The Yellowstone Extravaganza

Brian in Explore | 0 Comments July 5, 2014

For vacation this year, we rented a 25’ RV and drove to Yellowstone.

That There’s an RV

Highslide JS
Just outside of Butte Montana we got a flat on one of the inner back tires. An hour later someone from Butte had come and swapped out the spare for us and we were on the road.
The RV we rented was a 25’ job.  It has a double bed, loft area, and a dining table that seats four and can also turn into a bed.  It has plenty of stuff on board to be a nice self-contained home:  there is a bathroom with shower, water heater, stove, microwave, 110v AC power and heating and air conditioning.  Spoiler alert:  it is a fantastic tent and a crappy hotel all in one.  We loaded it with junk for a full day, and started out early on our long drive.  First stop:  Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho.


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Cole and Danna take a ride.
Silverwood was our first stop. In retrospect it may have been too early a stop, because the next day would prove to be a really long one.  Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho is a pretty good park.  It’s got a lot of roller coasters for it’s size.  Try as I might, Cole wasn’t quite ready for them, though, so we stayed with the simpler rides. Cole’s favorite was Thunder Canyon which thoroughly drenched us.

The Silverwood RV park had full RV hookups for us, so we had lots of power to charge gizmos.

On to Yellowstone

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Happy bison munching. Don't get too close!
The next morning we broke camp and started the long drive to Yellowstone.  What started as a nine hour drive grew to over eleven thanks to a flat tire in Butte Montana and a much longer drive through Yellowstone to our campground than we anticipated, but we got there.  We learned along the way that gas pumps stop automatically at $100.00.  Once we discovered this and restarted the pump to fully fill the tank we got a lot more distance out of each tank.  Whups.  City folks with there small gas tank cars don’t know nuthin’.

We came into Yellowstone from the north through Mammoth.  On the map, this is the shortest way to go.  But, due to frequent traffic jams caused by wildlife and just general safety of driving a 10’ wide RV through narrow roads, getting to our camp at Bridge Bay campground near Yellowstone Lake took us over an hour.  It would have been better to come in through the west entrance.  But, seeing all the wildlife, like a herd of elk on the road at Mammoth, was worth it.

As a side note:  expect to camp and see nature in Yellowstone.  I had planned to write about the trip as I went and was intending to post pictures each day.  Nope: no AT&T, no Verizon, no WiFi.  In fact, the campground had no RV hookups of any kind so we were on a somewhat strict power budget.  After a couple of days of Internet Withdrawal I managed to ease into my new disconnected life.

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Grand Prismatic Pool
Closer to the pool the colors become more intense. The blue green off to the right is the pool itself.
We toured Yellowstone for three days and saw some truly other-worldly sights and a ton of wildlife.  We saw bears, elk, bighorn sheep, bison, some fantastic birds (the mountain blue bird is a shocking electric blue) and even leeches in Isa Lake.  The unstable thermal features of Yellowstone are really something everyone should experience.  It’s just plain wrong to be standing on an active volcano admiring how pretty the destruction is.

To Jackson and Beyond

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Budding Bob Ross
Painting some happy trees.
After Yellowstone it was time to head south to Jackson to visit my good friends David and Amy.  Cole had a great time with their younger daughter Augustine and everyone enjoyed some great conversations and beverages.  We spent a day hiking up in the Teton National Park, enjoyed some great beer at one of the local brewpubs, and toured the National Museum of Wildlife Art, where Amy works.  If you’ve never been there, it’s well worth a stop the next time you’re in Jackson.

Our visit to Jackson overlapped with my Cousin Charles, who has a cabin there and brought his family out on vacation.  On our way our of town we stopped for a few hours to catch up.  Cole and Timothy got good and wet in a little stream trying to build a bridge across it.

Homeward Bound

We had very little drama on the way home.  No flat tires, no wildlife, no traffic to speak of.  And by that time I drove the RV Like a Boss so we made good time.  We opted for a hotel room to stay the night, however:  a good hot shower in the morning and a quiet bed that doesn’t rock on the wind was worth a little extra cash.  We stayed at the 50,000 Silver Dollar Inn, which turned out to be a really good deal:  $80 for the night including a hot breakfast in the morning.

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