Friday, August 31, 2018

9/1/2018 – Yellowstone Trip – Day 7

Today was more laid back, less “go go go” but still very nice.   We got up, packed the car given we are leaving West Yellowstone today and headed out to our last breakfast at Old Country around 9 AM.  We had the same waiter, same service and same food.  I’m going to miss this place.   They actually close the restaurant for the winter and reopen only in the summers which surprises me as it had that “local” feel to it.  I assumed they stayed open year-round for the residents of the town. 

We then headed to see Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the falls it contains.   The drive to the canyon was a good hour drive so we got to relax along the way.  We did get to take some pictures of a bison on the way though which was cool.   By time we got to the Canyon area it was around 11 AM.  We went in the visitor center, got some info, looked around a bit and then started our sightseeing.   Today was not a lot of hiking as the trails that are worth hiking are closed for construction, so it was a hop in and out of the car for the vista type day, which was ok with us.  

We spent a good 2 hours seeing the canyon and the falls from different vistas.     We then headed back to the Canyon Visitor area to get a lite lunch, which didn’t happen.  We ended up getting full regular size lunches, but the food was ok.  It was a cafeteria style set up.  I got a make your own Japanese Wok meal with steak.  Mama and Jack opted for the comfort food station with chicken fried steak, ribs, etc.… 

After lunch we meandered in the gift shops before heading out to our reservations for a covered wagon ride and a cookout.   We were supposed to meet them at 3:45. Along the way we stopped several times to take pictures and just enjoyed the journey.

Once at the Corrals we listened to the safety talk and then loaded in the wagons.   I will say for the $$$ they pack the wagons way too tight.   4 could fit comfortable per seat and they wanted to put 5 – I ended up moving to a row on the front which was inconvenient given our guide sat right in front of me, but it was better than feeling like you were in a coach airplane seat with your shoulders touching.
The ride was peaceful, and the guide was entertaining.   I was a bit of a mood, so I just sat and enjoyed the ride trying to shake it off.   One funny thing is that the carts were pulled by 2 draft horses – the one in front of me passed gas the entire way … I mean almost every step.   It didn’t really smell, just made a noise that the 6-year-old kid next to me found absolutely hilarious.   It was cute… his uncontrollable giggles at the farting horse.

Once there we unloaded, found our table and they rang the bell for dinner.   It was steaks, potato salad, corn salsa, watermelon, etc.…  The food was good, but I wasn’t really starving… should have ate the light lunch.   However, it was nice and eating outside in the valley was really nice.    After we were done a Bison came right near our area – I was getting some really good pictures, but then they herded us back and chased the Bison away as he was getting “too close” to the site.   In my opinion they should have left him alone and let him make his route the way he wanted too.   Everyone was staying the proper distance away from him.   These creatures are not hostile unless you provoke them.  They walk right next to the road with all the cars and stare at you…ah well.   They are however massive weighting over 2000 pounds!    I got some good pictures and the Bison still went on the trail he wanted to go on – he was stubborn and just went around the horse corral.  

During dinner they had live music and after dinner and the bison one of the helpers told stories which were quite funny.  True, probably not, but funny.  One of them was making fun of the singer about how long he could stay on this temperamental horse.   The punchline being it was the bronco machine at Walmart. 😊   The other was about Yellowstone hiring him to be in an Elk costume and pretend to be an elk for the tourist only to be chased by a bear who ended up being another employee – again true probably not, but funny never the less.

After dinner we rode back via wagon to our cars and headed on to Cooke City MT.   On the way we went through Lamar Valley and saw several heard of Bison, many of which were crossing or right next to the road.  I turned my car door into a convertible top and sat on it while Jack drove.  I got some good pictures that way and didn’t fall out on my head so win!   It was fun to be that close to these massive animals and to see them.  They were making noises and you could tell one of the males was trying to get the females attention…   There were also babies.   It was really neat.

Now we are at the Super 8 in Cooke City.  The reviews on this place were horrible, but so far it seems fine to me.   Just a hotel room – it seems clean and the rooms are spacious.  I’m not sure why the reviews were so bad.   Tomorrow we drive the “most scenic highway in America” according to the literature before we book it down to Salt Lake for our flight back on Sunday.      

