I thought we never would, but finally, we reach Yellowstone!

Day 5 of my ‘Great American Road Trip.’ From my journal, May 3rd 2010.

“We were quite late leaving Billings, as I didn’t get to bed until after midnight, and don’t wake up until 8am. After a quick breakfast, we set off on the 3 hour drive to the NW gate of the park. We stop for yet more petrol, then get onto the Interstate 90 and are once more on our merry way. We pass builder’s and lumber yards, farm machinery suppliers, many trailer parks, and small housing estates. The scenery is a curious mixture of industrial parks and scrap yards, with the odd farm dotted in between. The railway runs alongside the highway and cows graze right next to it. This is definitely not a scenic route so far, as even the farms looked more like scrap yards.  We pass a sign to “Montana Factory Outlets,” and I read it out loud, but Hubby’s ears are tightly closed. No time for retail therapy today, even though there’s no sales tax in Montana. We pass derelict houses and barns. It seems that when people abandon them, they do just that, and leave them to rot and eventually fall in on themselves. They build the new house, sometimes right next door to the old one. We saw a new church the other day with the old one falling down right next to it. Very weird.

As we come over a rise, Yellowstone suddenly appears on the horizon, all white and sparkling in the sun. We’re still in grey wet weather though, and the trees along the route are bare and untouched by Spring.

After about an hour, the rain has stopped, the sun shines through, and the scenery improves dramatically. There’s a Rest Area, so we stop for a wee break before entering the park. Faced with a choice between McDonald’s and Arby’s, I decide in this case “Better the devil you don’t know.” It isn’t too bad, and the apple turnover I have, is so flaky that it melts in the mouth and all over the table too. Then we were off on the way to Gardiner, fifty one miles to go. We pass “Slip ‘n Slide Ranch” and then stop to take a photo of “Devil’s Slide,” which, according to the brass plaque, is where the long-horned sheep have been coming down for centuries to drink at the river. I would love to see them come slipping and sliding down that rock face, but there aren’t any thirsty sheep today.

We arrive in Gardiner and go to the Visitors’ Centre to get a map and some advice, and then we are into the Park for a mere $25 per vehicle. In the information literature, is a leaflet that says, “WARNING. Many visitors have been gored by Buffalo. Buffalo can weigh 2000 pounds and sprint at 30 mph, 3 times faster than you can run, DO NOT APPROACH BUFFALO!”  I promise I wouldn’t even dream of it. 😉

The Town Centre has its own Justice Centre, Post Office, Church, etc. and there are many buffalo and deer, grazing the grass on the lawn there.

As we’re driving further along, we see more Buffalo  crossing the road and have to stop. We definitely do not approach them.  They approach us! HELP!!!

Along the way, is a petrified tree, 50 million years old. The plaque says that it’s indistinguishable from the modern Redwood which grows in coastal sub tropical areas. This tells us that in the past, the climate in Yellowstone was very different from what it is today. I just can’t imagine this freezing place as ever being sub tropical.

Pronghorn deer peacefully graze at the side of the road.

The scenery all around us is magnificent and majestic, as the following pics show.

Tomorrow we will go to see more of the park and of course “Old Faithful” which I’m sure will be one of the highlights of our trip.”

Have a great weekend, everyone, whether you’re in winter or summer.

34 comments on “I thought we never would, but finally, we reach Yellowstone!

  1. AWESOME (sorry,the word fit :P) post,and so nice to have those memories too,that you can look back on and tell the tale for all of us to enjoy 😀 Have a great weekend,my friend (if that made a rhyme,I owe you a dime :P).

    The DC

  2. Another great episode AD, I love the way you pick up the smallest details, reminds me of Bill Bryson’s writings. We were also bemused by the houses left to slide into runis when we toured New England 🙂

    • Thanks, optie. Yes, I remember those ruined farm house in New England. It does seem very strange that people seem quite comfortable with it, and live next door to their ruin. 😉

  3. Hi,
    Great photos, and I must say that Buffalo did not look friendly. 😯
    It is a shame you had some more bad weather on your journey, but at least it did clear up, and I was very impressed with the petrified tree, just amazing.
    Looking forward to seeing a bit more of Yellowstone. 🙂

    • We were getting so used to the weather, that it really didn’t bother us any more. I just put on more layers as necessary. 😉 I agree about that petrified tree. I’d never seen anything like it before.

  4. Fantastic trip, must have been such a wonderful experience! Would love to travel in the States doing a road trip – maybe Route 66? Please keep the travel stories coming and have a splendid weekend!
    Regards, Gail

    • How lovely to see you every day, Gail. I have travel stories coming out of my ears, but this is the only one where I wrote everything down as we travelled. Happy weekend to you too. 😉

      • I have been following your blog for quiet some time now and enjoyed all your stories about your family, your time that you live in Florida etc, I suddenly decided it was time to say hello and leave a comment!

  5. Exactly so beautiful place and I loved your photographs… some of them so inspirational too. Once I watched a documentary about Yellowstone” on television, fascinated me. Once again I felt same dear AD, seems that it was unforgettable voyage, I wished to travel too. Thank you, have a nice weekend, love, nia

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