A Travellerspoint blog

Nights 3 and 4 - On the Road with Dominique

Old Faithful Inn

OFI Doors

OFI Doors


I visited Yellowstone with my Cotterly grandparents and Aunt Mary in the summer of 1950 or1951, I remember standing and looking at the magnificent Old Faithful Inn and begging to stay there. I was told, "No, it is too expensive."
I think I might have even whined about it - more than once. All to no avail.
I hoped that someday I would return and stay at the Old Faithful Inn.

Well, I did. Perhaps my grandparents and aunt were right. Dominique certainly agreed with their opinion.
300 Dollar Room

300 Dollar Room


We stayed in "the new wings" built in 1917, which was finished quickly to accommodate all the travelers expected when the railroad was completed.
My room is labeled Superior because of the view out the window.
Old Faithful from my Window

Old Faithful from my Window


Dominique had a room without a view for $50 less. She had never stayed in such an expensive hotel and anticipated ***** quality. I tried to explain prior to our arrival we were paying for the history, but knew it was getting lost in the translation. I know she had great disappointment in spending so much for accommodations. I finally had to tell her to stop telling me about all the "shortcomings at the price" because it was interfering with my enjoyment after 65 years of anticipation.
I still recommend you go and stay there. Wander around and take in the history. Pretend it is 100 years ago as you sit in one of the original writing desks on the mezzanine and eat in the dining room. Call ahead as soon as you know you are going and sign up to be one of the lucky 10 people that get to go up on the roof with a guide to take down the flags.
OFI Dining Room

OFI Dining Room


So Hot

So Hot


With all the great areas of the hotel, our only picture is at our table with the fire alarm behind us! Out of 3 shots, this is the best!
All the staff members are extremely helpful - almost obsequious. The restaurant tops this off with disorganization and either cold or overcooked food.
Am I complaining? Moi?
I just believe I finally fulfilled my decades-old dream of staying at each of the historic National Park Inns.

I have one other vivid memory of the area back when I was 6 years old.
I begged to take a photo of Old Faithful. Aunt Mary had a very fancy Kodak camera. She finally relented and told me to shoot it when "Old Faithful went off."
Somewhat puzzled why she gave this direction, I agreed and waited until the spout fizzled down to hovering steam.
Aunt M turned from the geyser and saw my finger click. "Don't take another one!"
"That is the only one I took. You said to take it when it went OFF!"
It was very difficult to make her understand that in my mind, never having seen or imagined a geyser before, that the Off/On concept was like a faucet. On was when it was spewing full force; Off was when the flow stopped coming from the tap.
It is the only time in my life I recall Aunt Mary being upset with me. Remember, this was way back in non-digital days when each frame was very valuable to non-professionals.
Take a Walk Among the Geysers

Take a Walk Among the Geysers

Posted by pscotterly 05:06 Archived in USA Tagged wyoming Comments (1)

Days Four and Five - On the Road with Dominique

OMG!

We Have Arrived

We Have Arrived


I Never Imagined

I Never Imagined


Finally a Perfect Picnic Spot

Finally a Perfect Picnic Spot


Every spot of this wildness called Yellowstone is different. Each oddity - geyser, mud pot, canyon, hot spring - is surrounded by different terrain - red rock, travertine, wooded forest.
Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake


I will share some of our photos, but you should also click on this link to see professional photos.

Between Sunday evening and Tuesday Noon, we experienced every kind of weather: rain, snow, sun, and wind. The only thing we did not experience was crowds! How lucky we were to come this time of year. As this is the 100 Year Anniversary of the National Parks Service, they are expecting 4 1/2 million visitors this year. The average is three million. Take my advice: Come in May or September.
Some of the roads and services might not be operating but, I will take that inconvenience over too many people. We had no problem finding a parking place at each feature; there was no waiting for food service; the view paths were not crowded; everyone was in a good mood because we were not crowded; the weather was stimulating and surprising instead of sweltering.
East Entrance Now Open