Before I call it a night just a quick recap of wildlife we’ve seen so far.   Bison, Bald Eagle in flight, Pronghorns, baby snake, chipmunk, squirrel, Raven, Bear, Coyote, Ducks, Geese, Other unknown birds….

😊 I could stay out here for a LONG time!    

Sleep well blogland!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

8/31/18 – Yellowstone – Day 6

Today was long but amazing.  Everyone seems to have gotten their second wind… or more likely we are adapting to this higher altitude.   Air Thinner = Everyone tired until they adapt.   Today though everyone was able to go and to keep going.  We started at 8:30 AM and got back at the apartment around 10:30 PM so an absolutely full day of awesomeness.

First, we had to fuel ourselves up for the day, so we ate breakfast at the Old Country Restaurant again.  Same waiter as yesterday, Brock, same great food, same affordable prices.   Loved it!   We then headed out to tackle our day. 

Our first stop was Gibbons Falls.   They were not extremely high or free standing, but they were still really pretty.  We didn’t do the ½ mile hike down to get a better view because I knew we had several walks planned for the day, so we just took a few pictures from the overlook and headed on.   Something in the air at this stop really aggravated Jack’s eyes so we swapped drivers, so he could put some drops in and close them for a few minutes while we headed on to our next stop.

Artist Paint Pot came next.  Here we walked the mile loop to see the different geyser pools, the colors from the various bacteria in the waters was quite pretty.   However, I think once you’ve seen one group of them you may have seen them.  It was a nice walk though and the air was cool.  A piece of this walk was several stairs and Mama handled them like a trooper.    You can’t ever say she lets her body limit what she does … she pushes it to the limit that is for sure.     The view off the top was outstanding and the pools were pretty, so it was worth it.

We then headed down to the North Geyser Basin which was supposed to be a 3-mile hike, but part of the trail was closed so it was probably closer to 2 maybe 2.5.     We did the Porcelain and Back Basin sections of this.   At one-point Mama got the shakes, but something, I believe the Lord, had prompted me to make sure we had snacks on this leg of the journey, so we stopped at let her eat a bit before heading on.  The Lord does look after us, that is for sure.   

Once we got on the Back-Basin section part of it is in the forest with benches.   We sat at one for a while to rest and enjoyed watching the chipmunk run around.  I hope I got some good pics, time shall tell.   There are chipmunks everywhere here and they are super-fast and seem to always be moving.   They are so cute.     By time we got 2/3 of the way through this walk though we were all done with geysers…   I was getting that irritability I get when I’m hungry (even though I don’t feel hungry) and I was really glad to see the car.   I am a Snickers’ commercial!

We then booked it to Gardener, the town right out side the north entrance, to get some food.  We passed so many beautiful things on the way and I kept promising myself we would stop on the way back, so I would go eat.  It was so hard to pass them though…   We ate at Yellowstone Pizza and it was delicious!   I highly recommend it if you are in the area.      The food was good, and it overlooks mountains and meadows.   During lunch several pronghorn came to munch in the meadow; it was just nice to sit, eat and soak it in.

After lunch we began to head back and hit the sites we missed, but of course we had to take pics of the Roosevelt Arch first!  That is like a right of passage for visiting Yellowstone I think.   By this point my agenda has kind of been thrown out of the window, because its 4 PM there are so many gorgeous things I want to stop and see.   We stopped on a whim and hiked a bit in a meadow and hill to get a view of the valley below.  We stopped and climbed on rocks, climbed down to rivers and generally just had a fantastic time.   The scenery in the northern section of the park is so dramatic and breathtaking.  This section is by far my favorite part of Yellowstone so far.  I could sit and just be here…

We also stopped by Mammoth Springs on the way back.  When driving through the area with all the buildings there was an entire herd of pronghorn including a male with a full head of antlers just hanging out in the grassy square they have in the center of the “town”.   We stopped and got a ton of pictures.  He was so majestic, and it was so odd to see him in town surrounded by people…  He charged another pronghorn at one point, trying to mate her I believe completely ignoring the people watching him and the cars passing by.   They are used to seeing us, that is for sure.

