Road Trip USA 2011

  3rd of August at Shoshone guest ranch. It wasn’t a great start to a beautiful day, breakfast was extra! What at these prices? A massive amount of food was served, as is the American way. The sausage patty was over salted , so much so it set my teeth on edge. The hash browns were over seasoned as well, I couldn’t eat it, I was quite pleased in one way as I was under the impression my taste buds were fucked. Well not as fucked as the chef here anyway. The funny bit for me was when the waitress asked ” how’s everything?” I told her it was all over seasoned , she replied “apart from that, is it good”? My jaw dropped. I daren’t come into this restaurant again.

  Well after that sumptuous start, we’re of into Yellowstone next.


 Bloody ell the park is marvelous, no magnificent, no ,no, Awesome no they are trite Words.


 We saw Bison loads of em, so many we got fed up with them in the end. They are like cows wearing fat suits, that’s  a slightly unfair description perhaps, although they do have that bored look like cows but with a hint of malevolence in the eyes. Not many folks  got out of their vehicles, just in case. 


   This reminds me of when we were walking the pennine way a couple of years ago. we had to enter a bull field there was three of them in it and not too far from the style we entered by. One in particular looked like “The Boss” and cast a wary eye at us. He was fashionably equipped with a ring through his nose and had a few litres of snot and mucus hanging from it, you’d have to think cows find this attractive. The other two didn’t seem bothered. I was a little  nervous as we approached I knew Sue would have rumbling bowels, she isn’t keen on cattle in general, its one reason she eats steak, it means there is less of the things on the planet. I adopted a rugged , forthright attitude, hoping it would infect Sue and confidently strode towards him, he was on the path anyway and I thought once my robust attitude had penetrated his thick head he would step out of our way. I had a carbon fibre walking pole anyway and imagined if he should charge I’d have his eye out with it , like  Joselito in the Plaza de Toros. Having twice read Hemingway’s “Death in the afternoon” I was well prepared for that field of endeavor. We got within two meters of him , he cast a leery look, I eyeballed him back, using a jolly fine impersonation of Robert Newton’s beady eyed Long John Silver, “ahaarrr me old bully” says I  “ you may the arrd man round earrr but I’m as smarrt as paint”. He trumped me by raising an eyebrow!  we walked gingerly round him. Ah h well, so much for El Clivilito!  A matador’s life can be  short in more ways than one.


  The Bison are magnificent creatures. They look bit like bikers actually, big and heavy round the shoulders and the middle and they even have a beard! One creature climbed on the wooden walk way ( its like decking about a foot of the ground and a meter wide) that has been constructed to keep humans safe and on the right route. Most animals like a path to walk on, that is why trails exist in the wild  and this big fucker did just that, well he could do just as he liked, he weighed a ton and he was on the path walking towards me. I stepped off  and climbed onto a fallen tree while he casually strolled by not 10 feet away. Sue and several others who had brain cells counted in the thousands had scarperd some distance away. I hoped I had caught the drama on camera, but the photo turned out devoid of any sense of the excitement I felt.


 Something I’ve noticed in Wyoming and South Dakota, if you see a bloke walking about with a knotted hankie on his head , it is either an English bloke looking for the beach, lost, or he could be a biker, so check his T shirt.



 The geology in yellowstone is impressive as well, geysers, boiling mud,

stinking sulphur pools, gurgling  pots,  steam coming out of big holes splashing great gobs of water about, sludgy stuff and sounds you can’t describe.

If anyone says geology is boring then go to Yellowstone, and change your mind.


 There is a massive lake in this park, it is over six thousand feet above sea level it is drained by the Yellowstone river and one or two others like the Shoshone for example but if you see the size of the Yellowstone you’d think the lake will be empty by lunch time. It teams and rushes over several huge waterfalls in a most angry manner, it can’t seem to wait to get out of there, hacking and chopping its way through gorges and canyons until I guess it  finds the Missouri . We’ve had to cross it several times already since leaving The little big Horn and some of the bridges were mightily high above it, that illustrates the depth this river has cut into the earth over the millennia.


Perhaps I should take this opportunity to explain Sue’s loathing of cattle. She quite admired the bull mentioned above, although his output of snot out shone even my own industrial level. 

 We were returning from a long dog walk a few years ago, a “short cut” I’d found on the map meant fording the river Derwent  at a place near Ambaston Derbyshire. These ancient crossings are a bit scary even though there are depth markers on the banks one doesn’t know what they mean or even if they are reliable or not. We made it across however after suffering a few “oh my gods” and a rather lonely feeling at the halfway stage. Setting of for a 50yard crossing when you are on the bank soon looks like100yards in the middle. Luckily the depth was enough to hide any sign I was pissing myself so my confident demeanor wasn’t betrayed. 


  On reaching the further bank we put the dog back on the lead so as not to upset the farmer as we crossed on the foot path, through his cow field. As we got nearer to this pretty large herd, they started to gather and amble towards us, “odd” we thought. A minute or so later they started to put the wind up us, they were getting rather close and this “amble” was looking a bit on the determined side. We were getting nearer the exit but it was still some distance away, the cows eyes were definitely now locked on to us, we made towards a small hill , well a grassy knoll really. we thought the higher ground would be an advantage, basic battle tactics that. After a few steps this hillock turned out to be a dung heap, I figure the farmer used to empty his trailer here when he mucked out the over wintering beasts. The bastards were still coming though and the further up the mound we went the softer it got, we were now sinking up to our knees. Knees that, just a few moments ago, were nice and clean from the river, Sue went up to her thighs almost and was having difficulty pulling her feet up each time until she pulled out, eventually, an empty leg, no shoe, it was 2 foot deep in a midden. I burrowed my way down and retrieved it whilst she struggled towards a fence. The cows now had us surrounded in a semi circle up against the fence. Were they experimental cows? were they on drugs? these were not normal farm animals I was certain. Sue scraped off enough cow shit to put her shoe back on and we climbed over into the next field then to make the safety of the road. We were  traumatized all the way home I don’t think we spoke.


I read a few months later, that if you are walking a dog and this happens, let the dog off the lead. Its the dog that cows are interested in not the humans attached to it, the dog will take care of itself and you will not get shit between your toes and you’ll avoid messing up your shower. Simples! 


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