The south entrance to Yellowstone National Park is maybe 50 miles north of Grand Teton National Park. It didn’t take us very long to pack up one camp, and then ride to the next. The only reason it took as long as it did is because there are approximately eleventy-billion people visiting the parks right now. We’d been warned by just about everyone we know that has visited the park not to tent camp inside Yellowstone, but we were really lucky to get a spot at all. There are a bunch of other tents at the Bridge Bay campground, and we’ve got a reservation for a cabin tomorrow, so we’ll take what we can get. (Lodging here apparently fills up months in advance, including many of the camping spots).
However, we ran into a small problem setting up camp at our spot in Yellowstone.
Uh-oh (this may not have been the exact phrasing I used). As we were setting up the tent, the pole broke right at the joint. After some inspection, and a test to see of the file on Kevin’s leatherman would work, we decided to try and shorten the pole.
I served as vice grip to hold the pole still, and Kevin filed away, cutting off the broken part, and filing down the edge past the notch. Voila, worked like a charm. As long as the short pole crosses under the regular pole, the tent went right up. Kevin even managed to avoid cutting the shock cord, which makes life a lot easier.
I think the tent was voicing its confirmation that it really is old. We had just been discussing the night before how this was probably this tent’s last trip. All of the taped seams are delaminating inside, there’s at least one small hole in the side, and any time it rains, its a little bit leaky. We’d tried to use seam sealer before we left on the trip, but I think its a Sisyphean effort at this point. When the pole broke, we both agreed it would be time to shop for a new tent when we got home. Hopefully this one makes it that long.
Confident we would have a place to stay the night, we packed lunch into the backpack and headed out on the Natural Bridge trail leading from the campground.
The hike was a fairly easy three miles or so, and it was still early afternoon when we got back to camp, so we decided to tour south loop of the park.
We made the obligatory stop to watch old faithful.
We also walked through the old faithful inn, but hurried through to escape the crush of people rather than take the tour. I think this would be a really neat place to stay sometime.
The parking lot at old faithful may have been more interesting than the geyser itself. On the way back to the bikes, we spotted this RV:
Notice the Swiss tags, which were also on the motorcycle on the back. The owner came back while we were gawking, but was in a hurry, and didn’t seem interested in explaining his choice of vehicle. He did say that he had it shipped here. Kevin and I assume he is on some around the world expedition that involves some real off-roading.
Also, this was parked nest to our bikes when we got back: (The details were so awesome I had to take a bunch of photos. My favorite is the “peace officer, special edition” Harley Davidson label on the tank.)
We spent the rest of the afternoon sightseeing on the south loop.
As we were returning to camp, we were caught in slow moving traffic, which was of course caused by bison in road. While this is pretty neat, its a lot more neat from the safety of a steel cage that is your average car. On the bike, it makes me a bit nervous to be boxed in my lane only feet from grazing, 1000+ lb bison. I would prefer to just ride on past. Plus, its hard to take pictures from the bike, as I usually need to stop and get out the camera. I’m not doing that in stop and go traffic while next to actual buffalo, which are really big, and dumb, and not nearly as passive as domesticated cattle, so here what I got with the helmet cam:
This one is my favorite, because you can see in the shadow how dumb I look taking a picture with the helmet camera. The remote is mostly useless, so if I want the shot, I have to actually reach on top of my head and push the button. Its both funny, and aggravating.
8/2/2012 – 161 miles. About 100 of those miles was the south loop inside Yellowstone National Park. We were really lucky to make reservations for camping and lodging in the park for two nights only a day ahead of time.