A Travellerspoint blog

Redstone Means Stop...

Yellowstone means speed up!

We stopped at the first RV campground we passed right as we got back into town and set up camp.
And then it was off to Yellowstone again. And, once again, we inadvertently passed through a national park. This one was the Shoshone/ Buffalo Bill (or one of those cowboy western types).
For those of you who browse though the photo gallery, this was the omnious morning. So yeah, it was really cold, but pretty in that end of the world kind of a way.

We stopped at a picnic area to make grilled cheese for breakfast. If you can't read, the signs say Horse Creek Picnic Area, Shoshone National Forest and GRIZZLY BEAR AREA, SPECIAL RULES APPLY.
Aaaannnd there was also a creepy old run-down playground.
I can just hear the words of Corey now, "Go ahead little Jimmy, they don't bite."

Joe: This stupid stick keeps stabbing my chin
V: Yeah. It's annoying.

Then the clouds began to get real moody looking, and the wind started kicking up dirt.
Joe: "Lets get the bike under the shelter!"
Me: "Lets get the hell out of here!"
I saw blue sky not too far off, so we went for it! Unfortunately, Perp needs some time to warm up, so we got caught in a little sprinkle before it would go again, but it could have been worse.

Then the rest of the day was beautiful.

We hit...


And it was bleak to say the least.
Forest fire, all the way from the East entrance to Yellowstone Lake.

Good for the long term health of the forest, but I can see how it would hurt tourism in the short term.
Dead trees...
More dead trees...
I'm trying to emulate the suspense and anguish I was feeling, is it working?

Then we hit Yellowstone Lake, where the damage wasn't as bad through the rest of the park.

Then we hit our first stop.

And then, the much anticipated...

Vanessa doing improve kung fu! It started out as 2 count timing from Green Dragon (Laura, you should remember this) and then it morphed into a raving mess of broken arm fun.

We went down to the river then to see some of the sulfur pools closer than the main tourist areas let you.
And Joe did his own improv kung fu.

Afterwords we walked around the trails trying to get to the Black Dragon's Cauldron, but that ended up being a bust. There was a med. size pool with a bubbling area, but not dragon bubbling. We read the sign, and I guess when they named the thing the bubbling area would shoot up 10 to 20 feet in the air and was really violent. All I have to say is that Old Faithful had better still be shooting when we finally get to it because, damn, how bad would that suck to get all the way to Yellowstone and then... "Yeah, it just hasn't gone off since last night, hard to predict now... guess the name is kinda misleading isn't it?" But the one almost back at our bike made up for the long walk uphill. It was called the Dragon's Breath or something, and the opening to the cave sloshed with water so you could hear the dragon gurgling, and smoke came out profusely from the cavern that had upper fangs!

The best part of the day we skipped! I bought a postcard for Brittany (happy b-day!), and when I showed it to Joe he said "You know that's at this part of the park?" I did not! I got a card with this pretty waterfall b/c it was the only one that looked like it was taken in the fall, and she was born on the Autumn Solstice, so I wanted to get her something fall-ish. We asked where the falls were, and they were just a few min. back down the road, and man was it worth it! (I love waterfalls!)

Then it was beginning to be dark, and cold. I really wanted to go down the trail to see the waterfall from right next to the water, but it was a far hike, so we decided to skip it for now to see if the roads would let us off closer to the river. Luckily (since we were both kinda tired) the road to the other falls let off right at their precipice!

And we have a video of me doing Master Yong's Ba Gua form he taught us that I do almost every morning to build kidney energy. I call it "Shoukaimin!" with a German accent, but its actually Xiao Kai Men.

Then we went to the lodge to warm up before camping. I plugged in our cameras to charge and got the laptop out to pseudo blog (no wifi in Yellowstone). I also got on the payphone to call my mom (there is not a lot of cell coverage in Yellowstone either) and asked her to see if they could push my appointment back. She said she would call them tomorrow morning. Still, there would be no way of contacting her to see if they could until we hit Mammoth tomorrow afternoon, so as it stood, tomorrow would be our last day in Yellowstone as far as we knew.

Then, after another upsetting argument, it started to snow. Joe ran outside to get some of our things we left on the bike and to drain the radiator since we didn't have any antifreeze in it. When he came back we made up a little by trying to start over fresh. Fresh, meaning from the first hello. This, as pointed out by Joe was our Meet Cute. He had the tent, and I had the sleeping bag... just like the people from the Holiday. The man only needed pajama pants, and the woman only needed a pajama top. They were destined to meet each other.

We found out that the lodge (since it had a bar) was open until 1am, so we decided to play video games until they kicked us out. Then fate struck a tree and hit the power lines to the booked hotel I tried to get a room at when it started to snow. About a dozen people stayed at the lodge way past usual waiting for their room to have power again. As the night went on the room began to empty, but come 2 am, there was still one couple sleeping on the sofas near the fake log fire (the wood never burned, just gas flames). So we picked out the other sofas and went to sleep. Around 4 am some workers brought the 4 of us pillows and blankets. They asked Joe and I if we were also in room blablabla (I was half asleep), and the 2 of us nodded. They thought we were their kids, or as Joe thought, maybe grandkids.


