Roadtrip: leaving TRNP

Summarizing our trip so far, we left home Monday evening, arrived at Theodore Roosevelt National Park Wednesday early evening, had the bison hike on Thursday, and today's post is about Friday.

This was the morning we left TRNP and headed out to our next destination. Since we had a fairly long day of driving ahead of us, we left as early in the morning as we could without causing stress -- which was around 7:00 (or maybe 8:00? Stupid time zones!)


I wanted to drive deeper into the park to see what it had to show us before leaving, as who knows when we'd ever be back -- if ever!

(Did I mention yet that we only had the RV, bikes, and our feet for transportation? Without a car it was sometimes a bit of a struggle getting around places as it meant "breaking camp", even though that often involved nothing more than closing the awning and driving away. The "hardest" part was picking up cat food and water bowls and making sure there was nothing breakable that was left out. Not really difficult, but sometimes it was enough of a hassle to make us skip some exploration by road.)

It turns out that "deeper into the park" meant climbing up and up, so I'm glad we didn't attempt this by bicycle (especially since my bike somehow had a damaged tire that couldn't be repaired).

What a fantastic view up there!

We stayed here for several minutes until we had gotten our fill, then headed out, back on the road out west.

Plan as we did, this was our first RV trip and first trip ever with all of the cats, so there were things that we didn't have or didn't have enough of -- like many extra kitchen towels for inevitable spills (I can't count the number of times we stepped on the water bowl!) So we stopped in Miles City, Montana for more supplies. It turns out they had a bike shop where I could get the parts for my bicycle too, so good choice for a stop.

Plus it's smart to take driving breaks every few hours, especially when you're piloting a vehicle that isn't as aerodynamic as you're used to and accelerates like, well, me on a bicycle (which is not very quickly).

(Insert several hours of driving here)

Nine hours or so after leaving our first National Park of the trip, we entered the second: Yellowstone!

It was surprisingly hot when we get here, as we were expecting cool mountain air. Instead it seemed to be quite still and hazy, sort of like a St. Louis summer day but minus the humidity. (We later realized this was forest fire smoke -- not sure why we didn't think of that immediately, but I'm blaming the hours of driving.)

Here's the full view:

I actually have no memory of taking the previous panoramic shots, so can't say where exactly I snapped them. (We entered at the North Entrance, so I think they were taken on the road between Mammoth and Roosevelt -- see map below. It's also quite possible they were taken before actually entering the park, but I really don't remember.)

I do know where this next one was taken though:

It was taken on the under-construction road somewhere between Roosevelt and Canyon Village -- closer to the Roosevelt end of the road. This simplified map of the park will help:

That road was one-lane only, and the construction signs that said "up to 30 minute delays" were not really exaggerating -- we had to stop (with many other cars) for at least 15 minutes until it was our turn to be led through the narrow parts. Although eager to get to the campground, it was nice to stop moving for a while and have some forest greenery to enjoy without having to watch the road.

If you're not familiar with Yellowstone, it's vast. Huge. You must drive everywhere, and even then it takes about an hour to go from point to point -- it took us 45 minutes to get from the entrance to Roosevelt, and that was mainly driving over flat terrain.

But the drives are quite scenic, and when you get to your destination... wow. Such a variety of landscapes, views, and amazing features, you don't really care about the driving.

And we'll start looking at some of those destinations tomorrow.


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (August 30, 2013 at 10:36 AM)  

That first panorama of TRNP is stunning! I'm so glad you went up there.

I've been to Yellowstone three times now and I don't think I could ever get enough. We've been trying for two summers to fit in a road trip to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks but if you want to stay at a lodge within Yellowstone, you need to reserve up to a year ahead of time. An RV makes things much easier in that respect.

I can't wait for tomorrow's post.

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