We then stopped by the Hot Spring formations themselves and they were very unique and pretty.   Almost like frozen waterfalls in places, though the water was still flowing over them even if you couldn’t see it.   They were also varying colors which was neat…   there was a girl that was following us in her car through the drive through part.  Following as in … going to see the same things at the same time, not in the stalker sense.   Anyway, I could tell she was serious in the composition of her photography, but I could also tell she was new at it.   I don’t know something just told me…   she was taking pics of a flower with her standard lens and I asked if I could show her something…   I got out the Macro and let her use it for a couple of pictures.   She was elated – I think she will become quite serious in her photography.  There was just something about her, the way she waited to pose the shots, the angles she was trying to get…  I hope I helped to inspire her.  When her work is worth millions maybe she will remember the lady at Yellowstone?  

After the springs and stopping a zillion times to take pictures of the scenery we headed back to the apartment.   Twice on our ride back we had to stop and take pictures or at least slow down because a Bison was walking quite literally down the middle of the road.   He was taking his sweet time and knew without a doubt he owned the road and everything in it.     It was surreal – here you are driving along and then a Bison, which is quite large, is just there, in the middle of the road walking by you like it’s a no big deal.   Amazeballs!

Once we got back to town we stopped at a few of the souvenir shops to get our picture frame, Christmas ornament, Jack’s hat, etc.… the obligatory souvenirs that we love.  It’s funny—many people go for expensive stuff?  Jack and I like the cheap souvenirs that are probably made in China… ah well.   We also grabbed a couple of jackets that we saw – they seem to be well made and the price was good so win!

By this time, it was 9PM and we still have not had dinner, so we headed over to the Otter Bar.  Brock, from Old Country recommended it to us this morning.  We ordered our drinks and asked for straws to be told in no uncertain terms the do not have straws.   It immediately didn’t sit right, not that don’t have straws as several people are cutting them out (though they could get paper straws and not have an environmental issue), but the tone and way he said it.   When he came back to get our order I asked him “why they have no straws” to which he explained the environmental issues we were already aware of.  I politely suggested he give an answer like that next time someone ask for straws and it would go over much better with his customers.    He apologized and after that seemed to be much nicer and approachable.  

We had jalapeno wontons as an appetizer per Brock’s suggestion and OMG they are good!  We should have just ordered 3 helpings of those – they were that good.   Our food was good too, but those were amazing.   As we were going to leave I asked for a paper cup for my tea to be told they don’t have those as well.  He laughed and said he has no idea why though… It was a good meal, but my yelp review will mention the lack of to go cups.  If I pay $3 for a drink I expect to be able to take it with me…   The food was good though and the service was also fairly decent after our first communication, so it was a win.

Now we are back at the apartment and everyone is asleep.   We check out of here tomorrow and will be sleeping in Cooke City tomorrow, which is on the east side of the park.   Tomorrow is also a busy day but fun – we are doing a wagon ride / dinner!   I’m looking forward to it and will let you know how it goes.   Until then sleep well Blogland!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

8/29/18 - Yellowstone Trip – Day 5

I think I’ve killed them.  Both Mama and Jack may be crying for mercy at this point – Jack said, and I quote “this vacation is kicking my ass.”   I’m trying not to laugh, really, but you can’t come to a place such as this and just be lazy – you have to go – you have to see – you have to experience it.   That being said, I relented at 5 and we came back to the hotel for a bit, skipping a few things on the plan.  I had us planned to be out till closer to 9, but I may have been feed to a Bear if I said that out loud this afternoon.

