Tag Archives: Gardiner Mt

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.

10/10/2019 Rocky Mountain RV Park day 29


Headed Home along the Gibbon River


Pools and Terraces Upper Mammoth Hot Springs


Sunset Over Gardiner Mt


Winter Came Early


No Snowy Wet Boots Inside!


Sunrise Yesterday, Cold and Overcast


Local Mule Deer



Rocky Mountain RV Park

Jessica returned my call yesterday.  She was overnighting with family in Bozeman.  The roads back to camp were treacherous.  “Day called on account of snow!  We’re hunkerin’ down here. Curtis is at the park.”   I told her we’d stay last night and tonight while the weather breaks.  We could stay over Friday to Saturday too.  Rocky Mountain Park closes October 15th. 

Today, Thursday, is cold with temps in the mid teens.   We had clear skies this morning for sunrise, though clouds are moving in.  It is calm, there is no wind. The Navion couple left this morning.  They tow a vehicle so I figure they’re gone.

We may take Li’l Beast down the hill to Gardiner for a change of scenery. The road between Gardiner and Cooke through the park and Lamar Valley is open.  I mentioned this to Ellen, who was not impressed.  It’s too cold to have fun there today.  That is the only road open in Yellowstone.  All roads south are closed.

There are RV Parks open going south. In West Yellowstone there’s Buffalo Crossing with electricity.  They close on the 20th.  In Jackson there’s Fireside Resort which is expensive, but could be our only choice to stay near Grand Teton.  They are open year ‘round.  The Virginian (also expensive in season) closes 10/15 and will not be there for us.

Weather going south out of the high plains and mountains will be fine with daytime temps in the 40’s or more.  We’re in no rush to flee Yellowstone.


Ellen’s Lunch, Huckleberry Sauce Left Background



Late Morning

First off I headed to Antlers at the other end of town.  I wanted to check their menu.  It’s a lodge and bar/restaurant across the street from Outlaw’s Pizza and Casino.  Parking was easy, the lot was empty.  Antlers looked closed, but the front door opened and in I went.  I found a gal in the back room packing sandwiches into bags.  I startled her.  “You’re closed, right?”  They were, she had left the door unlocked.  I slip-slid to Outlaw’s and the local mall.  They too are closed.  In fact the entire mall was shut down.

We drove into Gardiner to top-up our propane and find something to eat.  The local propane company is family owned and has erratic hours.  A sign states “Open 7AM to 1AM Monday – Friday”.  That’s more a suggestion.  they were closed when we arrived at 12:20 AM.   We parked up the hill in an RV parking spot and walked down to Wonderland for lunch. 

Wonderland was closed.  They’ve changed their hours to 7AM to 11AM.  Gardiner is slowly shutting down.  We went to Cowboy’s with an “oh well, let’s see what this is like”.  We both had pork, mine in a BBQ sandwich, Ellen’s with mashed potato.  It was very good.  On the menu was a huckleberry Habanero sauce for a dollar more.   It sounds strange having huckleberry with BBQ sauce, but how could I pass up Huckleberry habanero?   It was so good I asked if they sold it.  “No, we make it ourselves here and don’t sell it.”  I had another “order” in a togo cup.  This sauce is great.  It has a heavy huckleberry flavor, probably a reduction, with just the right touch of habanero to give it a kick.  Scrumptious!

We dropped in at Yellowstone Wild to chat with Chris, but saw the Yellowstone Visitors Center was open and went there first.  A tall woman welcomed us in from her desk by the window to our left.  The visitor center is huge, walled with literally hundreds of brochures and maps of the area.  The massive fireplace stands mid-room.    I chatted with her as Ellen perused the literature.  “I’d get up to greet you, but my dog’s asleep on my lap.”  “Oh what kind of dog to you have”, Ellen perked up.  She rose to bring her baby dachshund over.  She was wrapped in a blanket and so tiny.  Ellen and I have both had dachshunds.  The three of us bonded over her dog.  “What’s her name?”   “Mango”

Chris had company, a local woman he was hiring to manage his shop.  We chatted a bit then headed off.

Back home four of the five other campers were gone.   We’ll head out tomorrow for points south.


Man in the Moon


Overnight Low

On our cold evening walk we met Rudi, the dog, and Kevin and Mindy.  “The only Rudi I know of is Rudi Giuliani” Ellen quipped.  “Let’s not talk politics”, I said. Kevin and Mindy live a few houses down the hill from Rocky Mountain RV Park.  Ellen and I dispute where they said they live.  Ellen says Indiana, I think Louisiana.  Either way they had been coming to Gardiner & Yellowstone for years then decided to boy here in Gardiner.  They stay a few months in the spring and a few months in the fall and rent the house out in the summer..  “It pays for itself”, said Kevin.  They invited us to join them for pool night at the Two Bit Saloon.

We have proven that Li’l Beast can sustain sub freezing temperatures better than we can!  Diesel gel has not been a problem either. Winnebago’s cold weather package does work.  On 10/10 the daytime temperature never rose above 28 F!  So long as we have an electric hookup to run resistive heaters on our tanks and adequate propane for our heater, we’ll be fine.