08/26 - Day 9, I packed up all my stuff from the lodge, got some breakfast and hit the road. I took WY-14 West, out of the Big Horn National Forest and towards Yellowstone. I had a lot of folks give me advice on the best entrance into Yellowstone, but I didn’t really get a chance to take their suggestions as I needed an oil change in my Jeep and wanted to stop to have a doc take a look at the blister on my foot. It was looking kind of nasty and didn’t want to mess around being so far from home. So, I took 14 to the closest “major” city that could handle both of those needs on a Sunday. This led me to Cody, WY. The doc said I didn’t have an infection, but told me use antibiotic creme and a bunion pad to keep it from getting irritated. Also gave me a list of medical centers in Yellowstone if it does get worse. Had the oil changed and tires rotated at Walmart, which took about 1.5 hours, but it gave me time to get some lunch and to pick up some stuff at Walmart including bear spray. Once that was all in order, I stopped at the Visitor’s Center for the Buffalo Bill Dam in Cody.
I was not prepared for the magnitude of the dam when I looked over the edge. Holy Taco, that’s a big ass dam! In fact, it’s 350 feet straight down. I talked to the lady at the visitors center and she said it was the tallest dam in the world until the Hoover Dam was constructed not long afterwards. I guess it was used as a learning tool for when they constructed the Hoover Dam. Since then the dam has gotten even taller (325 to 350 feet). Interestingly, the original dam, which you can differentiate from the color of the concrete, contains no rebar, just cement and big chunks of granite from the surrounding canyon, whereas the addition has rebar. She also gave me some Yellowstone tips and showed me the number to call for accomodations. She recommended I call right away as they fill up fast.
I headed back to the parking lot and gave the number a call. Low and behold, I got the last room in all of Yellowstone! No less, it’s in the Old Faithful Inn. It’s a pretty upscale place; however, it is upscale priced as well, $230 a night, ouch! In spite of the price it has no WiFi and the power keeps turning on and off due to the storms affecting the power lines, or so I was told the following morning. Might end up camping tomorrow night :)
On the way into Yellowstone I did break my moose sighting drought of one day and finally found a giant, photogenic bull moose, standing magnificently in a stream, in the sun as well! He did not seem as friendly as the other moose I had gotten close to. There was a crowd of people stopped, watching him. Every once in a while he would snort and shake his head around a bit.
I was a bit concerned about the weather on the way to Yellowstone though, as the fires in Montana were filling the air with smoke. You could smell it and at one point the sun was actually disappearing behind it, but then it started raining and the sky started clearing. Once I actually got into the park, it changed from smokey fog filled skies to bright blue! This photo shows the abrupt switch from smokey and rainy to bright and blue.
After I got to the park, I drove around Yellowstone Lake towards Old Faithful, where I was staying. I saw lots of bison and wildlife, but no bears. When I finally got to the Old Faithful Inn, this was happening.