Sunday, June 5, 2016

Old Faithful and More Yellowstone

Well thankfully, no one knocked on our cars last night telling us we had to leave!  Another night of good sleep.  But this morning was by FAR the coldest morning I've had in the car.  36 degrees and frost on the windows when I woke up!  So cold.  But somehow I stayed warm all night in my merino wool sweatpants and under my fancy sleeping bag.  Good products really do work better I guess.

It was a beautiful morning when I finally did get up and out of the car around 8am.  Campers get up and moving early -- with the sun I guess.  Most of them were already cleared out and gone by then!

Bren and I decided to quickly hit the road, too, and drive all the way south to Old Faithful first -- to try and hopefully beat some of the tour buses we assumed would be flocking there.

The drive was again gorgeous, especially in the cool morning temps with the steam popping up everywhere.

It was so hard to just keep driving and not stop at all for anything.  We would hit it all on the way back, but I really wanted to see Old Faithful without 10,000 other people.  So that was the first stop.  

Numerous people had warned us about how crazy it gets there, so we were prepared.  But pleasantly surprised when we pulled up to not much commotion at all!  There really weren't many people there, especially not for a perfect Saturday morning!

We walked around the area, checked out a couple of the buildings and gift shops, and after talking to a couple of people, found the best place to watch free from tourists was around to the right about half way down.  So that's where we went.  And there were just a couple of other people over there!

(I gave Bren my leggings that I had on yesterday.  She just LOVED them and is running low on clothes, so they are hers now!)

We had about 20 minutes to wait before the geyser was scheduled to erupt again.  It was warm, but not that hot yet, and there weren't any bugs, so I can't complain.

Old Faithful gurgled for awhile and teased us, but eventually erupted.

I can't say I was THAT impressed with it.  I mean, I guess I was just expecting more.  It really didn't do much.  But I was still glad I saw it.  It's Old Faithful!  You can't go to Yellowstone and NOT experience Old Faithful!  (Bren was not impressed at all, haha!)

Now the only things left for us to see in Yellowstone were the areas between Old Faithful and the west entrance...which was a lot!

Blue Pools:

Biscuit Basin:

I stood on top of a railing to get this picture...and fell over to the other side -- towards the pools!  Thankfully there was some dirt there and I didn't fall directly in to the boiling pools! 


And then on to Grand Prismatic.  I was really excited about this one.  The parking lot was NUTS and we sat in a stand still line for quite some time.  The parking stalls were wide.  Wide enough for two cars so I waved Bren up to just park right next to me when it was my turn.  But she had pulled over to the side -- to block some jerk who was trying to cut the entire line.  Hahaha - he was NOT happy and gave her the finger and yelled at her.  Pretty funny, but come on, no one likes a cutter! ;)

There were a lot of people there, but not completely packed.  The parking lot for this particular area was just super small.  It was full and cars were starting to just park along the road.

It was totally worth the wait though.  It really was something to see...  The colors blew my mind!

We stopped a few more times on the way to the West Entrance, but nothing else too interesting.

Bren spotted this location and really wanted to get a hammock picture in Yellowstone.  So off we went, hiking down the hill in flip-flops to see if we could make it work.

And we did!  Got some cute pictures of the two of us in the hammock together.  

I know I've said it before, but Yellowstone just would not have been the same without this girl around!  We just really hit it off immediately an had SO much fun. 

The West Entrance to Yellowstone was busier than the south one that we came in.  Cars were lined up to get in on Saturday afternoon.

And there is an actual "town" called West Yellowstone!  I had no idea!  It was the first town we had seen since Jackson Hole, and we were excited for some phone service and wifi.  And McDonalds for bathrooms and free water.

We made our own lunches in the McDonalds parking lot (free wifi), and then said our goodbyes and parted ways.  Bren was heading through Idaho and over to Oregon.  My plan was Big Sky, Bozeman...and who knows where else in Montana. 

I've always wanted to ski at Big Sky, and now that I've seen it, I want to even more.  It looks huge and awesome!  BUT -- there isn't much going on there in the summer time, so it was a short stop before heading in to Bozeman.

Bozeman also wasn't as exciting as I was hoping for.  I mean I don't know what I was expecting.  It had a cute little downtown area, but it was just another I didn't stay too long.  

Hit the wide open spaces of Montana and drove the rest of the afternoon.

(I actually tossed around the idea of heading up to Glacier National Park...and went so far as to start hiding up that highway, but just decided it was too much driving and turned around to head towards South Dakota.)

Playing with the GoPro while driving 90.  Real safe.  I know.

I stopped at a Target in some small town along the way to get some snacks and look around a little...and ate some tuna in the parking lot for dinner. (I did find a super cute American flag scarf that will be perfect for 4th of July!)

The beautiful mountains of Montana disappeared behind me and it turned in to what looked just like Kansas as I hit Wyoming.

The stretches between towns were long.  There was just nothing out there except rolling green hills.  I was blabbing on the phone and not paying attention to the gas gage...and realized I was out when the light came on...and it was too late. 

 I had just gone through Buffalo...and it was another 70 miles to Gillette, Wyoming.  

My gas light came on 20 miles or so past Buffalo...I think.  I was just SURE there would be some little road-side gas station somewhere in those 70 miles, so I would be fine.

Well, there wasn't.  There wasn't a dang thing out there.  For 70 miles.  I was seriously starting to freaking out.  It was dark out now, I was in the middle of nowhere, and for the first time in my life, I was pretty sure I was actually going to run my car out of gas!

Somehow I completely lucked out -- I have NO idea how -- but my car made it all the way to the edge of Gillette.  I've never been so happy to see a gas station in all my life.  

I had to have been running on fumes.  It was a 20 gallon tank...and I overflowed it with 20.2 gallons.  It was completely on E!  

Just down the road from the gas station there happened to be a Wal-Mart.  I could have been creative and found somewhere to sleep with a better view, but I was exhausted and felt safe there.  So that's where I stayed!

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