Wednesday, November 11, 2015

usbackroads destination--Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

usbackroads destination--Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

trip date: October 14, 2015

We left Grand Teton National Park on the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Parkway headed for Yellowstone National Park.  Bugaboo and I were in a foul mood as we approached the entrance station to the park.  Bugaboo as soon as he saw the NPS sign, knew it was going to be a ZERO day.  No running, exploring, sniffing or other good things to do.  In my case, waiting for over a half-hour on October 14 to enter a National Park is a bit much!

Yellowstone is a  very special spot on the planet.  The only other places that come close are Iceland and Kamchatka.  We almost bought Kamchatka from the Russians, but thank god the sale did not go through.  Otherwise, the National Park Service would be managing both world wonders!!  If you can go to Kamchatka.....GO!  It is a special place:  Kamchatka's Plants.

However, Yellowstone is much closer and just as special.  IF you have ONLY one day in Yellowstone National Park do the thermal features in the southeast corner along the Firehole River.  Do take any kid you can to this special place on earth.  It is a delight.  Even the worse, jaded, computer game and social networking junky will appreciate it.  Yep, those are selfies they are taking in the picture above.  Click on the image to see it full size.

The Firehole River is famous for fly fishing.  This is the typical picture you see in the magazines of fishing the Firehole River.

Well, the truth is more like this.  But still a special place.  It is just that you are sharing it with many people even in the middle of October.

But hey, fly fishing is cool. The attraction is the fishing for those "magically impaired".

Of course, it would NOT be a National Park without those signs.  Here the Park Service put one on the left side of the trail and another on the right side of the trail. Remember it is a National Park....walk between the lines, speak softly, and do not use flash. It is just like that fine art museum where you also pay to get in.

Don't let the signs stop you.

The scenery away from the hot springs is worth noting. The wildlife is there and the hot springs are always just visible as their steam rises.

There are several stops on the Hot Springs Tour of Yellowstone National Park.  A couple are closed to folks towing trailers.  So you might want to camp and day trip this portion of the National Park.

It is one of the most spectacular sights on this planet.  It belongs to you.  See it.

Monday, November 9, 2015

usbackroad destination--Signal Mountain Campground and Grand Teton National Park

usbackroad destination--Signal Mountain Campground and Grand Teton National Park.

trip date: October 13, 2015

As we were leaving the Warren Recreation Area managed by the BLM where the nightly fee was ZERO we started looking for a campground to spend the night inside of Grand Teton National Park.  The National Park Service was founded by and is managed for the elites in this country.  One of the advantages of being a Senior citizen is that you get free admission to the National Parks and a small discount on camping fees.  So for the first time in years many folks are finally able to visit THEIR National Parks.

For more on the history of the National Park Service click on this link:

Our quick search of the internet found ONLY one campground open in Grand Teton National Park.  We were losing our internet connection and managed to get this one review:  Well, there was construction going on, but surely they would be done by mid-October!!  Wrong.  Five stars rating so the view at least must be impressive.  Wrong. The place is a poster child for everything that is wrong with the Park Service and their concessionaire program.

Here is the campsite and notice the fee for a night in October.  No hook-ups except for electricity.  Did I mention that this was the ONLY campground open in Grand Teton National Park?

Really, I do think private companies should be able to make money even if they are under contract to the Federal Government to provide a public service.  But not to offer the public a low cost option in the National Park shows a disrespect for the American public.

Of course, for the National Park Service this is their favorite guy.  And if you are a relative of his I am sure the Park Service will welcome you with open arms.

However, if you are part of the unwashed masses.  Good luck.  It is even worse if your are disabled.  It is only 2015.  The American with Disabilities Act passed in the early 1990's.  This is what the concessionaire built AND the National Park Service approved for a campground in 2015!!

Go ahead try getting there with a wheel chair, baby buggy, or even a cane.  And when you get there this is how you fill your water container.  Don't forget now you get to carry that full water container at 8.3 pounds per gallon.

From this angle you can actually see how steep the access trail is to the restroom.  2015.  The law has been on the books for 25 years!  AND the National Park Service is a FEDERAL agency.  There is no excuse for this.

The campground roads are also an adventure.  Yeah, they really are that narrow.

WHY would anybody rebuild or permit the rebuilding of this campground??

However, it is Grand Teton National Park and if you are lucky enough to be rich enough or physically fit enough to camp in the campground the Park is worth a visit.

There is ANOTHER five dollar fees for launching kayaks and canoes on the lakes inside the National Park.  Boy, that Rockelfeller guy gave some really good lessons to the National Park Service on "ripping off"....excuse me charging fair prices for services!!!  Isn't that boat ramp at the right hand side of the photo worth five bucks??

Enough ranting and raving about the National Park Service.

Explore the backroads of the National Park. The good news is that you can even access some National Forest land via the National Park.

Grand Teton National Park is about the views.

We only had time for one day at the park.  We will be back and hopefully find a nice Forest Service campground at reasonable prices.

My recommendation for Grand Teton is take a bicycle.  There is a great bike trail from Jackson up into the National Park. Remember the fee for entering the park by car is $30.  It is only $15 for a bicycle.  However, if your a family you should put the bikes on the bike rack on your car and save some money.  Damn, there is that Rockelfeller guy again.  Grand Teton National Park Bike brochure.

The other trip is to canoe or kayak the Snake River through the park.  Yeah, you will have to pay the Park Service again for that boat permit, but do it anyway.

At the end of the day we took the drive up Signal Mountain overlook.  Take a telescope or high power binoculars and a tripod with you.  From here you look down on the flatlands of Grand Teton National Park.  We saw lots of elk, beer and antelope on our trip.  For best results, go at sunrise or sunset.

After one day in Grand Teton National Park I was just a cranky at the Park Service as Bugaboo.  Tomorrow.  Yellowstone and then the freedom of BLM and Forest Service managed land.