East Entrance Now Open


Yellowstone Rush Hour

Yellowstone Rush Hour


Ninety percent of the other tourists were Japanese on a Japanese tour bus. They are always so happy and polite they don't even get upset if you are in one of their many photos.
Plenty of Elbow Room

Plenty of Elbow Room


About the only problem was the weather interfered with some of the spectacular effects of the natural phenomena. Because it was so windy, Old Faithful spread across the area in a cloud of steam and spray instead of shooting straight up into the blue sky. Oh well, look at a photo on line.
Old Faithful at Rest

Old Faithful at Rest


Walking through Midway

Walking through Midway

On the Rim

On the Rim


Hot Springs Cold Dominique

Hot Springs Cold Dominique


In the Glade

In the Glade


Hot is Cool

Hot is Cool


Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone


Falls in the Grand Canyon

Falls in the Grand Canyon


Expanding Hot Water Kills Trees

Expanding Hot Water Kills Trees


No Soaking

No Soaking


On the Boardwalk through the Geysers

On the Boardwalk through the Geysers


Travertine at Mammoth Hot Springs

Travertine at Mammoth Hot Springs


Excelsiour Geyser Crater

Excelsiour Geyser Crater


Clear Skies

Clear Skies


Another Picnic Site

Another Picnic Site


After the Snow

After the Snow


The story of the first non-native to walk through Yellowstone is interesting - but perhaps legend. John Colter supposedly treked through the area chased by Crow and Blackfoot, naked and crazed. Everyone thought he was crazy when he described the wonders he saw in this area. I am going to read further to see if this is actual fact or good story. You can click this link and research more before I get around to it.

Posted by pscotterly 11:10 Archived in USA Tagged wyoming Comments (3)

Day Three - On the Road with Dominique

Oh, That Buffalo Bill

Buffalo Bill Cody formed and platted this town – and, of course, named it Cody. This town certainly wants to live up to his honor.
Palladin the Pancake Maker

Palladin the Pancake Maker


Our Couch Surfing host Paladin started our day with a good pancake breakfast. I hope he has found the cantaloupe I was going to bring to share but forgot and left it in the apartment refrigerator.
Palladin and Donna at Breakfast

Palladin and Donna at Breakfast


The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a remarkable place. Five museums in one right here in this town of 5000.
BBC of the West

BBC of the West


I learned even more about the old showman than what I remember from visiting his home in Nebraska or his burial site near Golden, Colorado.

For years, Cody folks and Colorado folks fought over where his remains should lie. The Cody die hards even dug up his grave a few times and transported the corpse up to Cody. What I do know is he died in the home of his sister on Lafayette street in Denver, Colorado. I know this because former friends of mine purchased and renovated that home in the 1980s.

The sculpture in the BB Center garden could compete with Santa Fe or Palm Springs - just not as many pieces.
The Unknown

The Unknown


What a View

What a View


They have excellent exhibits of Native Americans of the Plains.
Beautiful Photo Portrait

Beautiful Photo Portrait


They also have a very fine display of Western Art. Some of it was even contemporary! - including one of my favorites, Bradley's Tonto Dreams. He based this painting on Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy.

Tonto Dreams Original

Tonto Dreams Original


We skipped the firearms exhibit, but did wander through the Natural History museum looking for a porcupine.

Old Trail Town Not Open

Old Trail Town Not Open


Unfortunately, Old Trail Town does not open until later in May. All of these structures have been transported from around the state and lovingly rebuilt right here down the road from Walmart.

Ol' Bill didn't stop at showmanship. He convinced the government to build what was then the highest dam in North America.
Damn Deep Dam

Damn Deep Dam


This was an interesting spot to visit to learn of the difficulties with Mother Nature, poor supervisors, and unskilled labor in getting it built.
Keeping Retirees Busy

Keeping Retirees Busy


It was constructed to provide irrigation to the valley above Cody. It continues to keep that a fertile ranching area and to provide retirees with a place to work and to visit.
Just a Preview of What's to Come

Just a Preview of What's to Come


Now we are on our way to spend two days enjoying the scenery of Yellowstone.

