So the moral of the story, if you’re looking for a campsite late at night off the highway, don’t! Just keep driving till you’re done and then sleep in the car in a restplace. That way it costs you nought and you’re not disappointed.
The lightening chases us some way down the road but is always behind us, thankfully. We cross the continental divide at 0600 on the dot. Then we stop for fuel at Three Forks, Montana. We do consider a shower but they want $10 each. We are stinky but not $10 worth of stinky!!
Around 0800 we stop at a McD’s for some quick wifi which turns into an hour and a half mission, uploading blog entries, buying Reading Festival tickets for next year and contacting Karyn about Friday. We also snap and have an egg mcmuffin each :-/
Once we prise ourselves away we focus on getting to Yellowstone. The weather has had time to catch us up and just as we are going into the park the heavens open 🙁 Thankfully it’s a brief shower and the sun is shining within the hour.
We arrive at the north entrance of the park and our 1st stop is “mammoth hot springs” hoping to see elks but its not to be. Then we carry on past “tower fall” and through “dunraven pass” towards “fishing bridge”. Stopping for lunch at a picnic site where we try out our new coffee machine. The coffee is pretty good but only makes a real small amount at a time.
A brief stop at “canyon village” for some great photos as well as calling into the campsite there to see if their sister site (that we want to stay at tonight) is busy/has availability. The lady informs us that it’s only half full which takes the stress out of hurrying to get there. We’re a good couple of hours away still, what with stops and the 25-35mph speed restrictions within the park. As we’re leaving we see a couple of elk at the side of the road, quite a big one with antlers and a baby one lying in the long grass. We turn around so we can get some photo’s of them before carrying on our way.
Fishing Bridge is where we’re supposed to be overrun by bears but there’s not even a sausage!!! We don’t go for a walk as time is now way after 5pm and we want to get the tent up and do “old faithful” today too.
Instead we carry on along the edge of “yellowstone lake” stopping now and then for photo’s but no more animal sightings, till we reach “grant village” where we book in for the night. It’s a huge site 400+ pitches, pretty empty, but the woman still puts us in a pitch where if we put our tent up we’d be touching guy ropes with the neighbouring tent. Far too tired by now to bother going back and getting all the paperwork changed, not knowing if they even would, we just pitch next door but one and reckon we could claim a mistake. Not that it’ll be an issue as we’re heading straight back out and not returning till after dark and the office is closed.
Why? Well as we said we want to carry on along the road about another 20 miles to see “midway geyser basin” which looks really impressive and “old faithful”. Then if the timing works we can come back and grab a shower – they’re not in the campsite as it happens, they’re a few hundred yards before the entrance – before they close at 2030 (madness) and then go for food at a park eatery nearby. Which means we’ll be back at the tent way after 2200.
You see we want to leave around 0700 tomorrow morning to get down to Denver, and the showers don’t re-open till 0800 (again, madness – people want to make the most of the park, not be constrained by shower block opening hours!!)
So, tent up we drive off towards our 1st point of interest, but as we’re leaving we see and photograph what we think is a female moose. Calling in at Old Faithful on the way past we find it’s due to blow in about an hour giving us plenty time to check the other place out first. We even have time for a walk around the decks snapping pics.
Old faithful keeps us all waiting and doesn’t actually blow until nearly 2000, pretty impressive as it is. The great thing about coming at this time of night is that its not that busy, well for the size of car park available anyway.
The showers are only 10 minutes away but a heard of elks in the road (too dark for a very good pic) holds us up. We get to the door bang on 2030 and they try their best not to let us in. It’s last shower 2030, not closed 2030. Having not had a shower since Vancouver Monday morning we persist and win 🙂
Food is good, a bison burger each and a beer at a lakeside restaurant, where we can’t see the view but guess is really nice – it’s dark! – and then we’re totally done. We thought we’d have another beer back at the tent but the z’ds are calling after such an early start and all the concentrating we’ve been doing looking for animals.
We did ok today though: elk, moose, bison (can’t remember where) an osprey that we didn’t manage a photo of, a few “Clark’s nutcrackers” (wee birds)…. But no yogi…. Great day!