Friday, August 14, 2009

August 14, 2009

Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and Beartooth All American Road

Day for sightseeing.  These two roads have been called the most scenic drive in America.  They certainly are the most visually stunning I have seen.

DSC02802 DSC02803 DSC02806 See the road snaking down the side of the mountain?  The whole drive was like that, up and down several mountains and over three passes.  The tallest is a little short of 11,000ft.

This bridge is the highest in Wyoming.

DSC02807 DSC02809 Could not get a decent picture that properly shows depth of canyon.  This might give some idea.  It is taken straight down.


Granite Peak, tallest in Montana.


View from Beartooth Pass


Back to Cody.  We spent some more time in the museum complex and then back to RV to do laundry.

August 13, 2009

Cody, WY and Buffalo Bill Historical Center

Left West Yellowstone early so we could get through road control in first wave of the day.  After that it was smooth and scenic road all the way to Cody.  After setting up carbus our objective for the afternoon was the Buffalo Bill Historical Center. 


This is actually five museums in one place (one price too).  Gun museum, Art museum, Native American History museum, Buffalo Bill and Western museum, and Natural History museum.  Each museum by itself is outstanding.  This is from someone who doesn’t do museums.  The Gun museum has over 1500 firearms on display in the main floor and another 1200 on display in a secondary floor (basement).  The Art  museum has art in all media by renowned western artists, much of it owned but some on loan from famous museums (Smithsonian, etc.) Here is one on display now.  It is the size of a wall.


Lower Yellowstone Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

The Native American Museum shows Indian life and history in a very educational manner.  Large building with many rooms and alcoves each with a different theme.  The portion devoted to Buffalo Bill and western life has many areas devoted to various aspects of life in the early west, especially the cowboy.  There is a lower gallery devoted to artwork depicting the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  In the back of the lower floor there is a research center.  We stopped in and inquired if they had any data on that part of Buffalo Bills life that we have a connection to.  It took them some time and searching but they were able to locate documentation and corroboration.  We left with copies of data and they were happy to meet someone with a tie to BB.

The Natural History museum presentation is done by temperate zones starting with alpine.  One walks down to different level to different displays similar to walking down a mountain.  Very well done.  Even has hands on displays and docents to educate.

The whole thing is placed on grounds that are green and manicured and also filled with exhibits and artwork.

We spent over four hours and were no where near done.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August 12, 2009

Yellowstone NP

No entries for the last several days and this will not be too long.  Doing justice to Yellowstone in a blog entry is impossible.  We have been parked in West Yellowstone for three (four?) days.  We have entered and toured the park every day.  Yellowstone is HUGE.  2.2 million acres. That is 3437.5 square miles.  The distances between junctions which are major points of interest are LONG.  We have been out every day and not returned before 7:00pm.  At that point processing photos and writing is not a priority. 

Here is the required picture of Old Faithful.


My view of Old Faithfull Village:  Much like Disneyland.

Both have huge parking areas that are pretty much full.  Both have LOTS of people moving around in what seems like random movement.  Both have an event (parade/eruption) that draws people at a scheduled (semi-scheduled) time.  People start gathering about a half hour early to get good seats.  The event happens and people disperse to their random movement again.

Geyser Village does have Old Faithful Inn.  An historic hotel that is worth a visit.  Great architecture in the style of historic National Park lodges.  Each is unique and indescribable. Here is the outside but the inside is the uniqueness.


A few more pictures.  Here is view from what is called ‘Artists Point’ with good reason.


Proof we were here.


I thought this was fun.


It’s so big it needs its’ own parking lot.


Osprey nest with two fledglings.


Last night we had dinner with friends from Auburn in a Yellowstone campground.  Each of the three couples had been out traveling for some time and our travels managed to come together at a point.  We spent the evening sharing experiences and notes.  I’m afraid that we dominated the evening with our travels.  I apologize for that.  They had wonderful memories and experiences of their own and I wish we had heard more of them.  We will make great efforts to hear more of their travels.  It will take more evenings and more food and wine to hear it all.  Thank you Audrey and Gerry for a nice evening and a chance to experience buffalo meat.  :)

Today we sort of laid back.  Audrey and Gerry had suggested a ‘museum’ in West Yellowstone and we had no need to push on today.

We went to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center.  This is a not-for-profit live museum that showcases wolves and grizzly bears. All animals here have been rescued from situations that meant they could not survive in the wild.   Lots of learning to be had here.  We spent much of the day here.  They have six or seven grizzly bears that they rotate on exhibit often through out the day.  No bear is out more than 1:15 at a time. They also have a kind of junior ranger program.  One part is discussing the bears and how they find food.  When the bears are rotated (don’t ask me how they get the bears to leave the compound but they do) the kids are allowed in to the compound prior to the next bears entering.  Their task is to hide food for the bears to locate.  This assures that the bears are in prime viewing spots for a part of their time out.  Here are kids hiding food.


Here are bears finding it.


There are similar facilities devoted to wolves.


We also watched two movies that took almost two hours about restoration of grizzlies and wolves to Yellowstone.

All in all a nice day without any driving or dealing with crowds.