Sociable

Monday, June 25, 2012

Road Trips for Dummies (continued)


Greg Gaskin

Greg and Jack Gaskin are brothers. Both are talented photographers, and both are the type of men you'd want as your friends. They are smart, witty, a little ribald, and the warmest, stand-up guys you can imagine. They live far apart--one on the East Coast and one in the Mid-West but manage to get together a few times a year to go "shooting" together.



The tale below is Chapter Two of the chronicle of the brothers' most recent trip together, last Winter, to photograph the scenery and wildlife in Yellowstone National Park.  If you haven't seen Chapter One, please click on this link before you read Chapter Two. The photos in both chapters are phenomenal!

Note: Click on a photo to enlarge it in a different window. Then click your browser's BACK button to return to the story.


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Thanks for stopping here to see the latest post. I'd love to know what you think of the "Relentless Pursuit" series. Please leave a comment below for the author and email me with your suggestions on what you'd like to see on this blog.

If you have a story to post on this theme, contact me. And be sure to take a look at my Photography site. I'd love to hear from you! Also, consider forwarding the link to "Relentless" to your friends and family. Thanks again!
--
Michelle Alton
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ROAD TRIPS FOR DUMMIES
Chapter 2

Yellowstone.

"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."
--Frank Lloyd Wright

At this point in the story everything becomes a blur so let me break this down by the areas we visited in Yellowstone. The first few days we stayed in Cooke City and spent most of our time in the Lamar Valley with the occasional jaunt over to the Hayden Valley and one trip over to Mammoth. I saw wolves in the wild for the first time in my life and there were more buffalo than you can imagine.




There were several other things that do stick out in my mind though. The young late season calves were a pretty cool sight but you have to wonder will they even make it through their first winter.


One thing that did kind of disappoint me was the small number of Pronghorn Antelope we saw in Lamar. On our first trip in 2007 they were quite numerous but on this trip we saw very few in the park, which is strange considering how many we saw on the trip there. One morning we followed a dirt road looking to find some Pronghorn to photograph and stumbled upon this fellow.
 


Mammoth is interesting and has a unique beauty all of its own. The wife often reminds me not to go on ad infinitum, so rather than bore you with all the details, just have a look for yourself.




Now if you think about the number of people you know and would categorize as having above average intelligence, don't you ever wonder where all the other people are that are on the other half of the intelligence curve?

To put it in photographic terms they have photographic memories but no film. Well at Mammoth I had the displeasure of meeting some folks that ...well; let's just say that if ignorance is bliss they are downright euphoric. There are warning signs not to walk on the hot springs, even if they are dried up because of the damage you do to the dried mineral features and you might break through and get badly burned or killed. (See the story of Bumpass Hell at Lassen Volcanic National Park--Michelle.) So naturally when I saw some people walking on the dried hot spring I had to say something. I politely reminded them (seriously) that what they were doing wrong and dangerous.

When they replied  that they weren't going that far” and would leave in a little while I said "Hey, dummies, get the @#%& off right now!" I got on the radio and asked Jack if he was near a ranger.  When they heard me ask for a ranger they quickly left. 

Something that always stands out in my mind about Mammoth is just how high you end up while walking the boardwalks to get to the top of the thermal features. Of course you can drive up there but for some unexplainable reason I forgot you could drive up (probably lack of oxygen to the brain). My next visit to Yellowstone will be in the spring or winter as these must be even more awe inspiring during those seasons with all the extra runoff.

One constant in Mammoth is that there always seems to be elk hanging around the park offices. This is not because they like people. It is because they like the grass (the type you mow, not smoke). The problem is that people think because the elk are hanging around an area with buildings and people that they are tame. They are not! These are two of what we referred to as the “town elk.” Two rangers spent a considerable amount of time telling people to back away from them.



Our trips over to the Hayden Valley were interesting but the one thing I will never forget is the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone which is just north of Hayden Valley. The canyon and its waterfalls inspire artists and leave most people speechless.






We did walk down into the canyon in order to get pictures right next to one of the waterfalls. It seemed like a really good idea on the way down, not such a great idea on the way up, but these pictures made it all worthwhile.

