October, 24, 25, 26, 2000
We had a very short visit at Don and Bobby Ryan’s in Riverton, Wyoming. Bob was worried about snow on the way back through Canada and home to Alaska We were a LONG way from home. He wanted me to see his part of Wyoming and to see Yellowstone National Park. He had every right to worry because we encountered snow at Dubois on our way to Jackson Hole. All the way to Jackson we were in some snow, fog and rain so I did not get to see the majestic Tetons that he talked about for years.
It was the off season and not much traffic as we entered Jackson. We located a place to sleep, the Virginian. Clean but well worn through the years. We ate a good supper at Bubba’s. Smoked turkey and hickory baked chicken and a very nice salad bar, filled our tummies. Our road weary, tired bodies slept well.
The next morning, we located his Aunt Marie and Uncle Keith Stillson’s old home place and drove to Alpine Village, we headed for Yellowstone, after a great breakfast back at Bubba’s. I sure liked the area and made the comment to Bob “If we were only younger, I could live here.” Bob just nodded and said “Yup!”
Still cloudy and raining and still did not see the Tetons. Nice drive to Yellowstone where we were stopped at the Entrance Gate. A nice Forest Service lady chatted with us. It cost Bob $10.00 park fee. I got in free. I had a “old peoples pass” card.” Still do not know where I got that!!
I have never in my life, seen something as awesome as Oldfaithfull. We stood with other visitors and waited for it to show off its height of 130 feet and discharging 7,500 gallons of water! It is one spectacular site! I could have sat all day and waited for the next eruption, but we were pushing time and the snow we encountered the day before, had us a little worried. We did walk around to some of the numerous pool and geysers. I especially enjoyed the Morning Glory Pool. A most beautiful deep, clear blue pool that reflects blue of the sky. No mater where we walked or drove there was delightful beauty and grand wonders of nature in this awesome park. Not only did we see the hot springs, there were tall cascading water falls. I was impressed with the large water fall at Gibbon River. Bob wanted me to see the falls that his grandfather took him as a child. His grandfather was a Fisheries manager and managed Fish Hatcheries. He also managed a fish hatchery at Flathead Lake, Montana and owned 40 acres of land on the lake in the late 40’s. To bad he was not able to hang on to it! Bob said he enjoyed his trip to Yellowstone with him and learned a lot of interesting history of the territory. I wondered along with Bob, what the first man thought when he walked into the vast area.
My memories of Yellowstone will always be vivid in my mind. We also saw Bison, Deer, and Elk, but no Bears. I could NOT find my camera – again – so I did not take any pictures!!
I was sad to leave such an awesome place but the time crunch was always in the back of our mind. We left Yellowstone through the North Gate where we crossed the 45th Parallel again at Gardiner and into Livingston, Montana. We stayed at the Paradise Inn in Livingstone. It was a nice, quiet, clean place with a big restaurant that you got to through a long hallway from our room. That would be nice in the wintertime! We had spaghetti, the special for the evening and fell into bed totally exhausted from all we had seen in our travels for just one day.
We left next morning, early for a LONG boring ride through wheat country to Sweetgrass, Montana at the border of Canada. We had made great time that day and had daylight left. We crossed the Canadian border without a problem, much to Bobs relief. We headed for Lethbridge, where we ran head long into a ranging wind storm. We stopped on the outskirts of Lethgridge to get gas and go the restrooms. When I got out of the car – the wind pushed the door shut. I careful opened it again and went around the corner of the gas station where the arrow pointed “restrooms.” The wind was blowing gravel and sand into my face. The darned door was locked!! I had to go back around the corner and inside to get the key and retrace my sandy, gritty steps back to the restroom. By that time I had almost forgotten why I was there!! Almost!
We pushed on through the wind and drove into Red Deer and located the Black Knight Hotel. Very nice, very roomy, very welcome for these two road worn, bucking the wind and sand all day – people. Next morning we drank some coffee, ate some fruit and off we went to our next destination – Dawson Creek. We had traveled 691 miles from Livingston, Montana just out of Yellowstone, Wyoming to Red Deer, Canada. We were on our way home! We had a nice sunny day – no wind, no blowing sand and no fog. Nice weather as we made our way almost to Edmonton, by skirting around it as per instructions for Shirley DeVault. We had heard from many a traveler through the years, that Edmonton was a night mare to get through and we were determined to follow Shirley’s instructions. We turned off a Laduc where there was beautiful farms, white fences and white barns and homes. It was a peaceful and enjoyable drive.
We stopped to get a thermos of coffee a small country cafe and I was asked where we were going -I told her Kenai Alaska. She patted my hand and told me to have a nice trip and the coffee was free. What a nice lady! We made our way through the beautiful Drayton Valley to Whitecourt, Fox Creek and Grande Prairie.
Bob had driving a LONG way that day. Getting into Grande Prairie we followed the Truck Route through the city. I said “just follow that gravel truck, he will stay on this route.” So Bob faithfully followed the truck through all the stops lights and turn signals. The gravel truck put on his left run signal, and a signal went off in my head!! We are supposed to be headed north to the right and he is going left to the south? TO Late! Bob was in the left turn lane when I said NO NO he is going into that gravel pit – turn right !!
Luckily there was not much traffic and Bob got into the right lane to the stop light with a sign that said DAWSON CREEK. We laughed and laughed at the fact that we almost ended up in a gravel pit behind the truck who guided us so nicely through Grande Prairie. Who knows maybe the guy was going home? We drove into Dawson Creek that night and found a crowded place that had one ground floor room, next to a parking lot full of big Semi’s loaded with goods, headed north to Alaska.
Next week HOME!!