Day 64 – August 8, 2001 – We packed up this morning and drove to the Lake Yellowstone Hotel for breakfast. When you come to Yellowstone, pay good money to stay at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel! This is a beautiful hotel, in the old fashioned style of the 1920’s, built of wood with large windows overlooking the lake and a gorgeous sunroom with easy chairs to reading or having a cup of tea. We had a delicious breakfast, excellent service, and our cars looked perfect parked in front of the hotel.
On the way to the Hotel, we stopped at the Brink of the Upper Falls, a short hike to the very edge of the falls. It was a pretty spot but you couldn’t help but consider how swiftly you would be swept away if you climbed out on the rocks between our viewpoint and the water. These are, literally, the Upper Falls. They are a much shorter drop than the Lower Falls, with two or three short drops before the larger one. Then the river rushes on around the bend and heads for the Lower Falls. We also stopped at the West Thumb Geyser Basin. This is similar to the ones we visited on the first day but, instead of it being horribly hot, we got a nice breeze off the lake. So, you are standing next to a beautiful blue pool of water that would boil the skin off and feeling nice and cool. That is why these things are so enticing; it is hard to resist touching to see how hot it really is.
We took the road leading to the South Entrance, admiring the river below us and stopping by Lewis Lake to wade in the water. When you leave Yellowstone, you go through the John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Corridor into the Grand Tetons National Park. It is one continuous drive and, if there weren’t signs, you wouldn’t know you had left one and entered the other. Jennifer stalled out on the first major hill but we think it was simply that she was forced to go too slow and lost her momentum. The park road is quite high and, even though there are numerous passes (we have crossed the Continental Divide too many times to keep track), it wasn’t difficult. Unfortunately, this is a pretty park with only one major road and Jennifer was run off the road by a huge silver motorhome, pulling a car trailer. The driver was passing on a hill, with a blind curve at the top, and a truck approaching and within sight. We’ve had a few close calls in the past and the occasional person who yells because he has been caught behind us but, if she hadn’t swung off onto the grass, he would have hit her with the car he was dragging. Minutes later, we saw him stopped at a pull-out, photographing some deer. If Ross hadn’t taken over driving her car after the mishap, I’m afraid she would have gone after him.
The rest of the drive was peaceful. We stopped at Jenny Lake (another place you should see) and a few other places and then drove on into Jackson, WY. Jackson is a major tourist town, because of its closeness to the Tetons and for its winter skiing. We had hoped to have a little time to enjoy the shopping and sightseeing but, by the time we fought our way through the traffic, we were all pretty frazzled. We ate in, worked on the website, made a trip to K-Mart, and crashed.
I have mentioned occasionally the remarks people make to us. Some are funny, some are ridiculous but there were several today that I have to tell you about. Ginger was asked if these were rental cars. Seriously, this is the second time she has been asked that question. And I was walking behind some women who had spotted our cars. “Look at those old cars,” one woman said. “How the hell did they get them here? And look how filthy they are – that’s a sacrilege!” As I passed behind her, I quietly said, “That is the dirt we collected when we went to the Arctic Ocean. We haven’t been able to properly clean them yet.” And I walked on. Minutes later, I saw her outside taking pictures and telling people, “They have been to the Arctic Ocean.” And, if we had a dollar for everyone who asks us if we really think we’ll make it to Alaska, we’d have enough to pay for this trip.