Come 6am security came by to tell them that the room was ready. Joe and I went to the bathroom then for about 10 min. When we came back out workers were already beginning to set up for breakfast at 7am, so Joe and I decided to leave for a half hour, set up the bike, and then come back into the warm for the all you can eat buffet.

When we went outside to watch the sun rise and to put some things back on the bike, we noticed that it was kinda frozen. I scraped our seats off like you scrape your windshield after the frost. It did not look pleasant.


So we ate their really nice breakfast (amazing french toast!) until it warmed up/ I got sick (their french toast was really good, and there were so many different types of scones! Food! mmmmmm).

When the sun looked as warm as it was going to get we headed out for Mammoth Hot Springs. Let me just say, Yellowstone is huge. We were almost racing to get there since we only had a few days then to get to my doctors appointment. So rushing, but at the same time, we couldn't pass up this view:
Joe loves these pictures b/c we have our bad ass sunglasses on. I love this picture because you can see Joe taking the picture in his right eye. And then Joe just couldn't leave. So he did set 3(?) of Soaring Crane (maybe? Geni correct me if I'm wrong, b/c odds are Joe will forget to check this post, and he is currently out hunting, yes, he really is. I'm at Starbucks. Compromise is good, but it sure makes me feel girly. Yesterday Joe went exploring in the woods while I went shopping (I know, I hate shopping!) and this morning he is hunting wrabbits while I drink my free cup of coffee for guessing right on the Starbucks VIA challenge. Don't mess with me, I can pick out instant coffee like I can do kung fu with a broken wrist (which is by the way, the same wrist Justin messed up a few years ago doing 2 Star vs. Sweep... yeah, I have my soft cast on now (skipping ahead to present day), and it brings back memories of the soft cast Justin put me in... Justin!)

This spot was one of my favorite sights in Yellowstone, and of course the picture doesn't do it justice. Find it in our gallery and blow it up. We stood on the edge of a cliff and we could see an endless sea of ever-green. There were rolling hills, mountains, and plains but they were all covered head to toe with evergreen forest. This forest looked like a living breathing entity. Every tree was connected and you could see nothing but them for miles and miles. Except there was one whitish brown steam geyser spot that was lazily sending smoke into the air. By the way, this is set 2 of Soaring Crane V, Embracing the Universal Pillar(Wow, I sound like a pompous ass).

Then we started out for Mammoth again, and again, we couldn't make it. Canyon has the waterfalls, but Tower Hill had the river rapids/ waterfall-ish area that we passed, looked at each other, and turned around.

Then, just down the road, Joe almost exploded at seeing the cliffs that looked out at the same river but from a pretty amazing vantage point, and it was time for Tai Chi Set 1 (Geni, I got this one right for sure).

Then we stopped at one more place before Mammoth Springs (I told Joe we didn't have time for another), and we saw a petrified tree.
(I look like Darth Vader)

Then we needed to wait for some slow RV's to get far ahead of us b/c we couldn't pass them at that point, and couldn't drive as slow as them either;
and then we passed another waterfall, and for the last time, we stopped before Mammoth Springs.

Finally, Mammoth!
Strange thing, there was a mini city with a church and everything right against the springs. We found out that the town was for the employees, and I just found it kinda wrong for them to build so close to the springs, no matter how nice it is for the employees.
And Joe did the White Tiger Taoist Postures.

Then Joe picked out the only closed trail in the area to do Fire and Water Intellectual Fist.

The reason the trail is closed is because the there is boiling water pouring across the path just past where I did intellectual fist. Done with Kung Fu for the moment (and seriously thinking we need to stop putting up Kung Fu videos and put up more driving and shitting around videos... what does everyone else think?)

Then Joe did the White Dragon Taoist Postures in front of the white dried up sulfur pools.

Joe: "If only we had a monkey form! I can remember Green Dragon's... or I can do some improve.."


Vanessa: "Or we could just not do Kung Fu for every animal/ cool place we see."
Joe: "Touche"

Then Joe just had to go 5 miles up the road to the boiling river swimming area. I didn't want to because I had an appointment in denver the morning after tomorrow. I wanted to get to Old Faithful and the Grand Tetons that afternoon. Again, tensions are high between Joe and I. He told me that he would run ahead to ask for exact directions to the hot springs you can swim in, then meet me at the bike.

I told V that I couldn't go through Yellowstone again without swimming in a hot spring. That's what I'm here for. I love doing things in cool places. I don't like just seeing sights, taking pics, and then saying, "let's go!"

