(Ken) May 29, 2013. Well rested and thoroughly relaxed, it was difficult to get out of bed after spending an afternoon and evening in the hot spring pools of Thermopolis. But, we wouldn’t cover much ground by lounging in bed!
Merely looking at a map deciding which direction to travel does not depict anything you could encounter between point A and point B. Luckily, we met a couple who had just come the way were planning to travel and they advised us of the construction, lane closures, delays and the mud!
They gave us an alternate route, which proved to be spectacular! Route 20 out of Thermopolis has you travel along the Bighorn River and through the Owl Creek Mountain Gorge. The light rain hindered some of the views, but it was gorgeous just the same.
The beauty only raised our anticipation and desire to get to and see Yellowstone. Seeing things that we only ever saw in the movies or never dreamed of had us in complete awe. A short stop in Cody, Wyoming for lunch and the Buffalo Bill Museum and we would be in Yellowstone!
The museum proved to be overly expensive and they offered no discounts (military or museum pass) so we opted for a longer lunch before we refueled and headed west. We had all summer, we could come back to Cody when the weather was better to explore further.
We had our reservations at Bridge Bay campground within the park, so we would just get there earlier than expected and have extra time in the park. Our only obstacle was Sylvan Pass, your initiation to the park just inside the East Gate!
Any person from the East would consider a drive on May 29th to be a nice warm drive. But, when you factor in a cloudy day and an elevation of 8,525 feet things tend to change quite rapidly. It had been raining lightly most of the day; but up in the mountains, rain usually turns into that white stuff!
BLIZZARD! I had heard stories of freezing rain, ice and snow from other RV’ers climbing in a motorhome. Oddly enough, my fear was not that I would slide down the hill once over the top; rather, losing traction on the way up and sliding backwards. Plus taking out the string of cars that were following me up the hill at 10 – 15 miles per hour in the process!
Obviously, we made it through safely. Slowly, but safely! It took almost three days for the color to come back into my knuckles, and for Jodi to open here eyes; but the slow and steady process worked just fine. I, however, do not want to experience that again any time soon!
Once down to lower elevations and safer ground, we did manage to see the beauty of the park and some of its noted wildlife. A black bear on the side of the road, a wolf crossing ahead of us, and a bison in a field. I guess if you survive the entry, the park lives up to its reputation.
Shortly after we were checked into the campground and getting ready for dinner, we had a couple of visitors. A pair of bison meandered through and decided they wanted to bed down for the night. You don’t realize how big they are until they decide to sleep on your door step.
We decided to stay in for the evening and head out early in the morning. First adventure – Old Faithful.
Until next time………….Cheers.