JOURNALS: NATIONAL PARKS OF THE NORTH
ROCKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARKS OF THE NORTH TRIP JOURNAL
July 20, 2017
by Lisa Boutin
It was a beautiful sunny morning to start an exciting day. I started the day with a quick trip to Walmart for some last-minute things for our orientation meeting today. Then on to setting up our meeting room for the orientation meeting which would start at 3:00pm. The rest of the morning was filled with checking-in the remaining guest and meeting them for the first time in person. By 2:15pm, I had met all of our guests in person and could finally put a face with a name. All of the guests were excited and seemed anxious to get started on our journey together.
Orientation started with pictures of our guest as the entered the meeting room. There was such excitement in the air as they all filed in, took their seat and started introducing themselves to each other. On this trip we had 16 1st Tour Guests, 1 2nd Tour Guest, 3 3rd Tour Guests and 2 Lifetime Member Guests; Total of 23 Rigs / 48 Guests. The orientation meeting was filled with lots of information and was conducted by each member of the Ambassador Team; John & Lisa Boutin, Wagon Masters and George & Pam Raney, Tail Gunners.
Later, the Ambassador Team hosted a Welcome Dinner that was filled with laughter, chatter, great food and excitement. It was AMAZING (our word of the day).
What I loved most about our first day was seeing our guests meet for the first time which seemed to be the start of some new friendships. I know the remaining 32 days will all be filled with new and exciting adventures that we’ll experience together. Can’t wait!
July 21, 2017
By Joanne Yow
Yesterday was a day of orientation and meeting new friends.
Today was our first activity. We visited Pikes Peak by way of the Cog Wheel Train. It was an hour journey to the top. Along the way I saw flowers that grow in the wild such as black-eyed Susans, and wild roses. The train conductor would point out things of interests such as the Colorado Aspen and the tall Ponderosa Pine. I also saw several Big Horn Mountain Goats, a large deer, and several marmots. I also saw a still functioning hydroelectric plant. At the top of Pikes Peak, we received hot donuts and hot chocolate courtesy of the Ambassador team. Looking out from the observation deck, I could see forever-pine trees, lakes, snow, and a gold mine in the distance. The view was breathtaking. The ride down the mountain was an enjoyable ending to a blessed day for all. We continued over to The Garden of the Gods for lunch provided by the Ambassadors.
The Garden of the Gods was a tribute to the wonders of nature.
July 22, 2017
by Jack & Candy Hutchins
Day 3 dawned with a full schedule of events. With eyes barely open, brains beginning to function, and tummies growling we trekked to the Legacy room where we were royally treated to pancakes, sausages, orange juice and most importantly COFFEE. Bellies full and more awake, we were filled in about our day 4 travel day as well as Rocky’s adventures from Day 2.
At noon, we boarded a luxurious bus that took us to the Air Force Academy. Most impressive! When the cadets enter the academy, they sign up for serious, rigorous all-inclusive training. Their emphasis on character building, integrity selfless service and excellence showed us that America’s Air Force maintain high moral standards. After watching a movie highlighting the Cadets path through the academy, and leaving a contribution in the gift store, we visited the beautiful and diverse chapel building. Within the Protestant Chapel, the Marquetry art form intrigued us. Made entirely of wood pieced together like a puzzle, it magnificently depicted the 3 kings delivering gifts to Christ. Amazing. All 4 chapels were amazing to behold. The immaculate grounds, unique architecture and mountain background completed our visit to this amazing institution.
Our second destination was the Olympic Training Center. Starting off with another deposit at the gift store we were treated to a movie. It gave us insights about how our athletes live & train. Our knowledgeable tour guide explained the various disciplines and talked about some of our finest athletes while taking on a tour of some the facilities. Because of the Saturday tour day and meets going on elsewhere in the World, there was not a lot of athletes in the training facilities.
We made it through the day with great weather until our bus ride home. The rains started coming down and continued into the evening. Thanks to our bus driver Al for not only driving and handing out water, but also filling in as a tour guide as he was driving giving us insight to the area.
