Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day Six - Yellowstone

After getting in so late the night before, we were all slow at getting moving. Especially since it was the first night there was a bed for everyone to lie in (though Blake still insisted on sleeping on the floor). We headed out around 9 am but made our first stop be gas and some supplies (ex. Motion sickness pills, chap stick, and lots of water).  Putting us almost 2 hours behind the original schedule, we finally left West Valley, UT at 9:45 am. It put us all in high spirits to see green and mountains again and we all expressed the desire to have driven the day before in full sunlight in order to see the mountains we passed through.

Utah scenery
The mountains we crossed the night before

 Aside from Four Corners, up to this point we had only cross one state line a day. Today, however, we crossed into Idaho, then Montana (for maybe 30 minutes), and finally into Wyoming. We're getting pretty good at the quick stop, dance across border, jump, and then back into the car. By the end of the trip, we'll be pros!

Mom was born in Idaho and then moved to Oregon at a really young age
After 4 hours of driving, we opted to skip out on my yelp restaurant in order to eat sooner (since we were behind, we wouldn’t be able to have lunch until 3pm) and at a familiar place – Applebees. We spent the meal laughing and joking with one another, getting odd looks from the people around us. Finally, we made the last 2 hours of driving to make it to Yellowstone national park. Along the way, mom entertained us (as she did the night before) by reading her book out loud – the Hangman’s daughter. 

You’d think that we’d all be annoyed and bored but when she starts reading, we are all ears to hear what happens next. I thought about this on the road yesterday: All my life I have heard about the national monuments and other sights we’ve seen and always desired to see them. Now that I am on this road trip with my family doing just that, those sights are not my favorite part of the trip. Its the laughing and joking with one another, its finding things out about my family that I never knew before, it’s the conversation about who the bad guy might be (in the book) that makes this trip as fantastic as it is. When I first started planning this trip, I reminded my family that it’s not about the destination (though that is obviously important) but about the journey. I have now come to realize just how true that is.

Once in Yellowstone park, while driving towards Old Faithful, we kept ours eyes peeled for the different wildlife. I can’t explain why but I was rather eager at seeing animals besides the occasional bird or pampered dog that we saw. Passing an open field, we spotted a few deer and just that boosted our mood exponentially. Not knowing where exactly Old Faithful was in relation to the parking lot, we began walking towards some buildings. A nice lady getting into her car informed us that the geyser would be going off in the next 10 minutes and was located at the opposite end of the parking area. Concerned that we would miss it and have to wait another 2 hours, we ran in the direction pointed out. Oh gosh, we must’ve looked ridiculous! When we got there, the geyser didn’t even go off for another 15 minutes. Not only that but perhaps the most exciting part of it going off was the excitement of the crowd every time it began to show activity.

"Sooo, what's supposed to happen?"
There it goes!
 When it was all over the feeling was very much so, “well that happened; moving on”. The next 30 minutes were spentin the gift shop searching for just the right trinket to represent our entire day at Yellowstone (though we had yet to experience that).

After staring at a map for another 15 minutes, we finally decided to head towards Mammoth Hot Springs. It should've only taken us 45 minutes but there was an unexpected obstacle - A huge Bison decided to go for a stroll in our lane. It easily became the best part of the day complete with butt jokes and laughs (mainly at how terrible a photographer my mom was being and how excited other people were).

At one point a lady drove by and yelled, "Imagine that!" It was hilarious.
Along the way, without being stuck behind a row of cars, we also saw a few elk grazing in the field beside the road.

With the sun quickly fading, we rushed to the hot springs and up the stairs to snap as many pictures as we could.

I asked my siblings to take a selfie with me and then my entire family proceeded to make fun of me, saying that "selfie" wasn't a real word
So funny, apparently, that my father took a picture of us taking a selfie (You've been pic-ceptioned... like inception but with pictures...)
"Hold me, Jack!"
We think there may have been a recent drought because the springs were not as filled as they appeared in all the pictures we've seen of the place. With that said, two days ago we were in 114 degree weather and today it was a balmy 60 degrees with the occasional falling of water. Also unexpected was just how beautiful the rest of the park was.

Since it was getting darker, we agreed to head towards our hotel since we still had a few hours to drive and we had to go over a mountain. As we have learned on this trip - driving at night over mountains is terrifying and difficult to sleep through (most likely due to mom telling dad to slow down every minute or so). Unlike our other hotels, we were unable to find a big name one in lil ol' Cody, WY. When we safely pulled up to it, we questioned the safety of the establishment, getting strong vibes of a Bates Motel setting.

Picture taken the next morning; It had some old cars out front, which were pretty cool.
 With the clock nearing midnight, though, we were too tired to care much. Overall, it was a fun day but Yellowstone is definitely on my list of need to see again and for longer than the few hours that we had today. The end of the trip is coming up so fast and, while we are tired and occasionally get on each others nerves (usually around 6-7pm when everyone is tired and hungry), I wish the trip was longer. Well, until next time dear readers, live long and prosper!

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