West Yellowstone, Montana: We are camped tonight just outside Yellowstone National Park. Our drive today was without too much excitement (more later on that), but our morning started very well.
I decided to jog the scenic loop inside Craters of the Moon National Monument. Not to be out-run, DT decided to run from the campground to complete the the scenic loop (and back). I would run 3.1 miles. DT would cover 6.2.
DT is a serious stud.
He ran from the campsite, and I drove the Honda a scenic overlook along the loop and pounded the pavement – with my very cool GPS watch, of course. The three mile course included 970 feet of altitude ascent (and 970 feet of decent). The entire run was over 6000 feet in elevation. I walked during several sections of the jog.
I also did a little hurdling.
Think of me as the Lolo Jones of the fat, middle-aged, menopausal RVing set. Not too impressed? Lolo Jones (LSU alum) is a professional 100m hurdler. A really, really good 100m hurdler. Maybe the above photo does not do her justice? Miss Jones is working in that photo. Maybe you would prefer a more casual photo?
Why was I hurdling on my little 3.1 huff & puff jog this morning? Well, I suddenly came across something on the road that I thought would be better to jump over than step on.
A bull snake.
Sometimes called a gopher snake, this particular snake was about three feet long and thicker around than a quarter coin. I scared him more than he scared me. After I jumped over the snake, I stopped and watched as he (she?) slithered away into the sagebrush.
The bull snake is one of five snakes commonly found in Craters of the Moon National Monument. The bull snake is not venomous – it is a constrictor. The bull snake looks similar to a rattle snake and they know they look similar to a rattle snake and will actually pretend to shake their tail to scare you away! Isn’t that just amazing?
The rest of our day was not very exciting. We drove from Craters of the Moon to Idaho Falls and then headed north to West Yellowstone, Montana. We stopped a few times for road construction and chatted-up a few of multitudes of bikers on their way to Sturgis for the motorcycle rally. (We have seen hundreds of motorcycles every day on this trip!) Before heading into the national park, we stopped to top-off the tank ($2.99 per gallon) in Ashton, Idaho.
Do you think the future WGA knows there is an entire town named after him?
And this is our home for the next four days after a big thunderstorm rolled in this evening. As you can imagine, we are having a quiet night. We are very tired after our runs (DT especially), so we are watching the Mariners on DirecTV.
Nothing like Chicken Parmesan on a bed of arugula and organic heirloom tomatoes to make a girl forget about snake charming.
Until my next update – from Yellowstone! – I remain, your Montana correspondent.
RV Park: Grizzly RV Park. We feel this is the best big-rig park for a visit to Yellowstone. Just outside the west gate, the park has 50-amp pull-through and back-in sites. Wifi, laundry, bathhouse, playground, dog walk area, store – everything you will need, plus all the amenities of West Yellowstone, Montana – post office, shops, groceries, restaurants, tour companies, museums, etc. We are paying $48 per night.