Saturday, August 14, 2010


As we drove through Yellowstone National Park and its environs today, a few thoughts came to mind:

1)We're crossing the Gibbon River. I wonder if there are gibbons about, and if they show their bums to each other.

2) National Park Mountain. Who named that thing?

3) Many Japanese/Chinese folk here today. As always. I feel huge. Circus freak huge.

4) Buffalo walking along the side of the road, with a NPS truck with flashing light trundling along on the opposite side. Driver is doing the "come around, idiot, come around" arm motion to everyone as we pass. Michelle says, "Hey, get your buffalo butt moving." Regrets it instantly, as the kids laugh about that for the next several miles.

5) A few miles later we stop along the side of the road with many, many others to take photos of unsupervised buffalo. Goon with yellow stocking cap on is stalking one buffalo through the brush, with the buffalo looking back at him somewhat menacingly. No gorings, but he deserved it.

6) Just as we're pulling away from the buffalo stoppage, another NPS truck appears and a ranger emerges immediately and begins the "come around, idiot, come around" arm motions with both hands. A little bit more velocity and he could have taken off and flown to Yellowstone.

7) We're at the Grand Prismatic Spring. It is steam-enshrouded and surrounded by Japanese folks. It's pretty much as I remember it as a seven-year-old.

8) Isaac is ready to leave the park and go to Swan Valley to collect his final remaining birthday present. A day communing with the cheap showiness of nature just isn't doing it for him.

9) Overheard at Biscuit Basin: "I heard that the things that made this look like Biscuit Basin got destroyed so there's no biscuits but they still call it Biscuit Basin." The biscuits are intact. We did also get to see Jewel Geyser erupting. Pretty cool.

10) Old Faithful. Soundtrack of my 3 1/2 minute video of the geyser bubbling and doing its thing will be our kids fighting over who gets to slump over on the cooler mixed with Spanish from the nice family behind us. Next time we're climbing to the mountaintop overlook if it kills us.

11)  Thoughts: We're going to rent a cabin in Yellowstone and spend a week here so we can see more than just the traditional West Yellowstone to Moose trip.

12) Leaving the park, we discuss, technically, where we are. Me: "We're in the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway." Michelle: "In?" Me: "The John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway." Michelle: "Huh?" This goes on for about a minute before we give up.

13) Jenny Lake. One of these days, we'll do this trip in reverse so we can get to Jenny Lake at a time in the day when the sun isn't shining right into our faces, obscuring the mountains to the west of us. But it's still a great place: Oh look! Little itty-bitty fish!

14) Honda Pilot: "Whoonk! Whoonk! Whoonk!" First time I ever accidentally trigger the car alarm, and it's in a parking lot full of liberal hippie-type people.

15) Why does Jenny Lake attract so many liberal hippie-type people? By that I mean the type who have to have animated arguments about their personal lives while wearing impeccable hiking gear while blocking an asphalt path way in the hell out of the middle of nowhere, have those really nifty $90 retractable walking-sticks or have children mooning about not having brought swimming suits so they can go to the hotel pool tonight.

Speaking of liberal hippie-type people,

16) Jackson. Many, many people. We do not stop. Well, we stop long enough at McDonalds to get some food. I eat a double cheeseburger while driving up Teton Pass. Beats driving up the pass in a blizzard, as Albert and I did several years ago.

Bonus: Forgot that daughter is prone to nightmares and explained how Island Park, Idaho, and Yellowstone are basically volcanic leftovers. I expect Lexie to be in our bedroom in tears at 3 in the morning.

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