2 Weeks In The West – Day 8

In Travel by AbhiLeave a Comment

June 25th, 2016 – Jackson, Wyoming to West Yellowstone, Montana ~225 miles.

Even though I knew everything around Yellowstone was going to be more expensive, I was still surprised by how quickly my wallet was emptying. The night before we stayed in a Motel 6…and it was $200! Part of the problem was that Vy and I wanted a flexible schedule while we were on the road, so we had to make reservations without much in the way of advance notice. Still, though – my brain has trouble reconciling “Motel 6” and “$200” in the same sentence.

But it didn’t matter, because today Vy would get to see Yellowstone for the first time…once we were able to navigate through the town of Jackson. The roads was packed with tourist traffic and I wasn’t allowed to split lanes, which made it easier for Vy to take photos off the back of the bike:

For reasons I do not understand, in the last couple of days a webcam livestream of the intersection with this antler sculpture has become way more popular than it should be. At the instant that I’m writing this, there are 2,217 people watching. Again, I don’t know why. If you also want to confuse yourself, you can click here and try to figure out who all these people are that are typing away in the chat box.

We entered Grand Teton National Park along with two couples on Harleys:

Our first stop was at Albright Lookout so that we could really take in the mountain range. Of course I have to corrupt photos of beautiful landscapes by ensuring my ugly, 13 year-old motorcycle is somewhere in the frame!

While we were enjoying the mountains, Vy noticed a Delta jet coming in for landing at Jackson Hole Airport – it must have been an amazing view for the passengers!

Jackson Lake:

I feel like in big national parks like these, it’s rare to get dirt roads because everything is nice and paved for tourists. I couldn’t help myself and had to check out where this led to.

It quickly became a dead end, but Vy took advantage of the break in momentum to snag another Baby Jack photo:


We pulled into the parking lot for Old Faithful, where I got distracted by a beautiful Honda XL that’s presumably both old and faithful to its owner. Vy couldn’t understand how I let this interrupt my walk over to one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. She just doesn’t get me.

There’s a schedule with estimated eruptions for all the geysers in Yellowstone, but seeing as we were going by Old Faithful anyway, we thought it was worth just stopping by and seeing how long the wait would be. When we arrived, a couple that had been sitting there for a while told us the geyser was going to blow in about five minutes, so we got comfy. 20 minutes later, we were still waiting – plus we had been joined by a lot of people with their phones/cameras out, ready to go:

Eventually, our wait was rewarded with the money shot:

Yellowstone National Park Lodges Van Tours has a fleet of vehicles that they do tours with, but this is by far the coolest. I cannot determine if it’s one of the original White Model 706s from the 30s that’s been kept alive or if it’s a replica of some sort, but either way, it’s awesome. Mecum actually just offered one of the original buses at their Monterey auction last month the estimate was $300,000-$350,000 but the bidding died at $150,000.

Vy thinks bison are very cute, which is why she wouldn’t get bison chili for lunch. I had no such qualms – turns out they can be cute and delicious! While enjoying lunch, we looked at the map to see what else we could cover today:

The next stop was Grand Prismatic Spring, which ended up being the surprise highlight of the trip for both Vy and I.

I thought this was much, much cooler than Old Faithful thanks to the colors, which you can even enjoy in the steam:

A panorama view of Grand Prismatic (like any of the other photos, you can click to enlarge):

Further up the road, we caught this sunbathing bison looking quite majestic. For a moment I felt bad that I ate one of his cousins for lunch:

I call this rolling in the dirt, but the technical term is apparently “wallowing.” It’s done to help shed molted fur and get rid of biting flies:

I don’t remember where I took this photo. It just makes me laugh.

There’s one major dirt road you can access from the main loops in the park, so of course we had to check it out. It’s a one way path near the top of the park called Blacktail Plateau Drive, and it’s quite scenic. Baby Jack normally chills on the back of the bike, but Vy moved him to my Kriega bag for easier access for photo shoots.

Here’s the view near the end of the road:

We went to Tower Falls for what was to be our last stop in the park for the day, and saw this sign just off the main hiking path. On one hand, I appreciate the warning. On the other hand, maybe a sighting from 4.5 years ago has lost its relevance?

One our way back up from the falls, we were approached by a stranger who asked if we had seen a baby black bear down the street. I asked where we could find it and her response was “you can’t miss it, traffic is stopped.” She wasn’t wrong. Here’s the baby by itself:

The baby with his/her mom:

And Vy with the GS in the distance after we had spent way too long staring at the bears:

Leaving the park, we caught one last bison for Vy to get excited about…

…and then we crossed the border into Montana so that we could spend the night in West Yellowstone. And I thought lodging in Jackson was expensive!

Missed Day 7? Vy and I go see some bison humping as we cross the state of Wyoming. June 23rd, 2016 – Pueblo, Colorado to Laramie, Wyoming: ~375 miles.