Borrego Springs, CA

Monday, June 7, 2010

Plans go awry

We all piled into the Ford Focus this morning and headed off for Yellowstone National Park.  Our plan was to drive to Old Faithful, even though there was a horrible forecast and it was raining as we left.  We made good time into the park, but after about 12 miles into the park, we came to a standstill.  Obviously there was a buffalo hold up just short of Madison.  After about twenty minutes, we started moving again, and made the turn for Old Faithful.  That didn’t last long.  Three big buffalos decided to use the road to head up the hill, so once again we were restricted to their traveling speed.  There was only one car in front of us, but these people decided to spend a half hour slowly trailing the buffalos for pictures when they could have gone around them.  The result of their decision was that there was about five miles of backed up cars behind them.  Because my car is a stick shift, my left leg was wearing out as we very slowly inched up the steep grade.  Then I noticed steam coming out of the hood and an awful smell.  As soon as I was able, I pulled over on a service road and shut off the engine.  It turned out that several motorcycles also pulled over with us because their engines were overheating.  :(  Stan hopped out of the car to check what was going on under the hood.  It seems coolant was spraying out of the reservoir and onto the engine, producing the steam and smell.  There weren’t any broken hoses.  So there we all sat waiting for things to cool down in the rain.  Traffic remained at a standstill as we waited.  Since those folks weren’t going to go around the buffalos, we decided to turn around and head back down the hill.  We figured it would take another two hours to drive the relatively short distance to Old Faithful, and we didn’t have that kind of time considering the dogs back at the rigs.  We had no further car problems as we headed back down the road.  It was probably just a matter of too much coolant in the engine.
IMG_8620As we headed back towards West Yellowstone, we were able to see some elk on the hillside.  Can you find all three?

Since it was still raining, we stopped in town to do some wandering through the tourist trap stores.  Pam and Stan found a few things they couldn’t live without, but I found nothing I needed.  We stopped in a place for a pizza for lunch, and then headed back to the campground.

Pam and I took the dogs on a long walk, and to our surprise, the sun made an appearance.  We hopped in the car and headed up the hill to see if we could get any cell phone reception…it’s non-existent in the park.  Pam was able to get a connection and called her daughter.  I still had no reception.  We then went on a jaunt of the local sights.
IMG_8632The skies were becoming blue around the surrounding snow capped mountains.

There were many bird houses along the road, and we saw quite a few mountain bluebirds. 

As we continued around Henry Lake, we saw many beautiful log houses.

The wind had really picked up as we traveled, and lots of waterfowl chose to come into the more protected bays.

On one little bay of Henry Lake, I found a pair of bufflehead, and a pair of ring-necked ducks.

There has been a kind of drought of bird pictures from me lately, so I know you’re all glad to see some more feathered friends.  :-)

Since the sun was still shining when we returned to camp, I thought there might be a wonderful sunset tonight.  Wrong!!  The rains have returned along with a little thunder.  :(  We’re going to leave earlier tomorrow morning to give Old Faithful another try.  Wish us luck!

Thanks for stopping by….talk to you later,  Judy


  1. Most unfortunate that your day was altered by rude, thoughtless, & inconsiderate people ahead of you. Such are the ways of many humans. Might want to keep an especially close eye on that engine anti-freeze coolant thing. I remember stopping for Buffalo as well in Yellowstone. They certainly do take their time alright. Hope you get to see Old Faithful. I also remember a very big waterfall in Yellowstone plus a large lake. And the Mammoth Hot Springs were really impressive. I have pics but they are all in 35mm slide form:((

  2. I hope the buffalo aren't like cows, When I would come in for the day shift, the guys who lived in the city would say, Sam you must have been up before the cows today, I would always tell them no I looked out the kitchen window at 04:30am and they were already up.But I am sure the sights of Old Faithful is well worth another trip. Have fun, Be safe out there, Sam & Donna.

  3. First time visitors to Yellowstone are a royal pain! I wonder where the heck the park rangers were? They should be out there moving traffic along when there's a "Buffalo Jam". They were in force last Sept! I'm glad it wasn't anything too seriously wrong with your towed vehicle!

    Beautiful pics of the Mtn. Blue Birds and ducks!
    Now I know why Gordon was hot to stay there at Red Rock all season: gorgeous views!

    I hope you get a chance to get back to Old Faithful. Maybe you could ask Gordon & Juanita to puppy sit! I'm sure they need a "canine fix" with losing their beloved Bodie recently!

    Thank you for the "virtual" Spring in Idaho, MT & Wyoming!

  4. Those little bluebirds are just beautiful! Too bad you got delayed on touring up to Old Faithful... perhaps you can get back up there when the buffaloes and tourists are more accommodating!

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  5. Your story about the buffalo reminds me of one day when Craig and I were leaving home and noticed several deer in our front yard. "GO HOME!" he yelled out the window. "Craig," I said "They are home!"

    The third elk is behind the tree.