Sunday, June 17, 2007

Moving West

Today, after 20 nights in Yellowstone, it's time to move, to West Yellowstone. After four days at Pebble Creek, where we were very tight on electricity (no generator policy) I have mixed feelings. For one thing, I'll be able to fire up all the computers and save some files to my backup system, but lightly traveled Lamar Valley was very soothing to the spirit. And I'm typing this blog while driving down Gibbon River while heading for Madison junction.

It seems I've encountered a massive road block, several miles thus far and no end in sight. But it does give me the opportunity to rest the laptop on the steering wheel and work, in between the times the vehicles all creep forward. twice now I've just put the RV in park and gone back to take care of things, one to tie down a swinging closet door, and again to collect my laptop.

I'm not in a hurry, so for me, it's a pleasant time. I have the window open listening to the river, and people watching is always fun. The Colorado-tagged Sonata in front of me, with four occupants, dropped down to three for a while as the lady in the passenger side front seat got out with her camera to hike ahead to see what the problem was. Unfortunately, the car caught up with her and now she's back with her friends. Luckily for her, because she tried that several miles back and she'd be worn out by now, with still no hint as to the cause of the block.

I suspect, due to past history, and the brown streaks on the pavement, that it's buffalo. We'll see.

Wave to the fly-fisherman in the river, but he ignores me. I suspect he'd rather be looking at unspoiled nature rather than an endless string of frustrated drivers.

We're at an s-turn in the road and it's interesting to see how the sapling pine trees are growing up the face of the cliff, their trunks permanently bent to match the contour of the rock.

Now at the top of Gibbon Falls. ( sets laptop aside, puts RV in park, goes back to refrigerator to get a diet coke. picks up the broccoli that falls out of refrigerator, turns off dome light in bedroom, returns to drivers position.) The car in front of me pauses, and that same lady hops out to go take pictures of the falls from the overlook. She needn't have made a dash of it. A stroll would have done as well. I could have done the same, but I left my camera in the Jeep with Mary Ann.

This morning, as we broke camp, she took the Jeep and all her photo gear to spend the day stopping for bear-jams and intending to take pictures of the Harlequin Ducks at the rapids on the Yellowstone River. I urged her to take the Jeep alone, because although many people do it, I'd hate to try to stop in the traffic to see the animals while driving this 30-foot RV. No, my idea of a RV Yellowstone trip is to leave the RV at the campsite for days on end and do all the sightseeing with the pull-toy, our Jeep Wrangler. That's what we've done, and it's worked just fine.

I'm now down at the base of Gibbon Falls, and I do wonder about the obvious alternate road I can see blocked off to the side. Up at the top, there was a bridge-out sign, but I can't tell if this is an old road that was damaged, or a brand new alternate route past the falls that just hasn't been completed yet. There doesn't appear to be any work being done on it and the grass is growing up in the gravel. Maybe I'll look it up when I have internet.

Actually, I probably could raise the dish and get on-line, but the Motosat unit was never designed for internet connection while moving, and although we are creeping along so slow it could probably work, I can just imagine those poor little servo motors going whirr, grrr for all their worth as the D3 controller tries to maintain a connection every time the road bends.

And one thing about a moving road block like this one, you always have hope that just around the next bend, you'll finally reach the trouble, and soon will be past it. There has to be that hope, or more people would pull over and play in the river, or turn around and take the extra long route the other way by Old Faithful.

I just passed a rock face that had obviously been ....

Sorry, I lost my train of thought. The traffic picked up, much too fast to type and drive at the same time. I put the laptop aside and soon we were up to 15 mph. Around another bend, there was a ranger, in one of those traffic-cop type cars, pulling on his yellow-vest and waving 'speed up, speed up' for all he was worth. I was afraid he'd get arm-strain.

Soon the traffic was up to 30, and by the time we reached Tuff Cliff we were at 45. I saw another park ranger vehicle, but no sign of buffalo, vehicle accident, or any other likely source for the trouble. Oh, well, I guess I'll never know. But I don't like driving that fast, not through Yellowstone, so I pulled over at a handy pullout and brought you up to date. As soon as the traffic settles down to normal, I'll head out again. Until then...

I made the turn towards West Yellowstone, and the weather turned dark. Before long, I was driving in a mix of rain, snow, and tiny hail. By the time I reached the park exit, there was significant ice on the windshield, and the non-paved ground was more white than not.

And instantly I was out of the park, and back into ... I guess you call it civilization. Time to wind through the town and hunt for a place to spend the night.

Can I just turn around and go back?

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