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Published: September 3rd 2017
Bison in Teton ParkDay 10 Victor to Kalispell
A herd of bison derping around the round this morning
As I mentioned previously, Ken suggested we leave at 6 this morning to make the most of our day. I attribute today’s success in Yellowstone National Park to this idea, but as I shall now demonstrate, implementation was a team effort. I volunteered to take the “futon” last night. I say “futon” because if it were a real futon, one could conceivably sleep on it. This was some sort of freak European couch that folded down into a flatter, less functional couch which the soul-less Scandinavian designers claimed you could sleep on. Ha. Sure. Maybe if you’re drunk or faced with the prospect of sleeping in cattle class on a 15 hour trans-Atlantic flight instead. Each section of this couch thing wasn’t overly comfortable to begin with and the sections were separated by big metal bars that jam into your body. Lovely. My feet dangled over the end as well. In short, not much sleep was occurring for me anyway so when Ken’s alarm went off at 5:30 I was up and at ‘em. Ken… not so much. We had made such a fuss about following the rules and being quiet I expected the
Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park
alarm to shut off pretty quickly. It didn’t at first, but while I was in the washroom it stopped. Perfect, we’re right on time. Then it went off again. Hmm… maybe he hit snooze. I got out of the washroom just as the alarm ceased. I then made the determination that the alarm was shutting itself off, as Ken lay there in a heap of blankets, his head stuffed under a pillow. He mentioned a couple days ago he was a deep sleeper. I wanted to avoid having to awaken him directly so I turned on all the lights and was less cautious about my noise level as I packed my stuff. The alarm did another cycle. Ken hadn’t even flinched. By the fourth time I went over to the foot of the bed and started kicking it. Wakey wakey! That worked. Ken bolted up and we were in the car in record time. Go team!
Getting up early and annoying the neighbourhood with my car was well worth it. As we crested the pass back into Wyoming the sun’s light was on the horizon. After getting breakfast the sun was up and just hitting the eastern slopes of
Ol' Faithful doing its thing
the mountains. Beautiful. As we left Jackson there was a herd of bison standing in the morning mist on either side or the road. At this point we were actually in Grand Teton National Park, which abuts Yellowstone to the south. Our goal for Yellowstone was to see Old Faithful, a cliché perhaps but when you’ve got limited time you pick the popular highlights. The area around Old Faithful was far more built up than I’d imagined, with lodges, a café, and a huge composite walkway and view platform 180 degrees around the geyser. I have to hand it to the States, they know how to handle crowds at a major attraction. As we waited for the geyser, we could overhear the usual comments that the park rangers have to acknowledge with a forced smile. Every. Single. Time. “Old Faithful isn’t being very faithful right now eh? Hur hur hur” they said when the geyser didn’t immediately erupt exactly at its projected time. These same people also left after the first couple of pre-eruptions and when Old Faithful actually went off mere minutes later they were nowhere to be seen. I can picture the cretins on Trip Advisor now: “Geyser
Cars trying to get into Yellowstone as we left. Haw haw!
did not erupt on time. They should make it erupt every hour on the hour. Also, the water went high, but not majestically high. It wasn’t as worth the 2 hour drive as I’d hoped. I was hungry for pizza too, and I couldn’t find anywhere to get any. The National Park Service really needs to step up their game. 1 out of 5 stars.” Fun fact: there was actually a well-appointed sign done in the style of all the usual park signs (you know, “scenic overlook”, “picnic area”, etc.) that said “Pizzeria” and pointed down a side road. Only in America. We finished our Yellowstone experience at Fire Hole Falls and then set out on our merry way. As we drove towards the park exit the traffic going the other direction grew and grew until there was a giant line of crawling cars and campers. Our early start time had more than paid off and we laughed deviously at all the poor sods lining up to get into the park as we sailed by in the opposite direction. Haw haw!
Our second scenic stop was at Lewis and Clark Caverns, a limestone cave system which offers guided tours.
Lewis and Clark Cave
Totally no snakes in here... probably
In one chamber called the “Garden of the Gods” Ken joked that it linked up underground with the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and that’s how so many snakes got down there. An older woman in front of him stopped dead in her tracks. “Did you say snakes? Please don’t say there are snakes.” Ken quickly reassured her that the cave was too cold for snakes and she’d be fine. She continued with a marked cautiousness for the rest of the tour. We managed not to fall over or hit our heads so I considered the tour to be an astounding success.
After the caves it was time for the long 4 hour stretch to our last hotel in Kalispell. Northern Montana was mostly filled with thick forest fire smoke, the sun a menacing red orb in the sky. I was worried that our highway was going to be closed and an extensive detour necessary. It was not, but we passed by an evacuation camp along Highway 83. It was unfortunately packed with tents of displaced residents. Hope they are able to get the fires under control soon.
We pulled into town at about 8PM, less
Forest Fire Smoke
Northern Montana fires in the next valley over
exhausted than I’d predicted. After hastily checking into our hotel, we went straight to Moose’s Saloon, a rough and tumble joint in downtown Kalispell. Their menu more or less has three things: pizza, peanuts, and beer. The floor is covered in saw dust and peanut shells and guests are encouraged to carve up and vandalize the tables, walls, counter tops; pretty much anything. They take cash only and ordering is all self-service. We sat at the end of a long benched table and were soon joined by a large group of bikers. The gentlemen who sat down beside us were Mark and Matt. They were from Medicine Hat and were doing a big motorbike trip with a bunch of fellow Harley Davidson owners. It was a quite a diverse group in actuality, with a toast going out to one of their members who was 79 years young and still tearing up the freeway. Matt worked as a fracker in the oil patch, mostly working around Kindersley, Saskatchewan. He was also a fellow Mustang enthusiast, having a 2004 Mach 1 with a couple basic modifications. He lent me his pocket knife so I could vandalize our table top after he was finishing doing so himself. Once we finished our dinner we parted ways and went back to the hotel. Our journey was almost over and we had just one final push home tomorrow. And not only that…
…but our final contestants for the RV Game are in! They are “Anal Vision”, “Anal Shockwave”, “Anal Torque”, “Hitchhiker Anal”, and “Anal Encore”. The grand finale is tomorrow! Who will be the ultimate RV Champion?
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