Driving From the West Entrance to Madison Junction
The 14 mile drive from the West Entrance of Yellowstone to the main park road, gives you the opportunity to watch for wildlife. This Yellowstone Park Road lies along the Madison River, and takes you to Madison Junction. Elk, are particularly common along the open meadows that lie along the river. You may wish to stop at the parking lot you will see along the route, and scan the area with binoculars or a spotting scope. Elk are the second largest member of the deer family. Living near forests, and often seen in meadows lying along forested areas, these animals feed on leaves and other plants. During the fall mating season, the bull elk calls out in what is called a bugle. This sounds like a combination of shrill whistles and grunts. The shrill drawn out whistle of the male’s bugle, carries a long distance, and is done to attract females (cows). Elk weigh around 450 - 1,090 pounds, and grow to about 6.5 to 10 feet in length. Like all the wild animals in the Greater Yellowstone Area, elk can be dangerous, so keep a safe distance away, at least 25 yards, and if they react to you in any way, back off, and stay close to your car. In the fall, especially, bulls have been know to attack cars when disturbed. I have not heard elk bugling in the wild very often, but it is one of my most favorite nature sounds. If you are lucky enough to hear this, it is a sound you will never forget. If you happen to visit Cody, Wyoming, step into the Buffalo Bill Historical Center’s Draper Museum of Natural History, and listen carefully to the sounds. Here you will hear a recording of the high pitched whistle of a bull elk during mating season.
Grand Teton National Park
If you can, fit in a visit to Grand Teton National Park, even if it is just a day to drive the park road. Located outside the South Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, this park offers spectacular mountain scenery of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the country. The peaks in the Teton Range stand a sheer 7,000 feet above the valley floor. In my opinion, this park offers the best view of mountains in the entire Rocky Mountain range, if not in the entire country. They just suddenly rise up above the Snake River, Jenny Lake, and the grassy meadows. Outside of Grand Teton Park is Jackson, Wyoming, and a hot tourist destination. The town is geared for the tourist, with lots of bars and shops just waiting to help you have a good time. You can also get float trips on the Snake River, which I did years ago. These trips offer some nice views of the mountains and the possibility of seeing wildlife along the river.
For detailed information on Grand Teton National Park, visit my VT pages,
Enjoy the Beauty of Grand Teton National Park.
My second photo is of the Oxbow Bend Turnout along highway 191 in Grand Teton. My third photo is of the Teton Glacier Turnout along the main park road.
If arriving from the west as we did, West Yellowstone is a small town, full of eateries, hotels and souvenir shops. It is also within minutes of the west entrance gate to the N.P. Although there are some luxury hotels, there are many that provide a viable option to staying in the park itself.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Even though it wasn't the 'ideal' time to see the park, it was still beautiful and quite the experience. I suppose the benefit of going in October is to avoid all the congestion. From what I understand is PACKED during the winter. I guess that's the price you pay for going at the best time.
The scenry, geysers, and hot springs were just amazing.
"In the Park"
We left the park and checked into our motel - one of three Best Western Motels in West Yellowstone. They had free wi-fi. We picked up some mac and cheese for lunch from KFC, and then went immediately to reading email (me) and posting photos (my grandson)
Finally about 7:30 I decided that we should go to dinner. I drove around the restaurant area and finally said - the next parking place I see, we will eat near there. And I found a parking place in front of the playhouse and went to eat at the Old Town Cafe across the street. This was the only place not on the map and not mentioned in the AAA book.
I had the soup and salad bar and huckleberry ice cream. My grandson also had the salad bar and a giant chicken fried steak. I ate some of his green beans which he didn't care for.
Then back to the motel to do more picture uploading and email. I was going to mail some stuff home, but realized it was Saturday and tomorrow the PO wouldn't be open.
"Sunday, June 13th"
We had breakfast about 7:30. There were hot breakfast biscuits, cold cereal, and various pastries and beverages.
We left the motel about 9 to get gas in the car and go to the airport. Horror - I can't find my Visa card. I paid for the gas with the Master card - I went 166 miles and it took 5.1 gals of gas. Then I tore the car apart looking for the card.
So I got out all my receipts and saw that I had paid for dinner last night with the card. Maybe I had stuck it in my pocket and it fell out. So I had my grandson call on his phone to the number on the receipt and they said it was in the safe. So we went and she gave it to me although she asked me for a photo ID first to be sure it was me.
Turned the car in at the airport and decided to check two bags because they are such a nuisance to drag around an airport. Since I bought my tickets some time ago, it was $20 each.
The airport is so small that we checked the bags and the TSA security people were right there next to us. My grandson went and took pictures of a little Army plane that was flying around. Apparently there had been some kind of convention.
Our plane was to board at 11:10 and get to SLC after 1300, so I thought about lunch. There was a little place there called the Jumpers Cafe and he said he was still doing breakfast, but he could do mozzarella sticks or hamburger. So I had the hamburger and my grandson had the cheese. We just barely finished when they started boarding the flight.
On the way out, the pilot did a flyover of the park and we went right over Midway Geyser Basin. It was a little hard to keep the camera steady to take photos, but I think we got some.
Even my grandson was interested - he was not happy with the bouncy little plane, and slept some on the flight (which was pretty smooth really except for the take-off over the mountains etc.)
Even though we were late leaving, we landed in SLC on time about 1300. They got me a wheelchair and the wheelchair man pushed me out gate E and up the elevator to the main level. There were three wheelchair guys - one from Russia, one from Mexico and one from the US having a conference about it.
The electric cart came for me (and my grandson too) and we went all the way from gate E to gate A to get the AA flight.
They left me there at the gate. We had a considerable wait - 3 hours before we were to board. I gave my grandson some money to go get something to eat. He tried Quiznos which was right there by the gate but he couldn't get orange soda and they didn't have meatball subs, so he went farther afield. He came back and said there was S'barro and a pizza place and what did I want to eat. I said cheese calzone or something like that. He went back down there and said they only had spinach and sausage.
In exasperation, I said just to get me something and I would eat it. He came back with two pieces of cheese pizza.
There was free wi-fi in the airport so I used the computer and then I saw a plug under the window so I went over there and plugged in, but the light was too bright from the window for me to see the screen.
When it looked like there was a person behind the counter at our gate, I went and asked him something, and he changed our seats from 25 to 7. I did not know it, but 7 was the bulkhead row. This was NOT good as I was counting on having a seat in front of me to put my computer bag under.
I didn't hear them calling our flight, but we got on right at the end of the priority and first class. Not only were we in the bulkhead row, but over us was the emergency medical equipment so we had to put our stuff in the bins across the aisle. However we did have a 12V plug.
"Taking off from SLC"
When we took off, I ate an apple that I stuck in my pocket from breakfast and put it in the barf bag in the hard pocket on the bulkhead, but the plane bounced and it bounced out and rolled back behind us embarrassing my grandson.
The flight attendant gave me cranapple juice and I bought a cookie, but she charged me for 2 cookies. I would have said just to bring me another cookie, but she was off to give me a credit before I could say anything.
When the seat belt sign went off, I got my computer down - I did have the 12V cord. I didn't do email - I just edited photos.
We landed pretty much on time, and the wheelchair person picked us up and took us to baggage claim. My grandson didn't recognize his bag, because his pink neon thing he had on the handle was gone, but it still had a Delta name tag on it. My daughter picked us up and we went home.
After some reorganizing, we took off again for Hawaii