[Michelle’s note: While setting out to climb down into a canyon in Petite Jean Arkansas, a Park Ranger stopped us and almost begged me to borrow one of his walking sticks.  I did, and it was WONDERFUL!  Definitiely take a sturdy stick along,]]



We also saw this deer while walking along the path at the rim of the canyon.





I took some quick pictures and proceeded to try to get closer. She just looked up at me with an expression of indifference and continued eating her lunch. I eventually got within about 12 feet of her without any change in behavior on her part.  This is Soda Butte.

These are the remains of an extinct geyser dome. There is a sign warning people that it is illegal to climb on or deface this ancient unique geothermal feature. So of course as we stopped to see it our last night in Cooke City some idiot was climbing it. Jack very politely (seriously) mentioned to him that what he was doing was wrong, to which the idiot replied that he was looking for his cell phone.
For perhaps the only time in my life I saw Jack at a loss for words due to the stupidity of a statement, but the look on his face said "You're only alive because it is illegal to kill you!" I am sure this is the reason why people are not allowed to carry guns in National Parks. The more people like this I meet the more I like my dog.




Sparky
Our next stop was what the place I was looking forward to the most on this trip, the Madison Valley. We booked a place in the town of West Yellowstone for 4 nights in anticipation of great opportunities to photograph bull elk in the rut. We were not disappointed.
 




Every morning and late afternoon we spent in Madison Valley and then during the mid day we would either head down to the thermal areas south of the Madison or  back to town. On one trip south enroute to the “paint pots,” we were just cruising along enjoying the drive when a moose ran out in front of the car. While we were lucky and did not hit him, we immediately checked our
shorts for accidents and then went off to find the jaywalking bull. Though we were able to locate him we were never presented an opportunity to get a good picture.




The “paint pots,” “mud pots,” and geysers do leave you in awe of nature's beauty and are alone worth the trip to Yellowstone.






Into every life (or trip) a little rain must fall.  In our case it seems to fall into two categories: stupid people and unexpected animal behavior.

First the stupid people. As always folks just want to walk up to wild animals and take their picture from about 10 feet away. If you don't know why this is a bad idea please don't reproduce. While taking
pictures of a Bull Elk and his harem we noticed that the females were working their way towards the spot where we were standing. We decided to move out of their way just as people traffic was starting to get a little heavy.
Some people who had just arrived immediately walked right up to where the female elk were starting to feed. All of the photographers (smart people) started to yell at them that  they were way too close and to get out of there. Most ignored us and a few shot us dirty looks.
At this point Jack became frustrated (it doesn't take much) and started searching the ground for the proper throwing rock. Just as he reared his arm back to launch it I said "Don't", which of course fell on deaf
ears. Right after he threw it I said "You can't do that!" to which he replied, "You’re right, I missed"

At this point the ranger came by and started instructing people to get away from the elk, to which one lady replied "
F#@% off.!" The ranger ignored her and kept ordering people to get back. Afterwards the ranger came over to us and thanked the photographers for trying to warn people and spent some time talking to us and swapping stories.
Now onto unexpected animal behavior, or stupid assumptions on our part--, you be the judge.  While driving west we saw a crowd of people stopped for a single large bull elk. He was moving at a steady pace down a path towards his harem, up the road where we just saw them in a clearing about 100 yards off the road. Since he was heading straight for them Jack suggested that we backtrack to where we saw the females.
I drove back, parked and went around the back of the car to get my cameras and followed Jack down the path toward the clearing. We assumed the elk would follow along his previous trajectory and, if so, he should enter the field about 300 feet from where we would be standing.
Unfortunately elk seldom do what you think they are going to do. Suddenly Jack stopped and exclaimed "Holy s%@#, he is right here!" It's nice to know my brother is not a liar, as coming out from the woods just about 15 feet in front of him was Mr. Elk. We both just froze as he turned back towards his harem, ignoring us. Afterwards we both admitted that trying to anticipate an elk's line of travel iswas really stupid.
Overall our stay in the Madison Valley turned out to be quite rewarding as we saw many elk, saw lots of interesting animal behavior and got to meet tons of great people.