All that being said, today was wonderful.   We started the day off with breakfast at a local place called Old Town Café.   The gentleman who waited on us was extremely nice and outgoing.  Breakfast was delicious, filling and it didn’t break the bank so win!   They were advertising a huckleberry drink that is alcoholic.  I’ve never had huckleberry’s before and asked him about the berry itself.  He gave us a miniature lesson on what they taste like and how they are harvested.  Did you know they can’t seem to cultivate them to grow outside of the wild?  I found that fascinating.
After dinner we headed into the park intent on hitting a scenic drive.  However, before we even were in the park 5 minutes there was a bison right beside the road.   We stopped and took lots and lots of pictures.     They are so massive! 

After the picture fest we headed in to do the Firehole Canyon scenic drive and to see Firehole falls.   We were able to climb down a bit and explore the falls which was cool.  I love getting out in it vs. staring at it from a guard rail.    The falls aren’t necessarily high, but they are massive and the raging.   You can’t hardly talk over the roar of them and the way they snake through the canyon is impressive.    And the views of the overall scenery…  I have no words.

We then headed on to Fountain Paint Pot which has a ½ mile loop you can walk around to see a very unique landscape filled with mud pits, boiling water pits and rocks in formation.  It was colorful and alien.  There were dead trees here and there in the landscape that just added an even more alien feel to it.     I could see a Star Trek episode being filmed here…

We then went to see the Mid-Way Geyser Basin and walked the mile loop around it.   Again, extremely colorful pits of boiling water with steam rolling off of them.  Like walking into a sauna if the wind blows it your way.   Which is a unique feeling given the wind itself is cold… odd to describe, but you are cold, then in a sauna, then cold again with the wind that will flat bowl you down sometimes.  The ground is a rainbow of oranges, yellows, greens, whites… and the water is so clear in places it’s see through.  It looks blue or turquoise depending on the pool.    It is so unique.  While I enjoyed them, I wouldn’t want to come back.  Once you’ve seen them – you’ve seen them.  

Whereas the area I saw in the Grand Tetons I could stare at for days, weeks, heck years….
After Mid-Way we went up to the Old Faithful area and grabbed lunch at a fast food grill area they have.  I ate a hotdog and some chips, nothing fancy, but it was filling.   This is what I am used to at national parks… Yellowstone and the other parks want to take a lesson from its sister the GT 😊

After lunch we went and waited for Old Faithful.  We only had to wait about 20 minutes and she blew her top as expected.  It was neat, but I don’t know, not all that and a bag of chips for me.  Maybe, because I’ve seen it on TV so many times?  Maybe because I knew exactly what to expect?   Not sure.  I can say I’ve seen it and the views around it were astounding.

After watching the old girl blow we headed on to the West Thumb Geyser Basin.   This one is unique in that it backs up to a lake with snow covered mountains on the other side.  It was gorgeous.   We enjoyed walking around taking pictures and visiting.   This was another 2/3 of a mile…   While walking we saw three really interesting things.   

  1. A lone read headed duck in the lake fishing.  We enjoyed watching him for quite some time.  
  2. Bubbling pools at the edge of the river… Picture a boiling pool of water, a pristine, clear lake and a snow-covered mountain all in the same photograph!   
  3. Three Pronghorn came up, 1 a baby, and started drinking the water and eating in the middle of the walk way.   We spent over 30 minutes just photographing them and could have spent an hour or more taking pictures as they were laying down in the field by time we left.   I mean they were no more than 20 feet away, surrounded by humans that they walked in the middle of and did not care.  It was awesome!

Once we made it back to the car it was 5 PM and everyone, including myself, was dragging a bit.   So, I asked the question – do you want to finish our plans or go back to the hotel.  They both yelled hotel!   I could have taken a 20-minute power nap and kept going, but we are here to enjoy ourselves not kill ourselves, so we drove the hour or so back to the hotel and rested.

After an hour or so we headed to dinner.  We ate at the Old Town Café again because they were great this AM and because Mama wanted to play with the slots.   The same waiter was there and immediately greeted us.  He remembered us from this morning which was a pleasant surprise.  He apparently is married into the family that owns it which is why he was there so long today.  We came in this morning at 7:45 and by this time it was close to 8 PM.  

Dinner was ok, I’ve had better, but it was good and not overly expensive which was nice.  However, the service was really good, and they had huckleberry salad dressing and ice cream.  I had both and loved both!!!!   I need to find some of this stuff to take home with me – it is so good.

