Miles driven: 502.5
Tics found in car: 11
This morning I set my alarm for the first time of the trip. I wanted to make sure we were up early so we had time to have breakfast and go on a short hike to the Petrified Forest before making our eight hour drive to Yellowstone. I woke up at one point to check my watch and when it said 6:02, 30 minutes before the alarm was supposed to go off, I decided to just get up. It wasn’t until several minutes later that I realized I hadn’t updated my watch to the new time zone and it was actually 5:02. I was pretty sad because 5 a.m. and I have a rocky relationship, but it turned out that we needed that extra time.
After our incredible tortellini success last night, I was ready to attempt another campsite culinary masterpiece: eggs. We had carried a dozen eggs in our cooler for days and after many cycles of ice melting, the carton was so soggy it was about to fall apart. It was now or never.
After a trip to the water spigot down the road and a bit more time than we could really afford, the eggs were finally on their way to being scrambled and we were also trying to cook the other thing taking up a lot of space in our cooler:
The eggs turned out well, but the potatoes took so long that it really put a damper on their enjoyment.
We eventually went on that hike to the Petrified Forest and even managed to see a bison standing very majestically (Noah’s word) on top of a distant hill. Later on we saw some less-than-majestic proof of bison in the area:
We also saw a pretty cool snake and some petrified trees that I would have sworn were just regular trees until I touched them and they were as solid as rock. Part of the hike reminded of how I picture the open prairie a couple hundred years ago.
We finally got underway after a slight hiccup when, as we were on empty and looking for a gas station, we drove past an old set of pumps at a convenience store no less than three times before seeing them.
On the drive through Montana we noticed several interesting town names, including one that claimed to be the literal Home of the Brave. We also noticed that Noah had been infested by tics during the hike and found no less than 11 of them on his side of the vehicle.
Noah took over the driving after lunch and went further than expected. He had just decided to switch back with me when the hail storm hit. Neither one of us has experienced a hail storm while inside a vehicle, so it was quite the experience. There was no cover for dozens of miles so we just kept driving, both silently begging the windshield not to break as the bangs increased in frequency and volume. It held!
When we got within a couple hours of Yellowstone, Noah saw our first glimpse of snow-capped mountains. We spent the next two hours getting closer to those mountains in both distance and elevation. I was driving at that point and Noah is of the opinion that you shouldn’t stop enjoying the view in order to take even one picture, so I’ll have to take some of the stunning vistas of Yellowstone tomorrow when he’s driving.
Noah did make one exception to his no photography rule when we came upon a bison casually strolling down the road. Talk about majestic, this guy was magnificent from his quite fetching beard down to his leg fur that swung to and fro as he trotted along. After my experience from yesterday, I was more prepared and so we pulled over a little ahead of it in a scenic overlook. We expected him to strut on by so we could get a better picture. What we did not expect was him to stop when he was even with our car, turn towards us, and take a step in our direction. That got us back in our car quite rapidly and Noah told me to go but there was no where to go but off a very scenic cliff. So we stayed frozen inside the vehicle until he turned and started back on his way. I could hear his chuckle from across the road.
A bison sighting once again kickstarted a plethora of wildlife making their presence known to us, including a bighorn ram (to which I quite poetically commented “those are some big horns!”), an elk, and the one Noah had been incessantly talking about wanting to see for the last hour: a grizzly bear. Happily that last one was at such a distance that I couldn’t get a good photo.
We were very excited to arrive in Yellowstone, partly for the scenery and wildlife, but mostly for the shower. The last couple campsites we have been at did not have showers so we had gotten more than a little ripe. They charged us about $4.25 per shower, but man was that an amazing shower. We both left feeling very happy, relaxed, and ready for bed.
I told Noah as we walked to the car that the only slight problem was that if I go to sleep with wet hair, I wake up to a very scary hair situation. I’ll let you look forward to those pictures tomorrow.
Good night from Yellowstone!