Grand Teton, Our Final Stop.

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
--Albert Einstein

The final four days of our stay were spent in Grand Teton National Park. The ride down to Teton is quite spectacular and as if that wasn't enough to keep us happy, we came across another bull elk. We missed taking decent pictures of him as he walked off and learned from others there that he had just been in a fight with another elk. During this conversation he came back out of the woods  for round two.

This time we were able to photograph him and as he disappeared into the woods again Jack suggested that we follow him  to see if we could witness a fight. But after considering what had happened in the Madison Valley, common sense kicked in and we decided against it. [Hard to believe that Jack would even suggest such a thing!-Michelle]


Teton was about two things:, landscapes and moose. But since this story is getting a little long and you're probably nodding off by now, let's skip the gory details and show you some landscapes.













Of all the places in Teton that we visited I looked forward to Mormon Row the most. The morning of our visit we were up and on the road long before sunrise and since it was late September and the tourist season was over I was confident that there would not be many people there. Imagine my surprise when we arrived, still about 40 minutes prior to sunrise, and there were about 50 people already there.!  I guess I wasn't the only one looking forward to Mormon row.



Moose--, now that's another story. The only moose we encountered actually in Teton was this gal.





She was badly back lit and there were tons of flies around her head which ruined the picture. I adjusted for the backlighting in Lightroom (ed: Lightroom is a photo editing program) and removed the flies using Photoshop. Yeah, I know you really shouldn't do that to nature photos but otherwise the shots just were not usable.

On our next-to-last day we went exploring the John D. Rockefeller Highway between Yellowstone and Teton. While just aimlessly driving around we headed down the Ashton-Flagg ranch road and started exploring. This area had everything a moose could want, the right kind of plants, clear water with the ideal sort of aquatic vegetation, low traffic...just perfect. We decided we would get up early the next day, our last before starting home, and park nearby the bridge at Pole Cat Creek to spend our day photographing moose.

When our final day arrived we did just what we set out to do. Got there early and waited, and waited and waited. Jack decided to take a walk and I stayed on the bridge admiring the creek and surrounding countryside. I was thinking to myself that it had been a great trip and the disappointment of not seeing a moose that last day didn't really matter in the long run, as come September 2012 I woud be on my wayback to Maine to photograph lighthouses and moose anyway. I decided that it was time to pack up the camera equipment, wait for Jack's return, and start heading back to our cabin.

So I turned around and took one step towards the car when I saw this standing behind me.


I am quite sure he was thinking "What the hell is this butt-head doing, just standing on a bridge looking the wrong way?" Out loud I asked "Just how freaking long have you been standing there!"
With that he turned around and high-tailed off into the woods.  Recalling our previous experience with the elk and my near miss with another elk in 2007, I wasn't too anxious to press my luck. I walked along the road keeping an eye on him when I could, but not getting too close. The lighting was bad, I was concerned because I kept losing sight of him, but I was having a good time.

The older I get the more it takes to get me excited (no tasteless jokes now) but this really had me worked up. Suddenly I realized that I had lost track of him, bummer! Rather than just turning around and going back to the car I just kept walking up the road hoping to get lucky, and that's when I noticed him in an
opening-- running STRAIGHT at me. It was not time to panic as he was probably about 300 feet away and moose can't see that far but common sense did kick in and I found a very nice group of trees to get behind. When he was within about 100 feet of me he suddenly veered off to his right. "Okay, that was a little weird" I thought to myself and started going down the road very slowly until I came across what made him veer off, a female moose.




My first thought was "This sucks, we're about to get some first class animal porn and Jack is nowhere to be found." With that Jack came into sight and I waved him down to where I was. We spent quite a bit of time watching her try to entice him but to no avail. He was like a teenage boy trying to unsnap his first bra, lots of effort with some twisted results.

When he finally walked off frustrated we lost sight of him and headed back to the car. When we arrived at the car we looked down the creek and there he was, about 100 yards down. Jack took off into the woods to get closer but I just hung there hoping he would run toward me, which he did for about 50 feet and then he was gone. Overall a pretty good last day!

