[Header Picture]

# Trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone - Part 1 - Idaho Falls

Well, I finally got my pictures back from CHROME and got them scanned, processed and put into a gallery, so I guess I have to write this now so I can post pics. I'm going to post a day at a time, so that you don't have too much to read at once. Here's part 1, which details day -1 and day 0 of my trip. You can skip this part if you just want to hear about the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

You can find the gallery and story snippets with some pictures at:


The Backstory

The reason I was going to be near Yellowstone is that work has an office in Idaho Falls, ID. My general plan was to get to Idaho Falls early enough Friday that I could spend the rest of the weekend however I wanted.

The plan was to get up early Saturday and get to the Grand Tetons in time for sunrise. I'd then spend the rest of the day checking out the park and find somewhere to sleep for the night. After that I'd again get up in time to hit Yellowstone before sunrise, and then spend the day checking out Yellowstone. Monday and possibly Tuesday would be a leisurely drive home, part of the way along the trail the Nez Perce followed. That was the plan, at least.

Part 1 - Richland to Idaho Falls

I started out leaving Richland at 18:00. I wanted to get out of town by 17:00, but got delayed at work. The drive to Pendleton was uneventful, but as soon as I started up Cabbage Hill it started raining. By the time I got to La Grande it was raining pretty hard. It was so bad that even with my wipers on full blast I couldn't see well enough to pass this one truck on the left. Luckily, he noticed my problem and got into the left lane so I could pass on the right. I turned my parking lights off and back on to convey my thanks to him.

I stayed the night in a nice motel in Ontario, OR. The room was only $45 and was a nice room with a mini-fridge and tasteful decoration. No interweb access, but I wasn't looking for that anyway.

I got up in the morning and drove to Idaho Falls. I made the drive in record time thanks to a 75mph speed limit and spending a good 150km following someone doing well over the limit. I got to have lunch at a Sonic drive-in, which is a rare treat.

I got to our Idaho Falls office and got stuff done, then went in search of a motel. I thought I found a great a place that was again only $45, and had free wifi. I was sorely mistaken about the place being great, however.

The motel had crappy pillows, and wasn't all that nice. Still, I don't mind staying in run down places too much, especially when it saves my money for fun things.

I ate at the restaurant attached to the motel, which was a mistake. It looked like a sit-down restaurant, and was in every way except one. I had to stand at the counter to order, like it was a McDonalds. I ordered a prime rib, "as rare as you can." I then picked a table and sat down, to wait for it.

After a couple minutes I had my food. A+ for a short wait, but that's the only A+ they got. Apparently a rare prime rib is one that has no pink and is tough. Yes, you read that right. My "prime rib" was tough. I ate my food, which was plentiful, but that's about all I can say for it. I wasn't sure what the protocol was for tipping, since I didn't really get any service except for my food being brought to me and my table being cleaned up. I ended up leaving $1, which amounted to a 7% tip.

After dinner, I went back to my room and prepared for my trip. I wanted to get up early and hopefully get to a nice, picturesque area to catch the morning light. I set the alarm for 03:00 and was in bed by 22:00. I put a movie on the powerbook and tried to sleep. This was made difficult by the toilet that had to refill every 20 minutes. After the second time it yanked me from half-sleep, I tied a washrag to the fill lever and used the lid to hold the lever up. Problem 1 solved.

Just as I was getting back to sleep, the family from hell arrived. I was woken by multiple people walking up the stairs, as loudly as I could. I could hear at least 3 sets of kids' voices coming up, along with parents doing the "be quiet" routine. They went into the room next to mine (of course.)

The first thing they did was to turn the TV on and turn it up. The kids, seeing the TV as a challenger, turned their voices up too. The parents kept telling the kids to be quiet, but the kids didn't listen.

Frustrated and tired, I decided not to speak up yet. After an hour, though, my patience was wearing thin. This is when I called down to the front desk to complain about the noise. This was 23:30 or so.

After that call, they quieted down a little, and turned the TV down a token notch, but not near enough. The kids, though quieter, were still making noise. I put up with it until 01:00, when I walked down to the front desk and asked for a new room. (Actually, I told the clerk he had to move them or move me. Luckily he was understanding, and moved me.)

The new room was noticably nicer. Like, freshly remodelled nice. It had a jacuzzi tub, and a toilet that didn't make noise. I dragged my stuff in, had a smoke to calm myself down, and went to bed. I had decided at that point that a 3am wakeup was not happening. I don't remember if I turned off the alarm in the other room.

I woke up at the crack of 10 the next morning, refreshed, but a bit annoyed that I was getting a late start. I decided that I'd take advantage of the jacuzzi tub before I left. However, I discovered a problem. The plug for the tub didn't work. So much for that. I showered and schlepped stuff to the car, and off I went, vowing to never stay at that place again.

posted at: 2006 Oct 23 06:01 UTC | category: life | (story link)

Copyright © 2006-2008 Zach White