We departed Vedauwoo campground around 8:30 AM on Sunday morning. Stopped by the Territorial prison in Laramie for a dump and water. They ask for a contribution of $10.00 with an iron ranger. From there we traveled I-80 westward to Rawlins, then northwest up 287 toward Lander, Wyoming. We had word that the city park in Lander was ok for an overnight. We arrived around 1 PM and found a couple of rv's already there. A gravel parking lot between a nice park with green grass, and the Popo Agie river. A few picnic tables scatted around. We picked a spot close to one of the tables with grass for Sally to roll around in. Later, Wanda said we should order a pizza, and that's what we did. It took a few minutes to convince the young man at Pizza Hut that we were in a camper in the park, but he finally came on board. Forty five minutes later the driver arrives with a fresh hot pizza. She departed a happier person, and we enjoyed every bite.
We were early leaving Lander on Monday morning. On the road by 6 AM. We wanted to get a USFS campsite somewhere along the Shoshone River between Cody, WY and the East gate of Yellowstone. A quick stop at McDonalds in Lander for coffee and biscuits, and a longer stop at Walmart in Cody, had us traveling along the Shoshone River Westward around noon. I had picked Wapiti campground as a target because it was about halfway between Cody and the park, and it had some sites with electric hookups. We pulled into the campground and took a right onto the electric loop. Appeared all sites were taken when we noticed a guy trying to flag us down. He said that he was scheduled to leave the next day, but was departing early, and we could have his site if we could wait about 10 minutes. He said it was already paid for and we would have it for free. We thanked him profusely, and were so grateful for our luck that we went and paid for the site again for the night.
We were really glad we had electric hookups as it was very warm during the afternoon and early evening. Actually ran the air conditioner till around midnight or so. After a quick breakfast we entered the park around 9 AM. Traffic through the East gate wasn't too bad and we quickly made our way to Fishing Bridge, and the junction with the Loop Road. That's where things really picked up. Lots and lots of traffic. Every wayside we passed was overflowing with cars, trucks, and rv's of different sizes and shapes. People, some masked, some not, were everywhere. Reminded me of ants scrambling around. With a buffalo jam or two, it took us over two hours from Fishing Bridge to Canyon, then to Madison campground.
Now here's a really wierd thing. One doesn't reserve a particular
site in Yellowstone. You input the size of whatever you're camping in,
along with your vehicle, when making a reservation, and you get assigned
a site when you arrive. This is our third time in 11 years to be in
Madison campground, and have had the same site assigned all three
times. A wonderful little pull-thru at the back of C loop. Out of
nearly two hundred rv sites in the campground, what do you think the
odds are of that happening?
With the crowds like they were, we decided that we wouldn't even attempt to ride around the park. We've been here numerous times before, with and without the Casita, and seen and done the normal tourist things.
On Wednesday we made a day trip over into Montana, and the town of Virginia City. A beautiful drive down the Madison River gorge, and out into the wide open Madison River Valley. We stumbled upon Earthquake Lake and the USFS visitor center dedicated to the site. Back in August of 1959, around 11 PM, there was an earthquake underneath Hebgen Lake near West Yellowstone. This triggered a massive landslide near the very end of the gorge. Half a mountain on the move. Millions and millions of tons of earth and rock came tumbling down into the river gorge, wiping away farms, camps, and campgrounds. If memory serves me correctly, there were fourteen people buried in the rubble whose bodies were never recovered. One information board said that enough material was moved that night to build a highway 30 feet wide and three feet thick from there to New York City. Very interesting, though sad.
The town of Virginia City appears frozen in time from the 1870's. Most
every building still looks the same on the outside, and has historical
displays of the area inside. The entire town is a national Historic
site. There were a couple of small restaurants and ice cream parlors
but for the most part it all was "old". I took a few pictures, but it
was midday, and hot. Sally wasn't enjoying the wooden sidewalks, so we
only spent a short time there. The ride there and back made the trip
Back to Yellowstone, itself. Lots and lots of people. We can hear the
traffic from and to West Yellowstone from the campground. You'll hear
the first vehicles entering the park around 5 AM. It builds all morning
till by 9 AM, it's a constant sound. It slows around noon, and then
about 3 PM it reverses. We;ve made two early morning excursions; one
toward the Lamar Valley, and another toward the Old Faithful area. We
were out of the campground by 6:30 AM and never made it past halfway of
the Lamar Valley before giving up and turning around. Took us till noon
to get back to the campground. Another day we did the same toward Old
Faithful. We walked a couple of the geyser basins, checked email and
phone calls, and were back at the campground by 10 or so.
Tomorrow, Saturday, we're doing laundry and packing up. Though we were scheduled to stay here till Tuesday, it's no fun. Sunday, we're on the road. The most entertaining thing we've found so far in the park is watching all the folks arriving at the campground each evening. Most stay only one night, many can't back their car, much less an RV, into a back-in site, and they have waayyy too much "stuff". The campground ranger spends most of her time telling them to park on the asphalt, put away their clothes and dish's, and turn off that darn generator after 8 PM.