The best laid plans… and Old Faithful

(Yellowstone adventure, part 1)

Happiness is a choice you make ahead of time.

I read that on a sign at the Summit Restaurant in Ennis, Montana, where Marcia and I found ourselves after her truck broke down on the way to Yellowstone.

I’ll back up a bit. The flight up was uneventful, no running to catch the next plane or anything crazy. It got a little rough coming over the mountains, but I got to see the sun set over the Great Salt Lake. I was warmly greeted in Butte by Marcia and her husband Hank, in spite of the late hour. I had a good night’s sleep in a comfy bed and the next morning, Saturday, Marcia made a wonderful breakfast of eggs and morel mushrooms. What a treat!


The plan for the day was to drive down through Yellowstone Park to where Marcia had reserved a room for us near the Tetons. In spite of making reservations three months in advance, there were no rooms available in Yellowstone! We set off before 9:30, intending to arrive at our destination well before dark. We had been on the road about two hours, enjoying the beautiful day and beautiful mountains and catching up on 40 years of life when suddenly the truck started making a noise. We pulled over and peered under the hood, and discovered that there was an oily liquid sprayed all over the engine. Neither one of us knew what was up, so she pulled out her phone to call her husband for advice. Oh dear, no cell phone signal!

We decided it was safe to drive back to the nearest town, which turned out to be Ennis. A nice lady at the gas station directed us to the Napa parts store. By this time, the alternator gauge had come on, and there was a whole lot of noise going on!  The young man inside came out to look at it, and declared it to be the water pump. Right about then all the coolant dumped on the ground!

To make this long story a little shorter, he and his boss fixed it on the spot, and we ate lunch and hung out in the restaurant, where I got a fabulous veggie wrap and fries and a cup of tea. Ennis is a great little town with very friendly people. We were heading to Old Faithful by three, feeling very grateful.

We started seeing steam rising from the ground alongside the road and stopped at one place to get out and look. Very cool. We arrived at Old Faithful in plenty of time to find a good spot for the next show, expected at around 6:30. I truly didn’t know what to expect, and my anticipation built as the steam would increase and then water would bubble up. Finally, it happened, and the energy that I felt as the water shot up into the sky brought tears of joy to my eyes. I completely understood why people from all over the world come to see this amazing phenomenon.

Old Faithful June 6, 2015


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