On our third morning, we left the "comfort" of our accomodations at Canyon Village and headed north over spectacular Dunraven Pass. Elevation at the summit is 8,859 feet (2700 meters). But the elevation didn't bother me at all. Because I was riding in a car.
Diane said, "It's a bison. It's not moving at all. Grizzlies keep moving, they don't just stand still."
The grizzly woman pounced. She said, "That's not true. Yesterday a grizzly two miles from here denned up in a hole next to the road and he stayed there and didn't move at all for six hours."
She was surprisingly angry. I couldn't decide whether she viewed herself as an expert and did not brook any challenge to her authority, or if it was more that she felt herself to be one with the grizzly and we shouldn't challenge her psychic connection. Whichever, she seemed a little crazy, so we hopped back into our car and went in search of lunch.
We'd already discovered that Yellowstone has maintained the long tradition of concessionaires selling crap food for high prices inside national parks, so we drove on through the Lamar Valley and outside the park to Cooke City, Montana. Cooke City is tiny and about 90% of it is log cabins, three of which are cafes. We had good sandwiches but had to sit inside, since a motorcycle gang was occupying all the patio tables, except for one that was taken by an elderly couple with a toy poodle.
We left the Lamar Valley and headed west onto Blacktail Deer Plateau. Our first stop there was the Petrified Tree. But I'm not even showing you the picture I took, because it was such a strange, disappointing spectacle. Basically, you got one stone cylinder about 15 feet tall inside an iron cage. I guess they have to fence it to keep people from chipping away souvenir slivers of stone. But if you want to see petrified wood, I recommend Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona...
And on up the road to the Artists Paintpots area. It was here that we met a man carrying his brand new iPad to use as a camera and to pull up the Park Service website and read about the paint pots. It was hard not to notice. He waited until a crowd had gathered, then held it up over our heads, and said loudly, "Can someone take a picture of us?" I hope sulfur steam doesn't damage iPads. Sort of.