Chief Joseph Highway and Yellowstone

Obviously, if you are reading this, you know we did survive our night with no problems with the CO2 detector. We were up bright and early to head toward the laundromat. Laundromat? Really, who does laundry on their vacation? Us apparently. I personally had enough clothes to last me the entire trip, but I guess girls have more clothes than guys, because Chip was down to the last few pair of undies and some of his favorite clothes, and he had planned all along to do laundry. Actually, packing light and doing laundry along the way is the best way to truck camp, as there is limited space anyway, and Chip said if you pack too much it adds weight to the truck. I am pretty sure my clothes surely did not add that much weight to the camper, but then again I always do think the more clothes I am wearing the more my scales say I weigh. When I have gained weight I take no responsibility and always think it must be the jeans, or shoes, or something, never the fact that I have eaten all the things that do add weight to the hips, not the jeans. I like most women think about what I am wearing before I go to the doctor as we all know we have to get on the dreaded scales. When I changed my eating habits a while back and lost a lot of weight, and my doctor was not happy about it and told me I had to put some weight back on. On my follow-up appointment, the assistant told me I could sit my bag on the table and I told her I preferred to hold it. She looked at me like I was crazy and I told her the doctor told me I had to gain weight and unfortunately, I had not and had considered wearing leg weight under my pants, but I thought just holding my bag was easier. I am pretty sure she then thought I was certifiable, as how many of us women actually want to weigh more on the scale? Not me either, but I was trying to pull a fast one for my doctor. But there I go again on that lazy susan so back to the laundromat. Chip had already researched where to do laundry through some of his truck camping blogs he followed and we headed toward the one with the best reviews that were open 24-hours a day. It was actually in the same parking lot with a highway patrol station, so no wonder everyone thought it was safe. Inside we were able to meet the owner who was there doing some cleaning before he and his wife were heading off to Italy. Thank goodness he was there as I had to ask him how to use the washing machines. I have not been to the laundry mat since 1986 when I went to a laundromat in Raleigh while Chip and I were in college. I remember that day fondly as I felt like a little married couple doing his laundry for him. I thought it was so much fun that I added the small paper box the laundry detergent came in, to my scrapbook from our early years dating and marriage. It was the cutest little box, and when it was flattened out it was about 4 inches by 6 inches at the most. I stopped adding to the scrapbook years ago, but it is fun to look back and reminisce about those early memories.
While I got the clothes started Chip was in the camper in the parking lot getting a shower. I enjoyed visiting with the owner as he shared with me stories of his own adventures and travels. Chip and I traded places, and he learned even more from the owner about his travels. I would have to say talking to the Owner while we waited made this a great laundry mat experience. We both ate breakfast and folded our clothes, and we were on the road before the sun was even up good.
If you are ever in Cody and need to wash clothes, at any hour, check out the Cody Laundromat https://thecodylaundromat.weebly.com/, it definitely is the best laundromat in town. And if you are lucky, you will get to meet the owner, Jim.

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Our destination today was the long-awaited Yellowstone Park. We traveled along the Chief Joseph Highway which had a lot of spectacular scenery.  Wyoming Highway 296 also known as the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway is a forty-six mile-long state highway in Wyoming and follows the route taken by Chief Joseph as he led the Nez Perce Indians.  I had a hard time narrowing down the pictures so here are just a few of the many that we took.

The highway was an open range so we saw cows grazing along the highway, as well as walking in the middle of the road so once again we had wildlife slowly, and I mean slowly, walking along. It did not bother us as we were glad to slow down and enjoy the scenery.

The road was exceptionally curvey and the variation in the mountains was beautiful. These are pictures we took along the drive.

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We saw our first “Bear Sign” and I, of course, was then on the lookout for bear along the way.

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We saw the snow on the mountains in the distance, which was really exciting to me. I love the snow and was very excited we would see some on this trip. 

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We finally made it to the snow and I was a happy girl, though we drove out of it not too many miles later. It was beautiful while it lasted and I will go ahead and tell you a little secret, we do see snow again.

When we got closer to Yellowstone, we began looking for somewhere to stay. We knew there were a lot of campgrounds along the way, and once inside Yellowstone there were over ten campgrounds, so we did not think it would be a problem to find somewhere to camp.

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But we began to get a little nervous about where we were going to stay for the night as several campgrounds along the way had already closed for the season. We did find one right outside of Yellowstone that had a notice up they were closing the next day, so worst-case scenario we could come back to it if we didn’t find anything else. 

We saw a red fox in the campground as soon as we pulled in so we would have loved to stay there knowing it had wildlife in it, but we knew we wanted to take the truck camper off for a couple of days and we really wanted to find somewhere to stay so we didn’t have to move again so we kept going. 

We entered Yellow Stone National Park shortly thereafter and stopped at the first campground we came to, Pebble Creek, and discovered they did have an opening. We had a sense of overwhelming peace that we had somewhere to stay without wasting time doing lot of looking. We unloaded the camper which literally takes just a few minutes and set out to ride the roads to see wildlife. 

We had not gone far when we saw moose and then further down the roadwe saw wolves playing in a field. The wolves were too far away to capture with our camera, so we were only able to see them through the binoculars. Sorry I would have loved to have pictures of those to share.

We went to Mammoth Hot Springs where we saw hot springs. These were absolutely incredible, and again we had a hard time just choosing a few pictures, so here are more than just a few that is for sure.

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We stopped at the Petrified Tree.  Around 50 million years ago, scientists say this area of the park was flourishing with tall trees when volcanic eruptions buried the forest in ash, creating a petrified forest. I am not going to lie, it was not what I expected. When you tell me I am going to see a petrified tree, I seriously am thinking it is a “tree” that had petrified. This looked like a rock formation and nothing like a tree, to me anyway.

We also saw elk in the village of Mammoth Hot Springs and visited the museum. 

We saw a black-billed magpie bird, which I had never seen before and met a raven who obviously had been fed at the parking lot as it was not afraid of people at all.

I would say it was a productive day. We had a nice quiet dinner inside the camper and called it a night as it was getting cold and we had not bought any firewood.  We went to bed early as our goal tomorrow is to get up early and be on the road to try to catch the early morning movement of wildlife stirring around. 

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