Dream Trip To Yukon and Alaska By Road, To Anywhere Else By Any Means At All

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Sept 4-5 - To and Through Yellowstone and East to Cooke City, Wyoming -- (Dream Travel Trip Anywhere; Yukon-Alaska Road Trip)

Alaska and Back: Did The Guides Work? > What Actually Happened > ...Coming Home FROM The Arctic

Sept 4-5, 2006...
...to Yellowstone and then
...east out of the Park

September 5, 2006

Hi Everyone:

Well, even though I am just east of Yellowstone Park tonight, I must be getting close to home. I am in Cooke City, Montana, the most rural of villages which has seen down times since the early 1900’s when mining went bust.

If there is such a thing as a half-ghost town, this is it: one main street a quarter mile long, a few bars and cafes, a bistro, a couple of espresso shops, one gas station ($3.65 / gallon for regular), one general store (folks: the REAL thing), abandoned log-built buildings dating from the 1880’s and 90’s, motels of varying ages (including my Super 8 with internet)...

... and nothing for 40 miles east or west (can’t go north or south – no road).

This email covers two days: Monday and Tuesday (today).

Monday’s itinerary took me into Yellowstone from the Gallatin River Valley, where I took time lazily touring this or that geyser – getting to my surprisingly spartan one room suite at the magnificent Old Faithful Inn.

During the day’s travels, I had met a young Indian (India) couple currently living in San Francisco - and their cute-as-a-bug’s-ear one year old son - at a geyser (Amit – he , Gobal – she , and Rohal Kapur – little he).

It was fun to hear how Yellowstone so much impressed them. They are REALLY nice people.

At Sunday night dinner, my immediate-to-the-back-of-me standing-on-line mates (folks like me standing on a LONG line awaiting our nominally reserved tables) and I decided to merge as a single party, and at table, we exchanged stories about our respective vacations.

They were a lawyer (Joe Ambash-he) and psychologist (Fran Aschheim-she), perhaps in their early 50’s, doubtlessly devoted boyfriend and girlfriend for quite some time, and intent on peppering me in the friendliest of ways with questions about my adventure.

We actually sat for two hours at the table – the last half hour during which they closed the place down around us.

Of the two days’ sightseeing, while the scenery was impressive, I in fact was covering ground that I’ve traveled before.

I did have the time to see geysers I had never seen before, and to walk the geyser valley west of Old Faithful at dusk – oh what a splendid evening, cool, no one out on the walkways – I had the whole valley to myself, and even got to see Old Faithful erupt by moonlight and fish jumping in the river by the glow of the moon – very, very special.

Today’s tourism included a by-chance walk-by of the eruption of one of Yellowstone’s largest geysers – Grand Geyser.

It was early this morning, when the valley shows its amazing colors so keenly in the early morning sun – 2.5 Oh My’s.

It is also the best time to see the deep blues of Morning Glory Pool – I hope the attached pictures convey some of this grandeur.

I also got a tour of the Old Faithful Inn, including a couple of rooms from the 1904

To see pictures, click LARGE arrow BELOW the map-3rd icon from left. For BIGGER images, click white circle (1st icon). For more info, see menu: Begin Here/User's Guide

The route into Yellowstone ... click below to start the slide show ...

original design that are still used for guests – and which are in high demand.

I didn’t know that unlike in the large wings that were added in 1927 where the construction is rather ordinary, almost all of the rooms in the original structure have rough cut wood planking for the walls and NO bathrooms.

Common baths were the order of the day as was dressing for dinner – tux or long dress – or you ate in a tent outside.

Trust me: you want Room 145 in the original structure; it’s the only one on the second floor with a bathroom (none on the first floor)

There are NO elevators to the rooms WAY UP on the third floor, where only three have bathrooms anyway, thank you!

This afternoon I was able to spend a lot of time at Canyon of the Yellowstone – a micro version of the Grand Canyon.

If you know the spot, then you know how beautiful it is. If you don’t, it’s just as impressive – perhaps more so – than the geysers (my opinion, anyway), and worth a trip here on its own.

Cooke City, where I’m at tonight, is the western portal for US Highway 212.

Known as the Beartooth Highway and open only from about Memorial Day till the first snows shut it completely in October, US 212 picks up from the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone, passes through Cooke City and goes on to Red Lodge, Montana.

In the process, it takes you up to almost 11,000 feet, making US 212 one of the highest paved roads (perhaps THE highest) in the world.

You know it when you get to the top, too, because you look down on all the other mountains, for 360 degrees. Way cool, and I’ll send a photo or two…

From there, it will be a bee line home – arrival still looks good for Thursday or Friday…

Regards to all, and thank you, each and every one, for all the kind things you have said to me and done for me while I’ve been away…can’t wait to see you all again!



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