The last picture I took on this trip, part of the Oregon Trail is in eastern Wyoming.




The ride home is not a lot of fun. You have been on the road for three weeks and I-80 is basically a flat straight shot across the Midwest with not a whole lot to make the trip interesting.
It is times like this when you just pack up the photo gear and concentrate on getting home safely. One thing I wished that I had photographed was the sign for Buford, Wyoming, population 1. We stopped there to get gas and I
thought to myself that the guy working the gas station must be the "1", and if so Buford is probably the only town in America with 100% of its residents employed. As it turns out a man from Vietnam recently purchased the town.
 
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/vietnam-man-buys-little-piece-104854737.html

All in all it was a great trip. In the interest of brevity I did leave a great deal of stuff out as I thought 9000 words just might be a little excessive. I retired March 3rd and immediately drove straight to Florida where Jack and I did some nice short photo trips. We had originally planned a trip to Maine in late September to look for that ever-elusive moose with the big rack.

Turns out that life is funny and three weeks after I retired I was offered another job and it was just something I couldn't say no to, so Maine had to be cancelled.  I don't know how much longer I will work but I will still manage to squeeze in three photo trips a year.
Meanwhile this summer I will be adding at least six new lighthouses to my portfolio. I hope you enjoyed this tale. Feel free to drop me a
line at my website http://greggaskin.smugmug.com/ and we are always open to suggestions for future road trips.

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."
--Helen Keller


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  All photography by Greg Gaskin

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Greg Gaskin's Short (VERY Short) Biography:




I was born (1957) in Brooklyn New York and lived there until the age of eight when the family moved to the Hamlet of Islip on Long Island's south shore. For the past 30 years I have lived in southeast Michigan and presently reside in Wyandotte, Michigan with my wife Rita and our dog Sparky.
Photography is my "drug" of choice (although coffee is a close second). I will photograph anything that I find interesting but my main interests in photography are lighthouses and wildlife. I retired March 1st but was unexpectedly offered a job and will be returning to the work force for 3 years starting June 25th. I am also part owner of a small photography business, Pixel Magik.
[Note from Michelle: Greg's photography may be viewed at http://greggaskin.smugmug.com/ ]
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Please Note:

*** This Blog Needs Your Story! *** { I'm Serious!} If you have a story to post on this theme, contact me, please! We have not a single story on tap at this writing.

Give your imagination a stretch--your story can be about any sort of Relentless Pursuit, fact, fiction, poignant, humorous, or even harrowing! I'd love to hear from you and work with you on your story! We need to keep this theme going! We've had some truly fabulous posts over the last several months. Why not yours?

Thanks for stopping by.
Michelle Alton

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Road Trips For Dummies



Greg Gaskin
Greg and Jack Gaskin are brothers.  Both are talented photographers, and both are the type of men you'd want as your friends.  They are smart, witty, a little ribald, and the warmest, stand-up guys you can imagine.  They live far apart--one on the East Coast and one in the Mid-West but manage to get together a few times a year to go "shooting" together. 

The tale below is Chapter One of the chronicle of the brothers' most recent trip together, last Winter, to photograph the scenery and wildlife in Yellowstone National Park.  They had a phenomenal time and this is Greg's saga of his experiencing the breathtaking vistas and wildlife with his brother, Jack.  You'll enjoy reading it and you will LOVE viewing Greg's gorgeous photos.  Chapter two can be seen here.


Note:  Click on a photo to enlarge it in a different window.  Then click your browser's BACK button to return to the story.






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Thanks for stopping here to see the latest post. I'd love to know what you think of the "Relentless Pursuit" series. Please leave a comment below for the author and email me with your suggestions on what you'd like to see on this blog.

