What an awesome day.
We slept in a bit, enjoyed a great breakfast at our friend’s house in Big Sky. After breakfast I took her for a ride in the Jaguar, heading up to where I spent my summers as a kid. Then Dad & I packed the car and headed out. Down US 191, to West Yellowstone, and into The Park. I am very familiar with Yellowstone, having driven through it innumerable times on my way to Montana, and also having extensively travelled in the backcountry on foot in the 70s and 80s. I had not visited the park since the huge fires in 1989, so this was an interesting drive. Areas that used to be Lodgepole pines as thick as hair on a bear’s back were now cleared and just now beginning to grow back. Vistas that previously were obscured, were now open. In the Madison Valley, and elsewhere. Very interesting. The speed limits are low (25-45 MPH) in Yellowstone, so we just ambled along and enjoyed the views. We saw lots of elk and bison.
Above: The E-type below Mammoth Hot Springs.
Above: Heading out towards the Northeast Entrance. (I scraped an exhaust hanger on this roadbed getting back on.)
We took the north loop road, over to Mammoth Hot Springs, then over through the Lamar Valley. We then proceeded out of the park via the Northeast Entrance and US 212 over the Beartooth Highway. I have never driven (but always wanted to!) the Beartooth. It is spec-frikking-tacular. We switchbacked up through mountain lakes and peaks, ever upward. Once at the first summit I snapped off the panorama you see at the top of the page. I then scrambled up to a rocky peak above it and started building a more impressive panorama shot when my camera batteries died! Grrrrr! I climbed back down, frustrated, and found the car would not start due to the starter being completely heatsoaked. GRRRR! Two guys on bikes helped us get it pushed around and pointed back downhill (thankfully it is a very lightweight car!) and the ample grade made a roll start an easy thing. Without a camera I could not capture the rest but I have to say it is THE MOST AMAZING road I have EVER driven. Thankfully we are retracing our route from today again tomorrow, so I’ll be sure to get a lot of shots! I promise. In fact, I’m going to make my Dad drive so I can shoot a zillion of them.
We arrived in Red Lodge, found the hotel (in complete chaos… our room was still not ready even at 5pm?) so we checked in for the rally, and then I walked over to a grocery store 3 blocks away to get some extra batteries! My rechargables are powering up now, and my spares are in the camera. Tomorrow will be better!
We then put the car number on… for some odd reason they gave us #13(!) Given how UNLucky this car has been, I find it ironic that we’ve been assigned this one, but hey… go with the flow. So I blessed it with a clover leaf and the word “Lucky” with a green marker I had in the car:
I spent some time photographing the cars. There is a nice collection of machinery here, so I should have a great photographic week. Here is just a small sample:
We had a brief wine & cheese thing in the hotel bar, along with an intro meeting. The 65E was awarded the “Dirtiest Car” award with some cleaning supplies as the prize. Given that we drove almost 900 miles to get here I’m proud of that distinction! Cars are meant to be DRIVEN, not mollycoddled on trailers! 🙂
The drive out here was a great warm up for the event, and I’m really glad we did it. We then went into the hotel dining room for dinner. I excused myself midway through to drop off my cleaning supplies in the car and get it buttoned down for the night. It is all ready to go, and I hope you are ready to (virtually) tag along with us.
All my pictures from the day are posted here.