Report of the 2001 Texas to Alaska Model T Adventure

Last Revised: November 15, 2003

Monday, August 6, 2001

Texas to Alaska

Model T Travel Report


Today's report

sponsored by:

Texas T Parts


Day 62 - August 6, 2001 - We stopped for gas in West Yellowstone before breakfast and created quite a stir with the crowd in the station. When we stopped a few minutes later, I realized I had left my purse at the gas station. Ben and I rushed back (as much as you can rush in a Model T) and when I went in, they had it at the counter. A biker who had been chatting with Ginger noticed it after we left and brought it in. He was still in the store so I was able to thank him. Once again, these guys have been so nice to us. These are not Hell's Angels kind of guys, although they are in leather and many have tattoos. They think what we are doing is great and appreciate the desire to do something a little different than most people.

If you have never been to Yellowstone, stop reading now and make reservations to come! This is a wonderful park and a beautiful place. There is an incredible variety in landscape in the park, starting with the concept that the park itself is about 7,000 feet above sea level. There are mountain passes, wonderful rivers, huge lakes surrounded by trees, desert-like thermal areas with bubbling hot springs, the famous and not-so-famous-but-actually-better geysers. The center of the park is a caldera, the bowl of an ancient volcano that has filled in over hundreds of thousands of years. You could be here for a week and not see everything that you can see without walking very far. We have about a day and a half.

We headed first to Old Faithful, stopping along the way at several of the hot springs areas. These are not the nice kind of hot springs where you soak away your troubles; these are the kind that would take the skin off your bones. They bubble up everywhere in the thermal areas, including a fairly new one that appeared under a parking lot in 1999. We've read the book, "Death in Yellowstone," and take the warning signs seriously that tell you to stay on the boardwalk but are amazed at the footprints we see in the wet soil around the pools. They have had several deaths and serious injuries here this summer due to visitor carelessness.

Old Faithful is famous because it blows so regularly and is pretty impressive to watch. Unfortunately, it has a Disney sort of exposure, with bleachers set in a semi-circle for the spectators. We watched it and then set off on the geyser trail (two very hot miles) where there are several more spectacular but less predictable geysers. We got to see several of them but most would require a wait that could have been hours so we didn't stay.

We had cabins (and I use the term loosely because Yellowstone does) at Canyon Village, a central area in the park near the "Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone" which we are going to see tomorrow. By the time we had shopped, eaten, and walked all around the Old Faithful area and they driven another 60 miles on around to our motel, the day was over. The cabins were not wonderful but the day was pretty great so it was ok. The sheets were clean and the shower was hot - that has been our criteria for this trip.

Be prepared; there are lots of pictures!

806a - Our motel was only two miles from the Idaho state line so we decided to run over to Idaho before breakfast. The first thing we saw was the chain up area (a notorious sign that a steep hill is coming!) but we were already so high up that we reached the state line, the continental divide, and 7072 ft without any trouble at all. This is Ross and Bruce, of course.


806b - We had barely entered the park before we saw our first cluster of people and cars on the highway (a notorious sign that there is wildlife in the area). Unlike many of the other visitors, we actually pulled off the highway to see what was there and were surprised at this big herd of moose. Ben and Jennifer both got a good shot at the moose, feeding and drinking from the river. These were all females and babies and there were 30 or more in the herd. If you come to Yellowstone, promise me that you won't just stop your car in the middle of the road to take a picture of a moose!


806c - Jennifer and Ginger react to the smell of the sulfur pool in front of them. Many of the pools have no smell at all; many have an intense sulfur "rotten egg" smell.


806d - Nancy at the Sapphire Pool. The pools vary in color based on the heat level. They can grow tiny micro-organisms that are red or orange or brown. If they are very, very hot - boiling temperature - they destroy the organisms and are a brilliant clear blue. That is the case in the Sapphire Pool.


806e - When Yellowstone Park was first established and visitors were encouraged to come, Old Faithful was the selling point. Geysers like this are unknown in the rest of the world and the regularity of its eruption was an enticement to the crowd. While it isn't predictable enough to set your watch by, it hit exactly on the minute that the sign in the hotel said it would.


806f - Bleachers form a half-circle around the geyser, back far enough that on-lookers won't get burned by the spray. Old photographs show early visitors standing within feet of the pool; now you can't get close enough to actually see the pool, just the cone.


806g - Jennifer and Ginger at Morning Glory Pool. This pool is in the shape of a flower blossom and, until more recent years, was a deep brilliant blue like a morning glory. Unfortunately, in spite of warnings and signs all around, people keep throwing coins and trash into the pool. This chemical change, and the blocking of the vents, has cooled the water temperature. Now the edges of the pool have become more orange and the blue is not as intense. Bruce suggested that a ranger on the bluff with a deer rifle could stop that problem.


806h - Riverside Geyser is probably the most spectacular of the geysers that erupt with any degree of regularity. Ben, Bruce, Ross, and Ginger waited almost an hour for this to blow and were rewarded with a wonderful show. Since it can't be predicted with anything less than three hours + or -, it isn't as popular an attraction as Old Faithful.


806i - Grotto Geyser, when it was first discovered, was a cone, like most of the geysers. Within the next few years, though, it erupted with such intensity that it blew out the side of the cone and formed this unusual shape. The water sprays up like ocean waves on the Pacific coast beat against the rocks. It is pretty exciting to watch. Those tiny figures in the distance are Nancy, Jennifer and Ginger.


806j - Ben, Ross, and Bruce walk back toward Old Faithful Inn. This is a wonderful place, built in the larger-than-life style so popular at the turn of the century. The Inn is surrounded by acres of burnt trees, remnants of the devastating 1988 fire that came with a few hundred yards of the building before it suddenly changed direction and spared the hotel.


806k - The drive to Canyon Village took us by Lake Yellowstone, a huge blue lake surrounded by tall lodgepole pines and burnt stumps. This part of the park was very hard hit by the fires in 1988 and, if you look closely at this photo, you will see a haze from the fires going on now in the eastern side of the park. The East Entrance is closed but the majority of the park is not affected at this moment and the fires are mostly contained.

For Further Information Contact:

Ben or Nancy Hardeman
Texas T Parts
1820 Gray Stone Drive
Bryan, Texas 77807
Tel: 979-361-0271
e-mail: or

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