After I finished last night’s blog post, a new camper joined an adjacent site. The guy drove up on a beautiful Harley and the lady drove the truck with the attached toy hauler. As soon as the guy drove up on the Harley, one of the cows in the field next door came over and started mooing very loudly. I am convinced that the cow thought it was a very nice looking bike and was admiring it. I was too!
We had a great plan for today that involved going on a scenic route in Idaho, onto a gravel road to the Grand Teton National Park and then up through Yellowstone to head back to the campground. We were hoping to reach Yellowstone around dusk in hopes of seeing animals. The plan started well on the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. We had no idea how beautiful the falls and the area were. I have a picture here but more on flickr. We have only included a few pictures between both, but it is an amazingly beautiful place and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area. There is an upper falls and a lower falls and a trail if you want to hike it.
It was after this beautiful byway that we were supposed to turn left on a road that wouldn’t show up on the GPS and we couldn’t find correctly on the route we were on. We had a couple maps. Collectively they were not very good. After we thought we passed the road, we turned around and went back and drove a long way down a road that started off paved but ended up mostly gravel. There were cow grates on the road and cows. Dart hates cow grates and gravel roads. We eventually passed something called Cave Falls so we stopped to take a look. The falls were amazing and there was a couple parked there sitting in chairs outside their vehicle just enjoying the view while someone else was fishing. After the visit, we went up the road a little more and saw a sign that we had just entered Yellowstone National Park. That was very strange because we were not on a road that should take us into the park and wasn’t aware there was a road that did. We had the Yellowstone National Park map and this road was not on it. We were able to determine the road ended shortly, so obviously we had to turn around and go back.
On the way back, we stopped to eat lunch in the Cave Falls campground which is right on the river near Cave Falls. There were bear warning signs everywhere and safe places to put your food. We were also aware that we were near a wilderness area that was specifically dedicated to saving grizzly territory. We ate our lunch with a wary eye and wondered about anyone camping in this area in a tent and not a hard-sided RV.
As we were leaving, Dart decided he had had enough of gravel roads and jumped in my lap in the front seat. For those of you who know Dart, that is highly unusual behavior, so you know how upset he was.
When we got back on the pavement, Regis noticed a thump, thump, thump noise coming from the tire. Regis got out to check and noticed the nail (or whatever it is) in the tire and was able to verify that it was punctured. He turned off on an overlook and changed the tire while I mostly viewed the scenery and watched for bears while Dart slept in the shade and Regis slaved away.
We joked about our roadside assistance policy. We had no cell phone service and really didn’t know where we were. We also agreed that it was no longer wise to search for the original gravel road we planned to travel. We now had no spare tire, it is Sunday and there is no place to fix the spare, there probably isn’t any place to fix the spare for miles anyway, we had no cell phone service, we had no bear spray, and we were in Grizzly country. We took the long way around which added 120 miles to the trip. We drove a total of 313 miles today.
We stopped in Victor, ID so Regis could get a a well-earned pizza and beer. We were able to get a table outside so Dart could join us. The weather was outstanding.
We then went through the mountain pass between Idaho and Wyoming and got beautiful views of Jackson, WY and a plane landing at the airport. As we drove through Jackson, I fell more in love with the place than the last time I was there in the winter a year and a half ago.
It was such a sunny day that it was hard to get great pictures in the Tetons. (The sun makes everything look too harsh in photographs). But, we have some here and on flickr. I included the dam picture particularly for my family that was with me in the Tetons a year and a half ago. We had watched otters playing below this dam at the time and the lake above was frozen. Now, there is a LOT of water coming out of the dam. We saw no otters today. Additionally, I included a view of Jackson Lake. It is awesome and a place I would love to paddle board if they will let you. I will check into it for the future.
After going through the Tetons, we drove up through Yellowstone and saw more beautiful waterfalls, geysers, and fumaroles. It was getting late and dark, so we weren’t able to spend as much time as we wanted in geyser basin. Our current plan is to go back over one of the next two days and get better views.
Tomorrow, our top priority is to fix the tire. We are tired of driving, so we’ll decide later what we can do that will keep us out of the car but still be able to enjoy what this area has to offer. It is such an incredible place, I would love to stay here for awhile but we are heading out on Wednesday morning.