Today was the third day in our journey from the Seattle area to the Chicagoland area. We started the day in Bozeman Montana and today we decided to do some sightseeing via Yellowstone Park and the Beartooth Highway.
We started in the hotel we were staying at by checking out the free breakfast options. None of them involved eggs so we opted to breakfast at McDonalds instead. After breakfast, filling the gas tank, and cleaning the bugs off the windows from yesterday we were on our way.
We took 90 to 85 and then headed south for Yellowstone. On the way down we nearly hit some deer that darted across the highway. The first of two deer barely made it past us before we got there, with me hitting the brakes as much as I could. The second deer stopped before jumping into the roadway. If that second deer hadn’t stopped I would have hit it for sure.
Much more warily we continued on toward Yellowstone.
The only pictures we took were at the first rest location we came to. Here’s a picture of Ou next to some purple flowers that she liked a lot:
Following that first stop we pretty much drove straight through to the hotel. It was quite a nice experience though
We went through Yellowstone from the north entrance to the northeast entrance. Along the way we saw some incredible scenery and some actual wildlife. Our first wildlife encounter was with a pair of elks. They were about 50 feet from the road. The second encounter was much closer.
We rounded a corner and saw a bunch of people at a rest area taking pictures toward us on the road. When we looked to see what they were taking pictures of we saw a buffalo eating grass about 2 feet from the road. We passed about 8 feet away from it. Pretty amazing! The buffalo was very nonchalant, kind of like “This is my park, deal with it.”
Driving toward the northeast entrance we saw many many buffaloes, some very close to the road we were driving on. Pretty cool.
Leaving Yellowstone via the northeast entrance you are pretty much forced to take the Beartooth Highway. That was another amazing experience, albeit a scary one. That road goes way up in the mountains, above the tree line. The roads are narrow and winding. We really didn’t make good time but that was probably expected. At the upper elevations of the road there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground.
One point about that drive – once you start it you are pretty much committed to going all the way. There’s really no other place to go except all the way through it.
We were really happy that we picked a nice day like today to make this drive. At another time of year or with harsher weather it could have been a real nightmare. And we were also glad we had a full tank of gas before we started. There’s pretty much no place to stop along the way. Well there is a campsite/general store call “The Top of the World” that isn’t even close to the topmost elevation of the road. That’s about it. Pretty amazing views, though.
Coming down from the Beartooth Highway we were ready to just head for the hotel and take it easy for the rest of the evening. We checked in and had a combined lunch/dinner at Famous Dave’s in Billings. We’re hoping to get to bed early tonight because we decided we’re going to try to complete our trip by Friday evening. That means 10+ hours of driving tomorrow…