Monday, August 06, 2012
Day 1 - Monday, July 23
Woke up with a cold at 4:00 a.m., bandied about the wisdom of going across the border when ill, decided 2 days of driving would be enough to get through the worst of it and after all, it was JUST a cold
Headed West on Highway 2 to parts of the Province I have never seen before, quite pretty!
Got to the Border early afternoon at the Peace Gardens. Always a jittery experience and for some reason every time Morgan crosses the border with me we are searched. Clearly I look like I am up to no good or something. We pull ahead, Guard does a cursory search and we're off! Um, nope, wait, um....the car won't leave park...um, wow, some muttering from Morgan, turn off the car, turn it on, try again, nope.
Get out, rock the car, try again, nope. Morgan cursing now and guards starting to gather round.
"Having some troubles?" Guard 1 says,
"Nope, just like the view here, thought we'd hang for a bit.
"Well, if you are here for more than 5 minutes we give you a blue uniform."
"Does it come with a gun?" I say
I'm too sick to get the drama of it, looking at the ditch and thinking: "That would be a nice place to sleep."
Morgan asking for the manual, I fish around the glove compartment, hand it to him....he can't concentrate enough to look at it as 6 guards are now offering various advice: "Have you tried this? This? This?" "Yes, yes, yes"
Finally, Morgan has a stroke of genius: he sticks the key into a small hole on the gear box and voila! Whoopee, phew, hurray!
We now have to leave the car in neutral with the parking break on every time we stop. Morgan is stressed and proclaims a sudden hate for the car.
Later on that day, as I am in and out of sleep we run over the Partridge Family. The trip may be cursed.
The sun goes down and the skies cloud. For a full hour approaching Miles City we watch the most incredible electrical storm. Lightning in every direction hitting constantly, making the sky look like day. Maybe we are not cursed after all...what a blessing.
We pull into Miles City for the night. 7 Hotels to choose from, as much as we have a bad track record for finding hotels on a whim in the States, surely this city should have one on a Monday night. First two hotels are booked, the second checks their computer. There are 2 rooms left in the city, at the Super 8, we rush over and get the last one. It could be a cardboard box, I don't care, but the room is clean and cool and quiet.
I cough myself to sleep. Tomorrow we have less than 6 hours to drive.
Day 2 - Tuesday, July 24
Incredible start with breakfast at the Main Street Grind in Miles City served by the most friendly Pippy Long-stocking.
We decide to take Red Lodge (Cool town!) to Bear Tooth Pass (Great views!) into the park. Our less than 6 hour drive turns into 11 and we get to our campsite after 9.
Had to use the key in the gear box trick twice and left the car in neutral the rest of the time. Morgan is ready to sell it RIGHT NOW.
Day 3 - Wednesday, July 25
YAY!! First day in the park today....or not. After being greeted at the Gates by a friendly ranger we drive for only 10 minutes before coming to a complete stand-still for 45. Is it animals? Construction? Doesn't matter, one of us needs a washroom NOW. So we turn around, both disheartened. So far, the car is broken, I am sick, we hit a family of partridges and now we can't even get into the Park.
We head back to West Yellowstone and into the Bear and Wolf refuge. I get to see animals and the day seems rosy again.
Later that afternoon we take another run at the park and see the artist paint pots. Suddenly everything feels worth it and we are feeling better about life.
Day 4 - Thursday, July 26
On the way to Old Faithful we are stopped by someone who tells us our tail-lights are out. I am so feverish, I can barely read his lips never mind respond to the news. Morgan grips the steering wheel and I think he is counting to 10. Fortunately the service station at Canyon has fuses and we are back in business. He resolves to sell the car as soon as we get back and is non-plussed by Old Faithful. We get ice cream to make us feel better.
Day 5 - Friday, July 27
Morgan has a brain wave. The tail-lights must have burnt out when crossing the border and that is why we couldn't get the car out of park. He resets the system on last time and the issue is fixed!
Over the remaining days we see everything the park has to offer and it is truly incredible. However, by Monday with my fever at 100 and coughing so bad I am bent over gagging, it's just time.
The Canyon, Mammoth Terraces, Paint Pots, Mud Pots, Springs, Museums and wildlife were truly cool, but the trip is done for us.