Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mellow Yellowstone-Part I


The Coast-to-Coast Meetup with the Girls happened, with only a 2 hour delay, in the cowboy/tourist town of West Yellowstone, MT.  I saw Theresa's  motorhome approach at the edge of town and eagerly planted myself in the middle of the main strip.  I waved excitedly, pointing to the hidden entry road behind the restaurant chosen for dinner-Bullwinkle's Saloon. (The town was fairly empty of cowboys and tourists as "high season" had not kicked off yet, so my presence in the road was virtually unnoticed.)

After happy greetings, we nailed some drinks; my preference was the local brew--Moose Drool.

After dinner, we traveled into the park to Madison campground, with plenty of daylight to set up our SPOT, which included a spare tent for feminine belongings for 4 women and had our first campfire.  Theresa (the one reading the park newspaper) had brought a huge load of wood for campfires and was an expert campfire maker.  To her right is her sister, Pat, and I and Cassie are to her left.  My sister, Sharon, took the photo.

When it got too cold to remain outdoors--temp headed for 37 degrees!--we retired to the RV, rearranged stuff and made our beds.  It was cozy but the mortorhome accommodated 4 sleepers with careful maneuvering inside.  One person snored lightly and one had a screamer nightmare.

The next day dawned sunny and windless and my early-bird sister and I took off for West Yellowstone 14 miles away to get coffee and internet, leaving the two late sleepers to awaken at a more leisurely pace.  

Our first wildlife sighting was a lone bull grazing next to Madison River, creating a perfect reflection in the still, awakening dawn.

The road is is a commonly used bison trail and, sure enough, we encountered wildlife on the road--bison and elk.  You can tell when bison/elk have been through--there is scat on the road.  Big Scat.  I was looking for the calves, but the mommy bison herd had not yet come to the area.  Just the big mean, hungry bulls.

Ahhh--finally snagged McDonald's coffee and internet.  McDonald's internet served about half of the town but did not offer a senior discount.  Sharon checked in with her RV Park Manager pro tempore, Veronica (or just "V"), for her daily update of RV park shenanigans.  Happily, there was little to report and we went in search of open shops and better coffee.

We soon located much better coffee than McD's!  Additionally, the small coffee shop had a few tables/chairs set up for bistro dining.

After having our fill of designer coffee, we went back into the park to join the late sleepers and begin our exploration of Yellowstone NP.

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