What a toasty warm and cozy night it was in the tent! I love sleeping in the tent! The temperature was supposed to be a bit warmer during the night, warmer than the 29 degrees the night before anyhow! I had the opportunity to crawl out of the tent in the middle of the night (!) and the STARS!!!!!! Unbelievable as you can imagine! No light pollution out here! I think I will start getting up every night just to gaze at the stars!
We purposely slept in this morning, knowing it was going to be chilly when we woke up, thought if we just waited a little longer the sun would soon hit the tent and make it easier to get up! The phone weather app said it was 28 this morning as we started to stir, but i don't think it was that cold where we were. It was actually quite pleasant and we were able to get packed and ready to go comfortably, even enough sunshine to dry the tent out before packing it up! We also allowed ourselves a later start because we probably would only go as far as West Yellowstone and stop for the night before entering the park and it campgrounds. From all the stories we have heard from people that have already travelled thru, the park is bumper to bumper traffic, campgrounds fill up by 7:30am!!! So we wanted to pause, camp at West Yellowstone and get information before we ventured into the mayhem!
We only had a quick snack for breakfast, peanut butter and jelly on a tortilla! There is a cafe within 10 miles so we thought we would treat ourselves to breakfast there. So much easier to do that than fire up the camp stove before we pack up. And more fun!
I regret I did not take a photo of the majestic mountains that stood outside our campspot last night when the sun was shining on it and lighting it up! (Must have been that second vodka that made me forget!) So I took one this morning, it is more of a shadow but you can see where we headed! If you look at the first photo you can see the dip between the mountain on the left and the middle one. The road literally took us right into that nook! So cool! And what we learned on the way was this was the site of the most devastating natural disaster in the Rockies in recent history. On August 17, 1959 a 7.5 earthquake hit causing the mountain landslide on top of a full campground and the 200 people camping there! The landslide burst the dam. 19 people were lost immediately and 28 as a result of the devastation. It was a very sobering few miles. As we crossed over the new contour of the land and the new road, we eventually came to the Quake lake that was created when the water backed up and drowned the valley. It is peaceful and serene now, but hides a sad and terrible secret in its waters. All along the route there are reminders of the tragedy and the lives that were lost.
Some days the miles click by rapidly and some it seems like maybe my odometer isn't working properly! Have we only gone 4 miles?? The road finally dropped us back down to river level and we found the little breakfast spot we had been anticipating! Well worth the ride and the wait! The Campfire Lodge and Cafe, right on the river full of interesting "stuff" to look at and good coffee! It was just what we were hoping for! We have always been so fortunate to find the best food in the most out of the way places! The 4 guys at the table next to us had ordered one of their cinnamon rolls, I think we have found the "Mother" of all cinnamon rolls! This was the biggest one yet! It was so big that we didn't bother to order one because it took 4 of them to eat it, how would 2 of us manage? But they guaranteed me it was worth the #1 position on my personal Cinnamon Roll across America Challenge!
We had our old friend the "headwind" harassing us again today! Can we get a break here please?? It was inconsistent again today and as hard as it tried there were times when it could not distract us from the treat of the surrounding beauty! It did die down a bit as we followed Hebgen Lake. At times the lake looked like glass. What a huge lake! Amazing houses and cabins out here dotting the shore, if you are a fisherman, this is where you want to be!
Finally we reached our final turn east and the last 8 miles into West Yellowstone! It seemed like a really long day even though miles wise it was short. Of course, those wind gods saved the best for last and we pedaled straight into a strong one that was also full of dust and debris. A very busy road, but we had a generous shoulder, there were campers and boaters and of course semi-trucks bringing in all the necessities one needs for enjoying the forest like ice cream, beer and coke!!!!
We made it! West Yellowstone! Somewhere in my memory bank of travels, i could have sworn we were in West Yellowstone. In fact I know we were. We camped in the KOA which I was positive was within walking distance of restaurants and small few blocks of town! Hmmmm . . Don't know where the disconnect is! First of all the KOA is 6 miles out of town, second of all West Yellowstone is booming and bustling! And there are no campgrounds that have room for tents! AND . . . The average cost of a room is $300!!!! I am not kidding! $300! And the town is packed, the parking lots are full in all of these places . . .especially as the day nears the end and they return from their Yellowstone adventures for the day! As you can imagine we (meaning me) was getting a little more than frustrated! What a horrible place! All because people flock to see one of our county's greatest jewel! We found the sweetest little cabin for next to nothing and felt quite relieved! No more than that . . .extremely grateful because by time we searched and made phone calls and what have you it got to be too late to move onto the first campground in the park! We just didn't have enough information about the campground especially knowing they fill up so fast. I had heard that bicycles were always accommodated but we just didn't want to gamble! So happy to say we lucked out and found this cabin, made my phone calls to park information and now feel assured that is the case. The campground we are headed for will in fact make room for bicycles and a tent and they have a shower!! So all we have to do is navigate thru the traffic and get there.
Oh and oops . . . . Checking out the maps tonight, we like to look ahead of course and realize we will crossing the Continental Divide twice tomorrow over 8,000 ft before we get to camp! Better get to bed and get some Zzzzzz's . . .it going to be an interesting day! Getting an early start to try and beat at least some of the cars while we can!
I would take a guess that there will not be any WiFi in the park or even a phone signal, just not sure. If you don't hear from me for a few days that will be the reason . . .at least I hope so! there are bears and bison out there!!!!