Today was a little more like a vacation day, not just because it’s Monday and we aren’t at work [Yay!], but because we have a less demanding travel schedule and more stuff to do enroute. For starters, we slept in till 630, and then we went downtown to eat a real breakfast: eggs Benny at the Luna Cafe. Caroline ordered a combo, one salmon Benny and one Tomato Avocado. She got one salmon and one regular. A regular Benny in Montana has a slice of ham as thick as the pig. Caroline is on a kind of ‘get the wrong food’ roll. It began in Bismarck when she got the wrong rice with her Sea Bass, continued in McD’s the next morning when they got her order mixed up with that of the man ahead of us, so it seems to be a once a day thing.
It was just 5C when we got up this morning, and we didn’t see anything over ten until after lunch. People in Yellowstone were wearing knit gloves. I think today’s high was 17C or so.
Drove to Yellowstone, found the ‘paintpots’ early on. I remembered these from my visit as a child. ‘Way more fun than dinosaur museums’, according to C. Bubbling mud, spraying geysers, weird high temperature microbes oh my. So that was a high point.
The best thing about Old Faithful was that our timing was exquisite. After visiting the paintpots and wasting twenty minutes looking for bathrooms and a parking space, we walked up to the barricade just seven minutes before the eruption. For me, because I’ve seen it before, the best part was watching the face of a nearby five-year-old. ‘Awesome!’ he exclaimed as the geyser blew. Then forty-five seconds later he was yawning, because really, it’s just steam.
We found some take-out sandwiches at Old Faithful, but declined to eat them in the Disney-sized parking lot, so we drove southwards through the park until we found a beautiful little picnic ground set amidst the trees. We got to use our little picnic pack – another highlight. The table next door was occupied by a grey-haired fellow on a big motorcycle, and I was feeling envy on behalf of Lyle, Errol and my other biking friends until I heard him remount with a loud groan! Caroline’s turkey and swiss bunwich featured two slices of tomato, four huge slices of turkey breast and one tiny leaf of baby spinach. She would have preferred one slice of turkey and four spinach leaves, I’m sure. Seriously bear-proof trash bins, but we saw no bears, or elk or moose. Herds of bison, but meh, we saw those in the badlands, and we have a bison ranch near Kenora.
Grand Tetons disappointing, despite being French (or Latin?) for Huge Hooters. Construction delays, and we got stuck behind a school bus for an hour. Wyoming beautiful, though.
Lara took us on a shortcut through the mountains on a small highway. Ten percent grades both ways. We use the term ‘hurtle’ to describe this kind of descent, although todays plummet was spoiled by a car with Idaho plates that insisted on slowing down for curves. What does he think the steering wheel is for? He must have been from the potato farming part of the state. The opposite of hurtle, I decided, is scramble. As in, we had to scramble up the mountain in second gear to hold on to our speed. The cruise control was completely overwhelmed by the grade and the loss of power due to the elevation. At one point we saw the road a mile or so ahead and a good thousand feet above us – ‘are we going up there?’ Caroline squeaked. Yes. Yes we were.
Fuel economy amazing today, did the whole drive of over 500km without refueling, and the light never came on. Makes a big difference slowing down from 75mph to 55 or less through all the parkland. My one wish about the CRV is that it should have a bigger tank. We have about four hundred kilometers left on the drivetrain warranty as of today. Wish us luck.