If you have a story to post on this theme, contact me. And be sure to take a look at my Photography site. I'd love to hear from you! Also, consider forwarding the link to "Relentless" to your friends and family. Thanks again!
--
Michelle Alton
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ROAD TRIPS FOR DUMMIES 

[or two dummies on a road trip, depending on your perspective]--By Greg Gaskin

"Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes - every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man." --
  Orison Swett Marden

"And some places you been before are so great that you don't ever mind going back. Some places you been before you don't ever want to go back, you know, like Montreal in the winter."
--
  Morgan Freeman


Chapter 1:   On the Road Again Days 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

(cue Willy Nelson)

Be forewarned, there is no particular point to this yarn. It is just about quality time spent between two brothers in their quest of the natural beauty of America's greatest National Parks. Perhaps the only thing you may get out of this story is the knowledge that you never want to be seen in public with us. If at the end of this tale you think to yourself, "Hey a photo road trip with Jack and Greg sounds like fun" you might be in serious need of a mental health professional as you are as warped as we are. But I do hope that after reading this, some of you jump into your car and venture off to Yellowstone or some other destination on a road trip of your own.

For those of you who read my previous tale on "In Relentless Pursuit" know of my fondness for Yellowstone and photo road trips in general. The last three out-of-state trips for photography that I had taken before this were all in conjunction with family weddings. So in other words I planned my photo trips around other things. This is not a complaint. I enjoyed all of these weddings and was privileged enough to walk my niece Honey (that's really her name) down the aisle. This was one of the greatest thrills of my life. Anyway Jack and I decided that it was time for another photo road trip for the sake of a photo trip and determined that a return to Yellowstone was the best destination.


Day One

I heard from Jack several times in the week heading up to the trip. His bags were packed and he was ready to hit the road long before our planned departure date. He could not sleep much the night before and ended up leaving his Long Island house somewhere around midnight and drove straight to Michigan.

Upon his arrival at our house we quickly loaded up his stuff into my Chevy Equinox and we got underway hoping to get to eastern Iowa that day. Luck, good weather, low traffic and strong bladders were all on our side that first day and we actually made it all the way to Avoca, in western Iowa. The next day we got a very early start and proceeded to Western South Dakota and the Badlands. 


Day Two

I am sure that if I had to drive across South Dakota on a regular basis I would find it quite tedious; but in this case we were just giddy at the thought of the wonders that lie ahead. I mean how much grassland can the human mind withstand?









We did happen upon a couple of items of interest though. The first would be the Wayside Chapel in White Lake, South Dakota, which is approximately 8'X10' and has three rows of chairs and an altar.



We also stopped at this scenic overview of the Missouri River in Chamberlain, South Dakota.


After Chamberlain it was onto our destination of the day and upon our arrival at Badlands National Park we both thought, "Hey, this isn't bad!"  It took us several hours to make our way through the park and we were quite impressed with both the vastness of the territory and its stark beauty.


One thing that seems to get lost in my pictures of the Badlands is the immense size of the landscapes involved. In order to give it some sort of scale this is a picture of Jack, he is the small dot located 3/4's of the way to the right centered between the top and bottom of the picture.


The first thing that was out of the ordinary on this trip was this bird. 



I hadn't really planned on doing any bird photography on this trip but this little guy kept on hanging out in the tree my car was parked near so I just had to get a shot. He seemed so out of place in the desolate environment and flew away and returned several times.

If you happen to know what type of bird this is please drop me a line. After shooting several hours of great landscapes we were getting pretty tired and decided it was time to make some progress towards the parks exit. Turns out we were far from done for the day.

While driving along an area with large open flat tracks of land Jack was able to take some pictures of one of his favorite genres, animal porn. It was obvious that it was mating season for Pronghorn Antelope and well, let's just leave it at that. Feel free to browse Jack's pictures.   

On our way out of the park we got an unexpected bonus, some Big Horn Sheep.



They were walking along the road so we kept moving ahead of them trying to get a clear photograph without somebody or their car in the picture.












Persistence paid off and I was able to get some decent photos of the sheep.



In my first story on this blog I spoke about people whose gene pool needs a little chlorine. You know who I am talking about. You're not quite sure what their problem is but you know it's hard to pronounce. Anyway besides great vistas and some nice wildlife, we came across our first flock of incurably stupid people at our very last stop of the day.