Posted by pscotterly 05:53 Archived in USA Tagged wyoming Comments (1)

Day Two - On the Road with Dominique

Wheatland to Cody Wyoming

After preparing sourdough pancakes for us, our host Edith got right to work writing her column.

Edith Writes Her Column

Edith Writes Her Column


Dominique and I set out on our second day on the road. All this is previously unseen scenery for Dominique.

Dominique in No Woman's Land

Dominique in No Woman's Land


After a brief disorientation, Dominique realized she wasn't home in Bordeaux, France.
Is Dominique at Home

Is Dominique at Home


South of Wheatland Wyoming

South of Wheatland Wyoming

We traveled on to Buffalo. Once again, we were stymied finding a good picnic spot.
Another Lunch in Ol' '95

Another Lunch in Ol' '95

Our Picnic View in Buffalo Wyoming

Our Picnic View in Buffalo Wyoming


The weather proved Rocky Mountain fickle once again. Visibility was about 10 feet through the fog and rain on Powder River Pass.
Rocky Mountain Springtime Driving

Rocky Mountain Springtime Driving


Driving on Powder River Pass

Driving on Powder River Pass


Storm Ends

Storm Ends


Steady Mama

Steady Mama


We had anticipated a 4 1/2 hour drive. After almost 9 hours, we arrived in Cody. Originally, we had big touring plans. Instead, we ate our picnic remains in the apartment provided by Palladin and Donna, our Couch Surfing hosts.
Palladin and Donna

Palladin and Donna

Same Meal Fourth Verse

Same Meal Fourth Verse

Posted by pscotterly 16:48 Archived in USA Tagged wyoming Comments (2)

Day One - On the Road with Dominique

Denver, Colorado to Wheatland, Wyoming

all seasons in one day

Will it be a struggle for me - this traveling with someone else? Not always doing just what I am ready to do at just the time I feel like doing it. Fortunately, Dominique is easy going. Often, she mis-translates what I have just commanded or at least pretends like she has! Sometimes, I misunderstand what she has just said. Both of us are quite loquacious! We will figure it out.
Gassed Up and Ready To Go

Gassed Up and Ready To Go


We are off to a pleasant start and have seen more varied terrain, weather, and people in one day than one could see in a week in most other parts of the world.

Took off from Denver around 9 AM - good we were an hour later than I had planned because there was no traffic.
On the way, we passed through the town of Lyons - named after Lyon France, I believe. Only here in the USA we added an "S" and call it Lions.
Lyons Sign on the Hill

Lyons Sign on the Hill


Estes Park, Colorado is known for the wildlife that roams through the town streets. In the past, I have seen bears on front porches. The elk have lived within the city limits for so many generations they cross the street with the pedestrian Walk sign.
Didn't even see a house cat.
RMNP

RMNP


On into Rocky Mountain National Park. In the distance we did manage to see a small herd of grazing elk in the distance.
I think they were females or maybe young males. They might even have been deer!
This was the only other sign of wildlife we saw:
Sign of Wildlife

Sign of Wildlife


Wildlife

Wildlife


In case you don't know, RMNP has some very high mountains. We drove up towards and then away from them
Would Have Been a Nice Picnic Spot

Would Have Been a Nice Picnic Spot


We thought we would have a picnic at a scenic spot. Then the rains came and we ran to the car to eat in the van.
But Then the Rain Came

But Then the Rain Came


None of this was the RMNP experience I had hoped for or experienced often in the past.
Can't She Read English

Can't She Read English


Dominique's French guidebook suggested Ft Collins, Colorado to view the charming pedestrian walk that "had inspired Walt Disney in his planning for Main Street at Disneyland."
I went to graduate school in Ft Collins at Colorado State University. 1974 was certainly after Walt had platted and built Disneyland. At that time, this charming "Main Street" in Ft Collins was mainly boarded up and pretty sad looking. I could certainly be wrong (moi?!), but I think Disneyland might have inspired Ft Collins to revitalize its Main Street.
Which Came First FC or WD