But I needed to make it up to Vanessa for having things my way. She couldn't run, so I ran ahead really fast and I saw people with ice cream cones. I asked them where they came from and I was off. I stopped early on a whim at the store run by the park rather than the big ,new, n pretty comercial ice cream shop. The store ended up having the best ice cream. It was the real deal, just like in Italy. I got white chocolate graham cracker flavored and a chocolate chip cookie dough on top for V (her favorite). I run back and we devour half of it, but we have to rush to get to the boiling river and then we have to fly down to old faithful and out the south entrance, through the Grand Tetons all before dark. It's 4:00 and I'm just praying that Georgi managed to reschedule the doctor's appointment so that we don't have to rush.

She did! Yay! Swimming party! The boiling river was sweet. A rushing river pours out of a cave and the only way you can tell that it's hot is the bright blues, greens, and pinks of the bacteria that thrive.
The water starts to pour over little foot high waterfalls and now you can see that it's steaming hot.

The boiling river pours over into a normal river and where the water mixes it's safe to swim. This makes a very interesting and beautiful scene. Sometimes the boiling river gently stumbles down rocks into the main river and sometimes it goes over a two foot waterfall.

People have stacked rocks to make the area into a long pool that flows gently next to the rapids of the river. The whole pool is at least 80 degrees and close to the boiling falls it's at least 100. At first it's empty, but soon plenty of young adults were swimming with us. We hung out and talked a bit which was nice because Yellowstone seemed to only have retirees at this time of year.

Sometimes you get rushes of hot and then cold. V was wading in because she didn't want to freeze when she got out. I decided that I wanted to feel nice and warm the whole time, so I did what any sane person would do. I jumped into the freezing river and splashed around! When I got back in the heated pool it felt so good. As the sun setted and it got cool, I stood under the two-foot falls and got a water back massage. It had to be about 105! I also had fun swimming underneath the falls where there was a steamy hot cave bath. We get out and ride to Gardiner Montana at the North entrance about 3 miles away. We have some tea at The Loft. This place was great. They made everything for the soups and salads daily. Every meal came with a side as well as infinite soup and salad bar. Everything seemed artful organic and reasonably priced. But, it was closing so I just had one bowl of soup for 2.50. They only served dinner and we would be gone by next evening. Too baaaad.

We head out into the cold and ask someone about camping. He tells us we can camp at an RV park or the Oak Creek Recreation Area, but watch out cuz there's a bunch of bear attacks there.

I go, "Let's go there!"

Vanessa just gives me a look. We go to the RV park and we planned on sleeping and sneaking early, but a big manager woman is strategically in her RV next to the bathrooms. She tells us it's $25. Holy crap! That included the AAA discount.

We search all night for a Motel but they are all brimming with old people. No vacancies. We park at a motel and walk to another RV park. It says absolutely no tent camping! We walked for nothing. Wait... I see some brand new condos that hadn't been quite finished. No one was there. We sneak around to the backyards which sat on a concrete cliff that overlooked the river. Wow. And, the grass was soooo soft and thick which was good because we couldn't bring the blow-up mattress. This was too good to be true.

we go to sleep and then all of the sudden there is a huge downpour. Water is coming in the tent because we didn't put up the rain cover. I peak out and the whole down is enveloped in a rain storm with big rain droplets. Trees are swaying violently in the wind. I go back in and look at V as Water is dropping on us from the ceiling vent. What do we do?

(Don't read this section if you don't like R-rated material)

I tell Vanessa that I'll do what a man does with MAN BODY HEAT POWER. I take all my clothes off and jump out of the tent so that my clothes don't soak. I freeze wide-eyed and butt naked as I look at a clear night and I can see people walking around down in the town. I see that the rain storm was really a modern set of sprinklers. They didn't sound like sprinklers and when I peaked outside the Big droplets raining everywhere was really a trick of depth perception. They were actually small droplets that were flying in the same direction as the gusting wind to perfectly simulate a rain storm. I feel exposed There are lights and people might see me if they look. I run around and start putting on the rain cover. Then V gets out before I can tell her not to and she gets sprayed in her clothes. We're running around and swearing, heavily dragging the tent with all our stuff including the laptop. We take it to the only place not hit by the sprinklers.

Hard cold concrete half up on a step. We are both freezing and shivering and I say, "Get naked!" in a commanding voice. We get in the sleeping bag and I get her warm...

Posted by - Rain 11:31

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yay! the long awaited Vanessa kung fu videos! worth the wait! and yes, i think you should do more shitting around videos too, as long as we get kung fu on like the great wall of china. mammoth hot springs was my favorite part of huge, huge Yellowstone (never underestimate it's hugeness!)- it looks just like Disney's Big Thunder Mountain - isn't it great that I can relate everything to Walt?

by georgi r

so much to comment on, I'm overwhelmed! I need to go out west! the trees, the rivers, the rocks, the waterfalls, the creepy playgrounds, so much eye candy.

by laurr

That warm pool sounded glorious. Wish i was there! I liked the follow up with the cold sprinklers at the end. It was a quick U turn back into reality.

by buddy-JC

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