Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Yellowstone Trip Part 6 - Touring Yellowstone Day - 250 km

Smokin' Steps at Mammoth Hot Springs
Even when we stay in one place, we move around!

Today was our 'staying in Yellowstone day'. We decided to take advantage of this wonderful park and spend the day riding and walking around the park.

We got up early as there was lots to see. It was a very chilly 4°C. to start with but, after a quick breakfast at McDonalds, it had warmed up to a balmy 6°C.

The main road in Yellowstone makes a figure '8'. Yesterday, we had done the lower left part of the 8. We decided to start off with the top of the 8 and go to the bottom right part if we had time.

As we headed up the left side of the '8', we encountered construction. The road was, just like in Grand Teton, basically a gravel/dirt/super bumpy road - this time for around 5 miles. It was torturous! We kept thinking it was going to be over with the next corner and then it continued on again.

Once we got past the construction, however, the sightseeing opened up. And it was beautiful! The temperature was a tad warmer and the road was an interesting one to ride.

There were waterfalls and hills covered in white bacteria that almost looked snowy.

When we arrived at Mammoth Spring, there was an excellent network of stairs and platforms so you could see all of the terraces with different springs and features.

According to my friend, Siri, I went the equivalent of 19 floors up and down! The only thing was, due to the high elevation, I was a bit breathless at times going up the stairs.

As we continued onto the right side of the figure '8', we went by a mini Grand Canyon as well as some big waterfalls. We were starting to head down the lower part of the '8' when the weather started to turn. We decided to beat a hasty retreat and find shelter. Five minutes into our return trip, the skies opened up and fork lightning filled the sky.

We headed back to the intersection of the '8' where there was a gas station and, after abandoning our bikes in the parking lot, we joined several other bikers huddling under the gas station canopy. We both had rain gear but Dale, unfortunately, left his in the hotel room!

While at the gas station, an older guy with a Harley had parked his bike under cover, partially blocking one lane for the pumps. He seemed oblivious to the trucks trying to squeeze by his bike, wanting to fill up. However, the worst part was when, in this gas fume filled environment, he lit up a cigarette! Dale and I decided to put the ice freezer between us and him, not that it would have helped if the gas station had become a fireball!

After about an hour, the storm receded and we made our way back to West Yellowstone. My weather app warned of more unsettled events so we decided to hang around the town - which was, by now, sunny and almost hot.

A West Yellowstone Bison
We spent the rest of the day wandering around West Yellowstone. We met a few bikers on their way to Sturgis which was about to happen, including a couple from Saskatchewan who had attached a home-made trailer to their bike which included a spot for their cooler full of beer!

In our wanderings we saw several interesting things including the town museum, a store that allowed customers with open carry handguns, a pawn shop selling guns, and a place where you could shoot a variety of weapons, including machine guns.

After an enjoyable cup of coffee outside and, later, another McDonald's dinner, we retired to our less than sumptuous accommodations in anticipation of leaving Yellowstone the next day.

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