Today, we drove the length of Nebraska, from Wyoming to Iowa and then on to Missouri. Almost all of the day’s drive was on I-80. We finished up listening to “The Whistling Season”, which we both enjoyed immensely. Due to AT&T’s
vulgarities vagaries in cell service, we couldn’t download our next audio selection. We were forced to turn to Pandora, which occasionally also cut out, but our audio selection was still light years ahead of what Anne, Jay and Suzy had to listen to, when they last traveled I-80 across Nebraska in the Seventies.
In quick rotation their catalog consisted of only two songs, Muhammad Ali’s one foray into musical recording, Black Superman, where he “floats like a butterfly, but stings like a bee” and Paul Anka’s There’s Nothing Stronger Than Our Love, which got shortened to There’s Nothing Stronger Than Olives. Today, we survived our medley of rainstorms, orange barrows and bad music and arrived safely at our hotel in the trendiest part of KC.
Apparently, Monday is a lull period, hence our cheap rate. We walked the plaza, shopped windows, wined and dined ourselves and then walked the two blocks back up to our hotel. Tomorrow, we get to sleep in our own bed and I for one am looking forward to it. It’s been a fun vacation, but it has also been a long one. I’m looking forward to getting home, at least for a little while.
It’s been a rainy day. Into each life a little rain must fall. At least the tent stayed dry. We drove over to the east side of Glacier, Two Medicine, near the Blackfeet Reservation. This is the oldest portion of Glacier. We went there because we had heard that the east side of the park was drier than the west. Not today though, because it poured while we were over there. We did get out to view Running Eagle Falls, which is named for a historical woman Blackfoot chief. It is here that we saw the Bear Grass, which is also called Indian Basket Grass. We hung around the ranger station and the store at Two Medicine until lunch. The ranger thought that the two moose calves that we saw a couple of days ago, were only a week old. We then backtracked to the historic Great Northern Railway Lodge for a repast and then we hung out there for a while too. Amtrak still stops there and there were more than a few railroad buffs hanging out with us. Then it looked like rain had lifted in West Glacier, so we headed back there. We checked out the Alberta House in West Glacier, which here is the Canadian visitor’s center. It was pretty nice. Dinner at Eddies in Apgar, showers and then camp. We’ll see if we stay up long enough to go to the evening ranger program or not, because tomorrow is another day.
We are camping about 3K feet lower than at Yellowstone and it is warmer here too. I was worried about the temperature, after experiencing snow, sleet, rain and lows of 25 degrees in Yellowstone. Still at higher elevations it is even colder here. The Going to the Sun road is closed to cars. It’s still snow covered. We drove to the barricade and then walked from there. There is about eight miles of road until the snow pack and we walked about half that. There is a further eight miles of snow until the pass. The further we went, the wetter it got. Lots of people were riding bikes. One guy that I spoke with rode all the way to the snow, where the rain had turned to hail and it was freezing out. We saw the moose, a mother and two calves on the way up and on the way back. They were camped out in the rain across the river. The calves were still nursing. Anne thinks that for next year’s Mother’s Day that I should post pictures of all the nursing mammals that we’ve seen. Other people saw a black bear with two cubs. We met up with a teacher from Wisconsin and walked with her, safety in numbers. She and Anne had a great teacher conversation, while I watched out for bears. Afterwards, we lunched at the Lake McDonald lodge, elk burgers and huckleberry pie. Yum!
We left the Big Horn Mountains and headed to Cody, WY, as in Wild Bill Cody. There is a fantastic museum there dedicated to western themes. The western art there rivals that of the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, in my humble opinion. I especially loved the modern Native American art, as typified by “Tonto’s Dream”, with its obvious node to Rousseau. I hope that you can read some of the details in the photo. We spent several lovely hours there, but then it was on to Yellowstone. The mountains here are all still snow covered and there is still dirty snow roadside near the campground. We hit a bear-jam into the park and Anne saw the grizzly, but I was hell bent for leather to get to our campsite that I did not stop. I am just that way. We scored a pretty cool one. It features a view of Lake Yellowstone and right next door herds elk and bison.
We broke camp early this morning and beat the crowd to Devils Tower. We were halfway around the Tower before the gathering throngs passed us by. We were grateful for having the stillness of the monument to ourselves for as long as we did. Apparently, only one minute of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was filmed on site. A further 18 minutes for the decontamination scene were filmed where the KOA that we stayed at last night is now. Most of the final sequence was filmed in an old blimp hanger in Alabama. Today’s was an easy drive. We’ve been listening to “A River Runs Through It” and other stories by Norman Maclean as we drive west. The title story is all about fly fishing and our campsite tonight reminds me so much of his stories. Tonight we are camping in the Big Horn Mountains, at 7780 feet. The mountain peaks are still covered in snow. We’re staying at the National Forest Service South Fork Campground, along the “Sweet 16” and right along the South Clear Creek. I mean, I’ll be taking a bath if I fall the wrong way getting out of the tent. We will take Wyoming state highway 16 to Yellowstone tomorrow. It is supposed to be one of the most scenic drives in the state. This is far and away our best campsite of the trip so far and we’ve had some pretty good ones too. I’m praying that our Yellowstone site is at least half as good and not like our last camping trip to Shawnee, where the crazy women leading the partying party across the road from us, kept yelling, “Ed if you’re not back in 15 minutes then there will be no dinner for you. Ed do you hear me? Ed!” Oh by the way, Crazy Women seems to be a thing out here. Not sure why. I’ll have to ask. We’re in bear country now.