Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Bison, Moose, and Grizzly!

We drove up to the Grand Teton National Park last Friday, amazing scenery.  We took our time, stopped for pictures and got to our campsite around 2:30.  It was hot so we went for supplies and a swim down the road.  It is pretty incredible to be swimming in a cold mountain lake on a hot sunny day with the Grand Tetons behind you!  When we got back the Johnston family was at camp setting up all their gear!  We spent the next two nights with them.  Kids played cards we chatted and caught up on how our trips had been going so far. 
The next morning we drove down through the Tetons again and stopped for lunch at Jenny Lake, the 6 kids all swam (very cold!).  We then drove down to Jackson, WY and did a little window shopping and ended up at Snake River Brewing Company for some drinks and wings.  Much needed!  On our way back Sam spotted a black bear near a river.  We pulled over to see it.  Within 5 minutes there must have been 85 people there!   Everyone stops in Yellowstone area when they see someone on side of road with camera or binoculars.  
Went back for late dinner and everyone crashed.  The next morning we all packed up and we headed to Yellowstone and Johnston clan headed for Moab.   We went and got a campo site and then headed out to see some of the park.  INCREDIBLE.  First area - Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.  The pictures will not do it justice.  On the way we saw Bison, Griff was beside himself.  Took a hike down 328 steps to see the lower view of the waterfall, they say it feels like 680 on the way back up due to altitude!
Drove up and around the canyon, got to see a Peregine Falcon in a nest with 3 babies thru a guys scope. On the way back to camp, a Bison was in the road so it caused a traffic jam.  It ended up walking right next to our car, Griff could have reached out and touched him, he was excited to say the least.
The next morning it was rainy (first day of the trip!) so we decided to go and see Old Faithful.  On the way we got to see a Moose and an Elk up close.  Old Faithful was not as exciting to the kids as the animals so we did not really spend to much time checking out the geysers.  Headed around the park loop and saw awesome hot springs, geyser pools, and mud pots.  Scenery Overload!!!!
By late afternoon everyone was in agreement that we had seen enough and it was time to head home.  So we drove out of the park in the early evening.  On the way out cars were stopped.  We saw a Grizzly Bear.  It also walked right next to our car.  We have some great shots.
The drive out of Yellowstone to the East Entrance toward Cody, WY is some of the most beautiful landscape and scenery in the world.    We ended up at Buffalo Bill State Park on a beautiful lake with mountains all around, feels like a different planet out here.
Next morning we headed into Cody to see if a mechanic could tell us why our "check engine" light had come on.  $50 later he let us know that it was nothing and probably I didn't screw the gas cap on tight enough.   After a Wal-Mart supply stop, we headed East.  While driving over the Bighorn Mountains the FAN BROKE AGAIN on the van.  Same one we had replaced.  If this trip is a test of my patience, I hope I am passing.

Turned of the AC and continued over the pass, 9,660ft.  Stopped at the top and boys got to throw snowballs on August 2nd.  Tucker actually had not been feeling well for a while and this lifted his spirits a little bit.  Drove to Sundance, WY, and stopped at a campground with a pool (the smartest choice for camping with kids).  Kids swam, I made dinner, and we watched "RV" with Robin Williams, on the computer out under the stars.
Going to try and see if I can get my part again if it is still under warranty (7 days, really?) and get it fixed on the way back through Sioux Falls again.
We are aiming to be home by next Sat. or Sun.  but are going to take it as it comes, no other options really, right?
Time to make breakfast!