Raney Road Trip 2015 (part 3)

Old Faithful

Sunday morning and the first thing we have to do is say goodbye to our beautiful campsite at Buffalo Bill State Park. It brought many tears, but we are better people for it. Ok, no tears, but that place really made us want to just sit, stay there and enjoy doing nothing! There really are not enough hours in a day!

We saw a lot yesterday at Yellowstone. So we figured we needed to take the kids to Old Faithful and then head to Jackson. We have a lot of driving to do in the next couple of days, so we need to make this quick. Old Faithful is only a 34 mile roundtrip off the route we are taking so it shouldn’t take long…famous last words! We made a few stops along the way. Since this is a “working vacation” we needed to take some photos of the camper in action. First we got some photos with the Yellowstone National Park sign and then we parked it next to Yellowstone Lake. Got some nice photos with the lake and this turned out to be a really fun stop.

 

Back on the road to Old Faithful. From West Thumb to Old Faithful it’s only a 17 mile stretch, but it’s all mountain driving, up, down and round and round…and this time we are pulling the camper! When we finally get to Old Faithful (on a Sunday afternoon) there isn’t a parking spot in the entire lot. It makes you want to leave, but we can’t come all this way and not see Old Faithful! After circling the lot for awhile we finally see an open space. And in our (moms) mad dash to the space we clip the huge RV next to us as we pull in. That's why rearview mirrors fold it, right? Just unfold it, good as new.

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Old Faithful is awesome… 

but holy crap, the people!!! We got there at 1:30 and the next eruption was at 2:10 +/-10 minutes. We were one of the first ones to get a spot to watch and by the time she blew her top there must of been 5000 people watching. Crazy for being on top of a mountain! It was almost 4:00 by the time we got on the road and we have a lot of driving ahead of us and no place to stay. Sunday night, should be easy to find a place…hahaha

To Jackson and beyond

We drove out the south entrance of Yellowstone through Grand Teton National Park, and the mountains are unbelievably beautiful. Did it just snow a bit? Yes! We haven’t put the miles in that we needed to today, but we thought it might be cool to stay at one of the national park campgrounds in the Tetons. They are first come first serve and it’s a Sunday, we shouldn’t have a problem finding something. Wrong again, everything is full, so why not drive to to Jackson. This is all we saw of the Tetons... :(

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We heard good things about Jackson, well not on a Sunday night when you're hungry and tired with no place to stay.  I (dad) actually got laughed at when I told the lady at KOA that we were looking for an RV site. Not liking the crowds in Jackson and after filling our bellies with fast food, mom said “screw this, we’re just going to drive and see what happens”. It was getting dark and for the next four hours we drove through mountains on two-lane roads winding through Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. Finally around midnight we pulled into a Holiday Inn Express in Evanston WY and called it a day, a very long day. Still not sure if we wanted to see the roads we were on...heights, mountains.

 

Notes:
- We are the worst food planners ever. Bad diets and lots of waiting at Old Faithful in the hot sun=at least one kid that doesn't feel well! Lots of parenting failures!
- No cell reception at Old Faithful (or practically anywhere in Yellowstone) for making reservations at future campgrounds. Also hard to get "work" in even with our WIFI hotspot. We even used a phone booth in Tetons! 
- Jackson, WY is smaller than we expected! There was a lack of lodging/camping between Yellowstone and Salt Lake City making for lots of driving! (this ended up being a good thing in hindsight to catch up on miles). No interstate until Evanston or Idaho Falls-both scary drives for novice trailer haulers.
- Thank God for GPS, because it was dark and the roads we took got confusing. But Google maps sends you on the shortest route, not necessarily the best or safest! Lack of research got us a bit on this part of the trip!
- Kids need to poop a lot!

To be continued...ZION!

Raney Road Trip 2015 (part 2)

We made it to Yellowstone!

We didn't really have a plan for Yellowstone. The kids are doing great and we are having fun hanging out wherever we are. The drive into the East entrance was so beautiful and we were camper free! We left it at our campsite for a day of exploring. The Virgin river runs all along the highway from Cody, we wanted to stop and just play in the river! We made it inside the park and basically followed the marching ants of cars to each site. Eddie says the "mud bolcanoes are disgusting"

We are not very adventurous when it comes to exploring off the boardwalks. So, we stuck to the main attractions. If we ever go back, it would be fun just to sit on the shore of the big Yellowstone Lake and explore the areas that are less crowded and watch for nature/animals. We didn't need to explore too much to see cool things!

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Mom had the camera sticking out of the window, but choked and rolled it up–missing the perfect pic! It's not the same as seeing Bison at the zoo! Another petrifying thing is "hiking" Uncle Tom's Trail. It would be one thing to do it by yourself. Totally another holding the hand of your tiny 4 year old. Asking advice of strangers whether or not to take him down there was fun. "Piece of cake", "No way!", "Sure!". Well, that helps. Everyone else is surviving. Let's do it! Made it 3/4 of the way down.

Next, we went to Addie's favorite part, the Paint Pots. More bubbling mud! It was fun and mesmerizing!

Hmmm-why did my 10 year old daughter think this was so funny? And why does she keep publicly reminding us and others about why mom thought it was so funny?

We packed a lot into our first day at Yellowstone. After we got some souvenirs and ice cream for the kids at one of the very crowded "General Stores" we headed back to Buffalo Bill State Park to relax for the evening. Tomorrow we'll take a quick detour (so we think) to see Old Faithful and head to Jackson through the Tetons.

To be continued...