Where the Bison & Deer Play, Tra, La, La!

Thursday, 14 May 2009.  Up at my usual hour AP stealthy window to see a lightly overcast sky was comfortable and cool temperatures.  They killed an hour in the end went over for breakfast not too far for the motel.  I had pancakes, unfortunately they were made the way I make them, huge.  I really needed only about one not the three I ordered.  They were pretty good and held me for the rest of the day.  While at breakfast I called both Yellowstone and Glacier International Park.  Yellowstone was no problem coming in from the north which I ended up doing.  On the other hand it was snowing up a Glacier and the roads were mostly closed.  I may well decide to cut through glacier on my way back in June.  There’s probably a better chance of not running into snow and the roads being open. 

The drive from Billings to Livingston was under mostly cloudy, but not too cloudy, skies.  It was an easy run and stopped in Livingston to get some gas.  The drive down 89 to the entrance of Yellowstone was delightful.  You’re running down basically a valley between two mountain ranges.  The road kept creeping higher in elevation and the snow kept coming down the mountainside. 

It was a slow but not too busy drive through Yellowstone.  The scenery is a spectacular as advertised.  It is sort of neat to drive by icy cold streams with steaming thermal springs adjacent.  I did manage to get a couple pictures of the thermal springs, though no geysers were in action as I go through the park.  I guess I could have waited a half an hour in the rain and sleet, may be soft snow, for Old Faithful but I declined.  I’m getting soft and my old age.

The other thing I noticed was as in much of the northern tier of the country spring was barely peeping out of the branches and trees.  There was some hint on them that life was aborning but that was about all.  The sky was overcast broken and I would drive through lots of sun and then deep shadow.  It was cool but not cold.  This change when they clouds moved in when I got nearer Old Faithful.  The rain was cold and nasty.  Oh yes, coming into the park a first ran into snow at car level at about 6700 feet. 

I only spent a few hours in this marvelous park amidst beautiful scenery.  I can definitely see a week or more wandering through the park and exploring all the byways of it.  It is an amazing place. 

I eventually headed west and out of the park after only sipping at all the beauty of the scenery I was driving through.  There were lots of bison wandering the park.  As I was leaving a dozen or so of them, including some calves, cross the road blocking traffic for quite a while.  There was also horses and what looked to be deer in the park.  Rear-ended or hit head-on 2000 pounds of hamburger walking down the middle of the road. 

I was looking forward to a nice drive up the scenic byway, US 191, but this was not to be my fate.  Due to construction and road repair I was detoured up US 287 before cutting back on SR 84 to the Bozeman area.  This added about 60 miles and a good hour to my driving time.  The drive that was actually quite pretty and I drove through a delightful rain shower, which may have been wet snow, it did hit my windscreen in an unrainy fashion.  As I was driving through a wide valley the wall of rain was quite obvious for some time and it seemed to take forever to actually catch up to it.  One reward for driving through the rain was a very pretty double rainbow.  If it was snow that was falling as well could you call this a snowbow?  Snow at car level down to 4800 feet on this road. 

I finally got to the Bozeman area, I was actually staying in Belgrade, and found my motel.  As this motel not only he had wireless but free long distance calling, I called my connection number in Albany in order to call Edmonton in Canada.  I can’t use my cell phone until Saturday without incurring really expensive roaming charges.  With Glacier International Park closed in one would be arriving in Edmonton a day early.  If I needed to check with the Lynn and Tony on this.  If need be through Banff.  As it turned out to Lynn said they had no were problems with me are writing a day early.  We agreed on a time, and I said I would be there. 

I finally managed to catch some dinner at the casino diner across the street as the original restaurant I was going to go to had just closed.  They don’t stay open late on Thursday in Belgrade.

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