Friday, June 20, 2008

Today we left YNP to drive back to Cody, WY. Along the way, we stopped at the shore of Lake Yellowstone so the guys could fish one last time. A lovely place to park and sit while they fished. Bunny and I sat outside drinking coffee and taking in the magnificiant snow capped mountains in front of us while they fished. No luck for the fishermen but a great way to end our trip to YNP!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

-We went to the Lake Hotel for a very nice breakfast and then the guys decided to try their luck fishing in the morning. In the afternoon, we drove to the Grand Canyon of YNP to view the Upper and Lower Falls area. The water of the Yellowstone River was the highest in years and provided a magnificent view of both falls.

Then we drove to Norris Geyser Basin and took only a short walk to view some of that area as the weather changed to very cold and rain. We did get to view a beautiful thermal pool called Emerald Spring which, not surprisingly, is a wonderful dark green color.

Along the way though, we drove by the Virginia Cascades, a short side drive that went by a deep canyon and had a lovely cascading waterfall. The was a one way loop as the road was very narrow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

To Old Faithful Lodge

On the way to Old Faithful Lodge, we crossed the Continental Divide -- 8391 feet above sea level! We also visited West Thumb and Grant Village. While having a great lunch in the Lodge dinning room, we learned that this impressive structure was built in 1903.

We also strolled through the geyser basin to see many hot springs, fountains, and watched Old Faithful geyser blow as well. We also got to see the occasional eruption of the Bee Hive geyser.
There is a great blacktop and wood ramp walkway around this area. We had lunch at the Old Faithful Lodge which was very nice and drove back to Fishing Bridge in time for the guys to fish.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Touring Yellowstone Park

Tuesday, June 17th--On our trip to Mammoth Hot Springs, you could still see lots of evidence of the 1988 fire but also the remarkable new growth that has taken place in the last 20 years. We stopped at the mud volcanoes and the petrified tree on our way and saw lots of wildlife--bison, elk and many different birds, ground squirrels, etc. We even got into a "BearJam as this beautiful black bear strolled by!

We drove the upper terrace at Mammoth and saw many of the springs there -- an impressive sight! It was especially interesting to see the mineral buildup around the springs such as this example. The colors are caused by different algae that grows depending on the warm water temperature.

Then we drove back to Fishing Bridge in time for the guys to fish in Lake Yellowstone -- and once again, we were successful in catching some great cutthroat trout.

Monday, June 16, 2008

From Cody, WY to Yellowstone

The drive from Cody to Yellowstone National Park (YNP) is a beautiful one. The first stop for anyone should be the Buffalo Bill Dam and Reservoir. The dam was one of the first water projects by the US Reclamation Service in the early 1900's. The dam was completed in 1910 after 8 grueling years of labor and 3 different contractors. Most of the work was done in the winter months due to spring and summer flooding as the snow melts off the Absaroka Mountains and flows down the Shoshone River. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest dam in the world (325 feet) and was named for Buffalo Bill Cody due to his efforts to provide water for irrigation to the area. The dam and reservoir provide power, irrigation, recreation to the Bighorn Basin. The Visitor Center ( has several interesting movies to view, a gift shop, viewing area of the dam and reservoir, excellent parking with golf cart transportation from the parking lot to the center, and rest rooms.

As you drive by the reservoir, you have mountains on either side with the Shoshone River running through it. It is an area filled with natural beauty in the red stone cliffs and tall trees. There are state parks, campgrounds and lodges available for you to stay in as well as plenty of pull off areas to take a moment to view the beauty around you.

It is only about 80 miles from Cody to the entrance to YNP ( and after you enter, you climb. The entry point is around 6500 feet and to reach our destination--Fishing Bridge, you have to go through Sylvan Pass which is over 9000 feet. The road is excellent and filled on this trip with rushing streams full of snow melt. There was the most snow still on the ground of all of our trips to YNP--6 to date. Even a couple of small lakes were still frozen over as we made our descent to Lake Yellowstone.

The campground at Fishing Bridge is conveniently located to drive all of the park. It is the only full hook up camping facility in the park and is often booked way ahead so if you are going, make reservations. There is a visitor center, a large store and plenty of trails in the area. Nearby is a marina and the Lake Hotel for lovely meals if you don't want to cook.

Our touring was interspersed with fishing by Rick and his Dad. Here are a couple of photos showing proof of our success! All fishing for cutthroat trout is catch and release using barbless hooks, making it a real challenge to catch the only native trout in Yellowstone.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Visting Cody, Wyoming!

We spent two days at Cody, Wyoming -- a great place to experience the Old West! Established by none other than Buffalo Bill Cody, this town has much to see and do. While we passed on the Cody Nightly Rodeo this time (we have been several times before), the rodeo is a wonderful event to see!

My parents accompanied us on a tour of the amazing Buffalo Bill Historical Center ( ) which houses 5 wonderful museums. These include the Cody Firearms Museum with 3,000 historic firearms; The Western Art Museum with many pieces by Charlie Russell, Remington, and more; The Plains Indians Museum, The Natural History Museum; and perhaps my favorite, the Buffalo Bill Museum. There are many great artifacts such as this original Buffalo Bill publicity poster (110 years old) as well as the original Deadwood Stagecoach!

We spent part of two days here (your $15 admission is good for two days) and certainly did not see everything. This is a world class museum with great exhibits.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Through the Big Horn Mountains to Cody

Today we left Sheridan to take HWY 14 from Sheridan to Cody, Wy. Although this is only about 150 miles, the Big Horn mountains lie in the way and we will climb to about 9,000 feet to get through. Naturally, there are LOTS of twists and turns on the road! We even ran into quite a bit of snow alongside the road as we crested the top! If you look carefully, you can see where the road was plowed to remove snow the day before!

As we drove along, we ran into some roadwork and when we got up to the work zone, realized that there had just been a rockslide with some BIG rocks dropping onto the roadway. Mighty glad we were not there when they dropped down!

This is a beautiful drive and was no problem for our 40' coach or my Dad's 29' class C. Just take it easy and enjoy the ride.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

On To Sheridan, WY

We ran into some heavy headwinds today as we moved on to Sheridan (why is it always headwinds??). The roads were good and we saw pronghorn antelope and elk on the hills.

Sheridan ( ) is an interesting spot--located in what was practically the center of the Indian Wars-- that is growing fast given the new push for energy exploration. We spent two nice days and did a bit of sightseeing.

First, we visited the Trail End house which is spectacular. This 14,000 sq ft. house was built by John Kendrick, a very successful rancher and politician in the early 1900's. The house is fully furnished as it was in 1913 and is very well worth a visit. Take a look at the website at: There are great features inside and outside the home for you to see such as amazing wood floors and trim, a "modern" kitchen and a ballroom on the attic level as well as servants quarters, and incredible basement with laundry and utilities. This beautiful flower is part of the garden outside. The house had extensive grounds originally and now part of that is home to bison and elk. There is an elevator so it is easy for people with disabilities to also see the home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On the road again! To Deadwood

We have been cooling our heels in South Dakota for the past month (and not burning expensive Diesel), but it is time to hit the road. We are traveling with my parents to Yellowstone Park and our first stop is Deadwood, SD. This is a fun place to go and visit the restored buildings (now mostly casinos). We stayed at the Whistler's Gulch RV park which worked great and you can see how hard it is to find level ground in the Black Hills!

After a great stay (and some gambling on the penny slots!), we headed toward Wyoming.