Home > Uncategorized > Gardiner, MT (because my clothes are drying)

Gardiner, MT (because my clothes are drying)

So I finally had to do some laundry tonight. I made sure the Motel I decided to pick had a laundry facility. Not only do they have one, but it has the same machines I had back at Doolittle Drive. So no learning curve! I did have to go to the grocery store and buy some detergent and Aloe Vera lotion – darn that driver’s burn!

I left Butte this morning and headed towards Yellowstone. I got off the highway at some rural Montana route – I don’t remember which and my road atlas is not handy, but it is the first opportunity to go to Yellowstone coming from the West – perhaps 287? 359? 87? 20? A lot of numbers out there, Dave. Regardless of what road number it was, it is the one that goes past the Lewis and Clark Caverns.

This road rocks! It’s a rural road heading over hills, by canyons, near lakes and rivers and people fly-fishing and ranches and lots of amazing gigantic houses with satellite dishes and the speed limit is 70!! And there was hardly anybody on it. This road took the lead from I-90 through Eastern Idaho as the coolest road on the trip so far.

I arrived at Yellowstone a little before 1:30 in the afternoon. I avoided the little touristy town of West Yellowstone and went right for the gates. I paid my $20, got my map and headed towards Old Faithful.

Now all of a sudden I am on a road very similar to the one I was just on, but now with tons of RV traffic going 35 miles an hour. I paid $20 for this??? Tons of cars slamming on their breaks to stop and point at animals. “HEY! I’m driving here!!” Seriously, they have pullouts and parking areas EVERYWHERE and some people did not use them. At one point a UPS truck was on the road with me. Now I know HE is in a hurry!!!

But seriously, I’m driving through this park and all of a sudden I notice the ground is on fire!! Help! Wait! No, that’s not fire, it’s steam. The ground is gonna blow!!! Of course, I had no idea this was the whole point of this part of the park. As a matter of fact, all of Yellowstone sits in an active volcano.

You can stop at a few different geyser areas (they have a snazzier name for these, and even though I was just there three hours ago I have no idea what it is) along the way to Old Faithful. Basically you walk along these boardwalks and the ground has hot steam coming out and it flows in such a way that it makes the rocks a funky color.

Call me I don’t know what, but this stuff just didn’t excite me. At each stop there were a couple hundred people all crowding around the area with the look like they would have if they were watching the water show at Bellagio. Somewhere in the marketing of this natural phenomenon, part of the ability to create awe was lost, at least on me.

Old Faithful was a major disappointment. 1000 people all in a big giant semi circle all staring at a big giant rock for an hour until it exploded and reminded everyone that they needed to go the bathroom. Maybe sometimes it blows higher and perhaps if the wind is not blowing it looks really cool, but it did nothing for me. The best part of the trip to Old Faithful was the conversation I had with the Taiwanese man and the American woman about Old Faithful which eventually morphed into the two of them talking about travelling in China which both of them had done extensively.

After there, I drove up to Gardiner, again stopping at a bunch of different lookouts. Somewhere in here I got the impression that Disney could do this part of the adventure and get a lot of these people to go. I also began to understand that these National Parks are best appreciated if you have the time and the inclination to hike them. Looking at the map makes it seem like there are a lot of interesting things only to be found at the end of a 4 mile trail.

I drove past Mammoth Hot Springs which looked really cool and is supposedly an extremely important geothermal thing, but I wanted to beat the crowd to the motels and the sun was dangerously close to setting. I’ll be sure to check that out first thing tomorrow. There is this extremely steep grade going down into Gardiner – it will be a nice test for the Saab first thing tomorrow morning to see how it goes up the mountain.

For tonight, I’m going to grab some dinner at the little pizza place next door and do some reading and then get to sleep early as I have a (gulp) 6:30 wakeup call for tomorrow. Not sure why I should be gulping when it was less than a month ago that i was getting up at 5:30 every day. But yet again, gulp.

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