| So I passed through two National Parks today
and should have tons of pictures, right? Nope. In fact I actually
spent a couple of hours in Yellowstone National park and I didn't
take a single picture? I will explain more about this a bit later.
I woke up this morning to a 30-40 mph wind and initially wondered
if a storm was moving in. I looked out the tent and the sky was
clear and there was no sign of bad weather. About that time a
guy came by we struck up a conversation about the bike and traveling
in general and I mentioned the wind. He told me that it was that
way every morning and that it blows down the river until about
10:00 and then stops. Weird.
I packed up everything and was on the road by 8:30. I headed
north on 26 to Jackson, WY and looked for someplace to stop and
get breakfast. Nothing really struck my fancy so I decided to
skip it and head to the Grand Tetons. Once I got to the park I
saw that the road was one long string of cars and RVs. They weren't
bumber to bumber or anything like that and they seemed pretty
spread out but the line went as far as the eye could see. Not
a pretty sight in my eyes.
I was getting hungry so I stopped at a place that had an historical
log cabin near a small stream for a quick snack. I took a couple
of pictures of the mountains and met this really cute girl from
Kansas City, MO. This was probably the start of the pissy mood
I was in the rest of the day. Let me explain. It turns out that
I actually ended up meeting this same girl later that evening
so a lot of the morning's emotion was wasted but I didn't know
this at the time. Unfortunately, meeting her just emphasized the
fact that I had been alone for the last week and a half and I
was in need of some human companionship. Loneliness set in and
put a funk on the rest of the day. It doesn't happen to me often
on these trips but it does happen occasionally. Reason one for
so few pictures.
I got back on the road and headed north. Riding on a paved road
with other traffic is not why I take motorcycle trips so when
I saw a dirt road heading off the main road I quickly pointed
the bike in that direction. The road finally ended at a creek
about 3 miles off the main road. It started out as dirt and gravel
but apparently either the road was once a creek bed or somebody
moved in a lot of creek bed rocks to fill the road. The last mile
or so was composed of baseball and softball size round stones.
It is times like these that I love my bike. I had ridden it over
3000 comfortable miles to get to this road and then it carries
me bouncing from rock to rock to get to who knows where. Once
I got to the end of the road I did a little sight seeing and then
headed back to Hwy 26.
After leaving Grand Teton NP I continued north towards Yellowstone.
I got to the southern entrance and had to wait in line and while
I did so I am immediately glad I had on all my gear. Apparently
I arrived at the peak of the mosquito season for this immediate
area. A black cloud engulfed my body so I shut the shield on my
helmet and wondered if my lower jaw was going to have any blood
in it by the time I could leave. It is the only bare patch of
flesh exposed so I hunched my head down and hoped for the best.
Afterwards it turns out that this strategy worked well and I didn't
have any bites at all. Once I got through the entrance and started
moving I had no more mosquito problem and they didn't seem to
be present at the higher altitudes.
Yellowstone left me in a state of confusion. I had been warned
so this did not come as a complete shock but I still felt somewhat
sad after experiencing it for myself. First of all you have to
understand that Yellowstone was our first official national park.
See that word PARK in there. This is exactly what it is.
It may be large and the animals may be termed "wild" but man has
been influencing this area far too long. To me it felt entirely
tame. The only moment that I had anything that could be construed
as an adrenaline rush was when a confused buffalo walked down
the opposite side of the road towards me. He was slowly meandering
down the opposite lane with a line of cars backed up behind him.
The cars in my lane all pulled over slightly and I pulled in closely
behind the SUV I was following. The big guy walked by me at a
distance of about 10 feet. Right before he was directly opposite
me I had the realization that I was the only person out there
not surrounded by 2 tons of steel. I decided then and there that
if it was between me and the bike, the GS was getting sacrificed
and the buffalo could do what he would to it while I made clean
my escape. Some loyalty, huh?
So that was it for excitement. I didn't take any pictures because
there was no place that there weren't other people taking pictures.
I saw my buffalo and I saw my elk but so did every other person
driving by in there air conditioned cars. I have the hope that
if I had had some time to backpack into the backcountry my impression
would change dramatically. Unfortunately, it wasn't going to happen
this trip. I even skipped Old Faithful after seeing the stadium
seating and the crowds. I didn't get close enough but I bet they
even had popcorn vendors cruising the isles.
Don't get me wrong, the place is absolutely gorgeous. As someone
pointed out to me, we need Yellowstone so that the masses have
some place to go. Otherwise all the other beautiful places would
be overrun with these people and their RVs as well. Amen.
I left Yellowstone traveling east on Hwy 20 and had dinner in
Cody before backtracking a short ways to the Buffalo Bill SP where
I set up the tent for the night.