June 7, 2010 Day 47 Drive Thru Animals and Spacecraft

The weather forecasters said it would be raining early in the morning. They were wrong, it waited until 9 am to rain. We had a nice fire last night and burned all the wood that had been left by a previous camper. We even sent a picture to CC so he wouldn’t feel left out. PTCC called her grandparents and talked to them for a long time. She says she isn’t homesick anymore and wants to continue traveling. I don’t think I will go with her. It’s almost time to go home. We have a few stops left to make and then we’ll be there.

So the plan for today was to go to the wildlife safari. We waited until about 10:30 am to go and most of the rain had blown over by then. The safari had most of the animals we had already seen except for the wolves. We get there and pull up to the window to pay. For both of us it was $10. We aren’t allowed out of the car until we get to the wolf section and then again at the end, where the visitor center is located.

We start on our trek at 7 mph and the first thing we get to see is the elk. There are a few standing right next to the road but the funny ones were the elk laying in the grass. The grass is so high that you can only see their antlers. It makes it look like branches laying in the grass. They all had large racks with fuzzy antlers.

Our next adventure is with the white tailed deer. We come across a doe with her fawn. Since it had rained the doe was giving the fawn a bath. Another deer was down from them feeding and across the road the rest were congregating around the creek. Then we crossed the grate into the wetland area. This area has pelicans hanging around in a greenish swamp. Then we come to the wolf and bear habitat. We can get out here and walk a trail around their cages. After we cross a bridge we come to some owls on the side of the path. It was too hard to get pictures of them because the camera kept focusing on the wet chain link fence. The camera kept focusing on the drops of water instead of the animals.

Next we came to the American Black Bear. We only saw 1 in the cage and it didn’t want to walk closer to us so we got pictures of it cleaning itself in the corner. The habitat was actually pretty large so there could have been others hiding in the woods. We keep walking and come to the wolf habitat.

At first we didn’t see anything but then a wolf darts out from the treeline and comes closer to us. The first one we see is carrying either bones or sticks in its mouth. Then we see another one following the first, it looks like it has yellowish eyes and grey fur. We are standing on a platform above them so they walk right under us and come out on the other side. We then take a path and find another wolf laying right next to the fence like it’s sleeping but its eyes are blinking. I remember reading about the pecking order of wolves in West Yellowstone so this might be a beta wolf. It looks like the lowest of the pecking order, since it is by itself and not with the pack.

We then walk the path and since it has rained it is very muddy. This mud is like wet clay, not like mud in FL. This kind tries to suck the shoes off of your feet each time you try to take a step. Also the path is steep so we’re sliding at the same time as slipping in the mud. It is sticking to our shoes and we’re kind of hydroplaning over it. Finally we see the parking lot again and scrap the mud off of our shoes and get into the car to see the back side of the wetlands. This time we see swans, Canadian geese, and the smallest sandhill cranes I’ve ever seen. Ours in FL are sometimes as tall as an adult. These looked like babies and when I asked in the visitor center I was told they are adults. They just seemed SO small. We also saw some kind of small duck with babies swimming in the pond.

Our next path leads to 2 pronghorn antelope. These were the only 2 we saw in the park. If they have more they must have been hiding in the woods because we never saw any more. The last animals to see were the bison. They were all laying down under a grove of trees trying to stay out of the rain. Since we’ve seen so many on this trip we didn’t linger here. We drive back to the visitor center where they have toads, frogs, turtles, and many varieties of snakes inside. Then we walked around outside and saw a bobcat, bald eagles, and a swift fox. It had started to rain again so we headed back to the car and Mahoney park for lunch.

After eating lunch we head out again to the Strategic Air Command center. It is next door to Mahoney State Park. When I asked the cashier why it was here he told me the aircraft used to be about 30 miles away at an Air Force base but they were deteriorating outside and the government said they would remove them and send them elsewhere if they weren’t kept inside. So the locals raised $30 million to house the exhibits, and now most are inside. This wasn’t as exciting for PTCC and myself because we’ve been to Cape Kennedy many times but more than that: CC is from Pensacola so every time we visit he drags us to the PNS Naval air station and their museum which is very nice. As well as we have visited the Smithsonian Museum in DC. So this is not the highlight of our trip but we go and take pictures and video for CC so he can enjoy seeing it too. It is about f1/4 of the size of PNAS so we finish in about an hour. I can’t tell you what the highlights are because to tell the truth, I don’t care. They had some really large aircraft with wingspans that went from one side of the building to the other. But you couldn’t go into any of them and could only see the bomb bay on one of them. Most were too high in the air from the ground level to be able to see the pilot’s areas if they were clear. They also had a restoration area where they were working on 2 aircraft.

After finishing at SAC we go back to the park to take a rest and the sun is finally coming out. We drive through all the campgrounds and see most of the sites are empty. The Little Creek campground looks like they will lose most of their people on Wednesday. We still have the same 5 campers and we will lose 1 today.

Our site is covered in water and mud. We can’t get into the bins unless we step in slimy mud. Every site in this park is unlevel with a lot of water standing in them.

For the rest of the day we have no plans. I think we will go up to the lodge to check emails and play on the computers later but that is probably all we will do for the rest of the day. I asked PTCC if she wanted to do any Jr Naturalist stuff and she told me no.

Well we ended up at the indoor playground around 4 pm. This place smells like dirty shoes. I guess because they do ice skating in the winter so they have all those stinky boots to store the rest of the year. Also in the indoor playground you can’t wear shoes just socks so more smelly feet. This is a huge gerbil tube thing that kids crawl around in with ball pits and slides and rope ladders. We stay an hour and while there CC calls us. He got the campfire pic last night after he was asleep so he looked at it this morning and wished he were here with us. I told him he probably didn’t since I almost bought it this morning when I steeped off the RV stairs into slick mud nearly falling and busting my hip. So he agreed then it was better at home for now.

They also have a conveyor belt rock climbing machine. I’ve never seen one of these before. It looks like a moving sidewalk turned upward with handholds built into it. They charge by the minute to use it. I asked PTCC if she wanted to try it and she looked at me like I was stupid or something. So I guess not.

We go back and eat dinner, then feed the fish our leftover bread and take showers. After that we have ended up at the lodge to work on Spanish and general computer stuff. Tomorrow is supposed to be wet so I don’t know what our plans will be.

Leave a Reply