A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Old Faithful and Beyond, Yellowstone Park

We continued on to the main attraction of Yellowstone Old Faithful Geyser.  Unfortunately it seemed it was out of order so I walked the boardwalk to view all the other geysers and pools.  A few people were sitting patiently waiting while repairs were being made.  
Maybe it will be working when I come back by I thought.

More pretty pools.

They give these pools names, this one being Rippling Pool.  
Some were somewhat unimaginative.  I misplaced my notes on those names unfortunately.

This was the scene at Grand Geyser.  I had just wormed my through a crowd so thick they were completely blocking the pathway behind the benches.  You are not supposed to step off the boardwalk and these people were utterly clueless standing there in the way of those who wanted to pass by.

This is what they were so concentrated on.  It was a continual spouting of water so after viewing a minute's worth, what more is there to see?   Maybe I was missing something.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Return to Yellowstone

With the eclipse now history, family summer vacations over and school back in session I thought I would try another visit to Yellowstone National Park hopefully to be able to see some of what I was denied last month.  Ah yes, it proved to be much nicer this go-around.  Coming in from the south entrance this time, the first stop was the West Thumb Geyser Basin.

 Doesn't this look so inviting to swim in?  Different pools have different temperatures and you can tell how hot they are by the color of the algae and bacteria around the edges.  Being there is none present on this pool, it must be pretty doggone hot!

As the water drains away it cools down and algae can live.  I really enjoyed all the marvelous colors.

Some pools are called paintpots for the water mixed with sediments
 is really thick bubbling away just like boiling paint.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Brooks Lake, Wyoming

High (9100' elevation) in the Shoshone National Forest I discovered this little gem of a place to stay.
It is to be able to call a place like this home for a few days
is why I do what I do - live on the road.

Looking the opposite direction from our home-site are these majestic cliffs.

Nearby Brooks Creek that empties into the lake. 
This bear country and no tent camping allowed.  You must be in a hard-sided abode.

Less than a mile down the road was a trail head to view some falls.
I just had to go see. 

 What is it about waterfalls and cascades that so captivates us?

Dropping down 2300' in elevation to the west I was finally able to get a good cell signal and make up this post.  Off in the not-too-far distance the Grand Teton mountains rise skyward but I am barely able to see them for all the smoke coming down from those wildfires in Canada.
Or maybe there is a fire close by I do not know about.

Friday, August 25, 2017


This is a continuation from my Eclipse post.
If you missed it you can see it here.

After the eclipse we three said our good-byes and went our separate ways, Texas, Oklahoma and me westward to Casper, Wyoming.  After several miles of dirt road I was on the two lane highway to the little town of Torrington, just inside the Wyoming/Nebraska border completely oblivious as to what had been going on in the country outside of our little Packer Lake retreat.  It was here I first saw all the traffic as it was backed up to get onto another two-lane highway south to Cheyenne, Wyoming and beyond into Colorado.  I was grateful I was heading west but thought of my poor friends Angela and Will maybe caught up in that mess.  

Twenty four miles later the mess caught me and I quickly pulled in to a rest stop outside of the town of Guernsey to wait it out.

By now the Little House on the Highway is penned in and I couldn't get out even if I wanted to.
Beans of course wanted out to sniff car bumpers, wheels and lug nuts.
Sinbad was the same way and I've see other cats do likewise.

Silly to sit in a your car wasting gas going nowhere.  
May as well sit in the shade on a nice green lawn.  
Maybe have a picnic.

Or find a quiet spot with a nice view and get back to that great book you've been reading.

A few hours later we were back on the two lane highway where madness ensued.  Eastbound drivers were getting more and more frustrated passing cars in front of them coming my way in my lane! Why all the impatient frustration?  Well in 15 miles I learned why as I turned onto Interstate 25 heading north.  They had just escaped this!

It was like this for miles and miles while my side was virtually empty.  Where were all these people coming from?  Then even a side frontage road where they thought they could do better was clogged also.   I saw people out walking faster than traffic was moving.  At one point I saw a tour bus off on the side of the highway, broke down.  All of the passengers were sanding outside in the broiling sun.  Roadside assistance or a replacement bus would not be able to get to them for many hours. 

Over each hill I expected to see it thin out but no, it continued to be backed up for as far as I could see.  I was simply amazed at what I was seeing thinking I'll never see anything like this again, much like the eclipse itself.  It was as if a mass evacuation was in effect due to some pandemic event or imminent nuclear attack. 
 After awhile it became a bit unnerving as if we were speeding on into some Death Zone.

After 34 miles of observing this madness it began to thin out some and just before Douglas southbound traffic was somewhat normal and those poor souls had no idea what lay ahead of them.

Every little town had big eclipse celebrations and people had signs out on their roped off property "Parking $20". Souvenir stands were still up, big bar-b-que cook-outs going with music, food and cold drinks for sale at premium prices no doubt.  I was talking with a guy in Casper and mentioned the hotel prices I had read about.  He said his friends rented out their home to some astronomical society for the weekend for...are you sitting down? $14,000.  True or not, after what I had seen in the past 24 hours I was willing to believe most anything.  Later I saw an article in the Casper newspaper that stated "Early estimates are that the population for the state had tripled for the eclipse viewing".
Now that I can believe without a doubt.

