may have seen the recent stories of some people in Yellowstone getting gored by bison because they got too close, despite signs everywhere warning of the dangers of wildlife and admonitions to keep a safe distance.)  Anyway, as the cars began to move and we could pull up closer, Trisha was able to get some pictures--from the RV--the bear seemed not to pay any of the humans any attention, too intent on his tasty meal!  Santa, of course, was relieved to see that it was not one of the trusty reindeer--ho, ho, ho!  But one funny thing did happen.  Right when we passed the bear, Sophie, who was down on the floorboard in her carrier, started whining and barking.  We had only been going less than an hour, so we knew it was too early for her to be letting us know she needed to go out, and she normally rides quietly for several hours.  But she just kept it up, so we found a pullout and stopped.  When we took her out, she really didn't need to go to the bathroom, but kept pulling back toward the direction where we had seen the bear.  We ultimately figured she must have smelled the bear, and it was such an unusual scent to her she just had to explore it!  As we rode on through Yellowstone, she did this a couple more times, so we figured there must have been bears in the woods not too far off the road.  Her sense of smell is certainly exquisite!

We drove through Yellowstone, and though we didn't stop at Old Faithful, we did see lots of geysers putting out steam along the way.  Trisha has not so pleasant memories of the sulphur smell of these from when she and her family took a trip through Yellowstone when she was a girl, so she was not too interested in stopping.  We did get some good pictures of the geysers though.  As we drove through Yellowstone, we saw a number of bicyclists riding, but unlike Grand Teton, Yellowstone does not have the dedicated bike paths, and on lots of places, the roadway is pretty narrow, and there's not any room for a bike to be past the white line on the edge of the pavement.  So the bikers have to be right on the road with the vehicles, and several times, we saw cars passing bikes and it looked for all the world like the bikes were about to be run off the road--not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for us!  Anyway, the route we took from the park to Bozeman took us through Gallatin National Forest and it was a beautiful drive, with lots of spectacular views--every time we would come through a pass or round a curve, we would see another breathtaking scene.  No matter how many times we are in this area of the country, we just never lose the sense of awe and wonder at these incredible creations.  Just stunning!

We crossed into Montana and, even though there's nothing more than a sign to mark the boundary, it just seemed like you could tell a difference in the sky.  Montana, of course, is known as Big Sky Country and it is certainly true.  You just get this sense of the never ending majesty of the sky as you look toward the horizon, and it's simply magnificent!  We stopped in Butte for the night, at a small RV campground just off the road, where most of the sites seemed to be home to permanent occupants, with a few travelers like us sprinkled throughout.  As I was checking in, I asked the manager like I always do if they offered any of the discounts like Good Sam, AAA or AARP.  He said they only offered a military discount, so I asked him if that meant only for active duty military, which in our experience is usually the case.  He said well, as long as you can show me something that you were in the military you'll get the discount.  Some time ago I had made a copy of my honorable discharge paper from the Army, known as a Form DD214, to carry in my wallet for just such a purpose, but I must have misplaced it when I got a new wallet a while back.  As I was searching, I said out loud:  I did have a copy of my DD214 in my wallet, but I just can't seem to find it."  Well, he said, you got it my friend, 'cause if you had never been in the military you would not know what that was.  So that was a break!  Anyway, as we were just relaxing in the RV, there was a knock on the door and it was the man in the unit next to ours.  He had noticed our North to Alaska sign and said he and his wife were headed to Alaska and wanted to ask us some questions.  So we invited him in and it turns out that they have never crossed the Canadian border before and, based on the experience of some friends of theirs, they have been worried sick about getting across the border.  Apparently, their friends had run into some trouble, not having the right insurance papers, and having a border agent come into their trailer and conduct a complete search, tossing things out of drawers in the cabinets, etc., and confiscating their fresh fruits and vegetables.  He kept saying how worried they were about getting across the border, but as the conversation went on, it seems that his friend had mouthed off to the border agent, which of course is a sure ticket to the Trouble Express.  So we assured him that in the several times we've crossed back and forth across the US/Canadian border, we've only had one time where they actually came onto the RV and looked in the fridge, and did take our fresh veggies, but never have we had the kind of trouble he was describing.  So he seemed reassured, and we hope he doesn't have any problems.

Across the way from us there was a group of twenty-somethings who were having a party, and it looked like the beer was flowing pretty freely, as their voices tended to rise as the time went on.  We were worried that they might keep it up on into the night, but fortunately, once we closed the windows and went to bed, we couldn't hear the noise.  There was one guy in particular who seemed to be getting really blasted, but Monday morning at 6:30, as we were having our coffee and watching a brilliant sunrise, here he came out, all ready for work, putting on what appeared to be highway worker reflective vest, and was loading the trash into the back of his pickup to drop off on his way out to work, so God bless him for making it up for work!  Just hope his head is not pounding too hard!

Anyway, we'll probably make it into the little top part of Idaho today on our way west.  Sorry that I don't have any pictures to post this morning, but my problems with Photos took another nasty turn and I can't get any of them uploaded into the blog.  Hopefully we can get it solved and I'll have to do some supplemental posts with the pics.


  1. A couple of geezers checking out some geysers! Sorry, I couldn't help myself ;)

    1. Granddaddy would be proud of you on that one, Jeremy-HO!HO!HO!