Bagging all four, FIVE Yellowstone Entrances, Day #4, Chocolate Nirvana & Mechanical Failure
Didn’t sleep well last night. Had visions of chocolate truffles dancing in my head. Bought post cards last night and now sit in front of Deadwood post office for over an hour writing post cards to everyone and biding my time for The Chubby Chipmunk.
Between Spearfish, South Dakota and Sundance, Wyoming on Highway 90, the truck starts having issues. Called Onstar. Would never go another trip like this without it. They run a diagnostic and tell me to get to the nearest dealership ASAP, which they determine is Sheridan, Wyoming, a mere 3 hours away. LOL Arrive at Sheridan Motors around 2:30 p.m. and they greet me like a queen. They needed to keep the Yukon so around 6:00 I’m back on the road with a 4-wheel drive extended cab pickup rental (courtesy of Sheridan Motors). With all my camera equipment, food, etc. I’m more cramped than in the Yukon and the heated seats are missing in action and the rental doesn’t have Onstar. When did I become so spoiled?! I used to do these trips in a tiny Mazda, sleeping in my car, no heated seats, no 4-wheel drive, no room whatsoever. Whatever.
Speaking of the Mazda, in a conversation with my husband I laugh about the fact his previous Yukon broke down in Austin on that road trip and now the newer one on this year’s trip. He’d never had a break-down in either of them, he proudly pointed out. So I couldn’t stop there. “Ahhh, but my beloved MAZDA never once broke down on a road trip!” He retorted, “yea, but it wasn’t much more than a chassis on 4 wheels – there wasn’t much that COULD go wrong!” He had a point.
I’m determined to make it to Cody tonight which means driving Highway 14 after dark. Passing through Bighorn National Forest and Cavilier Hill (elevation 8,347 ft.) I’m on the most windy, curvy road I’ve ever driven. Full moon is coming up. Lots of snow. So beautiful, quiet, peaceful. And very cold at 15 degrees. Get out of the truck several times to look around. Too cold to wander far. Took a few photos but didn’t want to take the time to do any long exposures (tripod, gear, etc.). Drove past the Arrowhead Lodge in Shell, Wyoming and make a note to come back here someday for a stay. Never got over 40 mph and many of the double and triple hairpin curves were 20 mph tops.
Land on straight road at the bottom in Greybull, Wyoming. Eat delicious dinner at the Uptown Café. Rest of the way into Cody was an easy drive. Found motel on the Park (Yellowstone Park) side of town and checked in for 2 nights. Had planned on driving home a different route but the truck breakdown means I’ll have to be back in Sheridan in 2 days. The fact I’m in the middle of a road trip didn’t convince the dealership to allow me to keep the rental any more days than necessary. I’ll just make Cody my base for 2 days – how awful!
Post Script from Journal, Day #4: “the three five boxes of truffles have become like a small child to me… taking lots of attention and TLC. I’ve hauled them into the room tonight, made sure they were never in direct light today, and held my arm across the front seat during hard brakes and turns. Certain I’ve got some real treasures in the camera, but have a hard time imaging anything will be this precious.”