All posts by Julie Broberg

How About Bison Repellent?

The next jam was the most common wildlife traffic snarl in Yellowstone: bison.  Bison are huge and ubiquitous.  Husband Brad calls them rattalos because they are everywhere!  A calf approached our car very directly.  While I was composing a shot, I found out that bison are not as doped up as they look.  A huge, male bull shrieked a bellow at the calf and shook its black tongue at me.  Thought I was going to need bear spray.

Bison shrieking so close its eyeball fills my viewfinder.
Bison shrieking so close its eyeball fills my viewfinder.

Eleven hours later, we still had seen no bears other than that smudge in the field.  No more elk, no moose, big horn sheep, mule deer or antelope.  Other than bison, we saw chipmunks, squirrels, Canadian Geese and a vole, which is like a mole, only Northwestern.   After eleven hours, we were beat.  Honestly, as we headed back to Old Faithful Inn, it would have taken a big horn sheep riding a bear to get us to stop.

Arms Like Popeye support Old Faithful Inn

Old Faithful Inn is authentic National Parks architecture: a massive stone and log lodge like El Tovar (Grand Canyon), Crater Lake Lodge and Many Glacier Lodge (Glacier National Park). Built with lodge-pole pines as long as corridors, these structures center around immense, multi-story lobbies whose rock fireplaces draw weary visitors in the evening. Despite the parks size, Yellowstone has only one grand lodge, but it is easily the nations most impressive.

Beams with arms like Popeye support the inns six-story lobby. Built in 1903-1904 without Starbucks or power equipment, Robert Reimers design included electric lights and steam heat. Light cascades into the interior from three stories of dormers and casement windows so high they need ladders. One can see the catwalks of an even higher balcony The Crows Nest but cant go up. Orchestras once played from the Crows Nest until an 1959 earthquake made that level unstable.

Lounging in the lobby, I wonder what flipped-out worker volunteered to pave the ceiling 92 feet above me with logs. What an insane job. The Old Faithful Inn, what an insanely beautiful, mellow place to vacation.

Ratskeller: Dinner and a Show

The best place to eat in Munich just might be in the basement of the City Hall. No overcooked cafeteria, this enormous, upscale eatery has a wine list (!), entrances off four streets and is made small and intimate by the broken-up space.

Our waiter was also an expert napkin folder, a magician and expert beer-pusher. Gage gave in. Cole, however, but refused to drink it (he had taken an Oath!)

Finally, the waiter got random tooth picks to form a star without touching them, so we nabbed a few coasters to try this at home.