After a good breakfast we went to the “Buffalo Bill center”. The size of the building is breathtaking. The submission money was quite steep, but usually you can go 2 days with the ticket. As we waited, we got waved over by one of the security guards. He informed us, that he also could help us purchase our tickets and we got talking. We told him that we are on a road-trip and where we are from. He was quite interested, especially after we mentioned that we are either from or lived in Germany.
America is funny that way. Every 3rd american has family over there or is 3rd generation from at least one German grandparent. I have no pride in being German, but I like how their eyes start glowing when they remember their roots fondly. It is nice how people open up and share a bit of their history and life with us.
Also he understood that we just had a few hours and therefore he only charged us the student price, which was very friendly of him. After a quick history lesson, a tip to check out the birds of prey show and a bit of map-doodling, he sent us on our way.
The exhibition was very big. We skimmed through the nature of Yellowstone Park, went to the presentation of the birds of prey, had a look at the Native American hall and ended with the gun exhibition. It somehow didn’t feel the same though after you just watched the Native American’s stories. As last exhibition, we went to the Buffalo Bill room. It was interesting for me, because I have to admit I never heard much of the great Buffalo Bill before and even Hass was surprised at some facts here and there.
This concluded the educational part of the day. After this we had to pass Yellowstone Park, to check into our accomondation and we had to do that before 6 pm.
So we started heading in the right direction and realised that our path didn’t pass Yellowstone, but went through the park. Since this saved several hours and we found out that the ticket is valid 7 days, we just went ahead.
As we entered the park, we received a bunch of information about the park and the way you should – if at all – interact with animals. We started making jokes about bears and our open cabrio and if the bears actually know that they should keep a distance, as we reached a traffic jam.
Hass spotted people with cameras at the side of he road and sent me to investigate. He was sure that it was a bear and he was right. A beautiful young grizzly bear female was looking for food at the side of the road. I was in awe. She moved so silent and nearly posed for the pictures in between her search for food. I was happy and entranced. At some point I remembered our deadline for the accommodation and reluctantly went back to the car.
So one of our “must sees” in Yellowstone was off our list. We where just discussing what else we would love to see as I spotted something swimming in the river next to us. I wasn’t sure if it was a otter or a beaver, but Hass assured me, that the size must have been a beaver.
Ok, he was not on our list, but it was still quite cool. Not long after, Hass spotted the third sight of the day: Two bison on a small hill. That made number 2 of the “must sees” in Yellowstone list. Now just a wolf was missing from the big creatures.
That was quite amazing for just passing through and as we later heard, very untypical as well.
After the bison, our ride was very uneventful, but the nature kept us entertained with it’s diversity. Lush meadows and green seas of trees, surreal burned patches with skeletons of once royal woods, fog patches over meadows where volcanic heat animates water to turn into steam and rivers and lakes.
We were truly looking forward to discovering the beauty with adequate time tomorrow.
After the park we entered West Yellowstone, which reminded me (as Cody did) of a real Wild West city transported to the modern age. We looked forward to going and having some food there tomorrow and tasting the atmosphere some more.
Because of all the critters, it started getting late and the accommodation seemed way further out than we expected. We had booked this already in Texas, but were forced to take this one, because everything else was either fully-booked or even more above budget than this one was.
As we finally arrived, we had about 20 minutes to spare, but no one was behind the desk. Slowly panic started creeping up. “What if we don’t get a key? There is nothing else free here, we are far out in some forrest, we don’t have budget for paying this and another place even if we find something”…. and so on. Luckily a passerby put us out of our misery and explained that the keys are there behind the counter in envelopes for people to pick up. There is never anyone here after 2 pm. And just as he said, there was an envelope with Hass name on it.
The place we booked was a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment with a gas fireplace and a kitchen. It was gorgeous and screamed winter vacation. Since we had a kitchen, we decided to go and buy breakfast and some snacks, but still go out for dinner in the restaurant we saw while driving into the mini village.
Both were quite an adventure, but the restaurant was the stranger of the two. I never dined in the midst of an clothing and accessories store. Just imagine one of those tacky stores with cheap bling accessories, the clothing racks were moved to the side and a few square kitchen tables and chairs had been moved in the middle. Hass felt adventurous and ordered a cocktail he heard of in San Francisco: Clamato – Beer with tomato and mussel-juice. For food we decided again to split a portion of spare ribs. In this country you can be sure to be able to feed at least two, on the portions of meat. It was an interesting ambience and actually exactly what I expected from our road-trip. These are the strange places I always dreamed of visiting when I pictured a road-trip in the USA. Luckily I dreamed of a lot of things and tomorrow, we can again find something with less character and more class….