2011 Travels travel blog

Carpe Diem at West Yellowstone Grizzly RV Park

Carpe with Roosevelt Arch
Arch marks the park's original entrance at Gardiner, MT

Entering Yellowstone National Park, North Entrance

Carpe is half way between the Equator and the North Pole

Quake Lake, MT
View from south end of lake

Quake Lake, MT
View from Visitor's Center at north end of lake

View up Madison River shows landslide that formed Quake Lake

Sandi with Grizzly RV Park Mascot

Yellowstone National Park
Bull Elk along the Madison River

Fri, 16 Sep: ♫ On the road again... ♪ After sitting in one spot for a full week it was good to start the Cummins and put some pavement behind us. We're really getting used to this gypsy lifestyle and sitting in one place too long isn't our cup o'tea. Not too sure how we'll handle parking in Casa Grande all winter.

But, we digress... We travelled just shy of sixty miles from Gardiner to West Yellowstone. We drove through Yellowstone National Park from the north (Gardiner) entrance to the west (West Yellowstone) entrance. The day is very rainy so most of the drive was in the rain, just sometimes it was heavier than other times. Regardless, Carpe behaved beautifully and handled the steep grades, both up and down, in style.

We are now parked at our "usual" West Yellowstone RV Park, Grizzly RV Park. We are still fortunate to have the Baileys parked next to us. They were behind us by an hour and also had an uneventful drive. We really enjoy traveling with Cathie & Ray. We get along quite well and we don't feel obligated to be together all the time.

West Yellowstone is at a higher altitude than Gardiner so we're told to expect freezing temperatures overnite. We topped off our fresh water tank when we got settled in here, and then disconnected, drained, and stowed our outside water supply hose. We'll use tank water during our stay.

Now it is up to the weather as we look forward to again exploring the southern portion of Yellowstone. Forecasts are for partly cloudy to partly sunny days, so we're keeping our fingers crossed.

Sat, 17 Sep: It rained all evening last nite and all through the morning. And, it did get cold, but not to freezing. Nevertheless, it was too cold for the heat pumps to work (they tend to become quite inefficient below 40° F.) So we shut the door between the salon and bedroom and set the bedroom gas furnace to a comfy sleeping temperature. It was wonderful to cuddle under those extra blankets.

We didn't do anything notable all morning. About noon Cathie Bailey stopped by to invite us to accompany them for a drive to Old Faithful. We demurred as we had discussed a car trip to Quake Lake some twenty miles north of West Yellowstone. After lunch (well, closer to 1400) we did exactly that despite partly sunny skies and brisk winds.

Quake Lake (formally known as Earthquake Lake) was formed as the result of a massive 80 million ton landslide caused by a 7.5 Richter earthquake on 17 August 1959. The resulting earthen dam backed up the Madison River forming the current lake, some six miles long and 150 feet deep. It submerged a campground, portions of highway 287, and resulted in 27 deaths.

It is a beautiful lake and we enjoyed our short outing. We definitely want to visit Old Faithful and several other Yellowstone attractions, but we just weren't "up to it" today. ¿Mañana?

Sun, 18 Sep: We've really been lazy these past few days. Don't seem to have very much "get up and go" as we've enjoyed lazy mornings in our snug coach. Overnite temperatures have been around freezing, so we've really loved lazy mornings with hot tea and nothing pressing to get us going.

Cathie and Ray must have sensed our malaise as they called around noon and suggested we take a drive through the park. We readily accepted, especially as Ray insisted on driving (and we do enjoy burning his fuel).

Anyway, we took the north loop up to Norris and then west and south to Fisherman's Bridge. We toured the Fisherman's Bridge campground, which is in the process of being modernized to include electric and (in some sites) water/sewer. The campground is run by a concessionaire, so the price is not National Park (and no "old fart" discounts). They do have sites large enough for Carpe, so it is a possibility for future stays.

We stopped at the new Old Faithful Visitors Center, which is a beautiful building. It was a-building when we were last here, so it is nice to see something finished. Very nice toilets...

On the way back to the park we encountered a huge traffic jam. Turns out there was a bull elk off the road. Ray drove by slowly (as if he had a choice given the traffic) and Sandi was able to get a decent "grab shot" of the bull (see pix).

A very enjoyable drive and Ray even had us back home in time for "happy hour". After libations in our coach Cathie (who delayed her libations) drove us to a very nice BBQ place in Williams. Great grub, and as always with the Baileys, super company!)

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