Sunday, October 27, 2013


So - last post we were heading east along the I90 out of Bozeman. Just as we were getting going coming up to Livingston we both saw the sign 

Yellowstone National Park.


Derek was the first to say something "It's too bad we can't go to Yellowstone this year."

Me, in my mind, "What! Deviate from my well constructed plan?!" Which of course by this time is in shreds anyway - being that going back to BC was never in THE plan.

So, with that we turned off and stopped at McDonald's for wifi to check the road conditions - and to make sure it was still open - of course.

We were in luck - not closed until Nov. 4 and a few days of great weather ahead!

Onwards to YNP!

A really pretty ride from Livingston to Gardiner - the town just before the entrance into the Park.

Familiar to you if you've been here before - the Roosevelt Arch.

FINALLY! After touring around the USA five times so far - we made it to Yellowstone!

Our excitement was spilling over - we laughed as we drove away that they guy had probably heard variations of what we said to him 1000's of times (My 4 year old wants to know, where is Yogi Bear ?) - since we know what it is like to be at the end of a busy season - we're betting he just can't wait for Nov. 4th - closing day - to arrive.

Our first stop was the Albright Visitor Center at Mammoth Hot springs - 5 miles/8kms into the Park. Since it was around 3:00pm we decided that we would stay the night at the only campground open - just down the hill.

But first we drove over to the Mammoth Hot Springs parking area to walk the terrace boardwalks. Lots of elk around - Cassia was impressed.

I know - hard for you to read - showing the upper and lower hot spring terraces.

Nice that they provide this boardwalk to view.

The sun was at the complete wrong angle for a good picture of the springs.

Being the lovers we are of soaking in hot springs, it was difficult to look at all this hot sulphur water but not be able to jump in.

Looking back towards our van and the Mammoth Hot Springs Village.

The Upper Hot Springs Terrace.

Now looking back at the van and village.

A bit of a climb made more difficult by a pretty slack summer physically. Hopefully we'll be in much better shape with lots of hiking this winter.

Cassia is still fascinated with snow - hopefully we won't get much closer to it than this, for the coming winter.

A view of Mr. Elk as we were heading to the campground.

If you can BELIEVE it, I have NO pictures of the campground. I guess I was just so excited to get parked and get cooking dinner I forgot. It was nice enough - we found a site in the corner - no services - a bit steep at this time of year for $20 plus the $25 entry fee.

The next morning started off a bit rough - the first thing we had to do was find gas. I read the night before that the Park gas stations only take credit cards at this time of year - not good for those of us without them. I then took a count of the mileage from where we last filled up in Livingston. It was not looking good. So - the first thing we did was stop at the Albright Visitor Center. Obviously, this was the first time this question was asked - I was wondering where the first place we could get gas on the south end would be. In the end I decided it wasn't worth the risk - I wasn't overly popular when I told driver to drive back to Gardiner for gas. Good thing it wasn't more than the 8 miles!

Back on the road and heading through Yellowstone. For those who have been we went from the North Entrance to the south on the west side - so going through Norris, Madison, Old Faithful and Grant Village.

Just before Norris we stopped at a pullout for breakfast.

Down the road a herd of Bison. Good - but we've seen tons of them in our time. I was really hoping to see one of the black bears that are pretty much assured in Yellowstone - especially in the fall.

My shot of a raven as we were driving.

Much of the drive through Yellowstone is like this or similar - younger trees from the huge 1988 fire.

From Madison to Old Faithful there are a lot of geysers. 

Yellowstone is for you if you like to see steam coming out of the ground. I took a lot of pictures along the way but they all look pretty similar.

A view of Gibbon Falls.

And looking south. Such a beautiful fall day!

Amazing to find a Raven sitting on a branch beside the parking lot. He didn't seem concerned about having his picture taken either. Hey buddy - want to jump aboard our Raven mobile?

Derek was nice enough to pull over so that I could take this shot.

Like I said - lots of steam coming out of the ground.

And finally the main event!

For those of you that have been this would look very familiar! For us - it was our first look at 'Old Faithfull'. And if you can believe - we arrived about 5 minutes before show time!