Now we are back at the apartment and everyone is going to bed early.   We missed out on the Gull Point Drive, Yellowstone Lake Hotel, Fishing Bridge and the Lake Butte Lookout.    Next time I hope I can squeeze these back in.   This trip has made me want an RV so bad.  One I can live in for 6 months and just go from place to place.   Spend a month and then move on.    Maybe we will figure out how to do this in a few years…. I’m going to start planning now!

Tomorrow is another day of me trying to squeeze ever moment I can in, so I guess I’ll go to sleep myself.   Hope all is well with you blogland, God Bless.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

8/28/18 Yellowstone Trip – Day 4

First of all – today is our 14-year wedding anniversary, 17 years as a couple.  It seems like yesterday…  We enjoyed the day, but it wasn’t very “anniversary” related, just had a good time.  We may do a nice dinner or something when we get home.

Today has been enjoyable.   We started the morning by packing up the car as last night was our last night in Jackson WY.   We got packed up and were at the breakfast place by 8 😊 I am not a morning person, but I knew that in order to see everything we wanted to do we need to have some long days so a morning person I have forced myself to be.     Coffee was required though, so we headed back over to The Virginian restaurant, got some coffee and ate breakfast.  Our service was just as good (if not better) today and the food was yummy.

We then headed into The Grand Teton National park.  The skyline this morning was dramatic with blue skies and clouds almost touching the ground.  It was ethereal.     Our first stop was the Chapel of the Transfiguration.   This church is a log building that is still used for Episcopalian services in the summers.  The bell was hung in the 1800’s and the window inside the church looks over the Tetons.   I doubt I could pay attention to a sermon given that…

We then headed down for a brief walk to Menor Ferry and his outbuildings.   We meandered around, looked at the river, the ferry and how it worked and his store house.   It is such a nice morning to be out and about – a briskness in the air that is just yummy.  I got some pictures of some of the local plant life with my macro lens, I have had it for a while, but never remember it on trips so I can play with it.  Well this trip I’ve gotten to play, and it’s been fun.

After this we headed up to Jenny Lake.  We had to use the porta-potties given the buildings are under construction and I was dreading it, but it wasn’t too bad.  Thank goodness.   After taking care of necessities we hopped on the ferry to go across Jenny Lake.   The air was plum cold when hitting you at 25 MPH…. But the ride wasn’t long, only about 10 minutes, and the mountains are breath taking.   It snowed last night up in the mountains so they all now have a layer of snow dust that just … there are no words, it is magical.  I’d love to see it during a winter with all the snow, everywhere, but I’m not sure I could deal with the temperatures.   I’m cold at 60 F.

Once on the other side of the lake we begin the hike up to Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point.    It’s about 3 miles round trip, but most of it is up hills.   Mama was an absolute trouper and came right on up with us.   We stopped several times on the way to take pictures of the mountains, fauna and just to rest, but the climb was worth it.   About ½ way up there is a cascade waterfall that was fun to crawl around on the rocks to photograph.  We then went a little bit further up and got to see a bear.   It was so exciting… he was off in the distance so no real danger.  I tried to get some pictures, but he kept hiding behind the trees… I hope I maybe got at least one to prove we saw him or her.  

After the excitement we headed on up.  Mama decided to stop part way up and we didn’t know how much further, so she got comfy and we went on… 200 yds later was Hidden Falls.  So, we went back and collected her, so she could see it.  They are quite impressive, and they are hidden back in this alcove so its like sitting in a secret garden.   After we took a few pictures Mama told us to go on up to Inspiration Point while she sat and watched the waterfall, so we did that.   I’m glad she didn’t try to attempt it as it was pretty steep and not even.  The view through – the view was amazing.  You could see one of the mountains so clear and it was covered in snow.   The view of the valley was also … just ah.   I loved it.   

After we took a few more pictures we went down, collected Mama, and headed back to the Ferry.  Overall the Jenny lake hike took about 3 hours and I would gladly have spent 5 taking pictures, but I know there is a lot for us to see.

