Birthday at Grand Teton

What a lucky girl I was!  I got to visit Grand Teton National Park for my birthday!   We started the day out at a small but very cute local restaurant where I could get French Toast for breakfast and hubby could get whatever his heart desired also – including live World Cup games.  It was divine!! If you are ever in Victor, Idaho – eat at “Scratch”.  Really, really yummy.

After breakfast it was over the “Teton Pass” and down towards Jackson Wyoming and Grand Teton Park.  It was a cloudy morning as the picture shows.  But, as I may have said before, the weather in this neck of the woods literally changes minute by minute.  The Tetons are simply magnificent, sunny or cloudy.

In the photo above, about the middle of the picture on the left side (very hard to see without enlarging) is a herd of Elk, roaming near Jackson Lake.  Here’s the zoomed in shot – but you’ll need to enlarge it as well. The sun came out a bit later, and the “birthday girl” made an appearance near Jackson Lake Dam 🙂Another sighting of the “birthday girl” in a bit of a windstorm near Jenny Lake.  Wow, the weather got rather wicked really quickly! Literally 10 minutes down the road, the sun broke through the clouds again – and we were glad it did!Then it was on down the road, quickly while the sun still shone, to the Episcopal Chapel of the Transfiguration.  A very popular photo spot in Grand Teton.  Luck was with us, they had just finished a wedding at the chapel as we arrived.This stained glass window was inside the Chapel, not far from the entrance.  I thought it was quite fitting.The altar inside the chapel… What a view!  It reminds me of a church we saw when we were in Juneau, Alaska.From there we trekked to the old barn on “Mormon Row” – the most photographed spot in Grand Teton.  I think it would be particularly stunning in autumn.  Believe it or not, the wedding party were out by the barn as well!  We couldn’t believe it when we saw the limo in the same general vicinity.  I think they were there snapping more wedding photos on this sunny afternoon.From there it was on to Jackson Hole.  What a CUTE and very “Western” town it is.  Here’s hubby in one of the four Elk Arches which lead into the town green or square or whatever they call it!I am so thankful that John has recovered enough from his hip replacement surgery to make this journey.  What a blessing!  Here is a sign that explains the Elk Arches. Not to be outdone, the “birthday girl” was also seen under the Elk Antler Arches!!We did wander into a few of the MANY shops.  Here’s a t-shirt that caught hubby’s eye….Soon it was time for the birthday dinner – and people, it was extra delicious!! 🙂 Well, there you have it.  The birth-day in Grand Teton and Jackson Hole.  It was a fabulous day!!

On June 26th, we spent the entire L-O-N-G day driving 380 miles from Victor Idaho to Missoula Montana.  I took no photos along the way since a lot of it was backtracking.

Tomorrow, another post showing some of our drive from Missoula to Walla Walla, Washington.  And maybe a few shots of the wine tasting we hope to do here in Walla Walla.

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Yellowstone and beyond – days 8 and 9

Yesterday was our last day (for this trip) in Yellowstone.  What a simply gorgeous day it was…. sunny and warm – perfect for photography and sightseeing!  We took off in an eastward fashion and went towards the northeast entrance of the park, where this photo was taken near the Lamar Valley.  What perfect beauty.

Our goal this day was to look for more wildlife in the abundant Lamar Valley of Yellowstone and make our way through the northeast entrance and up the famed Beartooth Pass.  We saw more buffalo, some moose, another black bear, but no grizzly – which is what we were really hoping to see!  Oh well, maybe next time.  Outside of Yellowstone’s northeast entrance, the road immediately becomes the Beartooth Highway.  This is a famous highway because it is quite literally one of the highest roads in North America at 10,947 feet – and one of the most scenic!  It was no surprise to find that there was still snow alongside the road as we climbed our way slowly to the top of the pass.  Here’s a view from inside the car. And yes, we saw lots of motorcyclists enjoying the snow, sun, and cool weather.  This road was sort of scary in a car… I think it may have been (for me) downright frightening on a bike! Here is a view from the top.  What a sight!!  Note the still frozen lake below us.  The mountain range in the distance is the Absaroka Range, a “sub-range” of the Rockies.  Thankfully our brakes worked fine as we came down this steep mountain pass road.  We made our way through Cooke City Montana and then back into Yellowstone park.  On the way back to our RV park, we came across a large traffic backup in Yellowstone – a fairly common occurrence.  A park ranger was directing traffic due to the huge back up and we had to ask, “what’s going on” as we went by.  She replied that there was a bear and a coyote in the meadow and that another ranger had a scope set up on up the road.  If we could find a spot to park she said, we could stop and have a look through the scope.  As luck would have it, there was a small spot for our little car and John pulled in.  We walked over to the large group of people all looking into the distance.  We found out that there was indeed a coyote, who had “taken down” an elk calf and was in the process of consuming it.  The bear was a bit of a distance away, having smelled or seen the commotion and no doubt wanted to get in on it.  He stayed away when we were there, simply watching the coyote from a distance.  The Yellowstone coyotes are MUCH larger than your typical version.  Maybe he even scared the bear.  Who knows?  Anyway, we both got a chance to look through the scope set up by the Ranger.  We were even able to take a snapshot through the scope.  Okay, it’s not a great picture, but you can see the coyote leaning over his fallen prey.  It was an awesome sight – seeing this in person was gripping.  Nature.  Raw and wild.  After returning to our motorhome, we gathered up our swimsuits and drove 25 miles north of Gardiner to Chico Hot Springs.  One of my good friends from work, Pam (a true Montanan), suggested we take a swim in the hot spring pool and have dinner at their stupendous restaurant.  We debated on what order in which to do these two things, and finally decided to swim first, eat later.  Thank goodness Pam told us to get reservations!  The dining room is oh-so-popular and was fully booked out… in fact there were more then one unhappy group of people leaving the dining area complaining that they didn’t know you had to have reservations.  We had a fantastic meal of Montana steak, potatoes, and salad.  It was absolutely divine!!! We walked out of there stuffed to the gills.  Thanks Pam for the heads up about Chico!

This morning we packed up our great home on wheels and headed south towards Victor Idaho – our spot for the next two nights as we explore Grand Teton National Park.  TO get there, we actually drove the big rig plus the car in tow through part of Yellowstone.  Here’s hubby as we’re about to enter the park.From here we drove about 160 miles or so to Victor Idaho.  Here’s a scene from the beautiful countryside on the Idaho side of the Teton Range.  Our elevation here is around 6,000 feet.  The lilacs are JUST NOW in bloom and we have some outside our motorhome.  From what we can gather, the folks around here are mostly farmers, raising grain and seed potatoes.  Frankly, I’m surprised that such things can grow at this elevation, but… they do.Tomorrow we are going to the Wyoming side of the Tetons and Jackson Hole!  I’ve told John that I’m itching for a pizza from somewhere in Jackson Hole for my birthday dinner 🙂  More soon from your rambling RV’ers!  Oh, we filled the gas tank today and were happy to see that our mileage has gone up to 9.3 mpg.  Needless to say, John is pleased!