In 1967 my father bought a Pontiac Catalina and a dingy old travel trailer and took his girlfriend, my brother and me on a road trip. Over the next 8 weeks we drove 13,498 miles, visited 51 parks, and saw wonders like geysers, redwoods, grizzlies, and the Summer of Love in San Francisco. The trip made an indelible impression, cementing my appreciation for the natural world and the American landscape. This summer Pamela and I hope to repeat the experience for our family.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Sunday, July 18th

9:50 Drove out of Bridge Bay campground. Not much sleep due to jerks in next campground.

9:58 Almost ran into a deer in the road.

10:15 Stopped at Mud Volcano. Linden thought the name lacked imagination. Dave renamed it Satan's Spitoon.

10:23 Buffalo jam. Big herd. Hundreds of them. Gave us an idea of what a real western buffalo herd might be like.

11:20 Ran into another wildlife jam. Turned out to be a mother grizzly and cubs. Once the mom started climbing up the embankment to the road. Everybody turns and runs to the cars. We did too, but not before we snapped a good picture of the bear.

ll:40 Amazing vistas of clouds, mountains, and hillsides covered with a multitude of wildflowers.

ll:52 Wow.

12:33 Saw elk snoozing at the post office grounds at park headquarters.

12:48 45th parallel of latitude. Halfway between the equator and the north pole.

12:53 Leave Yellowstone Park.

1:09 Stopped at Yankee Jim picnic area in Gallatin National Forest for a picnic lunch. Sat in shade at picnic table while the river rushed by a few feet away.

5:30 Stopped at Ruby's Inn in Missoula, MT.

6:15 After driving around Missoula for a while, we end up going to the Shack, which, despite its name, was a pretty nice restaurant. Almost everything else was closed on this Sunday night in Missoula. Dave had an excellent pasta with fresh Morel mushrooms, maybe the best meal I've had on this trip. Afterwards, we went to the Big Dipper, a local ice cream institution. Linden is on a mission to have a different flavor of ice cream every time she has ice cream this summer. Tonight's flavor was yellow cake.

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