Yellowstone National Park and The Tetons
The first item on the to-see list was Old Faithful. I got there with about 30 mins until the next eruption, so I got a late lunch and headed over and waited for geyser to blow. It was really neat, but I think I was more impressed by the sheer number of people there than the actual attraction. I doubled back along the route I took to get there to head back north. I passed through one of the big geyser/hot spring basins and saw a bunch of fantastic sights that all smelled like Cheerios. That night I made it to Norris around 8:45p and found the hiker/biker spots at the "full" campground. Those spots were actually occupied too but the people who were there let me pitch my tent next to theirs. It was a group of five who had just finished a week-long backpacking trip through the Tetons and were trying to get rid of their extra food before their drive back to East Lancing, MI. They offered it to me and I gladly accepted. =) I hoped I would catch them in the morning for a picture for the blog by they had peaced out around 5am I think because they wanted to do the 30-hr drive in one go. More power to 'em.
From there, the road went up 200ft to the continental divide (again) and then after a bit of rolling terrain, descended hard. It was downhill all the way out of the park and that was maybe 10-15 miles? I can't get enough of that. Eventually I hit road work that lasted for a long time but much of it was fresh pavement and I can't get enough of that either. As a bonus, I got to draft off a big bulldozer at 20mph for a bit!
By there, I mean the Togwotee Mountain Lodge. I was frozen again and it was definitely solidly dark by that point. According to the map, the campground was pretty much where the lodge was but I never saw a sign for it. I stopped at the lodge on a whim to see how much a room was and after hearing the rate, kept going to find my local camping option. Again, I had a ridiculous time finding it. In fact I didn't find it. And because it was late, cold, and bear country, I bit the bullet and booked a room at the lodge. In the 20 mins it took me to make that decision, the temp. had dropped eight degrees from 55 to 47 and the receptionists told me there had been five grizzly bear sightings within a mile of the lodge that day. FIVE! I was very glad to have made that choice even thought it was costly. I was able to shower for the first time in 4.5 days and I did a round of laundry in the tub. The bed was excellent as well and was the first time I had slept in one since I was in Bend, OR. True to form, though, I didn't get to bed until about 1am. I don't think I'll ever shake my night-personness...