2011.07.30 Saturday / Day 7 of vacation

Today, we had an easy driving day
just going from Pine Creek to Billings, Montana.
No agenda.
Except laundry.

This is Livingston, Montana . . .

We spent some time meandering and shopping here.
There was a great thrift shop where Anne spent $9.25
for a huge bag of clothes and shoes
(which she sent home with Vince).

Bonnifide Designs was a handmade jewelry store
with shop dogs and cats to play with and pet.
The owner had rescued all of them
and most had some sort of a physical trauma (like a missing leg).
The owner and the animals were all sweethearts.

During the trip, one of us would sound the alarm, "Dog alert!"
meaning there was a dog close-by to pet and love on.
It's what happens when people with pets go on vacation without their companions.

The bookstore (Conley's Books & Music) had a large, used book section
in the back half of the store.  Yippee!
We all bought books.

We spent a couple of hours in the Billing's Cabela's.
This is me being distracted while Anne is taking our photo . . .

This is a volunteer taking our photo . . .

Due to an Exxon oil spill in a pipeline under the Yellowstone River in early July,
motel rooms in Billings were somewhat scarce.
There were lots of oil-spill-cleanup workers staying in Billings.

Doing laundry that evening at the hotel
provided behind-the-scenes information
because several of the workers were doing their laundry
on Saturday evening also.

We had a quiet evening at the hotel with delivery pizza.
(I love pizza!)

Today was a relaxing 127 miles.
Tomorrow is the beginning of the mission trip.


2011.07.29 Friday / Day 6 of vacation

Our second day at Yellowstone started before 8 a.m.
because Anne had scheduled a day of "job-shadowing" NPS Rangers.

We were watched as we parked at the Horace B. Albright Visitor Center . . .

Vince and I walked the Mammoth Hot Springs area . . .

Vince is at the top left of the steps; I liked the zigzag shadow . . .


A coyote at the hot springs . . .

Views from the top of Mammoth Hot Springs . . .

Other photos near the north entrance . . .

It was a mostly quiet day of walking, napping, reading, and people-watching.

Some scenic photos of the drive from Yellowstone to Pine Creek, Montana . . .

We arrived in Pine Creek with our shortest mileage day of the trip, only 67 miles.

[some photos by Vince]


2011.07.28 Thursday / Day 5 of vacation

Another sunny day as we drove through Grand Teton National Park
and into adjoining Yellowstone National Park.
Our first "wow" view is Jackson Lake with the Tetons as backdrop . . .

We drove to the Grant Village Visitor Center on Yellowstone Lake,
then on to Old Faithful . . .

. . . and the Old Faithful Inn.
This inn was built in 1903-1904,
is one of a few remaining log hotels in the United States,
and has a 65-foot ceiling in the lobby . . . 

On one of the back porches at the Inn . . .

Firehole Spring . . .

Vince and Anne hiked the Purple Mountain trail
which is "6 miles roundtrip with a steady climb of 1,500 feet" . . .

Our 162-mile day ended in Gardiner, Montana
which is just outside the north gate of Yellowstone.
We ate dinner at the Sawtooth Restaurant & Deli . . .

watched the evening shadows from our outdoor table . . .

and enjoyed the view of the Yellowstone River from the motel's back patio . . .

[some photos by Vince and Anne]


2011.07.27 Wednesday / Day 4 of vacation

Our destination today was Jackson, Wyoming,
an easy 215 miles.

There are amazingly beautiful landscapes all along the highway
from Rock Springs to Jackson.
Various parts of the Rocky Mountains come into and go out of view,
but it's photo-worthy whichever way you look.
Once in Jackson, we ate lunch and then drove just north out of town
to the Grand Teton National Park.

Vince did a bit of pondering . . . 

and then we took a hiking trail . . .

to Phelps Lake . . . 
which is beautiful, serene and natural, and has about 750 surface acres . . .

Back in Jackson, Vince found the Cowboy Bar . . .

and we took turns taking photos at the antler arches . . .

. . . it was a long day  :)  . . . 

[some photos by Anne and Vince]