Sunday, June 29, 2014

O Canada

Our first day in Canada went smoothly,if slowly. Yesterday MI frustrated us with the 55 mph speed limit on its long mostly empty road. Today we were on route 17 and it had a little more traffic and we were able to go a little faster- 90. 90 kmh that is. 56mph. So we amused ourselves with the free French lessons Canada gives travelers.
Some signs have side by side translations while other signs are single and one after the other.

Some signs had only pictures which were usually pretty easy to decipher. Some of those that in the states we usually see in text were the possibilities of icy bridges, falling rocks, and school buses with waving children. 

One that is a little ambiguous is the night danger moose. We're not sure if he is charging, or(my favored explanation) that he is a tiptoeing ninja moose assassin.

John felt confident enough by the end of the day to announce that the sign below was the French symbol for a curve.

Buffalo Bill

We headed to Cody WY and stopped at the Buffalo Bill museum there. It is one of 5 museums under one roof, covering 7 acres and we didn't want to spend $18.00 each, or that much time. However the ticket seller really wanted our money and offered us the student price if we wanted to go to just one museum. Being the polite pushovers we are, we didn't have the b***s to walk away, so we paid our money and took our chance.

Cody had an amazing life and his story was told very well here. A few quotes I thought would resonate with at least a couple of my kids:

While we enjoyed the museum, we thought the price was still a bit high, but then,we're pretty tight with our budget. And what the heck, YOLO guys, YOLO.

Yellowstone, really this time

I got the camera to cooperate with the tablet.
So here's our campsite at Yellowstone, which was near the lake, at Grant Village, in case anyone is familiar with the park. We entered from the north at Mammoth Hot Springs, and drove down the west side, stopping a few times to check out different ways steam can come out of the ground. That got old fast. Not really, but walking to one site a third of a mile in was enough for us. Somehow, when I figured that I could walk that far, I forgot that it would also be 1/3 of a mile back to the car!

What we were really looking forward to was the wildlife, John hoped to see bison, and I was hoping for a grizzly bear. No bears, but we did luck out with the bison. We had stopped to look at a marker and noticed a worn spot that we weren't sure what had caused.
I guessed it might be a buffalo wallow, but it seemed small. A little further down the road and we saw one in use, bison rolling on its back, legs waving in the air. There was another one scratching its hump against a dead tree, but that picture is on our camera and I have to get home to load it on the computer before I use it.

We finally made it to the Old Faithful area and ate a late lunch. Upon discovering that the next eruption would be an hour later we decided that we weren't going to wait for it. We did see a smaller geyser nearby go off, so we got the idea. We still had 20+ miles to drive, crossing the Continental Divide twice, before we reached the campground. Don't judge us!

Camping went well, in that there were no bear attacks, but it got pretty darn cold! Like almost freezing cold. There are still patches of snow on the ground out there.

We saw two more bison on our way to the west exit the next day,lying in the grass, maybe 30 feet or so from the road. Too bad they weren't on our side-we could have gotten a better picture. Needless to say, we followed the rules and did not get out to get closer.
We also saw the backs of some large birds, a bit obscured by trees,but we saw enough to be sure they were birds, bending down to water. Right after that we were stopped for road construction for about 20 minutes and asked a man in the car behind us if he had seen them. He had, and said some else suggested they were sandhill cranes. I had never seen them before, but saw some in an exhibit at a visitor center and it seemed too small. Maybe they were just puffed up. We have since seen the cranes twice, in MN and WI, and they were the same reddish tan, so...

The best thing was that we saw a wolf, carrying a kill home to its den, I presume. Rounding a corner at the end of the lake, the wolf came up onto the road, and trotted slowly past us, then when it was able to get up the slope it disappeared in the brush. Luckily there was no one following us, because I just stopped right in the middle of the road! And again,those pictures are on the camera, not the phone. Very cool, I never hoped we would see a wolf. Better than a bear even.

We also saw some accommodating pelicans at Pelican Creek, and a marmot later. I pulled over often to late cars pass, and it was one of those times that we looked out the window and saw the marmot posing on a rock. It was quicker to react than we were, so no photo there.

We are very happy with our visit, but could have done without traveling through Avalanche Pass on the way out. We saw a cannon on one slope, used to set off avalanches safely, and I drove very slowly down, while John concentrated on the tablet and Solitaire.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


We arrived at my cousin Steve's house on Friday afternoon and left Sunday morning. In that span of time, he and his wife Lisa showed us around the area,including a local park high above the valley and Kalispell, a farmer's market and lunch at a soda fountain at one of the oldest buildings in town, and a trip up to Hungry Horse dam. The highlight was the ride we took into Glacier National Park after supper on Saturday. Seeing the rushing mountain streams, the oh so high mountains still covered with snow on the longest day of the year, and the tall evergreens was an experience we won't forget.

Monday morning we drove into Yellowstone, along with hundreds of others. I don't know why I was surprised to see so many people there, but I was. At least most of them were content to drive as slowly as we did, in hopes of seeing as many animals as we could.

Well, I can't access any pictures from the phone now, and I tried last night and this morning. Got to get driving across more of Wisconsin so will wrap this truncated post up.