So.... it's been a few days since I last posted an update. I do apologise about that to my millions and millions of fans! LOL! Okay, maybe the 5 - 10 people following this? Mum, Sister, brother etc. :-)
It has been a blast, an adventure with some hairy moments thrown in for good measure. All in all, it has been good and I am still thrilled to be on the road. As of my last update, I had made it to the Bonneville Salt Flats. From there, I was able to make it into Salt Lake City by nightfall of day two. I stayed in the City Center with the plan to explore SLC a little bit and then head up to Yellowstone National Park to be there for mid to late afternoon so I could camp for a day and then leave for Rapid City by day three.
Well, as they say, sometimes the best laid plans just don't lay down well to the task. As I said I made it to Salt Lake City. Next morning, I got up early and drove down to the Great Salt Lake. It is scenic, but they have bugs from hell there. They literally swarm once you step out of the car. It was already close to 100 degrees when I got there.... the Sun was blazing down. I only spent a few minutes there unfortunately. Any-hoo, it was a big body of water that is full of salt :-) There, you have it!
Once I left there, I then headed out of Salt Lake City and started heading north towards Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park. Being the sheer genius that I am, I decided to come in on HWY 20 so that I'd enter Yellowstone from the south most point and work my way up to the center, from there I would camp for the night and then head East the next day towards Rapid City, SD where I could visit Rushmore and Sturgis. Great plan right? Sheer Genius! Well.... let's see how this all played out.
Well, the trip out from SLC started nicely enough. I got a chance to also pull over briefly and visit Hill Air Force Base, they have a reall nice Aviation Museum there too.
After that, I started making head way towards Wyoming. This is where my genius plan started to un-ravel. As I neared Wyoming. I got lost. Yep! You heard me right - I got lost. Not because I lost cel signal and could not use GPS. Not because I tried to self navigate. It was due to my silly GPS. I was trying to go the scenic route, my GPS was trying to go the shortest / fastest route. Everytime I would set it to Yellowstone via HWY 20 it would update itself to the shortest, fastest route without my input. So, the next turn I would make would take me back towards the former route. So, at one point I kept going around in this weird circle. Who gets lost going in a circle? ME! I finanlly just jotted down the directions and turned off the GPS.
I got to drive through some beautiful country - man, it was gorgeous. I went through places like Lava Hot Springs and Soda Springs. As soon as you enter Yellowstone from the south, you just know it. It is so beautiful and so pure. You almost feel guilty about driving a car through there. Wildlife is not immediately visible in the park. I am sure that over the years, they got tired of us gawking at them. However, you still get to admmire nature as you drive deeper into the park.
That said, I t must have been somewhere between Soda Springs and Freedom, or what is between Hoback and Teton...... I got to see a herd of Buffalo. They were just there. On the side of the road. Eating, playing and doing what they would naturally do. Sadly, there was an accident right by the spot so not too many of us could stop. Might be the Buffalo distracted the driver.
I finally made it to Teton village. Just before I paid the $50 to get into the park (not cheap people), the lady at the gate informed me that the camp sites were all full. Disaster! I had a tent in the trunk and i wanted to use it, and I was dead tired anyway and could use a nice nature filled nap. Oh the inhumanity of it. I had come all this way - NOT to be able to camp???? I wasn't having it.
The nice lady of the gate informed me there were some other options just outside the main park that I might try. I decided at that point to head in the direction of Dubois as that would continue taking me East towards Rapid City and that was I would still be making progress eastwards. So, I turned around and headed towards Dubois. I have to tell you, I kept getting strange stares from people being in my lowered, stickered up race car looking M5. LOL!
Anyway.... I headed East towards Dubois. By now, it was around 5 - 6 PM local time and the Sun was slowly beginning to set. I was having a tough time finding a camp site with an opening and one that accepted tents. A lot of them DO NOT accept tents! Like, what the heck ?!?! Aren't tents more nature friendly than Mobile homes and some of the uBer large trucks and such I kept encountering. Going to have to have a chat with the Forestry Department about this.
I finally pulled over for a potty break at lodge (the name will come to me after I post this I am sure), the nice, friendly lady in the shop informed me they have rooms for rent and they also have a camp site round the back, up the hill with spots available. NICE! I finally get to pitch my tent. MY TENT FOLKS! I only meant my tent. Oh Man! I should have just rented a room instead.
First, I had to drive the lowered M5 up this so called hill. It was worse than attempting to rally race the car. I felt like I was rock crawling at 2 MPH. I kid you not, that was how fast I could go and was nearly loosing my teeth from the chatter. I had to roll the windows down when I finally gave up the search for a sport and decided to turn around. Had to roll the windows down to see better as I was deathly afraid of going off the ledge. it was high up folks.
In the time I had the windows down and was heading back down, I must have been invaded by every damn flying bug around! Car was full of some scary looking insects and I must have been bitten a dozen times. It was not pleasant and I was not a happy Grizzly Adams wannabe at this point. I was covered in bites. Now would be a good time to tell you that I actually have sensitive skin. Yep! A bug bite on me looks pretty scarey.
I finanlly found a spot I could camp over night. So, I parked, got out of the car and started unpacking. I was pretty excited about this. I opened my trunk and pulled out the tent - of course right beside the tent was my mosquitoe coil and bug repellent - oh nice! A little late ya think??? As I started to set up my camp site, the bugs came out of nowhere again. My sugar filled energy drink infused blood must have been the delight of the night and all so tasty! I finally just gave up on the idea and packed it in. I got back in the car itching like mad and headed East. I figured I would just go all the way to Dubois and check into a motel. The bugs had beaten me that night.
Well, it was not all doom and gloom. It doesn't matter where you are in the park. It is a beautiful sight to behold. I was still enjoying myself so much driving through the park. As the Sun went down, the animals started coming out so I got to see Caribou (I think), of course Bambi's friend's and relatives started to show up. Never got to see a bear though so you know what that means. I MUST GO BACK!
I even got to cross the continental divide at one point. Don't know why, but this excited me to no end. There was a fire in the park that day and I got to drive past that. It seemed under control by the time I got there. They did not need my help.... oh well.
Seriously, if you have been thinking about it, you need to visit Yellowstone. Had this been the final destination of my trip, it would have been a million times worth it. I am glad to passed through because now I know where I want to go again when I can. I will be back Yellowstone, I will be back. And warn your bugs, I will be back with a repellent packing, vengeance! But keep the light on for me Sara - just in case!