Once across the fairy we did the Scenic Drive around Jenny lake, which again is just awe inspiring.  After which we headed up to Jackson Lodge for a bite to eat at the Pioneer Grill.   The food was good, and the atmosphere of the grill is neat.  It’s all counter service and it still has a 50’s feel to it – it was opened in the 50s.   There was a manager dude who kept talking to his employees in an annoying way, but other than that we really enjoyed it… Oh wait!  I forgot, the cookie… We had a cookie/ice-cream desert and I think I could have thrown the cookie and knocked someone out with it.   They ended up comping us the cookie… I should have kept it for a weapon, I think it would have worked.  Security at the airport may have confiscated it though – too dangerous.

After lunch we started meandering our way up to West Yellowstone.  We stopped all along the way and got to witness some pretty impressive wildlife.  At one of our stops along the Snake River we saw a Bald Eagle in flight… I got a picture, not good as I had the wrong lens on, but I can at least say “hey look what we saw” 😊 We also saw several Pronghorn.  I was able to get my 400MM lens out, so I hope I got some good ones… We actually saw 2 of them mating, it was an unexpected moment.   It was funny – the guy kept chasing the female and she kept walking off.   Jack got video that I think will be fun to watch.

We also saw 2 waterfalls inside Yellowstone that were not on my agenda, so they were a nice surprise.  One was just me and Jack as Mama wanted to stay in the car.  Jack and I hiked back and climbed all over the rocks near it – I think it is the closest I’ve ever been to the base of a water fall, it was neat and there was only one other family there, so it felt private.   I enjoyed it.

We are now in West Yellowstone in an apartment rented by VRBO.  I really like this town, and everything seems to be in walking distance which is nice.  We walked down this evening for dinner at Bullwinkle’s – I stuck with a chicken finger appetizer as I was not really hungry, but we did enjoy it.     Now everyone is crashing as we need to get up early in the AM – I’m pushing to be leaving apt by 7:30 on our way to breakfast – lots to see 😊
I hope you all are well.   Till tomorrow may God watch over and keep you!  

Monday, August 27, 2018

8/27/18 – Yellowstone Trip – Day 3

Today was a rainy day so our itinerary was a bit busted.   But we enjoyed some of the day – I think maybe we needed this day of rest, so God just put it in for us… even though I would have rather been out and doing, I think we are all tired.  The elevation change has put a whammy on us, but the scenery makes up for it.

We knew it would be rainy, so we slept in a little bit and then headed over to a sit-down breakfast joint called the Virginian.  The host looked exactly like one of our waiters from last night, but he said it wasn’t him.   It could be his twin I tell ya…   Breakfast was good – just good ol’American breakfast with no frills.  I loved it.   The waitress was attentive and the food yummy.

After breakfast we drove down to the National Museum of Wildlife Art.   I’m not much of an “art” person, but some of the pieces were astonishing.  I had hoped they would have a photography exhibit, I mean photography is art and it would fit with wildlife, but no.  It was all paintings and sculpture.   The museum is not large, and we were in and out in about an hour, but it was a nice distraction from the rain.

Afterwards the sun had come out, so we thought we may try to do one of the smaller hikes (less than ½ mile) I had planned so we drove into the park… less than 10 ft in the bottom fell out so we turned around and decided to grab a nap.

We all took some much-needed rest time and then went out to explore Jackson.  It was raining a bit, but the sidewalks are covered so we wondered in the stores and looked at the expensive cloths and art.   We bought a few pieces of inexpensive souvenir stuff before heading out to see the Jackson Hole Museum.  Unfortunately, it is closed on Mondays.  It was originally slated for tomorrow afternoon in our schedule, so I didn’t think to recheck the time… ah well.  

So, we headed back downtown thinking we would enjoy the shootout they do at 6, but right before 6 it started raining again so we went to grab some dinner instead.  We ate at Jackson Drug which is an old Drug store they have made into an ol’ time soda shop with burgers and milk shakes.  The food was delicious.  One thing I’ve noticed out here – the portions are HUGE.  Everything I’ve been served could feed 3 people.     They had a 3 IB burger on the menu and if you could eat it in an hour it was free, otherwise it was $65.    To say the least, I didn’t try.