July 23, 2017
by Richard & Mary Babb
We started the day with our usual quick breakfast. We also talked about our trip of the day back up I-25. We began our prep of the camper for travel. Our goal was to leave around 10:00.Everything went well and we were ready to hit the road at 9:30. Everything was smooth sailing until we hit the outskirts of Denver. Traffic picked up and the entire population of Denver was on the interstate when we got there. We were able to hang on and make it to Hwy 36. It was a beautiful drive along a curvy mountainous road. There was plenty of scenery and many bike riders for which you had to watch. Lunch was a sandwich at a pullover on the side of the road. Some horns and stern looks from passersby. Finally we were in Estes Park. Bumper to bumper traffic through Estes Park. We made it unscathed to Elk Meadow RV Park. Got parked and setup. Decided to ride up to the RM Park and bought a couple of tee shirts. Stopped at an overlook to get a preview of tomorrow’s tour. Returned to campground and relaxed for a while. We decided to go get a pizza for dinner. Back to Estes Park and we found a great pizza place named Antonio’s. Returned to the camper and time to unwind. Sunset had all of the neighbors out gawking. Beautiful.
July 24, 2017
by Butch Sauerwald
Lisa wanted a man’s perception of the Rocky Mountain Tour and threatened me with bodily harm if I didn’t comply, only joking. The word for today was exciting, it should have been spectacular. The beauty and vastness was unbelievable. I also learned of the marmot, an animal I never heard of. I’ve seen a lot in my travels overseas and you forget how beautiful it is in our own country. I feel so fortunate to have been on this tour with the friendship of the group. This is one trip I will remember. After a terrific lunch and scenic bus ride back to camp, all I can say is thank you!
July 25, 2017
by Judy Meyers / Paula Spor
At Terry Bison Ranch we had an amazing buffet dinner. The restaurant decor was native to the area. We visited the Wild West Museum but did not go to the rodeo as it was not “my thing”. The train ride to feed the bison was enlightening and a different experience that we really enjoyed. The weather was very hot with no pool accessible. It was very nice of our leaders to go very early to save us all front row seats near restrooms for the Frontier Days parade. The last day before leaving we had breakfast at the ranch cafe. It took one and a half hours to be served the most expensive and not best tasting. George and Pam, our tail gunners, waited and wondered where we were holding up our departure time.
July 26, 2017
by Lani Lavatai
Going or spending time to see a rodeo was something we never thought of doing in our lifetime. I think of a rodeo as a cowboy ride on a bull, for few seconds until the he got thrown off and another cowboy did the same thing until you run out of bulls, at least that’s what I saw on TV.
The chance to see the real live rodeo, was a great experience. I enjoyed different events. It was fun to see how they can take the calf down and tied both legs so fast, amazing how the horse was co-operating with the cowboy by keeping that rope firm and not loose. I was impressed with the team event, where one rope the steer, and the other rope the rear legs, I never thought it can be done, but some did it with ease. I wasn’t sure how the scoring system works, how one cowboy I thought was doing a good ride, ends up with a lower score, when another I thought wasn’t good ends up with a higher score, I guess, just like any other sport it takes time to learn and see what the judges are looking at. We enjoyed the overall atmosphere, my wife did some shopping, and get a chance to listen to some music, played on the front side of the park, also visit the carnival area. For the food area, she had funnel cake, and I have a big smoke turkey leg for lunch.
All and all, we enjoyed it very much, that rodeo will definitely be included in our future agenda when we have another opportunity.
July 27, 2017
by George Raney
The wife, Pam, just handed me the stick and told me to write. Here goes.
My day started at 3:30AM when I was awakened by the alarm clock. One hour later, John and I were on the road to downtown Cheyenne. John mentioned something about a “trout slayer” but I was unable to comprehend due to low coffee saturation in my body. As the sun rose in the East, we set up chairs in front of a catholic church. After that was done, I left him there to guard the curb against intruders; returning with his pickup truck to the camp.
Back at camp, I hopped the bus and came back downtown with all the folks. We sat around for awhile, clowns came by. They were nice clowns, not Steven King ones :).
Then, we watched the parade. It was pink day at the parade and most of the characters were dressed as this band…in pink for breast cancer awareness.
After the parade, we all boarded the bus and went downtown, near the train depot, center of town. Everyone enjoyed lunch at a different place. Lots of us went shopping at the Wrangler and bought some western garb.
Back on the bus — one and all were home early for a nice afternoon nap. Yawn!
Around five PM, we had an ABC (appetizer, beverage, chair) social. Everyone stayed for a few hours and yakked. I practiced people shots with my new Canon camera.
It was a fun activity and Dave Wilson was the last to leave.