The Moron brothers decided to climb over the safety rail and walk out onto the cliffs in order to get a better view--or just because they don't comprehend the dangers involved.


One of the young men was texting as he walked and as fate and natural selection would have it the ground under his feet gave way and he started sliding towards the edge. I raised my camera to my eye and focused in on the inevitable death from gravitational force that I was about to witness, thinking,  "Jack is just going to love this shot," when the unthinkable happened. He caught his foot on a rock and stopped his pending death plunge. Damn, another photo opportunity and efficient culling of the herd lost.

After the disappointment of not seeing natural selection played out to the best results possible I was downright depressed and as the day was getting late we decided it was time to find a place to stay the night.

Day two of our journey had been a success as we covered a lot of ground and got some good photography in.


Day Three

Our third day of travelling had us heading to the Bighorn National Forest.  On our first trip to Yellowstone in 2007 we turned west off of I-90 in Buffalo, Wyoming and headed west on Route 16.  This was a mistake. This time Jack suggested that we continue to head north until we got to Ranchester, Wyoming and then to head west on Route 14 and into the Big Horn National Forest. Turns out he was right. It is an excellent drive and I highly recommend it to anyone who has the time.

This is probably a good time to mention that Gaskin men are known to only fear two things in this world, heights and bad pizza. We are also (according to my wife) type "A" personalities. Driving through the Big Horn National Forest I was the one driving. In fact I drove the whole trip. This is not because I don't trust Jack behind the wheel.  This is because I don't trust anybody behind the wheel and it's my car.

 A side note here: Have you ever noticed that you always refer to people driving slower than you as idiots and people driving faster that you as maniacs? Okay back to the story. As we drive along cliffs and mountain passes where there are shear drop-offs next to the road, Jack is very uncomfortable because he is simply not in control;  I would have felt the same way. While driving along particularly steep drop-offs he said "This is good, it will prepare me for the Beartooth Highway" (WRONG!!!!!!), but more on that and our 180ᵒ left turn later. Big Horn National Forest was the kind of scenery that makes you wonder why you don't just chuck it all and move there. That is until you hear about the winter weather. Here are a few examples of the countryside.
















Once we were through the Big Horn we started to discuss our drive up to Red Lodge, Montana and the apparent lack of any spectacular scenery along the way. And yes, before you say it, we are like two spoiled kids: "What do you mean there is nothing spectacular for the next few hours WAAAA!!" Change in plans number two was then hatched. Drive to Cody, Wyoming, stay the night and get up early and take the Chief Joseph Highway. I am not quite sure how we came to this decision but it sure was the right one.

Day Four

We got off to another early start on day four not knowing what the Chief Joseph Highway would present to us. It started out rather slow--some nice, somewhat impressive scenery--and then it got better, and better, and better yet. I will not bore you with tales of how beautiful the scenery was just look for yourself.





My theory on photography is simple: Photograph things you love and want other people to see and appreciate. Sometimes this doesn't always work out as I had planned, which brings us to this picture of Dead Indian Hill Summit.











It's not a bad picture. It was taken at 10mm with a fisheye zoom in order to capture the entire width of the vista. The problem is the view is actually a whole lot better than this picture. No joke, no false modesty, and no "oh it's only better in your mind syndrome." This picture really doesn't do it justice. Stop reading this right now, jump in your car, drive straight there with no sleep, food, water or bathroom breaks and when you see what I saw you will say two things:

First: "This was worth the drive" and
Second: "Greg was right--his photo didn't do it justice."

At the end of the Chief Joseph we came upon our mission for the next two days: The Beartooth Highway. First we would drive it in the afternoon then after a restful night in Red Lodge, get up early and drive it in the morning.

We drove for at least 45 seconds before we had to pull over and start taking pictures. As much fun as the Chief Joseph Highway was, the Beartooth Highway just keeps getting better as you drive. As you progress through higher and higher elevations the topography along the Beartooth changes until you are finally above the tree line. Even though the weather turned cold and rather damp we really didn't mind as this sort of great photography isn't just sitting outside your front door to take advantage of anytime you want.