We are now back in the condo – everyone is resting and doing their own thing.   We check out of here tomorrow and head into the Yellowstone area.   Most of our day will still be in the Grand Tetons though, we will be doing today’s agenda tomorrow- currently we are only at a 10% chance of rain and it’s my prayer that goes down to 0 for the rest of the trip.   

I pray you all are doing well, and we shall chat with you all again tomorrow, until then be blessed!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

8/26/18 - Yellowstone Trip - Day 2

Today was all about the Grand Tetons, but before we could go there we had to fuel ourselves.   We went to a local restaurant here in Jackson.  It was one of those where you order at the bar and sit down.  My food was good and so was the coffee, nothing to write home about, but it was an enjoyable experience.  The best thing was the fresh squeezed OJ - Yum!

We then headed into the park.  First stop was the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center where we watched an intro video.  I was a little disappointed as there is supposed to be a phenomenal view after the video where they open the curtains and blinds, but they didn't open :(   Jack went and looked behind them and said it was about the same as we had seen so I guess I didn't miss anything.  It was just the main reason we stopped here was for that.   The video was informational though and it's always nice to have an intro before exploring.

We then headed over to Mormon Row.  There are old homes from the original Mormon settlers here and it was neat to walk among them with the view of the Tetons behind.   I think I got some good pics, time shall tell.

We then did a fabulous nature walk at Schwabacher Road.  It is only about a mile round trip, but it was down by the river with a view of the mountains.  It was just peaceful - I really enjoyed it, may be my favorite of the day... hard to tell.

We then stopped at several overlooks including Snake River and Oxbow on our way to lunch at the Signal Mountain Lodge.  We ate at the Grill - the food was good, the service good and the view amazing.   We all split a blackberry pie for dessert, that I don't recommend.   

After lunch we drove up Signal Mountain to see the views at the top.  Mama went to one overlook with us but opted to stay in the car as we took the short walk to the 2nd one.  The views up here are just fabulous - the mountain is a little hazy, though local say it's the clearest it's been in weeks...  Regardless gorgeous.  There is still snow on the top and the locals say they are expecting it to snow more up in the mountain tops tonight.  Should be interesting to see if we can see a difference when we go back.

We then walked around in the Willow Flat area and we also stopped and walked over the Jackson Dam and down to the shoreline near it.  The sound of the water rushing was nice and relaxing.   By this time, I must admit I could have used a nap.   We left the dam area and headed toward out reservations for dinner.

For dinner we did a cruise out to Elk Island followed by a picnic.  The touring company grilled steaks and trout out on the island.  There were also home fried potatoes, baked beans, salad bar, watermelon and dessert.  Plus, it was all you could eat.   I only ate one plate full and I was stuffed, but the food was good.  The staff was fun and relaxing, both on the cruise and the dinner.   And the view - oh my - we were so close to the mountains and it was just breathtaking.  Sitting out in the open, eating, visiting and staring at one of God's most majestic creations.   Amazing!   The wind was brutal, but we brought jackets and I even brought my blanket, so it was all good.

After dinner we hiked up to the top of trail they have for a view of the water and mountains.  The trail was exceptionally steep, and we left Mama's O2 in the car given it was just dinner and we didn't expect hiking.  She decided to hike it anyway - she had to stop along the way and she is tired, but she did it!  Sheer will power that one.  It was worth it though; the view was really great and just being out in it... out in a spot that the general public that is just driving through doesn't see - it was neat.   I'm determined on this trip to see more than what you can see from the road and while we aren't doing the 8 to 25-mile hikes that the park has (no desire to do that) and we aren't backpacking and camping or mountain climbing, we are getting out.  We are walking some trails... 

