Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Hello from Gardiner, Montana!

Start time: 0800

Start odometer: 19496

Weather: High level clouds, some sun shining through.  Temperature 39 degrees F.


A nice day for a drive, with sun and clouds throughout the day.  Also experienced some extremely strong winds, and ended the day with a little bit of hail and ice pellets at the higher altitudes in the park.  The menu at dinner tonight mentioned some of the history of Gardiner, which is located at the north entrance to Yellowstone.  The town was named for a local person named Gardner, and there seems to be some debate about the reason for the misspelling of the name.  Initially it was an location of 200 people and 12 saloons, as well as other businesses, and grew larger upon the arrival of the railroad.  Today its primary purpose seems to be tourism, with many types of lodging, dining, and entertainment facilities.  Several places are closed, and this motel will only be open for another three days before it shuts down for the winter.  By the way, I found it interesting that regular fuel in South Dakota has and octane rating of 85, and regular in Montana is 85.5 octane!


After a good night of rest, I packed up the car and continued my journey.  While there were high level clouds across the sky, the sun was still able to get though during the morning.  I stopped at The Red Apple, the local grocery store, before leaving Lovell, to pick up some soda and breakfast bars, and then turned onto Route 14A.  Listening to the newscast on the radio, the final story reported was something about a cheese covered house in the town of Powell, Wyoming.  I looked at the map and noticed my next large town was Powell!  So, of course, when I arrived in Powell, I asked for directions to the cheese house.  The people at the store knew what I was talking about, and directed me to cross the tracks and turn left, that the house was only a block and a half away!  They said I would not see much, since they were currently working on the inside.  I drove down the street and saw what might have been cheese on the inside of a window, so I parked the across the street.  At this particular house, I noticed the sound of an air compressor, and some equipment covered with a sheet.  There were two gentlemen working in the yard behind the equipment, and they waved me into the yard after I indicated my interest.


The story goes that one of these two is an artist that is covering a house with cheese!  Some of the neighbors are worried about the possibility of mice or other varmints moving into the neighborhood.  But the project goes on, in the name of art!  The artist (surprisingly, I do not know his name) invited me to go into the house and allowed pictures to be taken to show the current progress.  It was quite a sight, and of course, it had a very strong smell of cheese (but you figured that already!)  After a few pictures, I talked with the gracious artist and his assistant about the procedure.  They use only one type of cheese, Monterey Jack, cut it up, put it in a fifty gallon container surrounded by water, heat up the water to soften the cheese, then  use some sort of compression device to shoot the softened cheese through a hose and onto whatever he decides to cheese at the time.  (I never thought one could "cheese" something!!!)  I wished them well and continued on my way.  I do not know what to say about it except that it is another unique experience for the trip!  One last comment, as I was leaving, I wished them both well and shook the hand of the artist, then seeing at the assistant breaking up some of the cheese with his hands (look at the last picture of this section,) decided just to pat him on the back! 


Click on picture for larger image, hit back button to return to this page.

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The artist (right) and his assistant prepare to slice the cheese.  The unit of Monterey Jack cheese is about three feet tall, and you can see more containers in the background. 

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I walked into the house through the kitchen (yet untouched, and turned to the right to see the living room.  I particularly like the "Big Wheel" on the floor!

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This is to show the before and after effect of the cheese.  Cardboard is placed on the floor to provide a path.  Not sure from where the carpet came!

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Another example of the partial spray of the room.  Keep the paneling?  Cheese it!

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Remember the smell...Good thing it was not limburger!

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The artist...

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And his assistant.

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The house from the front, with some equipment on the left under the tarp.


Back to my trip, I drove into Cody, which was the location of my turn to route 120, the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway.  The views were wonderful, and the sky had cleared allowing the temperature to warm.  It had peaked at 64 degrees at the lower elevations.  It was also very windy, which moved the car around a little.  At the highest point of the road, the 8000 feet Dead Indian Hill Summit, a turnoff provided spectacular views, and winds were gusting higher than fifty knots.  I was able to stand at quite an angle into the wind.  Resuming the drive northwest, I approached Route 212.  Along this portion of the drive, clouds moved in and I began to see sprinkles.  With this, I also got to see another rainbow.  After getting fuel for the car in Cooke City, Montana, I drove to Yellowstone National Park!

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Along the road, northwest of Cody.

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My next route.

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From the highest point of scenic highway, Dead Indian Hill Summit.

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Another view from the summit.

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The rainbow eventually crossed completely across my view.

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A deep canyon along the road.

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On Route 212, a short trip through Montana is part of the drive.

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The town of Cooke City.  It is very quiet this time of year.  But soon, activity will return for the snowmobile season.

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Finally, I arrive at the country's first national park, Yellowstone!


I had an excellent drive through Yellowstone.  I stopped many times to view scenery, take short hikes, and listen to the sounds of the land.  It was very peaceful, and especially in comparison to summer months.  There were other people there, but in most of the parking areas for sights and hikes, there were never more than four cars.  While two sections of roads in the park are closed (one for construction, one for snow,) I appreciate the opportunity to see a place like this without large crowds of people.


I arrived at the Mammoth Springs Visitor Center around 1430 and picked up information, and as I usually do, saw the park video.  I decided to drive five miles north to the town of Gardiner to get lodging for the evening.  I had initially considered staying in West Yellowstone, Montana, but because a road was closed for construction, I would not arrive until after dark.  By securing accommodations in Gardiner, I was able to explore the Mammoth Springs area and drive a bit further into the park.

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Coyote that had crossed the road.

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One of many waterfalls in the park.

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Another waterfall along the road.

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Elk at the Mammoth Visitor Center.

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One group of elk at the Visitor Center.  They were all over the area!

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The 1903 park entrance just outside of Gardiner.

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Along the Mammoth Hot Springs.

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This "face" was in a wall at the springs.  Appropriate for Halloween!

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These interesting mineral formations were underwater.

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The steam generated from one of the springs.

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A description of Fort Yellowstone originally constructed at Mammoth Springs.

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A view over the hot springs to the Fort.

Other pictures:


Tomorrow I plan to explore the park, with an overnight in West Yellowstone, Montana.  My concern is that when I was traveling on a higher altitude road as the sun was setting, the temperature was 37 degrees and rain mixed with hail and ice pellets were hitting the windshield.  The only road connecting the north section to the south my have some snow on it by the morning, so my plans will be flexible.  Thank you for visiting the page!


Routes traveled today: Wy 14A - Wy 120 - Wy 296 - US 212 - Yellowstone Park roads - US 89

Hotel: Motel 6 -

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Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

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