A Wild West Adventurer Part 4 Yellowstone, Tetons and Home!
by Laurie Pedrick
Day nine found the wind blowing up a storm. But we wanted to see the park before we traveled westward. We took the loop road and saw prairie dogs, wild horses and yep, BUFFALO! After the drive we stopped at the visitor center for our passport stamp and watched a video about the park and went through the museum. I don't think many people know all that much about this great president. While he was assistant Secretary to the Navy, he expanded our naval fleet and had them sail around the world promoting our country. While President he was responsible for the formation of the National Park Service and the official designation of many National Monuments and Parks. He recognized the value of the Park System and the benefits that these places have to the citizens of our nation.
It rained slightly as we left the area - next time through we want to see the Medora Musical and to get a pitchfork fondue steak along with seeing the north section of the park. We are now on our way through Montana - on the way we will stop at Pompeys Pillar and then onto the gateway to Yellowstone. Not sure how far we will get today, but should see Yellowstone tomorrow.
Yellowstone is magnificent, Yellowstone is breathtaking.... but most of all, Yellowstone is crowded! So what can a camping tourist do when making a somewhat unscheduled stop in this our first National Park? If you are like this writer, you have your handy home on wheels sitting in your truck bed and have almost no worries. While many RVers have to be concerned with length and width when selecting a campsite, the truck camper crowd handles it with ease. Need to get into a campground where the limit is twenty five feet or less? No problem!
We decided to make this somewhat unscheduled detour on way home to the Reno, Nevada area and while driving through the park, we started to think this might be a place to spend the night. We passed many a campground with the full sign out. To be honest, you really should plan a little further ahead than we did, but we kind of like the nomad way of life, finding unique and great places to camp at along our way. So just as you are thinking you won't find anything, something comes up. In our case, it was Lewis Lake Campground which was not yet full and had very few hard sided rigs - mostly tenters. We felt a little sorry for them as the temps got down into the thirties overnight. What is great about Yellowstone is that while they have lots of camping sites that take reservations, there are several that do not. Why is that great? For people like us, flying by the seat of our pants, there was still an opportunity to spend a night under the beautiful star lit skies and have another campfire and just enjoy each other’s company. I am still amazed that after all our years together we enjoy each and make each other laugh and smile every day. Even when we are in a cab over camper for days on end!
Next day we headed into Grand Teton. The two Parks are connected really and so you just go from one to the other. One funny road sign…. “Slow Down Cowboy! Mama Bear and cubs sighted ahead!” We were able to get a site in Grand Teton for the night and took the bikes off the truck to ride for a bit. Went to the visitor center and picked up a few mementos. Stopped at the restaurant/bar and had a beer and bartender offered up a sample of a boysenberry margarita. Back onto the bikes with a stop at the camp ground store for a few more supplies and firewood. Can’t camp without that! The next morning we headed out and were able to take some beautiful photos along the way.
Our destination this evening would be Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho. Long drive with a stop in Idaho Falls for some fresh produce. Craters of the Moon are stark in comparison to Yellowstone and Grand Teton, but still beautiful in its own way. We went to the visitor center, got our passport stamp and bought a book about the park. We then proceeded to take the evening tour after dinner. Park Ranger was very informative about this interesting place. Met a few interesting souls as well at this stop.
Last day on the road and we made the decision to beat feet and get “home”. Not truly home mind you, but back to our beloved Snowflower Campground in the Sierra Nevada. Heck, we didn’t even stop at the house although we did stop in Sparks for fuel. The trip from Craters of the Moon to Snowflower was twelve long hours, but worth it.
So basically two weeks and 3500 miles later, we are still married, still like each other and the Adventurer did really well along the way. Would I do this type of trip again in the Adventurer? We certainly will. We have plans in a few years to take about three months and just get out there and explore this great place we call the USA. Until then, it will be short trips of a week or less – already have another Death Valley trip planned for November and who knows where after that? A trip to see where our rig was made is definitely on the list that is for sure.
Until I write again, or see you on our travels, stay safe!