July 28, 2017
by Janet & Chris Rossbach
Our fourth day in Cheyenne was sort of anticlimactic. We all met downtown for a trolley tour of the city. Being that we were in town the previous 2 days, the trolley tour was not needed. Besides….there was no a/c on board on a very warm day. This evening we were treated to dinner…hot dogs & hamburgers and all the trimmings. It was to make up for the cancelled tour & lunch at the CLOSED Warren AFB.
by Ed Easter
We started the day off with an old-fashioned trolley car ride. And yes it was hot! When our ride was over we had the rest of the day to do whatever we wanted. Some people shopped, some went exploring the town, some “tipped a few”, some just people watched and some went back to their RV to rest.
That evening we all convened again for dinner at the Terry Bison Ranch where we were staying. We had a great cook-out of burgers, hot dogs and pasta salad with watermelon for desert.
All in all a great day.
July 29, 2017
by Dee de Gregoria
After leaving Cheyenne, WY; we are headed for Gering, NE. Where? Why?
Well first of All, We needed a couple of days break and now we had 2 free days!! Yahoo! On the way we stopped at Fort Laramie which was interesting. I never knew Fort Laramie was in Nebraska, (it’s not) had a very nice chat with the park ranger.
by Terry Proctor
Nice drive from Terry Bison Ranch. Stopped at Fort Laramie en route to visit the museum. Was able to view Scottsbluff landscape from a distance and it was incredible. Spent our one full day in Gering kayaking at Minatare Lake in the morning, visited Scottsbluff National Monument in the afternoon (awesome views), followed by rock painting at the campground (about half the ladies participated), and a campground dinner of pizza.
July 30, 2017
by Art Cross
Sunday we went to Scotts Bluff which was amazing looked like it was right out of a movie only this was real!! Second night in we were treated to a pizza party by our tour hosts which was much enjoyed by all.
July 31, 2017
by Judy Meyers
On our way from Gering to Fort Robinson we stopped for lunch at the Longhorn Saloon. It was right out of the Wild West. We spoke to the local cowboys and listened to old time stories about the area. We were late getting to the park so dinner was quick so we could check out the campground facilities. After dinner while sitting outside we ate homemade strawberry shortcake before ending another day of our Fantasy tour.
August 1, 2017
by Marilyn Carter
We had the most extraordinary visit at Fort Robinson. We all knew we were to dress in cowboy duds and that a hay wagon was going to take us somewhere for dinner. What we didn’t know is that the wagon was headed to the foothills of these beautiful mountains with extraordinary formations.
And that is where dinner was awaiting us.
With ribeye’s on the grill, corn, rolls and much more. There we enjoyed an unforgettable view and our dinner.
Headed back while the sun was starting to go down, we headed to the play “Young Frankenstein “. It was a class A show with wonderful actors! Certainly, it was a night to remember!
August 2, 2017
by Tim & Cherie Clark
The day started out with a group breakfast at Fort Robinson. Cherie and I decided to skip the breakfast and take a bike ride around Fort Robinson.
We spent a couple of hours riding our bikes around the Fort and trails that we discovered. There was a lot to see at Fort Robinson besides the Fort building themselves. We came across an old cemetery which had flooded and they had to relocate the graves, an old swimming pool structure used by the Calvary Soldiers, the original carriage house and fire house. Fort Robinson was special to us as we felt the spirit of the Calvary soldiers in Fort Robinson remains!
After the morning bike ride we broke down camp and started driving to the next RV Fantasy location; Heartland RV Park, Hermosa, SD.
August 3, 2017
by Jim & Linda Hutchins
Today is August 17th. Beautiful Day. All was going great until about 6pm when Lisa asked for a favor. “Of course” I said. “What do you need?” She asked me to recount the events of August 3rd for the trip log. 2 whole weeks ago on an event laden adventure of activity and sights. Claiming the inadequacies of a 73-year-old brain had no effect on her. So, with that preamble, I will attempt to do the day justice.
As I recall, the bulk of the day was free time to do as we wanted. My mind was filled with the need to replenish the larder and try to find a 32 inch wiper blade to replace one that had gone bad several days before. We had spent the previous day exploring Rapid City and having dinner with Jack and Candy in town so Linda was content to stay in the RV and catch up on work related stuff from back home. So, while Jack and Candy set off to look for Buffalo Bison. I headed into town in search of an auto parts store and a Safeway. Parts stores seem to not have heard of wiper blades longer than 28 inches so off to Safeway to resupply. There you have it, the bulk of my day leading up to the highlight of the day – Mt Rushmore.
