2017 Yellowstone Cookout Wagon Ride

Since Sunday was a bust due to 2 different cases of? “Buffalo herds in the road” delays that cost us 3 hours of time just sitting still in traffic.? We decided to make the most of Monday. ? We rode the entire Northern Circle around Yellowstone from Madison to Gibbon Falls to Norris to Mammoth Hot Springs to Tower Roosevelt to Canyon Village back to Madison and then out the West Entrance.

In all we have driven the “toad” a little under 700 miles so far, since we left our home town of Arab Alabama.?? Honestly it doesn’t seem like we have been driving that much with all the breath taking scenery and wildlife to enjoy.?? There is the expectation and hope of seeing a new type of animal at any turn.

We stopped tonight at Roosevelt Lodge to take a wagon ride out to an open valley campfire and cookout.? It was probably as good of a steak as you would get anywhere.?? The “fixin’s” were especially good.? We had steak, potato salad, cowboy beans, corn, slaw, watermelon, apple crisp for dessert and a choice of soft drink or tea.? I was reluctant to sign up for this and my expectations were low but I was very pleasantly surprised.?? During the eventing we saw a black bear hiding in the brush, a coyote came a little too close for comfort, and a few buffalo passed by the eating area without giving us so much as a glance.

Please enjoy the slide deck of Sunday and Monday at Yellowstone and a ride into Idaho, just to say we did.

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2017 Yellowstone with Friends

Let the adventure begin. ( day 1 – 3 )

Headed to Yellowstone with friends
Headed to Yellowstone with friends

We headed out on Friday the 9th of June with adventure on our agenda.? We planned and planned and now is the time to execute that plan.? We left Arab Alabama and made it to O’Fallon MO at around 8:00 pm and they were very RV friendly, then on to Sioux Falls SD Flying J for the next night.? The first two days have gone according to plan with the exception of a few items.

Didn’t plan on the car battery dying.
Didn’t plan on getting into a CAMPING WORLD parking lot that was NOT suitable for big rigs, and thought we were going to have to back our way out of the only Entrance/Exit on the whole 10 acre lot……
Didn’t plan on driving West right at the (seemed like) 4 hour sunset through St. Louis .

HOWEVER, God Is Good, and we arrived on time, as planned, and in good condition ( except exhausted ).

Some of the photos getting to Mount Rushmore at the end of day 3 of our 2 week adventure. ? It’s been a great experience so far. ?From the success of getting through Nashville and St. Louis traffic to the first night stay in O’Fallon, to the reverent and respectful lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore and everything in between.

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Day 3-5

Now we are at Day 5 of our adventure and we are parked and setup in the KOA at West Yellowstone.? Temp will be 30 degrees tonight, and snow was on the ground driving down from Bozeman MT to our KOA.?? It was a long 6 hour drive but we took our time, and even worked in a nap on the way.

Here are some more photos of our adventure so far.? You will see Badlands rock formations, buffalo, Mount Rushmore, Needles highway, Custer State Park, Sioux Falls (falls), Wall Drugs, and other random photos of our Walmart setup and the 50 state celebration at the North Dakota sign.

Driving from Bowman North Dakota to Miles City Montana was very intense as a storm moved in with very heavy winds and rain blowing sideways.? A road sign said “BUMP” when it should have said? “MOON SIZED CRATER” ahead.?? There were 5 of those “BUMPS” in the dark with heavy winds and rain affecting our drive, but we made it without incident.

Day 6 touring Yellowstone

We woke to a brisk 35 degrees and were amazed to see snow on the mountains around us.? Being from Alabama we don’t see snow after April at the latest.? A necessary task had to be done, but not how I wanted to start the first day at Yellowstone.?? The Civic “toad” battery died on us twice coming out here.?? There was NO WAY I was going to drive into the middle of Yellowstone where I know there is no phone signal with a weak battery.?? Fortunately there are several auto parts places and mechanic shops in the area.? We bought the battery and borrowed the tools from NAPA to replace it in just a few minutes.?? Richard and I then went back to the campground to pick up our wives to begin our trek out to see God’s magnificent creation.

