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# Trip to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone - Part 2 - The Grand Tetons

Well, it's been longer than I thought it'd be before this entry, thanks to a busy week at work. Regardless, here's day two of my trip.

(A quick note, first. I can't figure out why the pictures are screwed up and showing up along-side the wrong paragraphs. If you do, let me know.)

One of the many scenic views on my way to the GTNP

There's not a whole lot to say about my trip to Jackson Hole, WY. The drive was pleasant, and while the limits were 50-60mph the whole way, the drive seemed to go pretty quickly. I got to Jackson Hole in time for lunch. Not far into town I found a Motel 6, which I decided was as good as any place to stay. I was a bit floored that a single room was $85/night, especially in the off-season, but I paid it anyway. I dropped my things off, stopped at a Wendy's for lunch, and went on my way to scout out the park.

My first shot of The Grand Tetons

It's pretty easy to get to the park. You follow the highway (and the signs) north for a while. Once you get out of town you start to see many pulloffs along the side of the road for vehicles to use. They're spacious areas with plenty of parking so you can look at the mountains without stopping traffic. After you get past the airport, you'll hit the Moose Junction entrance. Past the lodge and the post office is the entrance to the park, where you pay your park fee and get maps and information.

I should point out here that if you want to avoid paying the fee, you can do so by arriving early, before the rangers get there. Don't do that, however. It's only $25 and it helps keep the park pristine and available for use.

From there I followed basically the only path I could have taken from that entrance. I drove North, stopping every so often to look at the scenery or take some photos. Jenny Lake is nice, and has some nice scenery. There's a nice sized pullout at the Mt. Moran Lookout, which is where I took the cloud photo. When I got to the turn-off for Signal Mountain, I took it, thinking it might be a good place to get photos at dawn.

Cell phone towers are even found out here :(

It takes 10-15 minutes to drive up Signal Mountain. When I got to the top, I found the monstrosity in the picture to the right. Yes, they have cell towers in the park. I guess people can't stand to be out of touch even in the wilderness. This is where I would kill 30 minutes or so the next morning by getting on IRC.

The view from the top of Signal Mountain was great, except that it was an eastward view. You could see the entire valley, and since this was fall you could see where the deciduous trees mixed in with the evergreens. On my way back down I stopped at another point, where a short 200 m walk took me to an excellent view of the mountains. I considered this secondary point for my dawn photography, but there were some trees that would have been in the way.

The view from atop Signal Mountain

I drove back down the mountain and continued north to Jackson Lake. Signal Mountain Lodge is a spot of civilization here. I didn't stay long. I continued driving and scouting until I hit Jackson Lake Dam. Here I found a good place to park, and a path that would take me around to a good westerly view of the mountains. I also had the option of parking there and crossing the dam for another view of the mountains. I had found my dawn photo spot.

I drove back to the motel, this time taking the Moose-Wilson road, which is a little 1.5 lane dirt road. It was frustrating because there was no room to pass, and the people in front of me don't know how to drive on rough dirt roads. They kept it below 10mph, which meant I felt every single bump and hole in the road.

Back in Jackson Falls, I stopped at an Albertsons and bought some bread and chips, then went back to the motel and did laundry and had dinner. I got to bed early so I could get up in time for dawn, this time with no middle of the night interruptions.

An early morning shot of the mountains.

The next morning I woke up at 4 and got going. I took the Moose-Wilson road again, and because it was so early I didn't have to worry about people who don't know how to drive. I drove up to Jackson Lake Dam again and parked.

There was a lot of early morning fog coming off the lake, which meant that plan A was out. Luckily plan B, crossing the dam and walking part-way around the lake, worked out well. It was cold out, and I was glad that I had enough layers to wear. The only thing I didn't bring I wish I would have was warm socks, but two layers of socks seemed to do fine.

Early morning birds and the dawn light just hitting the mountains

I learned a couple things about my camera that morning. First, when it's cold the light meter will stick. Second, when it's that cold, the shutter mechanism will stick. Luckily I was able to warm it up enough inside my jacket, and after I got started the mechanism didn't freeze again.

After exposing two rolls of film, I walked back to the car and got going. It only took an hour or so to get to the South Entrance of Yellowstone.

Tomorrow: Yellowstone!

posted at: 2006 Oct 28 21:01 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# 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)

# I have returned from the wilds of Wyoming

I'm back from my trip. I'll post a full debriefing later, and photos when I get them back from the lab. (Yes, I still use film. No, I have no plans to buy a digital camera. Maybe when they make a digital camera that's as easy to use as my K1000 I will. Oh, and it has to shoot at 15mp, because that's easily what I get out of 35mm color reversal film.)