Which Came First FC or WD


Whichever - it is a vital, lovely, and restored shopping area that extends along College Ave and the diagonal street. Dominique was surprised the pedestrian walkway was only one block long. Not like the city central in European towns.
Are These Rocky Mountain Goats

Are These Rocky Mountain Goats


We stopped for coffee at the local (only) coffee shop on the pedestrian strip. Don't miss it. The people are very nice.
Coffee and Email Time

Coffee and Email Time


Couldn't find our way back to the car and flagged down a couple of young college guys on a scavenger hunt. (I asked and they replied "No," they didn't have old, fat lady on their list to find. Using our phones to search for the street we wanted, we realized we were standing at the intersection. Dominique looked down the street a block and saw Ol' '95 patiently waiting on us.

Ft Collins is on fertile plains - not Indiana-fertile - but definitely a change from the mountains.
Welcome to Wyoming

Welcome to Wyoming


The truly open and wild prairie starts just North of Ft Collins. How did the French trappers, Native Americans, and settlers find their way without I25 and I80?

We stopped in Cheyenne. They have made some major, positive changes to the downtown and historic district.
The capitol is currently closed for renovation, but we managed to view the area sculptures - most through chain link fence.
Cowboy Artist

Cowboy Artist


We were too late to tour the museum in the old Union Pacific depot, but certainly enjoyed the Depot Plaza.
Cheyenne Depot Plaza

Cheyenne Depot Plaza


If I had it to plan over again, I would have skipped RMNP and spent more time in Fort Collins and Cheyenne. Unless you are into hiking and big scenery, I recommend this alternative - especially if you are on your way to Yellowstone!

If you have never been to Eastern Wyoming, get ready for some wide open spaces. Then get ready for a downpour. Then get prepared for a hailstorm. Then get prepared for your GPS getting just a little confused when you are on the open prairie 90 miles north of Cheyenne and 20 miles south of Wheatland.
Between the Rain and the Hail

Between the Rain and the Hail


But it is all in the adventure.
If you are lucky, you will be a member of the Affordable Travel Club and have Edith expecting you.
She will not mind at all when you take over her kitchen and prepare a spaghetti dinner for the three of you.
She might even play a wee bit of guitar to get you ready for bed.
Edith Abby and Dominique

Edith Abby and Dominique


Dominique slept in the guest room and I was lulled by the rain and slept in Ol' '95. Fortunately, the hail stopped because that sounded like being inside of Bazil's drum kit.
Paula Is in the Van

Paula Is in the Van

Posted by pscotterly 19:34 Archived in USA Tagged colorado wyoming Comments (3)

On the Road Again

Getting Started

sunny 75 °F

Two years and two months ago Ol' '95 and I hit the road for a trip that lasted sixteen months.
In case you didn't get a chance to ride along that time, you can take the trip at

On The Road in a Chevy Van

In the interim. I managed a road trip through the 4 Corners area and from Colorado for a month on Galveston Island, Texas. For some reason, I never got around to posting those. Haven't even organized my photos.

Today, I loaded up again.

My friend Dominique Fauvet from Bordeaux, France and I have wanted to travel together for several years. We met in 2007 when I did a house-swap with a couple from Bordeaux. As she followed my road trip in 2015 and 2016 she asked to ride along.
Dominique Day Before Take Off

Dominique Day Before Take Off


I told her I would take her to Yellowstone if she was interested.
Well, she is interested. We will start on Friday May 6.

Gene says You will need more food than that

Gene says You will need more food than that


Dominique Inflates Paula's Air Mattress

Dominique Inflates Paula's Air Mattress

We hit the road in about an hour.
Maybe we will see you along the way. If not, feel free to ride along.

Posted by pscotterly 07:00 Archived in USA Tagged colorado Comments (0)

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