My new camp throughout the weekend will be at a lake some miles from Shoshone Wyoming from where I am posting this.  Cell service with any data speed is nearly non-existent here and I am having to use their public library wifi to post this.  
So if you don't see anything from us for several days, that is why.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017


I can truthfully say the eclipse was the most incredible and beautiful event in my entire life.  
Nothing could have even begun to prepare me for the experience I saw and felt.
And I have to say how extremely fortunate we were for our choice of location after witnessing the aftermath of the eclipse upon leaving.  But that is for another post to follow.

Here I am with two fellow travelers, Angela and Will.

As the moon almost reached the point of totally blocking the sun the birds zoomed overhead to their roosting area among the reeds and cattails behind us as they had done every evening while we were camped at Packer Lake in Wyoming a stone's throw from the Nebraska state line.  Then we heard the crickets chirping and the frogs croaking.  To them it was evening.  It never got dark as night.

At our location totality would be 1 minute and 22 seconds in length. I looked at the sun/moon for about 20 seconds then went for the camera to take some stills and video.  I had intended to edit out the jiggly parts where I was searching for the sun on my camera screen but in doing so would have removed the little bit of talking between us three.  I left it as is hopefully capturing the mood between us. We didn't say much for we were pretty much speechless.  At the end you can hear Angela's disbelief that it was over.  It really did seem that time had sped up for that 1 minute and 22 seconds, but this film clip is 1:06 long and I had already looked for those 20 seconds.

This video was shot with my GoPro on a tripod for what started out as capturing the entire nearly 3 hour event from start to finish but I soon realized nothing visible was happening for over half that time.  This is cut down to just 10 minutes of the good stuff then compressed down to 1 minute.  Unfortunately the camera keeps readjusting the exposure for the diminishing light so we don't see the darkening and lightening as how it really looked.

Afterwards we noticed two separate events of a haze appearing over the lake.  It was there then gone.  Minutes later it was there again then disappeared.  This occurred in what to our eyes seemed as full daylight even though the sun was still partially obscured.
I have no pictures of that since it was very faint.  Really spooky.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Today is the Day

The great celestial event, the solar eclipse, happens today.  I selected Nebraska to be the state of choice to view the darkening skies as it is flat and wide open.  Now it was just a matter of the clouds. I have been monitoring the forecast for a week and most everywhere along the path of the dark zone was "partially cloudy".  That won't do.  I want "clear and sunny".  Each day what I wanted was further and further east in the state.  I eventually gave up on the weather.  You cannot control the weather.  But I can control to some degree the mass of people expected to infiltrate the area and with that I concentrated on a remote location hopefully few will make the effort to drive to.  So if the sun and moon are obscured by a cloud I can live with that for I mostly want to experience the totality of darkness in a matter of a few minutes in the middle of the day.  I've put in too much time and thought with this thing, I just want this to get over with so I can continue on with my life. 
Whatever happens, and what images I get I will post when I get to someplace with cell service.  

Our location ended up being just over the border into Wyoming.  It is a small wildlife management lake with only a couple places to camp.  This should be good.

Sunday, August 20, 2017


A little research revealed the plague they are referring to is the Bubonic plague, the Black Death.

Hey, I have a little black-footed ferret traveling with me!

At a Sinclair gas station in Cody, Wyoming.  I have never run across these anywhere before.  
What a nice service.  
I have my own glove I use as diesel leaves a lingering smell much more than plain gasoline does.

We are trashing are planet to no end.
The orange peel was surprising to me.

We stopped to see Chimney Rock outside of Bayard, Nebraska.

I didn't remember having been there until I saw these signs which were everywhere.

I also didn't remember a $3 fee which I doubt I would have paid on the previous visit as you cannot get any closer to the feature than the back door of the visitor center.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


We stayed overnight at Bordeaux Wildlife Area just across the border after a long day's drive.

I love Nebraska.

Off in the distance in the above photo later that evening was the most amazing lightning storm I had ever witnessed.  Amazing in the frequency of flashes which I tried to capture in a one minute video.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Leaving the Badlands

The evening before we left a herd of Bighorn Sheep passed through coming up from the canyon below from where we were camped.  I doubt you can see them in this photo but some of the group are right in the center of the photo.

Zoomed way in the picture quality isn't all that good but better than nothing.
Notice a few with radio tracking collars.

A marvel that they can stand on such narrow ledges quite at ease.

The morning we left they had moved in closer to camp.
Taken out the window which you can see the bit of bottom left,
which gives an idea as to how close they were, not a care in the world.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Down Into the Badlands

Our camp is just outside the Park entrance where we can camp for free on the grasslands.
This is our view just across the dirt road separating camp form the edge of the plateau we are on.
Yeah, I like having the road between us and the edge.

The first day I just had to see if there was a way down into the Badlands.
See if you can find me in the following photos taken by my camp neighbor Angela.


It was windy and cool on the top when I began the hike but once down there
no wind and it began to get warm where here I have taken off my outer shirt.

Not zoomed in like some of the other photos which gives you an idea of the vastness 
but I am there, a speck in the very center.

Thank you Angela for these photos.