Perhaps the only thing higher than the altitude was our spirits as this was one of those things you remember for the rest of your life. Rather than describe the scenery just take a look.








Okay so as we continued upward, smiles on our faces, songs in our hearts.....you know it just couldn't last. We made a 180ᵒ left turn and heading straight for us in our lane was a car whose driver was so busy taking a picture of the road ahead of him with his cell phone, he didn't know, or didn't care, that he was in the wrong lane heading straight for us and a head on collision.

Option "A" was to swerve into the wrong lane and hope he didn't veer over at the last moment and push us off the edge of the cliff. Option "B" was to slam on the breaks and hit the horn, at the same time hoping he would veer back into his own lane. Option "C" was to hit the horn, make obscene gestures and scream vile obscenities at him.  Being good Brooklyn born boys we naturally choose option "C". I think the only thing Jack said to me for the next hour was "Keep your freaking eyes on the road!"



Days 5


After completing our journey across the Beartooth we stayed the night in Red Lodge and got up the next morning to retrace our path on the Beartooth and head for Yellowstone. It was a little chilly as we started out and while pulled over taking pictures we saw a State or County truck with a snowplow drive by.

I assumed that they were using the snow plow to remove some of the rocks that had fallen onto the roadway. In hindsight that was really dumb. I mean after all it's only mid September.  What are the chances that there is any snow to be plowed? The higher we climbed the colder and windier it got until we got back above the tree line where we discovered that winter never really leaves the Beartooth--it just lulls you into a false sense of security.

The reading on the car dashboard said it was a toasty 21ᵒ out and the wind felt like it was at gale force. This did not deter us from continuing to take photographs as there is a real possibility that we will never drive the Beartooth again.

What did start to concern me was the slush on the road was freezing into patches of ice and it was becoming quite slick. For perhaps the 200th time Jack implored me to "Keep your eye on the road!" When I suggested that perhaps I shouldn't have drank that whole bottle of cough syrup that morning right before we headed out, he reminded me that if we drove over the side he would kill me before we hit the bottom. 

Flash back one month earlier when Rita (my wife) and I traded in our nice big heavy 4-wheel drive SUV for the front wheel drive crossover because the SUV sucked down gas faster than I suck down a pizza. As the road became slicker and slicker that decision started to seem like a really stupid one (the truck, not the pizza).













All worked out well though, and once we dropped below 8,500 feet the road was clear. Now it was onto our journey's purpose, Yellowstone.

Before leaving the Beartooth we had to stop for some road construction. The lady holding the stop/slow sign was placing bread in her hand and the Grey Jays would land on her hand and then take the bread.



I had heard of this before and just had to try it so I put down the camera right there and gave it a shot. It made me feel like a kid again. Funny how the smallest things seem to give us pleasure.
(to be continued)

--
  All photos by Greg Gaskin



Greg Gaskin's Short (VERY Short) Biography:

Short (very short) Biography:


I was born (1957) in Brooklyn New York and lived there until the age of eight when the family moved to the Hamlet of Islip on Long Island's south shore. For the past 30 years I have lived in southeast Michigan and presently reside in Wyandotte, Michigan with my wife Rita and our dog Sparky.
Photography is my "drug" of choice (although coffee is a close second). I will photograph anything that I find interesting but my main interests in photography are lighthouses and wildlife. I retired March 1st but was unexpectedly offered a job and will be returning to the work force for 3 years starting June 25th. I am also part owner of a small photography business, Pixel Magik.
[Note from Michelle:  Greg's photography may be viewed at http://greggaskin.smugmug.com/ ]
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Please Note:

*** This Blog Needs Your Story! *** { I'm Serious!} If you have a story to post on this theme, contact me, please! We have only a single story on tap at this writing.

Give your imagination a stretch--your story can be about any sort of Relentless Pursuit, fact, fiction, poignant, humorous, or even harrowing! I'd love to hear from you and work with you on your story! We need to keep this theme going! We've had some truly fabulous posts over the last several months. Why not yours?

Thanks for stopping by.
Michelle Alton

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Sociable