Seattle to Saratoga Springs Raid to Rendezvous – Day 4

Axel and I were up early and packed up while the ladies slept in.  His allergies were acting up so it had not been a good night for him and I just didn’t sleep well.  The camp was nice enough but it seems the ladies slept like logs and the guys didn’t.

After we finally roused the sleepy heads, we gassed up and headed back to the park.

First thing we ran into was a major traffic jam.  As we inched forward the cause finally became clear…bison!  They were all along the road walking across from side to side with little concern for the vehicles stacked up in front and behind them.  As it turned out, it was a big day for bison.  We saw them again and again throughout the day. 


At one parking area there were two big fellas grazing no more than 10 feet from our parked cars and as we took pictures another big buffalo (there aren’t any small ones!) walked over to join the party.  It was thrilling to see these majestic animals up close. 

  One of the dozens of bison we saw. This one walked back and forth through traffic and Willa with one at our parking spot she wanted to bring home.

Our final count – a female moose, many adult and baby bison, elk ( a group up of males at a distance and females up close), white tailed deer and a bunch of smaller animals.

    Here’s today’s map and a shot of Tower Falls.

Though it doesn’t look like much on the map, we did almost 300 miles today, mostly going around the park, from the west gate, we headed north to Mammoth stopping along the way to see geysers of all sorts, sizes and activity.  Our favorite was an area they called soup and stew, bubbling hot pots spewing steam and a claylike material in the air making little cones like midget volcanos. 

  Bison block and Willa steaming at one of our geyser stops.  

At Mammoth we grabbed some food and found a herd of elks resting on a lawn by the original engineers building.  They had no interest in any of us bi-peds and there was quite a crowd taking pictures once they realized these weren’t statuary.

  Here are the lady elks resting on the lawn at Mammoth and an amazing rock wall formation that you can only see a small portion of in this pic.   

Willa wanted to see the petrified tree…which turned out to be the petrified trunk of one tree, locked up behind a fence…our least favorite stop!

As with the day before the waves, the thumbs up were constant, especially from the park rangers.  It was a regular part of our touring…drive somewhere, stop and talk to folks about the 2CV and then go see the sights.

By the late afternoon we were pretty much toast.  Yellowstone was so much more than I ever expected.  It was way bigger…more crowded and so much more  to see than I ever thought it would be like.  Clearly, it will need a few more visits to even see half of what there is in this park.

So, after a last stop to see the upper Tower Falls, we headed to the east gate and Cody, WY.  The east gate was nothing like the west gate.  Outside the west gate was civilization, hotels, motels, campgrounds and all sorts of stores.  The exit via the east gate seemed to go on forever and after the gate, the vista changed to a real western motif with canyons and red rock mountains on the 50+ mile run into Cody.    

I was so tired that by the time we got in, around 7 pm, I was dust.  I needed to rest and had no camping energy in me.  Axel, Walli and Kiki went to the campground and we found an overpriced room for the night.  With a long drive ahead of us tomorrow, I needed a good nights sleep. We can camp tomorrow!


[Read the story about the complete trip here.]

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