Monday, August 24, 2009

Road Trip to Canada - Day 7

We dragged ourselves kicking and screaming from Jackson, WY. this morning, but not before having a hearty breakfast at "BUBBAS" again. Biscuits and gravy for me, cheese omelet for Amy. Got a couple of souvenir coffee mugs too.

Drove south on Highway 26 until we reached Highway 89. Turned right at Alpine Junction onto Highway 26 and headed toward Swan Valley. Last time through here I stopped at "Swan Valley Custom Choppers" and met Carol, the proprietor. Her husband builds made to order custom Harley choppers for about $35,000 each. I got to tour the shop last time is was there. I am now doing a website for their shop, and it will be up and running in a few weeks.

Drove through Idaho Falls, and on to Craters of the Moon. Stopped for a quick lunch and then hit the road again toward Mt. Home, ID. The skies were mostly sunny, with a few clouds here and there, and all of a sudden we encountered a downpour that lasted about 2 miles, and then back out into the sunshine. Very cool.

Amy came through again with the wild animal photo of the day. We were driving along between Idaho Falls and Craters of the Moon when she spotted a group of antelope and took the photo below. Way to go Amy! Good eye!

Bubba's Restaurant in Jackson, WY.

High school class dates carved in the mountain at Arco, ID.

Amy spotted these antelope

Grumpy Old Man rock formation near Swan Valley, ID.

Ski area near our cabin in Jackson

Inside our cabin

Outside our cabin

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Road Trip to Canada - Day 6

Left Bozeman at 8:00am yesterday and headed east toward Livingston, then south on Highway 89 toward the north entrance of Yellowstone.

Arrived in Yellowstone an hour or so later. We drove around a curve that ended up at the Yellowstone Lodge and there on the park lawn were about 25 elk grazing. They were within one road width away, and just munching on the grass and resting.

Of course, there is always one idiot in the bunch who thinks they're smarter than the park rangers . . . so this guy crosses the road to get a closer look. The park rangers (who were staged around the area) yelled at him to get back across the street, where they promptly lectured him on the dangers of approaching a female elk while the bull is close by.

Then we stopped at Mammoth Hot Springs. Amy and I walked up the 968 stairs (an estimation) to see the cauldron. I was underwhelmed this time (first time was 43 years ago when I was 11 or 12). The springs were quite dry, with only a couple of small pools still active. Still beautiful though.

Then on through the park where we eventually got stopped in traffic. It took us about 45 min. to travel 2 miles. We thought at first it was an animal siting, then perhaps an accident, or road construction. It turns out that we were following a small group of bison who decided the road was much faster to travel on than the meadows of Yellowstone. We finally caught up with the group of bison, and took a few photos. While traveling along in the car, Amy was reading the warning pamphlet regarding approaching the bison. She said, "Dad, I want to see somebody get gored by a buffalo." Oh, those kids . . .

We stopped at the Canyon lodge and Amy shopped (again) while I napped (again). Then we stopped at the lower Yellowstone falls and took some photos (beautiful). Finally headed south and decided to skip Old Faithful due to the onset of rain, and how late it was. Made it to Jackson, WY. at about 6:30pm and checked into our little cabin at the Elk Country Inn. It's a beautiful, cozy little place . . . the nicest one we've stayed at so far. Amy and I decided that next time we do this trip, we'll come directly to Jackson, and stay 4-5 days and venture out from our little cabin. Maybe do some rafting, a day trip to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, etc.

It's drizzling rain now as I write this, and I'm sitting at the pic-a-nic table in front of our cabin. It's nice and relaxing, and I'm having a coffee . . . all is right with my world.

Entrance to park in Jackson, WY.

Amy took this photo, caught the bison in mid-bellow!

Amy at Lower Yellowstone Falls

Lower Yellowstone Falls

Mammoth Hot Springs

On the way to Yellowstone

No second warning required for us!

Elk grazing on the lawn in Yellowstone
video

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Road Trip to Canada - Day 5

Departed Kalispell, MT. at about 7:30am and headed south toward Flathead Lake. Amy and I stopped at a local restaurant south of Kalispell and had a hearty breakfast (biscuits and gravy, sausage, hash browns) and hit the road.

