Report of the 2001 Texas to Alaska Model T Adventure

Last Revised: November 15, 2003

Tuesday, August 7, 2001

Texas to Alaska

Model T Travel Report


Today's report

sponsored by:

Texas T Parts


Day 63 - August 7, 2001 - We woke up early for breakfast and started out for an area called the Mud Volcano Trail. These mud pots are primarily clustered around the same area and make a thunderous noise to go along with the sulfurous smell. The early explorers could hear the booming from the Yellowstone River. They thought they must have found Hell. When they came back telling about their find, the newspapers branded them as drunkards or mad. The pits look like bubbling cauldrons, with a crusty irregular edges and gray or brownish mud splattering upward.

Some old friends from Bryan, TX, now live in Bozeman, Montana, and they came to meet us for lunch. Pete and Kandy Rose drove in with a trunk full of steak sandwiches and fresh fruit. What a delicious lunch and it was a pleasure to see them again. After lunch, we all went to see the waterfalls on the Yellowstone. The Yellowstone River comes from Lake Yellowstone, wanders through the valley where the buffalo roam, and then comes crashing down an upper series of waterfalls before it cascades 300 feet over the lower falls and into a ravine called the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. From Artist's Point, you have a spectacular view of the Lower Falls and the Canyon. Ross and Bruce, Jennifer and Ginger all climbed down a 600 ft. trail to the top of the Lower Falls (and, even more impressively, climbed up). Ben and Nancy stayed with the Pete and Kandy Rose at the top, watching other tourists taking pictures of our cars and listening to the comments. One man who had carefully inspected all four cars, drove passed us and said, "They may be crazy but they've got grit!" We just smiled and waved.

We checked into horseback riding but all the trail rides were full so we went back to the cabins to relax, fiddle with the cars (those famous adjustments), and do laundry. There are no phones in the cabins, no TVs, no air conditioning ("this is a national park; of course, we don't have air conditioning). I understand that the economics of park management may preclude adding many amenities but these "cabins" were more like those portable buildings you see surrounding schoolhouses these days. They weren't made of logs. They didn't have porches. The walls were pretty thin. But, as I said, our standards have been considerably reduced. The sheets were clean and there was enough hot water for showers. That will do.


807a - There is a vast meadow between Canyon Village and Fishing Bridge where there are hundreds or thousands of buffalo. They are huge, dirty animals and they wander around on the hillsides and through the river and across the roadway. People stop on the sides of the road or, the less careful ones, stop in the middle of the road. And some people are foolish enough to stand outside their cars while a pair of buffalo consider whether the car is in their way.


807b -Jennifer contemplates whether the sides of the coupe would withstand a charge from the buffalo beside her as Taylor whines to go herd them. Taylor has become a real scout for wildlife, often whining at something close by before we even spot it. While Ben was taking the picture, Jennifer is trying to get Taylor to be quiet before he aggravates the buffalo.


807c - The cars are lined up at Dragon's Mouth Spring, one of the major mud pools. You can see the steam rising from the bubbling pot. Left to right: Ross's '26 roadster, Jennifer's '26 coupe, and Ben's '27 Fordor. The boardwalks are to keep you from breaking through the thin crust and into a hot pool. However, the hot spots are popping up all the time as a weak point gives way and pressure is diverted. A wisp of steam in the parking lot in 1999 turned out to be a large pool that had developed under the concrete. Try explaining THAT to your insurance agent!


807d - This is the Mud Volcano that the area is named after. This whole area is the bowl of an ancient volcano and, when the early explorers discovered it in 1872, this was a cone 30 ft. high, spewing mud that covered tall trees. A giant eruption blew out the side since then and left this odd-shaped bowl.


807e - One more picture that includes both buffalo and hot springs. These is called Mud Geyser because of its frequent eruptions in the past. However, it cooled down for many years and was fairly placid until recently, when a new fissure developed and the pool became active again. This water is not only boiling hot, it is as caustic as battery acid. Now, why are the buffalo lounging around it?


807f - Our wonderful picnic with Kandy and Pete Rose, old friends from Bryan who now live in Bozeman. Kandy brought a wonderful lunch (it's amazing what all you can carry in a modern car) and we were thrilled to have a home-cooked meal. From left to right: Pete and Kandy, Bruce, Nancy, Ginger, Ross, and Jennifer. .


807g - When we parked at Artist Point, the young woman in the next car looked up with surprise. She is the backpacker named Christy who had shared the van with Ken and Joyce after their trouble in Coldfoot, Alaska. Christy had had a run-in with a bear in Denali National Park while camping alone in the backcountry. After an extended face-off where she did the backing up and the bear kept approaching, she finally outwaited him and he wandered off. She then ran about two miles to the road where she was rescued by the tour bus. After all that time backing up and the two mile run, she discovered that she still had the pot of food in her hand that she was preparing when the bear appeared. Joyce had shared her story with us when our group returned from Prudhoe Bay. We were glad to learn that she is still doing well and she was glad to know the same about us. So, Joyce and Ken, Christy says hi.


807h - The Lower Falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from Artist Point. What a stunningly beautiful place. The Point has trees and benches and a great overlook where you can see down into the canyon on either side. And, even though there are lots of tourists at this place, you can still feel the power of the water and the beauty of the canyon.


807i - An angler on the Yellowstone. Immediately after we took this photo, he got a bite and was reeling his fish in. I've never been flyfishing but the anglers were everywhere, in all the really beautiful streams, and it looks like it would be a really wonderful sport. Even in the more popular streams where there is a fisherman every 15 feet or so, it looks like it would be peaceful and satisfying. Of course, to many people, so does driving around in a Model T.

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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