Saturday, August 31, 2013

From Yellowstone to the Grand Teton

August 30th,  2013 and we have now traveled 5,119 miles.

At 8.24 a.m. we left West Yellowstone.  It is to be a short drive to the Grand Teton National Park as it is only about 60 to 70 miles.  We passed by a few of the hot springs we've become so accustomed to seeing.  We said goodbye to Old Faithful until the next time.  We saw the sign and drove on by remembering the lovely time we had there. I am not sure when we will return but we will be back one day.


We also said goodbye to the now familiar 1936 touring buses from the Old Faithful Inn, which I read have been converted to run on ethanol.  It still has its semaphore turn signal on the driver's side, a requirement for buses operating in Wyoming.


At 8.40 a.m. we took yet one more photo of a buffalo lumbering along at a very slow amble, to where I have no clue.  You wouldn't know by looking at them how fast they can move if they need to.  We saw one run across the road in front of a car.  Both driver and beast looked startled as he had just come out of the wood. We were glad the car was sticking to the suggested speed limit as he was able to slow down enough for safe passage.


9.00 a.m.  we saw a Great Blue Heron.   Not a very good photo, too far away but I think I'm going to add another line to the Traveler's Code, "At least it's something!"


10.09 a.m. We are driving by Lewis Lake.  We stopped by to look at it and saw shoes on a log.  Where are those people?  We saw no sign of a family, no sign of a car and it will have to be one of life's puzzles.  Who would go for a walk on that rocky 'beach' without their sneakers and flip flops?  It's interesting that three pairs belonging to children face in one direction and the only adult ones in the other.  Yes I notice these things.


10.22 p.m. and driving by Lewis River having just passed Lewis Falls.  It looked really pretty but all the parking spots were taken and we had to be content looking at the Falls from the road.   


We are out of Yellowstone and now in the Grand Teton National Park, and no it didn't seem to take that long.

10.30 a.m.  We stopped at the first visitor center we came to in the park,  Flagg Ranch.  We were going to have a late breakfast/early lunch but it would be another half an hour before they opened the dining room.  We didn't want to hang around that long.  Gregg is now, however, officially retired he says as at the center he bought a knife.  "Why on earth have you bought that thing?" said I.  "Because I am retired now!" said he.  It is one of those fold-up ones you can take on camping expeditions.  I think he thinks I am going to go camping and sing around a campfire, and we'll need a knife to cut up wood.  Not going to happen but he's smiling.  He never gives up and I might add, thank God I put the first-aid kit in my emergency pile in the boot of the car.  I don't like knives very much but he is after all retired now.   Maybe I should buy an even bigger knife and tell him, "A knife, you call that knife?"  And pull my bigger knife out and say, "Now that's a knife!"  Remember the scene from Crocodile Dundee when someone tried to mug him in New York with a tiddly little knife?  Good old Mick brought one out the size of a machete and the muggers ran in the opposite direction.  But it's not going to happen, I don't like knives, plain and simple.  But then I have knives in my kitchen so I can't say much, though having cut myself on them occasionally I guess that's why I am so wary of them.

We stopped off at a view point overlooking the lake.....


and as we were standing there this chap on a motorbike rolled up.


We met Paul at 11.20 p.m.  He is from Chipping Camden, England.  We detected each other's accent and of course I had to ask where he was from.  Friendly fellow with a big warm smile.  He told us he is with a group of 36 people, all who have hired Harley's for their road trip over here.  He was away on his own for a bit.  Paul has a camera on his helmet and turns it on and off via a switch on the handle bars of his bike.  I have seen several riders with helmet cameras on our trip.  Paul was a very nice chap, Gregg said he's the kind of guy you would enjoy a beer with down at the local pub.  Off he went to join his 36 mates and we wished him a great holiday.


We met a young German couple at another overlook but did not get their names this time.  They must have been in their early 20's, from Borun (?) I thought he said but I must have misheard as I couldn't find it on Google Maps.  He did say it was near Cologne.  We took their photos and they took ours.   The young man said it was his second visit to the States as he went to school a few years ago in Philadelphia and that the Grand Teton reminded them of the Alps.   I asked them if they skied and they said in unison, "Of course!"  Everyone seems to ski in Europe.  

At the same viewpoint Gregg was asked by a Chinese gentleman to take a photo of a large group from Beijing.  He joked with them that he wouldn't charge much at which they all laughed.  They laughed at another joke of his but neither of us can remember what it was now.  He is very happy that he made a group of Chinese tourists laugh at his jokes!  

These cheery meetings are a fun part of the trip.   


We arrived at our accommodations and we were able to check into our room early.  It has a lovely view of the mountains and some trails we can take later on.  


In the afternoon we took a ride to see the area and one of the places we stopped at was a pretty little church we remembered from our last trip.  It is called the Chapel of the Transfiguration and you can read more about it here.   It's a favorite spot for photographers and sightseers.  Couples also get married here.  


Originally built in 1925 it still functions as an Episcopal church and services are held at the Chapel from late May to early September each year.  If you ever saw an old movie called "Spencer's Mountain", it was filmed in Jackson Hole in 1963, and this little church was featured in the movie.  The stars were Henry Fonda and Maureen O'Hara.

There is a very pretty print on the wall that I remember from our last visit.


As you can see from where Gregg is sitting, the size of the congregation would be very small.


There is a large window behind the chapel where the full beauty of the Teton Mountain Range can be seen in all its splendor. 


I told Gregg he is getting very artsy as he took this photo of me standing in front of the window as I was reading something on the wall.



This is one of the stained-glass windows as you walk inside.




These yellow flowers grow everywhere.


We left our little church in the hopes that we would also see it again one day.   

On our way back we saw more buffalo but these weren't wild like in Yellowstone and were fenced in, except for one.  This photo only shows a few of them.

On our return we went up to the main building and into their bar.  We ordered two ales and shared a sandwich.  The young man who took care of us was called Javier and he told us he was from Spain.  He was super nice and the three of us talked at some length.  Many of these young people who work in the parks are students who come over here to learn English and also to see America.

From there we came back to our room and watched the sunset go down over the mountains.  It was gorgeous.  Gregg read his book on his iPhone for a while and I checked on e-mails, but it wasn't long before we fell off to sleep, and so ends another day on the road.