Tuesday, July 21, 2009

AK '09 - Day 31

Note: I'm blogging from a bench in front of Old Faithful. It's a rough life but someone has to do it.

Today was going to be a long day in the park so we got an early start. We were all down at the bikes by 6:45 and at the Town Cafe by 7 with the bikes gassed up. Breakfast was good, we had the same waitress as before.

WAIT! There was some activity on the geyser. Nope.... just a primer I guess.

We finished breakfast and got on the bikes by 7:45. I got to be rider for the first part of the day. Reagan would take over after lunch, since it's her bike I was OK with that. We went through the gate and entered the park. The gate attendant actually examined my id and card carefully. Thank goodness my signature was close enough for her evaluation.

We passed through Mammoth Hot Springs....

HOLD ON THE GEYSER.... nope another false alarm....

so we stopped at the hot springs and walked around for a while. I really should have packed my range boots but I was trying to be weight conscious when packing for the trip. Next time, I'm bringing the hiking boots. So after we walked around the terraces, we realized we could ride to the top so we turned around and went back down.

HOLD ON THE GEYSER... nope another false alarm....

We rode up to the top only to find they had the main terrace loop road closed for maintenance. Really??? Don't they know the Walters are in the park? So we walked down a pathway and I got my first whiff of sulphur. Finally I was in Yellowstone.

We got back on the bikes and continued over to Norris Basin. The land looked like it was on fire. We pulled into park.


"It looks a lot smaller", was what I heard from a young lady in the crowd. Hmmmm, she apparently has some larger standards. It was pretty cool to watch. Hot water came blasting out of the ground for no reason. Cool!

So back to Norris Basin. We parked and walked into the basin. There was a bookstore where we got our passports stamped and then we walked along the trail for a ways. We saw Steamboat Geyser and a few other thermal features before returning to the bikes.

We resumed our ride through the park on the Grand Loop. We eventually stopped for a passport stamp and lunch in Canyon Village. Service was a little disappointing, maybe it was just that the waiter was from New York but he didn't really seem to care about his job or his customers. After lunch Reagan took over the rider duties and I assumed the co-rider seat.

We headed for Inspiration point, what a view. Then we looped back through the Canyon Village to head to Artist Paint Point. There are several other views of the canyon and the amazing falls but those will have to wait for another trip.

On that note, Reagan is really enjoying the rider's seat of her Spyder and there is already talk about future trips on the Spyder. The plan is to ride solo on our respective bikes and then use the Spyder for park touring. Not a bad plan. She certainly seems excited about her new ride.

So after the Yellowstone Canyon we headed over to Mud Volcano. There were so many bison along the way it just got ridiculous. They are as prevalant as cattle are in Texas. I even started calling them cows. Really I don't care to see another Bison. The Mud Volcano was cool as was the Dragons Breath spring. We were getting tired and the day was getting late so opted not to take the long walk around to see the other thermal features in the area.

The next stop was the Fisherman's Bridge visitor center for a passport stamp. We didn't stop at the Fisherman's bridge but the water was amazingly clear. Maybe next time we'll stop for a look.

The final planned stop of the day was at the west thumb basin to check out the thermal features and snag a passport stamp. Well we missed the visitor center by 10 minutes and decided to take the 1/4 mile loop to see some of the features. I found it interesting that some pools were crystal clear with amazing color while others were cloudy.

Reagan continued in the rider's seat all the way to Old Faithful. We stopped at the Continental Divide to snap a picture along the way. While there we ran into a blue and black Spyder. She left before I could snap a picture of the custom paint. It was a nice looking bike though.

We stopped for gas and then rolled up to the Old Faithful Inn to check in. Welcome to tourist hell. But if you are prepared it's a good thing. Check-in was relatively painless as Reagan had booked the rooms. John and Lydia were in an original room which meant they had a shared bathroom but an amazing view of Old Faithful. We were in the newer section which meant we had a bathroom but no great view.

As mentioned above, we saw the 8:01 eruption of Old Faithful. It was a few minutes late. Hot water blasting into the air is pretty cool to watch. Afterwards we walked around to find the visitor center which was closed. We had dinner reservations at 9:15 so I spent the free time writing this blog.

Tomorrow is a travel day, we are leaving the park but heading through the Tetons on our way to the hotel in Idaho. John mentioned something about the road into Idaho going over the Tetons and Reagan chimed in that I could take that part of the driving. But she's been doing so well she might change her mind once we get on the road. We'll see.

No comments: