In the morning, after staying at the Old Faithful Inn, we got more familiar with old faithful by watching a couple more eruptions and visiting the education center. From there we had to get outside and went on a geyser and hot spring pool hike. It was amazing to see all the colorful pools and spring streaming geysers!
“The vivid colors of Beauty Pool’s basin and runoff channels are created by microscopic lifeforms. Incredibly, these organisms survive and thrive in an environment that would be lethal to us and most other living creatures. Scientists are just beginning to understand these lifeforms: amazingly, hot spring environments may sustain a diversity of organisms rivaling that of terrestrial rain forests.”
My favorite is at the end of the hike (of course), it’s called Morning Glory and it’s a very vibrant and colorful but still pretty small pool.
Next, we hiked back to the education center to finish some work and check on Old Faithful again. We caught the video they show after every eruption too. Highly recommend it!
Then we were off to check out the Grand Prismatic Spring! It’s very similar to Morning Glory, just lots bigger! So big, in fact, it’s kinda hard to see. I can tell that most of the famous photos are arial views. It’s just down the road a few miles but it was equally amazing!
Sadly, we had to head south already from there to get through the Tetons and down to Jackson hole. We’re total fans of Yellowstone though and will certainly be visiting again, hopefully with more time on our hands and an RV/camping gear. I had a work conference to attend with my new company 10up. They’re a distributed WordPress agency and it’s thanks to a company like them that we can nomad like we do! While I was in Jackson for the week, the rest of the crew went to visit family in Canada! It was a beautiful drive exiting the park and going through the Teton National Park too.
I think there were a couple other National forests or parks we drove through too, all beautiful. Here is the instagram roll from the day:
As we were heading towards Wyoming from Indiana, we noticed signs to the Badlands, and having heard about them and looking up details as we approached we decided on a small detour to check it out. We were happy to present the rangers with our newly printed 4th grader pass which got us in free! We were pretty immediately impressed with a great overlook as we made our way to the information center, so we had to get out!
We were struck with blasts of wind as enjoyed the canyons and cliffs.
Then we saw something coming over the hills behind us, like a brown cloud and then we realized it was a sandstorm! So we ran to the car. Most of us made it in time, the rest of use was picking sand out of our hair and beards the rest of the day.
We checked out the Ben Reifel Visitor Center to learn all about the history of the area and participate in the Junior Ranger program. We were thoroughly impressed. We’re really glad that we stopped in to see the Badlands National Park and happy to report the badlands are a good time.
We’ve had many questions about what we’re doing with our cell phones and plans while we travel the world. The standard response most nomads have had to do is get an unlocked phone and purchase a sim card (usually prepaid) in each country as they land and pay as they go. That sounds doable, but also sounds like a hassle to find a decent and competitive phone company and sim card on arrival before being able to use my phone. Luckily for us though, we have an international friendly cell phone plan, from Google. I’m including a link below to get a discount if you want to sign up.
A couple years ago we switched from Verizon to Project Fi. It’s literally the only bill we’ve continued with since selling our house. We no longer pay for water, trash, electric, gas or internet. We cut the cable over a decade ago, and have never had a phone phone.
Project Fi is a mobile virtual network operator by Google, providing phone, messaging and data services using both Wi-Fi and cellular networks belonging to Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Three. We have a two phone plan with decent Moto x4 phones and are paying $35 for unlimited talk/text and then exactly how much data we use (at $10/GB). We’re pretty light on our data and only use around 2GB/month together. Project Fi automatically switches between networks depending on signal strength and speed. It automatically connects to Wi-Fi hotspots with data encryption through an automatic VPN. Phone calls transition between Wi-Fi and cellular networks. With all networks combined, Project Fi covers 170+ countries around the world.
The nice part is that international data is the same price as domestic, 10$/GB. Plus I can use my phone as a hotspot and use date on the go to get my work done. (I publish this very post from the passenger seat of the van as we drive through Iowa using my hotspot). They’ve recently added a feature so that if we use a bunch more data than usual (over 10GB), they’ll cap our bill at $100. We do need to pay for international phone calls though (texting is still free), but since the plan uses wifi for calls when it’s available, we’ll be able to place free calls from home or anyplace with wifi! There are likely other competitive plans that could be set up by purchasing a sim card in each country, but it will be great to hit the ground with everything ready to go wherever we go.
Here’s the code to get $20 Fi credit when you start a phone plan with Google’s Project Fi. Redeem it here: https://g.co/fi/r/D2R0FJ
If you’re interested in switching or trying out Project Fi follow the link and get $20 credit (full disclosure, we’ll get the same $20 credit if you sign up). You don’t have to be a nomad or even an aspiring nomad to sign up for a great cell phone plan!