Friday, July 30, 2010

Do Not Approach Buffalo!!

Our next stop would be Cody, Wyoming, but we decided to take our time getting there and drive through Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The trip would not be without minor incident.

When we were passing through Idaho Falls we stopped for dinner and I noticed the right rear tire was a bit flat. 'No big deal', I thought, I'll just keep an eye on it, maybe stop at the next gas station and put some air in it. Of course I completely forgot about it.

So, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, with hail raining down on us, I was thinking, 'man the car's not quite handling right'. I pulled over, and of course the tire was pretty much flat. Not that big a deal, I've changed my fair share of flat tires. We waited out the rain (thankfully only about 10 minutes), dug out the jack (a pain in the ass thanks to the platform we built in the back) and proceeded to take the flat off.

Except it would not come off. It was rusted on good. No amount of fandangling (brute force) seemed to make it budge. A couple of yuppie mountain bikers, who happened to stop in the same pullout to check out the river below, came by and proved even more useless than I. I banged at it a bit more, stared at it, banged at it more, stared at it even more, then, with light fading and having resigned ourselves to a long walk to the nearest town, I went down the slope to 'water the plants'.

While I was gone for two seconds someone else had stopped by. As I was walking back I was thinking 'Wow, it didn't take long for the lone female in need card to work!' Go Kristal. Turns out Michael was just stopping to let his dog do its business.

Sometimes in life you just need someone who knows how to get shit done. Micheal was one of those guys. Living in his van with his puppy, going wherever the road may take him. He promptly showed us how to really take a tire off, and within a few minutes it came clanging to the ground. Then he was off, accepting nothing more than our gratitude. Wherever he is we wish him well.

Our minor ordeal behind us, we got back on the road and managed to snag a campsite outside of Jackson for the night. The next day we took in as much as we could of the Tetons and Yellowstone.

The Tetons are real honest to goodness mountains. Unfortunately we did not stop to do any climbing. Next time...

Yellowstone is full of all mannor of geysers, hot springs, steam vents, etc, which are all really cool. Here's a shot of Mammoth Host Springs.

Unfortunately the beauty of Yellowstone is slightly marred by the ridiculous number of tourists you have to deal with. You always know there is something to see when you come across this sight at the side of the road.

Apparently there was a pack of wolves way off in the distance, barely discernable to the naked eye. We did not stop to look. We did stop to admire some of the herds of bison though.

We got the most ammusment out of rear view mirror hanger they gave us at the park entrance.

Really? Like I might think it's a good idea to drive up to a wild buffalo and get ouf of my car, but at the last minute I'll see the sign hanging from my rearview mirror to remind me that it might not actually be the best idea in the world. Stupid visitors.

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