Monday, May 22, 2006

Wyoming, Approaching Yellowstone NP

Holy Howitzer!

We stopped at a Passport CG just outside Yellowstone NP to "clean up" and get ready for a week of boondocking.  It was in a gorgeous mountain setting and deer were everywhere.  

This is a strange structure that was perched on a hill above our campground and I thought it might have something to do with alien communication or a secret government operation.
Cassie and  Frank romped (well...Cassie romped!) in the lush grassy open area.  

While mingling in the campground, we were advised by a neighbor that there might be a delay going into the park.  His neighbor's son worked for the Park Service and told him that a LIVE 55 lb howitzer shell had been found on the highway; apparently, wayward shells fired during avalanche control and road construction had landed on the road Holy Howitzer!.  Many campers decided to take the 150-mile detour to the north entrance, but we decided to wait it out since we had never entered the park via the East Entrance and were told it was a awesome drive!

We were stopped just short of the East Gate into the park and were told that the Bomb Squad had been called in from Idaho to remove the deadly missle that morning and were "working on it".  

While waiting, a moose crossed the road right in front of us and I ran down the mountain to the stream where it was headed to watch for a photo opportunity.  Meanwhile, Frank made breakfast and got the satellite TV working.  We watched TV, ate breakfast and before we knew it, they opened the road!  

We soon learned why all those bombs were scattered on the roads.  The old road had been completely blown off the mountain and part of the mountain had been smashed.  In place of the old road was a packed gravel trail, heavy road equipment and tanned, hearty-looking young mountain men.

As we ascended to a higher elevation, the route became snowy and beautiful.

Upon arrival in West Yellowstone and before checking into our campground, our first chore was to complete the processing of our homeowners insurance.  We had finally received an Efax but needed an office services facility to print out, complete yet another application and fax back.  West Yellowstone is not exactly rolling in non-tourist businesses.  

Our first stop was to the Visitor Center where they identified two possible places to try and also invited us to use their free wifi!  We were wifi-hungry so we enjoyed a beautiful quiet setting surrounded by the heads of dead animals and cavorted through cyberspace. 

The first place we tried, a Quik Print office, printed 7 pages from my flash drive, allowed us to use their office space to fill out our papers and faxed all 7 pages back for under $6.  Here is Frank grinning at Mission Accomplished!

We celebrated at Bullwinkles, home of great burgers and Moose Drool beer (my SECOND moose of the day!) and went back to the Visitor Center to wifi again before going into the park where no internet is possible.  

On the way back into the park, I got one of the silliest photos ever of an elk--it stuck its tongue out at me and I got to giggling so bad I could hardly steady the camera.

Finally, we got settled into our spot--the Ranger let Frank pick out the one we wanted even though we had reserved one supposedly big enough for the Muthaship.  But, we knew from past experience that you could catch the satellite signal on the edge of the hillside! And, Frank does need his Sat TV...

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