Westbound Day 19 – 271 miles – Yellowstone Park to Montpelier

Wednesday, 6 July 1994

Buffalo SignpostLoud growls from just outside our cabin window wake us, good grief have the bears come out of the forest to look for us? No, it’s really groans rather than growls and it’s coming from three disgruntled buffalos. One glance out the window explains what they’re unhappy about – 6 July and it’s snowing! There’s a couple of inches on the ground and more following it. This is obviously the final straw for our unhappy vehicle which starts reluctantly and then stops completely on the gentle incline up to the main road. The engine runs but simply won’t pull. I walk up to the service station and come back with a mechanic and a tow truck but the short wait seems to have rejuvenated the car enough for me to drive it haltingly to the station. As I follow the tow truck in it suddenly stops and reverses straight back into the Caddy with a loud crash, putting a bit of a dent in the front bumper. This is not shaping up to be my day.

mud volcanoThe problem turns out to be ignition, somehow the timing has wandered far away from where it should be. I suspect the same mechanic back in Massachusetts who did the brakes no good. New points and adjusting the timing has the Caddy running better than it has for some time. Unfortunately fixing the car does nothing for the weather which is miserably cold and grey with the snow alternating with cold drizzle. We drive round to Old Faithful but decide to abandon Yellowstone today rather than tomorrow. I can’t even persuade Maureen and Kieran to venture out to watch the geyser perform to schedule.


Heading south out of Yellowstone and through Grand Teton we should really have stopped at Jackson, which looked an interesting place, but we decide to press on in order to get closer to Salt Lake City. The day finishes at Montpelier, Idaho, which is nowhere near as interesting.