Howdy! Welcome to the third and last leg of our road trip from Atlanta to Seattle! Let’s continue where we left off previously (or start at the beginning). First, we decided we needed a break from all those outdoor adventures. Can you believe us? After all, we are recovering city slickers and still slapping ourselves on the back for surviving our first camping trip ever together. We found a nice campground and our only condition had been there needed to be one of these big chain grocery stores nearby. I don’t even recall the town’s name. We spend two days sitting beneath big trees, reading and relaxing and heading over to the store for every single item we craved. As if we had to make up for all those times when we had to survive on stale bread (yes as if).
After that, we drove to Salt Lake City which turned out to be a good destination to get all things necessary for that approximating cold front everyone was talking about. So we got long johns, bear spray, and we stocked up on groceries we actually needed. Our journey continued further north as we headed to Jackson Hole (Wyoming first-timer, woohoo). We had good food and lot’s of fun at the town square. We only stayed one night because we were eager to see Crystal and Brian who live in a small town near Teton National Park and we haven’t seen our friends for years.
It was already October by the time we finally arrived in Yellowstone National Park. While in Salt Lake City we searched online for a camping park and it wasn’t easy to find a place that is still open that late in the season (they actually closed the day we left). We stayed near the West entrance and basically just dropped off the trailer and entered the park minutes later. We didn’t have to look for wildlife because the first bison ambled towards our car just a few miles later. I was awestruck but also startled as it passed by just an arm’s length away. They are huge and massive! I took a lot of pictures but all of them turned out blurred because I was shaking a bit and that was not only caused by excitement.
Yellowstone NP is big. We had already studied the map online, downloaded it, and also grabbed one at the information center because we didn’t count on cell phone reception for the most parts and it’s better to be safe anyways. We drove from the west entrance to Madison and then turned Southeast until Old Faithful and took the same way back. This is the area with the most geysers and they are all impressive and unique. Geysers come in every shape, color, and size and unfortunately smell (phew). We stopped at every point along the road because I didn’t want to miss any of those bubbling holes and it was worth it every time.
We got up early the next day packed some food and my big thermos for a picknick and drove to Mammoth Hot Springs. The weather was still warm and sunny and after we hiked a few trails we stopped at the visitor center at the North entrance. We enjoyed our packed lunch then got some ice cream and relaxed in the sun watching the elks doing the same besides the dairy.
It was the mating season and the bulls were not holding back and bugling loudly to impress the ladies. I counted almost 30 elks and at least as many dumbheads getting too close just to get a picture. Although, it was funny watching the Ranger shoo them. Btw I had a 200mm lens, used the highest f-stop possible and cropped the pictures in the post process if needed. Please let me know if you have a better trick beside buying a larger lens. It’s really not worth to get an antler stuck in your eye for a foto.
I already mentioned the park is large and that also means we had to drive for a while to get to the points we wanted to visit. However, it never gets boring there is always something to see. After the first heart attack caused by a bison on the street, I almost got used to it. So the next time a large group of bisons passed by I took my pictures without shaking like a crazy person. Until one of them stop in front of our car and stared at us for a long while before leisurely passing by my window while I was holding my breath and avoiding sudden moves the whole time. Still not cool with oversize plant-eater I guess… Good thing we didn’t meet a bear.
Yellowstone was for sure one of the highlights of our road trip! It offers everything we like in a National Park: besides the geysers, there is a roaring waterfall, deep canyon, snow-capped mountains, steaming hot springs, large lakes, wide plains, deepest forests, and so much wildlife. Although, sometimes you have to look closer.
The weather changed from sunny to cloudy and one morning everything was frozen and white. The snow turned the whole park into a winter wonderland and it was stunning. The colder the temperature the better we could see the steam coming out of the ground and we never forgot about the supervolcano under our feet.
I was surprised by the hordes of visitors at this time of the year and it must be packed in the summer months. That’s the reason I would always prefer the early or late season although the weather can be tricky and especially snow can cause closed roads. That’s the reason we couldn’t make it to the far southeast corner of the park. But that’s ok we’ll get there next time.
Early Sunday morning we left Yellowstone because I really wanted to spend a few days at the Pacific before our journey would come to an end in Seattle. We stopped in Pendleton (OR) for the night and visited the wool fabric (got new blankies) the next morning before we made it to Cannon Beach. At least twice a day we walked up and down the beach passing by Haystack Rock (235-foot high sea stack) and a few times we stopped for coffee before we got there and I need to mention the coffee here in the Pacific Northwest is as good as they say. There are also a couple breweries and a distillery nearby so there is no need to stay thirsty. We also checked out the Tillamook Cheese Factory obviously because there is free cheese and that was me getting right back in line a few times and we also got some really good ice cream for dessert.
That’s the movecation from Atlanta to Seattle! I know the headline says Cannon Beach but we basically just drove up from there to Seattle in a hurry to get the keys to our temporary apartment and didn’t stop or anything else. That’s why I just skipped the last part and saved Seattle for another blog post.
It’s winter by now and we still go out camping with our little trailer Tardis at least once a month. We already discovered some of the most beautiful places here in the Pacific NW and there are more adventures to come. However, I don’t want to leave you off without some recaps:
- we drove whopping 4040 mi / 6500 km (just the route, excluding cruising etc.) on our way from the Southeast to the Northwest
- crossed a lot of states: GA, AL, TN, MS, AR, OK, TX, NM, CO, UT, AZ, WY, ID, OR, WA
- finished 1 bottle of very good bourbon (I think I can’t sit at a campfire without bourbon anymore)
- we had 0 dicey situations and met 0 bad persons (campers are a nice bunch of people)
- we ate pasta with tomato sauce only twice, finished two jars of peanut butter, and my emergency can of tomato soup is still untouched in the trailer
- the little grocery store on the campground near the Bryce Canyon NP offers three kind of pregnancy tests but no RV toilet paper (ok this was a dicey situation)
- we started Sep 18 in Atlanta with 87 F / 30.5 C and over 80% humidity – a trickle of water was coming down from the AC on the side of the trailer all day and night
- the lowest temperature in Yellowstone was 20 F / -7 C in the first week of October
- our road trip to Seattle ended on Oct 13
Thanks for revisiting my adventure with me again!