Sharon: The kids zonked out on us last night before we were able to get them to put their blog down and they are sleeping in this morning. So, I’ll try to include some of their thoughts about yesterday along with mine. Yesterday, we finished our journey through Idaho to our destination of West Yellowstone. Mark, by the way, loves Idaho almost as much as California. They are both a little too brown for my taste. I like green grass much better than brown grass. What I can’t understand is how the sparse number of trees manage to stay so nice and green when the only green grass is watered grass. What’s up with that? I think maybe Mark’s sunglasses have a little green tint to them. Oh well, I digress. Back to our adventures. The KOA campground we are staying in is very nice and is in Montana, just over the state line from Yellowstone Park. The little town of West Yellowstone reminds me of that old TV show, “Northern Exposure”. A lot of clapboard buildings, colorful fake bison and grizzly bear statues. All it needs are moose wandering the streets. When we got into the park, we went directly to see Old Faithful because we knew we had to see that and sure enough we were not disappointed. It spewed forth higher than the trees and right about the time they had estimated it would. Not knowing what to expect, Anthony was a little nervous waiting for it but he enjoyed the show as much as any of us. He was afraid it would make a lot of noise, I guess like a cannon going off. To make himself feel better, he said he thought it was just someone underground, aiming a water cannon through a hole in the ground. From that point on, we made it a game to come up with ways to make all the wonders we were seeing somehow a manmade attraction. The elk and bison we were seeing were just people in costumes lounging about in the meadows and the glorious hot springs and pools were achieved through some fancy plumbing. Seriously though, you could never achieve what God has, through the many visual treats we have experienced. Katie and I enjoyed the beautiful colors in the hot springs. The water was the clearest, bluest, boiling water you have ever seen. And the edges of the pools and streams were brilliant orange, yellow and brown. The blue was from particles in the water refracting the sunlight and the yellow, orange and brown were from microorganisms. And we all thought boiling water would kill anything. Who knew? Anthony thought the hot springs area would make a great setting for a Star Wars type battle. He said he could just picture galactic heroes with light sabers fighting amid the pools, streams and steam coming off the water. I guess all that screen time he puts in feeds his imagination. Earlier, we had puzzled at the warmth of the mountain stream we dipped our bare feet into and later realized it had boiling water pouring into it further upstream. Today, we go through the northern part of the park, seeing other sights along the way: some waterfalls, mountains, and maybe some different wildlife. Then we travel a road through the Beartooth Pass on the way to an area close to Sheridan Wyoming for the night. The next day we’ll travel on to Mount Rushmore. As our journey draws to a close, I look forward to seeing everyone at home, but I’m also a little sad to know our adventures are almost over. It has been a little hard, because it’s like going to work every day without a break, but the work is amazingly fun. Well, time to roll the kids out of their bunks and prepare for another day. Until next time, adios amigos!
Mark: It’s 6:10 at West Yellowstone and I’m the first one up. Time for coffee/news/email/blog. Can’t sleep well here. The sun is crazy. It was 9:30 last nite and it was still up. Then, it’s very bright this am at 6:00. How does a chicken know when to crow or to fly up to roost round here?? Also, IT’S 47 DEGREES OUTSIDE!! Yikes…

The park had a bad fire in 1988. You can still see the remnants from that. Many beautiful hills have a lot of regrowth, but they are bare and have old logs strewn. What is here is breath taking. Not as breath taking as Yosemite, but still a lot to absorb. I took a lot of pix..again..and posted a very few of them here. This is a shutterbug’s dream and a nightmare. Everywhere is a picture! It’ s sort of like you go to Best Buy and you find out that they are giving away “anything with a button” that day. And you just start grabbing stuff, you can’t move for wanting more. It’s fun at first and then your pockets are full of things with buttons and you want more. After awhile you can’t focus on what you went in there for because you are still obsessing over the things with buttons giveaway day.

I love a good photo op. At one point, my son was so ashamed of me he left me…..He left me laying there, on my side, on the boardwalk, leaned over the edge of the rail to take a picture of a lil yellow flower. This lil yellow flower endured the scalding heat of the geyser and it deserved a good shot. haha.

If that embarrasses him, just wait till I get old. Guess he’ll leave me sittin in the lil scooter, in the Depends section, in WalMart when I make odd noises.

We have made soooo many new friends along this way. It’s just hard to describe em all. Here is a guy from the Netherlands. His name is Maurice and he came all the way, for the 10th time, to visit here with his family. He explained fly fishing to me. We don’t do that in Tennessee. It sure looks like a lot more work than just plopping the worm in water and waiting. Aerobic fishing for sure. Lots and lots of whipping, flipping. I say lay that pole down and go to a Long John Silvers if you want fish that bad.

One stop, we were enjoying watching the buffalo roam and the elk lounge around. That’s fantastic to be that close to these mighty beasts without a fence. They are like pets. We stopped to take a pic and Dudley DoRight the Ranger was there. Our son, dunno why, maybe it’s because he’s 10 and he’s just a boy, made a stoopid sound like “BOP” at the resting bull elk. Now..this elk was lounging in the weeds, reading Gone With The Wind, eating chocolate bon bons and really could have cared less about the illegal “bop”. But Dudley, over his 1980’s Chips glasses, chastised him with a stern: “That’s animal harrassment. DON’T do that”. Anthony will never BOP another bull elk. The wife asked him what ARE those? He breathed in long and heavy, completely outdone with our presence and said “Those are bull elk…maaaam” Thank you Dudley. Dudley is apparantly kin to Occifer Schneider of the California Patrol. He must have know we were from Tennessee too.

Oh, I forgot to mention the busted windshield we got from a flying rock coming out of Twin Falls Idaho. It’s about a quarter sized bust, not thru. I think it’ll be ok till we get home..Guess that’s if the busted windshield and 3 cracked tires are the worst we’ll have on this trip, that’ll be ok.