I have made it a point on my two road trips this summer, to avoid major highways as much as possible, and today was no exception. We took back roads all the way the Helena, MT. and on to Bozeman. The countryside is beautiful here! No wonder they call Montana "Big Sky Country." It's fabulous!

Met up with the route I took earlier this summer just south of White Sulfur Springs, MT. and from this point onward we will be tracing the same route home. Tomorrow we visit Yellowstone Park. I intend to spend more time there with Amy, see the geysers, and hot pools, and pet a bear and a bison if afforded the opportunity (NOT).

Kalispell sunrise

Big Sky and Big Cloud Country

The Never Ending Highway

Waving to some biker friends

Summit Lake

Descent into Helena

More Big Sky

Nice old sign

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Road Trip to Canada - Day 4

Back in the U.S, back in the U.S., back in the USSA! (hum to Beatles tune).

Left Calgary early this morning, with dark skies and threat of rain. Got about 40 miles south and the sun came out, warmed up, and very nice. Very pretty country south of Calgary on the way back to the US border.

Crossed the border at Piegan, MT. and headed to Glacier National Park (the American one). It was a gorgeous day all day. Not like the rain and wind that haunted me on my motorcycle trip 6 weeks ago.

Got to the West Entrance after crossing the summit, and stopped for a nap while Amy SHOPPED. Arrived in Kalispell, MT. about 6:30pm. Beautiful weather, beautiful country! God Bless America!

View from Glacier summit.

Mountain near top of Glacier.

Butterfly photo by Amy

East entrance to Glacier

Approaching Glacier park

U.S. Border

Amy ready to leave Calgary

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Road Trip to Canada - Day 3

Had a great day on Day 3, traveling through some of the most beautiful mountains I've ever seen (and I have seen some beautiful mountains!). Drove through Glacier Park in Canada (not to be confused with the one in Montana), and Banff.

Stopped in Banff (Amy's favorite place) and bought some souvenirs, took some photos, etc. Some key learnings about Canada:

1. Canadians are CRAZY drivers (sorry to all my Canadian friends).
2. You get what you pay for (dumpy motel room).
3. Canada is BEAUTIFUL!
4. Amy knows how to shop like a girl!
5. Gas is cheap, only $1.05 (oh WAIT, that's per litre) so, since it's a complicated conversion, let's just say that I have no clue how much I'm really paying.
6. It's fun to be able to drive 110 (KPH).

Heading to Kalispell, WY. today through the American Glacier Park. See you on the other side of the border later tonight!

Canadians appreciate Jimi Hendrix too.

Banff Springs Hotel

Lake Louise

Reminds me of the Matterhorn

Beautiful mountain range

Is this the town's statement about their dietary regimen?

I heard Canadians are liberal . . .

Amy likes the Maple Leaf on the McDonald's signs

Amy's morning posture
A couple of Canadian drivers we met

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Road Trip to Canada - Day 2

Left Yakima at 9:30am and headed north on 86 until we reached Ellensburg where we switched to Highway 97. Stayed on that the WHOLE day. Most of the drive was alongside a river, but it was still hot.

Once we crossed the border into Canada, it started to cool down a bit, probably because it was getting later in the day.

Arrived in Kelowna about 6:00pm and checked into the motel 8. It's very nice here, beautiful actually. Amy and I had a bite to eat and then back to the room. An early start tomorrow so we can spend some time stopping and viewing at Canada's Glacier Park, and Banff.

Lake on the way

Peachland, BC

Border crossing


Welcome to BC


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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Road Trip to Canada - Day 1

Left Albany at about 10:30 am and headed through Lebanon, Sweet Home, Sisters, Redmond, Madras, and north across the gorge to Yakima, WA. The weather was warm, the roads smooth, and traffic relatively sparse. Uneventful first day. See photos.

Amy is Thrilled!

The "SHOE TREE"

Somewhere north of Redmond

Three-Fingered Jack

Simulated Motorcycle Riding

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