Yellowstone: Now that we had completed those 2 roads, it was time to head into the park. Since we camped near Red Lodge it was just a short drive into the park. We heard the campsites fill early so we drove as quickly as we could. We arrived in the park shortly before 10am. It seems that we weren't even close to showing up in time, as when we arrived at the entrance to the campground (Slough Creek) the sign out front showed full. Despite this, we decided to drive into the campground. Lucky for us, we managed to snag 1 of the 2 open sites which people had just vacated. We've got horseshoes, baby. As we were setting up our tent we saw vehicle after vehicle pull in, drive around, and then leave after discovering no open sites. If I were to do it again, I would try to book a site in one of the private campgrounds well ahead of time. However, this would have put a heavy constraint on the earlier days of the trip. YELLOWSTONE, DAY 1: Since we arrived so early on the first day, we had some time to do some exploring in the afternoon. For those of you that don't know, Yellowstone has a series of highways that roughly make the shape of an "8" which connect a lot of the major highlights of the park. We took the northwest road out to mammoth springs. Certainly, one of the most unique landscapes I've seen in my life, for Chelsey it was reminiscent of the Pamukkale Travertines in Turkey. After leaving the Mammoth Springs, we headed east back towards our camp, however, we split off the main loop road to take 1 of the remaining 2 dirt roads left in Yellowstone. The Blacktail Plateau Drive is a one way, 6 mile drive, which follows one of the old Indian trails through the park. It is a common road people take early in the morning or in the evening in order to see wildlife. It was nice for us just to get out of the traffic from the main road. Yes, traffic... It was a very pleasant road that goes through some great scenery that any bike could do if the road is dry. We would recommend it if you're planning a visit. Once returning to the main loop rd and heading back to our campsite, we were greeted by some very ominous looking clouds in the distance. I'm assuming that's what put snow on Beartooth. On one of our "test trips" before leaving on our big one, we had rain for the entirety of one of the days. It was then that it occurred to us that we didn't have any practical shelter options. On my solo trip to Alaska, my 2 person tent had sufficient room to lay out gear, use my laptop, and keep all my stuff sheltered when it rained. With 2 bodies and twice the amount of gear, we need a new solution. After a quick bit of research it seemed a tarp would be the most versatile, economical option. So of course, as soon as we got back to the camp, we exercised our sweet new tarp skills. Of course, our initial setup was less than....elegant, but we got it up and it worked like a charm. It rained all evening and we had space underneath to stretch out, cook some food, and enjoy watching the rain come down. As you can see, we have a second, cheapo blue tarp. This is a MUST BRING for anyone! It's light and can be strapped anywhere on the bike. It doesn't need to be protected. We toss our gear on it every night, fold up the edges, fold it over and either peg it down or put some rocks on it. No bugs, dew, rain, or dust gets to it; it's very well sealed and requires almost zero setup. We call it the "Gear Taco". Of course, once it stopped raining, it got COOOOOOLLLLDDDDD. Like, stupid cold. It all FROZE! It was that night I realized that I had, in fact, not prepared properly for the cold. I had put on almost all the layers I had brought, (which was a lot) but the sleeping bag I brought just wasn't suitable. I even busted out the space blanket, which helped marginally. I've been avoiding buying a proper sleeping bag for quite a while... Looks like it might be time to go shopping...especially since it looked like we would have a few more days to deal with the cold. Maybe if I had one of these, I would have been okay..... Chelsey on the other hand... She was fine. YELLOWSTONE, DAY 2: Our second day in the park was a full day to tour around the park and visit some highlights. The speed limit of 45 mph (73kph) gives you a good excuse to take it easy and enjoy the extremely scenic roads of the park. And besides, with so many people there, you're lucky to approach the speed limit sometimes. To be honest, I think it could be the most hazardous place we've driven so far. And remember, we went through Chicago! Forget the wildlife, the other drivers are the thing you've got to watch out for! One second you're cruising 40mph next thing you realize, there's an RV STOPPED around the corner taking pictures of a deer, or a buffalo, or maybe they saw a formation in the rock that looks like Brad Pitt or something. People are crazy. Speaking of Buffalo, one of the things we learned in Badlands NP is that the technical name for Buffalo is "Bison Bison", and really that they're not Buffalo at all. Buffalo are what you find in Africa. Chelsey got to see her first Bison Bison! As such, here's a picture! Our first highlight to see that day was the Grand Prismatic Spring. The crisp morning air really accentuated the steam of the various springs and geyers alongside the roadway and nearby rivers. It was almost magical seeing such a different and living landscape. The vibrant colours of the prismatic springs was quite the sight. Unfortunately, the chill of the air created so much steam, it masked the scale of the Grand Prismatic Spring. Next stop was the obligatory visit to Old Faithful. Another, very unique, piece of the landscape which is something that is must see. Truthfully, I didn't find it too thrilling and was more entertained by the excitement of the wild mobs which gathered to observe. Sitting in anticipation, listening to the yelps of excitement from surrounding people as the countdown to the next eruption was closing: "oh my goodness! It just bubbled! I saw it!" ... and the geyeser becomes still again... "Oh look! it's about to go!!" (as some extra steam is spit out the top). This carried on sporadically in the 15 min leading up to the eruption. Of course, upon erupting great cries of joy and awe were heard from the crowd. Lastly, as the eruption came to an end... Applause. People applauded the Earth. People are crazy. Our final stop for the day was the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. It certainly lives up to it's name. At it's deepest point it's about 1,200 ft top to bottom, and can stretch to about 4000 ft wide. Something that makes it extra unique are the vibrant, varying colours of the rock produced by the different mineral deposits. Something that becomes very obvious is why the park is called "Yellowstone". The majority of faces of the canyon are nearly a canary yellow. They have many incredible lookout points just off the road you can walk to to get a good view. As we returned to our site again, the sky was becoming thick with smoke. It was apparent the forest fire in the northern part of the park was worsening. We became worried they might close the campground we were in and we would have to pack up and find another place to stay. Luckily, we were assured there was nothing to be concerned about and the fire hadn't jumped the river a few miles away from the campground. However, as the sun set a sinister glow from the fire could be seen over the mountain. Chelsey and I hopped on the KLR and we drove out to get a better view. Luckily, by morning we were still alive so we packed up our stuff and headed out. As the road to the south was still closed, we left through the west entrance and drove south through Idaho to get to Jackson. We still managed to glimpse the Grand Tetons on the way down. Sitting in Jackson now being hosted by @pratered, unfortunately, another host we were unable to grab a picture of as he left for a trip early in the morning. Next stop: MOAB!