As far as wildlife viewing today, not much.  We saw some Bison, but so far off that even my 400MM lens wasn't much help.  We also saw horses and a chipmunk.   And on our way home this evening after the cruise/dinner we saw a deer as she ran out in front of the car with her 2 babies.   Slamming of breaks, clinching of butt cheeks and a few swear words, but all is well.   We were going speed limit and Jack was being cautious, so crisis adverted - my butt cheeks are still a little clinched maybe, lol.

Tomorrow rain is in the forecast, so we will probably stick close to Jackson and so some inside stuff - will need some revamp of itinerary, but no one wants to hike in the rain - at least not sane people.   Time for me to get some rest though.  Very active day and the thinner air is affecting us all with our energy levels.  Jack and I are both tired - Mama has been pretty good about staying on her O2 (which tells me she can tell the air difference too, otherwise she would be irritated I was asking her to put it on, lol).   Sleep well blogland.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

8/25/18 – Yellowstone Trip Day 1

Today has been LONG and filled with travel, but overall it was pleasant.   We left the house at 5:30 – I had planned to go by Dunkin given they claim on their app to be open at 5 AM, they aren’t – they are open at 6.  I had already ordered via the mobile application, so I’ll have to contact them to get a refund, but that will be a battle for another day.   We headed to the airport to board our flight to Atlanta.     As always Augusta airport was a breeze and we got to do TSA Precheck due to Jack’s status, so it was even easier – WIN.

We grabbed a coffee/breakfast snack at the airport and chilled.   Once in Atlanta we headed to our gate to chill some more.  Jack went and got me DD coffee (bless him) and Mama and I grabbed us all some Chic-fil-A.   We had a quick breakfast there knowing our flight would take us through lunch and I hate to pay for plane food…   I had to go have my coffee remade by DD, but they did it without a hassle.   Apparently after the sugar detox a regular coffee with cream/sugar taste like syrup, I downgraded it to 2 sugars just to cut the bitterness given it’s hard to fly with heavy cream.   It was yummy.

We then hopped on our flight to Salt Lake – the planes keep getting more uncomfortable, but the flight was uneventful and the staff friendly.   Once in Salt Lake we grabbed our SUV rental car and headed to the most important place – WALMART.   LOL, I know you are thinking, what?  That’s your first stop?  But alas I’m being a bit frugal and wanted to get us some fruit and drinks there before going into the tourist areas… I bought a $5 cooler that goes in my luggage and some ice packs, so we will have cool drinks during the day without paying tourist prices for them – WIN 😊

Once the practical stuff was done we were on our way – 4 more hours to arrive at our destination.   That being said, the 4-hour drive was peaceful and so scenic.  The scenery here is just amazing, it’s so different than what we are used to and seeing the river meandering through the mountains is amazing.   The cattle and horses are everywhere, the scrub brush plentiful and the air crisp.   It was a little hazy today, but with my sunglasses it was pretty clear – I bet when it isn’t hazy the colors are extraordinary though.

We stopped about an hour out of Jackson to grab some food, because I couldn’t wait any more.  We at this Mexican place – we wanted it to be quick.  It was called La Cabana Del Tequila. We had planned to eat out of a restaurant that is in a refurbished school bus, but it was closed due to owner health issues I pray he is ok.   The restaurant we ended up eating at had fantastic food, but the service as really, really slow.  The people were kind, but it was SLOOW to get drinks, take orders, even be acknowledged really.     They also have a “seat yourself policy” which is great, but the restaurant and finding a table is a bit confusing and after we were seated it was amusing watching other people meander into the 2 or 3 rooms tables were set up in to find a spot.  They need a hostess and they need more servers, but the food was really good!   They didn’t have cheese dip though, which was odd…

Now we are here, in the condo we’ve rented for a few days and I’m about to crash.  I only got 2 hours of sleep last night, no rest on the trip over and it’s now 10PM here – 12 AM in GA.   So, I’m out.   I’ll update you on our adventure tomorrow.  In the meantime, I pray you are having a blessed day!  Remember, when God is for you – who can be against you?

Jamaica Day 2 and Part of 3

I'm relaxed - I mean really relaxed and it feels amazing.  Yesterday after the post they showed us a new room and I was really undecided...