For now, let me say that Idaho sucks, the Grand Tetons are beautiful and I didn't get to spend enough time there, and Yellowstone looks like what you'd get if disney decided to build a forest.

posted at: 2006 Sep 26 20:07 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# Upcoming Yellowstone Trip

So for work I have to go to Idaho Falls, ID to get the office there setup. For those of you who aren't as familiar with Idaho as I am (read: you might be able to find it on a map, if the map were labeled) Idaho Falls is only 150 km or so from the Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. I'll have 2-3 days to explore these areas and then drive the 1000 km home to go to work again.

My general plan is to get up before dawn and get to the Grand Tetons in time for sunrise. From there I'll putter about the Grand Tetons all day Saturday, taking in the scenery, looking for photographs to take, and in general being a tourist. That night I'll find somewhere to crash (maybe in a motel, maybe in my car, I just don't know yet) and then do the same thing Sunday that I did Saturday, only in Yellowstone.

Monday will be for coming home. I plan to come back along the northern route, roughly parallelling I-90, then back through the Idaho panhandle. I'm told I can follow the trail of the Nez Perce indians in their flight from the Army. That should be interesting.

So, the comments are still disabled, but my contact info is around (hint: drpepper.org, as it has for several years, will deliver almost every username directly to me.) If you've been to this area and know something I have to check out, or if you've heard of something I have to check out (I hear there's this geyser in Yellowstone) let me know.

posted at: 2006 Sep 20 20:10 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# New Kitty

So, as some of you know, I had a visitor a couple nights ago during the thunderstorm here. The beautiful gray kitty from last month showed up here. I put up Found Cat posters around the neighborhood hoping that no one would call. Well, today, someone called. That someone turned out to be the neighbor who has the other half of the duplex.

Sadly, I gave the kitty back. This made me want a kitty of my own. After finding all the shelters around town and seeing their ridiculous adoption policies (Questionaires? References? What the fuck are they smoking?) I went and bought a paper. In the entire pet section there were 2 ads for kitties. Both male, both orange. One was "7 months old" and the other was a year and a half.

Well, I ended up with the 7 month old. They say his name is "Rambo" but that's a silly name for a cat, IMO. I'll have to find a new name. He also seems really big to me for 7 months old. He's bigger than many full grown cats I've seen, and cats aren't full grown until at least a year. If he really is only 7 months old he's going to be huge. Anyway, here's his picture.

[Picture of Sam]

He's not happy about moving homes, so he refused to look at the camera. He's burrowed himself into the corner with bunches of stuff, so it was hard to get a clear shot. But he knows where his litter box is and has food and water, hopefully he'll calm down soon enough.

I just hope the rats forgive me.

posted at: 2006 May 22 01:37 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# Sasquash! Music Festival

So I was on my way to work, and was waiting for my food at a drive-thru. I got a call from a 206 number that I didn't know. Turns out it's Michelle from Tobacco Smokes You. I'm one of the winners of their Sasquatch! ticket give-away. I suspect that almost everyone who entered won, but whatever, free tickets!

I was thinking about going just one day, probably Sunday. Now, I have tickets for all 3 days plus camping (which is $40/day, or $100 for all 3 days.) Not bad.

Anyone wanna go?

posted at: 2006 May 15 01:37 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# I've been busy

Well, I've been busy lately. Dad has been handling all the funeral details, but he's been including my brother and I in the process. We nailed down the service details, found a pastor, bought a plot at the cemetary, and arranged for flowers. Whew.

In addition, I had to outfit my brother with a suit. Luckily we hit a sale at Sears and got him Pants, Jacket, Shoes, Shirt, Socks and Undershirt for $190. I was surprised, when I bought my suit I spent about twice that.

Today dad and I ran back to Richland and bought a shed. It's scary, I'm slowly acquiring all those things that normal people have. Next thing you know I'll own my home and have rascals running around driving me crazy.

posted at: 2006 Apr 27 01:37 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# Carolyn Dorothy White, 1952 September 23 - 2006 April 22

Mom passed away today.

posted at: 2006 Apr 22 01:37 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# Mom hasn't said a word all day

Dad is on his way to Walla Walla. My brother is already there. Aaron says that she seems to have understanding in her eyes but she isn't saying a thing. Grandma is worried, the Doctor is worried.

Please meditate or pray or think good thoughts for Mom, whichever you prefer.

posted at: 2006 Apr 21 01:37 UTC | category: life | (story link)

# Mom isn't doing so well

Well, just got off the phone with Dad. Apparently Mom isn't doing so well. She has a Staphylococcus infection and has been going in and out of delerium.

The delerium is normal for Bexxar, apparently. She seems to be on a one to one-and-half day cycle for lucidity/delerium. She was not lucid tonight, hopefully she will be when I visit her tomorrow.

No one has any idea how long Mom has at this point, but pretty much everyone agrees she won't see next year. We're holding out hope that the Bexxar will bring her back from the edge, but we won't know for a couple weeks, at least, if that's the case.

posted at: 2006 Apr 20 01:37 UTC | category: life | (story link)

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