Alaska 2008 – Day 25, July 28

Day 25, July 28

Gardiner MT through Yellowstone and Cody Wy, ending in Rexburg ID

350 miles

We wake up to another beautiful warm day. Sure different from the weather we started in nearly a month ago! The plan today is to make a big loop of Yellowstone park; starting at the North entrance which is right at our doorstep here in Gardiner, riding through on Hwy 296 and exiting the Northeast entrance. Next we’ll check out Cody Wyoming and come back in to the park’s Southeast entrance, following Hwy 14 through to West Yellowstone entrance and ending in Rexburg for the night.

Right after entering the park we come to Mammoth Hot Springs, but there’s no water here any more! The thermal activity has slowed to a trickle in this area. It’s strange for me because I can remember visiting here years ago with my family when it was huge and very active. That can’t have been more than 10 years ago, right?? Actually, its probably been 30 years. Ouch.

We wanted to do all of Beartooth Pass, but there’s a forest fire in Red Lodge, so we have to cut it short and stay on 296 to Cody. Oh well, that’s another road to add to our to-do list for some other ride!

We enjoy nearly deserted roads and beautiful scenery (including stopping to watch a grizzly bear happily tearing apart a rotten stump) all the way through to Cody. Stopping in town for salad bar at Pizza Hut, we cool down in their air conditioning before heading back out on the road.

The southern loop in Yellowstone reminds us why we usually stay away from these places during the summer. Loads of traffic, and everyone stopping for even a tiny glimpse of generic wildlife (“People, its an elk, there are seven billion of them here, just keep moving!”). One road hog is going so slow in the opposite lane he’s hardly moving, and he’s got his horn on the whole time. Actually, he’s got two horns, and a big fuzzy head in between — it’s buffalo walking right down the middle of the oncoming traffic lane, just like he’s part of the traffic flow. Lumbering past Mike, he swivels one eye and grunts! Fortunately he keeps moving, as we’re in the middle of a pack of cars, and have no where to run.

Continuing on, we weave our way through the masses of traffic and breathe a sigh of relief when we finally make it through the park gates and back out on Hwy 20 towards Rexburg.

After some wandering, Mike finds a great motel (air conditioning two nights in a row, we must be back in civilization!) and I’m pretty sure I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow.


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