A shot while we were waiting.....

There she blows!

Difficult to really capture well in a photo - I was happy that I took a short film. I tried to zoom in here - the white part on the left hand lower side is the actual water.

We then headed over to look around in the Education Visitor Center.

After lunch we continued on our way south. The most exciting part of that trip was the number of times we crossed over the Continental Divide. Three times! A lot of climbing for our little van pulling a trailer.

Lots of snow left from their recent storm by the second crossing.

It wasn't long before we were at the South Entrance and leaving Yellowstone National Park. Just a short trip through the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway and we were into the Grand Teton National Park.

Along the way we found a nice picnic area to pull into - and a chance for the four of us to stretch our legs. 

A view of Jackson Lake - seems that the water level is wayyyyyy down.

If you look real close you can see the crazy 48 year old guy who thinks he's 20 something jumping down the bank to the beach. Cassia and I opted for the few steps down a little over to the right.

Cassia and Rufus could have walked for miles.

A parting shot of the Grand Teton National Park - I missed the entry sign on the way in. We opted not to take the Grand Teton parkway due to our gas concerns. Instead we headed east at the Moran Junction. We got as far as Dubois that night - I'll show you the pictures between here and there next post. A nice ride.

And so that was our Yellowstone and Grand Teton trip. Since this blog is called 'Rantin' & Raven' - we have a bit of a rant this time. Are we the only ones to be underwhelmed by Yellowstone? Hmmmmm - we guess with all the talk about it we had it pictured completely different than what we found. And - are we the only one's that wonder about how National Parks are set up and managed? We were surprised that they price of $25 at the end of the season with pretty much all of the services down still stood. I don't know - I guess we were just shocked at the condition of the roads and the lack of signage.  And why not put all that hot spring water to good use with a pool to soak in!

Yes, we are glad that we came since we would have made the trip eventually - we are just glad that we didn't make a special trip from home in the middle of a busy summer. 

I guess our expectations were just an itty bitty bit too high - we were thinking Banff and Jasper - you know - low valleys and high mountains. 

We did enjoy our trip through Wyoming following our night just outside of Dubois. As usual, I am wayyyyy behind on my posts - we are now in southern Colorado headed east tomorrow over to Kansas.

Hopefully I'll be able to catch up soon although it may still be a while since our next few days through eastern Colorado and then all the way through Kansas looks a bit lonely.

I noticed today that we are up to 35 cents a mile - ouch. We normally sit at 30 cents - I'm not too surprised though - we usually start out this high while we get through the mountains. With all the up and down these last few days I happy to be heading to much flatter landscape.



  1. Hi Teresa - first time writing and I seldom post comments on blogs but I wanted to share something with you. My husband and I spent a full week in Yellowstone living in our no amenties van (just a comfy bed) and we LOVED IT THERE!! I think the "secret" to really enjoying Yellowstone is to spend time there and learn about the area and get out and experience the area by the hikes and visiting some of the other incredible things in the park. We were there in late Sept 2 years ago and develop a real love of the ranger led talks. You learn so much about the area by doing that. It seems to take awhile to drive anywhere in the park and by having a slow pace you get to get out and enjoy so many things.

    I understand you hadn't planned on stopping there and so probably just didn't have the time to spend there and I'm sure this time of year the ranger led activities have stopped. If you get a chance again in the future spend 3 full days there and go in late Sept.....the crowds are much lower and the fall rut (Elk activity) is really awesome to see and the ranger activites are still going on. I agree though, doesn't seem right for them to still charge the same fee when so many services have closed down for the season.

    We plan to go back some day and we'll probably spend another week there.....we can't wait!! It was truly one of our most memoriable vacations so I hope maybe you will give it another chance someday.

    Safe travels for you and your family!!

  2. I have to agree on the disappointment of Yellowstone.....personally, I enjoyed the geysers VERY much, but would rather spend my time at the Grand Canyon!! Your cost per mile should start dropping soon as you get further east into the flatlands.....just a heads up---gas is fluctuating here in the Midwest---I paid $3.09 gallon last week in downstate Illinois......480 miles later, it was $3.49 gallon......

    Safe Travels................


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