We first stopped and made the obligatory photo of us beside the “Welcome to Yellowstone” sign, along with all the other folks doing the same thing.? We saw a heard of Buffalo just a couple of miles into the park.? We stopped and took photos, and moved on to the Soutwest Basin areas.?? Old Faithful just being one of many geysers in the southern quarter of Yellowstone.?? We saw “Firehole Falls”, “Canyon Drive”, “Lower Geyser Basin”, ” Firehole Lake Drive “, “Midway Geyser Basin”, “Biscuit Basin”, “Black Sand Basin”, “Upper Geyser Basin” and “Kepler Cascades and Waterfalls”.?? On the way back we saw more buffalo, and a couple of very large Elk (I think).? Richard said Moose.? We will probably never know but we have photos in the following slide deck.

?Day 7 (2nd day at Yellowstone)

We ventured our earlier today knowing we had a longer drive today. ?We drove an estimated 200 miles. ?During the trek we rose to the Continental Divide at elevation 8262 feet. ?We saw snow, waterfalls, more Bison, Elk, chipmunks, and Geese. ?The Bison ignored us and expected us to wait for them to cross the road, or if they were laying down by the road then just roll the window down and take a picture. ?On the other hand, you pretty much have to watch in the trees, and far off the road to find an Elk/Moose. ? When you stop to take their picture they are very bashful and run away. ?We started into the park with 1/2 tank of gas, but there were 3 different gas stations available that we saw and filled up at Grant Village. ?Enjoy more photos of today.

Day 8 (3rd day is resting)

No Yellowstone today, just rode around West Yellowstone, did laundry and locked us our of the RV, no big deal.? Our friend had the door open before I could get the locksmith on the phone.?? BTW – that lock is fixed to not lock itself anymore.

I simply walked outside before shower, etc to release the gray water only to find out that Norma had gone to the laundry with the Toad.?? I walked to the laundry hoping desperately that she had taken her camper keys with her, but to no avail.? She had only taken the car key.?? So a little jiggling, prying, praying, and wiggling we got back in with no injuries or broken windows.?? CAUTION : KEEP A HIDE-A-KEY IN THE TOAD !!!

Day 9 ( 4th day at Yellowstone )

We got up early and had a good breakfast at one of the local flavor diners.? Then filled the tank up knowing it was going to be a long day of driving.? Our route today was to be to go to the Northeast Entrance (furthest point from where we are staying.?? The pinnacle of the nature views is located at Lamar Valley which has an abundance of wildlife variety and quantity.

Some of the other areas we saw today were, Canyon Village visitor center and wildlife exhibit, Mount Washburn, Tower Roosevelt, Petrified tree, Mammoth Hot Springs, and others that I can’t remember already.? But they are all worth the visit.

We say eagle, moose, black bear, grizzly bear, deer, prong horn sheep, prairie dogs, ram, elk, and oh yes!? How could I forget the 1 or 2 thousand buffalo/bison.? We met people from Phoenix City Alabama and from Mississippi who were friendly and out here experiencing the language barrier issue that we are having.

I can honestly say that the animals are great but the landscape and natural beauty is breathtaking.? When you round a curve or top a hill and see what lays in front of you it will make you gasp at how gorgeous it really is here.?? After the 6 plus hours of drive time today to see everything, we are all exhausted, but happy and blessed to have enjoyed the day.

Enjoy these photos.

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Day 10 was a bust

Best laid plans…..? We had everything packed up and left the campground early to go to Tetons via Yellowstone.? This should have been slightly over 3 hours to get to Jenny Lake at the Tetons National Park.? Well, what we didn’t plan on was two extremely long Buffalo herds taking their time walking down the same road we were driving on.?? After 2 delays and we were into the trip about 3 hours, and hadn’t made it to Old Faithful yet, we voted to turn around and just take it easy at the campground.? We had a nap, went shopping for gifts for our grandchildren, and went to eat at a very nice little local restaurant named “Connie’s”.?? We also found a nice creek with a thinking bench to sit and watch the rippling water flow across the rocks and made such a peaceful sound that I wanted another nap.