10/11/2019 Leaving Gardiner for points South, day 30



At Cowboys


What a gloriously sunny morning.  There is not a cloud in the sky. It is quite cold at 18 F outside.  Sunshine will warm things up considerably.

“Yes, we will be open until 1PM today”, the local LP company answered the phone, YAY! I called Jessica to say we would be leaving today. We had a chat about Gardiner and Yellowstone.  I asked about getting water before we leave. “Curtis is home. You can use the hose by our front door to fill up.”

Curtis met us as we drove the 200 feet to their house.  We attached the hose, turned the water on, and got NOTHING!  The hose was frozen.  Curtis moved the hose to the road waiting for it to thaw.  He banged the hose to free up ice and bent the fitting out of round.  I used a monkey wrench to true up the fitting.  That worked.  About the fifth thing we tried to thaw the hose worked.  We filled to 2/3 quickly.  Their water pressure is impressive.

Curtis talked about Rocky Mountain RV Park saying this is not typical for them.  It’s usually busy with children running around.  He described how he and Jessica found the property and the leap of faith they made when the bank approved the purchase.  They have a few folks who come up for the three seasons.  One couple loves bear, they arrive late April as the bears come to the lowlands to forage.  “This is one of the best seasons to visit the park, but you should see it in May.  Animal behavior in spring is fascinating.  I wish our cabins were setup for winter use.  Perhaps we’ll make that change.  We have so many projects planned.”  Since the road to Lamar Valley is open year round, we could easily fly into Gardiner and drive to Lamar Valley.  We were sorry to be leaving Rocky Mountain RV Park, Curtis, and Jessica.  It was time to move south a bit.  The weather was wonderful.

We reached the bottom of the hill at 12:44.  Bridge work held traffic up for maybe 20 minutes.   Would the local propane company close before we got there.  Once across the bridge, I drove right to the propane dealer. They were open and we topped up.  In two extremely cold days with the propane heater on constantly we used 3.5 Gal of propane.  Our heater is extremely efficient.  No worries on the propane front!

We drove to RV parking at the top of the hill, “our parking spot”, and walked to Wonderland Café for cappuccino and scones.  The café is a very friendly, liberal feeling shop.  We feel at home there.  The coffee and scones are quite good.


Wonderland Café


Ellen Talking Bear with New Friends


A Bit of Yellowstone History


At Gibbon Falls


Falls in the Background


All filled up: propane, gas, water, scones, & coffee, off we went to West Yellowstone and a hew home.  We stopped at turn outs a number of times on the way, often for the view, as often to let traffic pass.  I drove slowly.  We drove right to Buffalo Crossing RV Park, our first choice.  Grizzly RV Park is far too expensive.  Buffalo was full.  I spoke with the manager.  There was nothing available.  That there are so many hearty people visiting the park in this weather was a surprise.  “Can you recommend any other park?”  “You might try Pony Express RV Park, they looked to have openings when I drove by.”  He gave us directions. “Good Luck”.  Pony Express is a two star park.  Normally we would skip even looking.   We found the park behind a hotel/motel.  They have 16 sites, two were taken.  We chose site #5.  I wonder if Buffalo has sites open tomorrow.  I called and took the last available site.  They’ll have seven sites open the next day.  Cool, we can stay three days if we want.


Riverside Drive headed To West Yellowstone

We drove back into Yellowstone and off to a favorite spot south of Madison.  There the Firehole River veers away from Rt 191 and runs along the north side of a wide meadow.  Fountain Flat Drive runs along the river.  This is a gorgeous location and a favorite for fishermen.   The herd of bison we encountered last year was nowhere to be seen this evening.  The snow crunched underfoot as we walked along the river.


A Short Walk in the Snow


Li’l Beast Playing in the Snow

The road from Madison Campground to West Yellowstone is mostly clear.  There are patches of ice in the shade here and there.  One turn was all ice, not smooth slippery ice, but chunky uneven ice with some traction.  Hitting this at high speed would be trouble.  I drive slowly in Yellowstone. Too much can go wrong: Ice, snow, potholes, and the wildlife.


Got One!  Can You See the Fish in His Net?


Fishermen Packing it In, Firehole River

Today was a glorious day.  We’re home after a meal at Slippery Otter Pub. We’re snug and warm as the outdoor temperature drops to 21 F and lower.  Tomorrow promises to be better than today.


West Yellowstone will be home base for a while. We will let the weather dictate our next move.  I hope we get to Hayden Valley.  The road there from Madison was open today and should remain open for a few days.   The last time we were in mid-Yellowstone, the sky was a dreary gray with occasional rain.  Now each day is cold but sunny. Each day is a bit warmer than the last.

Mountain Mama’s is still closed.  Bummer.

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