The original route had me skipping Yellowstone and going up into Montana, possibly through Glacier National Park. But after committing to Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse after Sturgis, I was on course through Wyoming, had a friend to visit on the other side of the Tetons in Driggs, Idaho, and figured it’d be worth checking out America’s own little super volcano again anyway.
Not much to report about in central Wyoming. The drive from Casper to Yellowstone was uneventful to say the least. Like my friend Melissa who has family in WY said, it’s more about the corners, haha. (Too bad she told me that after I went through the entire middle of the state!) There’s still something about wide open space like that.
Things started to get interesting the closer I got to the west side.
Bad timing caught up with me when I pulled up to the entrance of Grand Teton National Park and realized my parks pass had expired the day before. I played dumb, but the ranger sniffed me out like bear scat in the backcountry. She asked if I’d be going into Yellowstone, too, and if so she wanted to explain that just getting into the two parks would cost $50. New parks pass? $80. So I’m good for another year, who wants to go to a national park?
Even though I’d been through once before, it was pretty much a drive down the western half of the park. This time I wanted to make the entire loop. So I did.
Had a hitcher for a quarter way through. I’d stop, get out, look around, and come back to this thing still stuck on my windshield. Didn’t have the heart to wipe it away, but the wind eventually took care of it. I know, compelling national park stuff.
After Sturgis, this scooter crew was pretty funny to see…
The eastern half of the park is truly beautiful.
Big road construction project on the west side. Expressions of panic must make this guy’s day as he sees how close he can come to passing cars before turning off the water. It was real close.
Ended up completing the loop around the park at Old Faithful around sunset. I posted up for a nice backlit shot of the geyser, but it’s on its own schedule I guess. There were several teasers, but it didn’t fully spout until after the sun had dropped below the horizon, to the disappointment of me and a few other photographers.
I didn’t have cell reception for two days at this point going through South Dakota and Wyoming, and needed to touch base with a couple people. Heard there was wifi you could purchase by the hour at the lodges in the park so I figured I would do that here after grabbing a bite in the cafeteria. It was about 9:30pm by the time I finished and I still didn’t have an idea where I’d be sleeping for the night. I should’ve known better to grab a campsite right when I entered the park, but I didn’t, and now there weren’t any available. I thought I’d head south and see if I could find anything in Teton, but it was still another hour away.
Ended up at the bar in the Old Faithful Inn talking to a couple coach drivers for local tour companies. Funny enough, they were from the Sturgis area and said they couldn’t wait for the rally to be over. Always seems to be the case, huh, where people who live in areas that have popular annual events/festivals get sick of dealing with all the disruption that comes with thousands of attendees. I don’t blame ’em.
It was around 11pm and I had to decide what I was going to do. After a couple beers, that decision became easy- I’d do some stealth camping in my truck out in the parking lot. I was a little paranoid I’d get caught so I had a story down, but it all worked out fine.
Oh, and it turned out Glacier National Park was on fire so this was definitely the better route to take.