Jack and Candy had a better day as they did, indeed, find Bison. They did the lower loop through Custer State Park – Wildlife Loop road. They experienced a small heard of Bison (including young ones) near a small airport. Candy was thrilled and talked about it for at least the next 2 or 3 days. I think she even mentioned it again yesterday.
As for everyone else’s day, I have no idea. Sorry. I’m sure you had fun.
But, at 5pm we all boarded up for the Mt. Rushmore event. Linda’s number one bucket item for this whole trip was to see Mt. Rushmore. So, with this finally about to be accomplished, we set off. I had been there some 17 years earlier and was really looking forward to seeing if it had managed to remain as I remembered. The first glance of it as we rounded a bend in the road totally met Linda’s expectations. Turning the corner from the short walk from the bus and getting the first full view just underlined Linda’s impression. Finally, she was in the presence of her objective. We slowly walked up the entry to the overlook of the open air auditorium.
I suggested we take the pathway that took us closer to the carvings – promising that it wasn’t really very long. Along this path it is easy to see the vertical scars left by the drill holes for the explosives and the tremendous amount of rock rubble removed. We did continue around the entire length of the path as I kept saying it would be shorter to continue than to back-track. Linda wasn’t really bothered as the pathway was a worthwhile experience until we started the accent up to return to the dining area.
Of course, she needed to do the pot roast for dinner – it somehow seemed appropriate and set us up for a comfortable wait for the evening lighting experience. We took our seat about an hour before the start and were quite comfortable enjoying the view. However, our wives, shortly before the start, decided they need espresso and, on Candy’s part, ice cream. Explaining that it was quite a walk back to the cafeteria had no effect so off Jack and I went. Probably appropriate after enticing Linda into the full trip around the earlier mentioned pathway. Have to admit that the espresso did seem to enhance the lighting ceremony.
The day ended with the trip back to our RV, a shot of whisky, a couple of chapters in our individual books and bed time. Linda’s bucket list now has one more checked off item.
August 4, 2017
by Walter and Kay Zilka
August 4th the 16th day of the tour started out cloudy and rainy but little did I know this was a good omen. The Badlands were beautiful due to the rain. It brought out the colors of the hills and allowed us to see the form of the hills better. The dark clouds in the distance made for a sharp contrast. During the drive we all noticed the advertisements for 5-cent coffee and cold ice water at the Wall Drug. The signs were many and were very noticeable. During the drive the driver shared the history of the area. The travelers from the badlands were in need of supplies and rest so the offer of coffee and cold water was a luxury to them. We went to the Wall Drug for lunch. The town was a series of stores of all kinds to aid the travelers. Now the stores were places of all description of items as well. We had lunch and then shopped. People came back with items from hats to t-shirts.
Our next shop was Deadwood City tour. The tour of the town had an additional surprise. The motorcyclists from the Sturgis rally were there with many types of bikes. Hundreds of bikers showed off their wares by riding up and down the street. There was even a dog on a bike with goggles with his master on a bike having fun. We made our way to the trolley and were seated. The tour leader took us around the town and told us the history of Deadwood including going to the cemetery where Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok were buried. After the tour we took the bus back to camp as the day turned beautiful and sunny.
August 5, 2017
by Bob and Sue Kidder
We enjoyed the bus tour to The Crazy Horse Memorial and the Black Hills. We took the bus tour at the memorial and saw a whole different perspective of his face. Very impressive! I think it’s unfortunate that it is taking so long to complete. I think our government should be contributing to the project. For all we have done to the Native Americans it is the least we can do! The Game Lodge was nice and our lunch was good. Ventilation problems was out of our control. When traveling (especially in an RV) we all know we have to be flexible. And so it goes!
August 6, 2017
By Janet Rossbach
After a very busy few days, we still wanted to explore on our own. Custer State Park was exciting. We saw….bison, antelope, mules and prairie dogs. Really a great day for wildlife sightings.
August 7, 2017
by john Boutin
It’s a travel day from Hartland RV Park Hermosa, SD to Deer Park RV in Buffalo, WY. With the Sturgis Rally I hope the traffic won’t be too crazy for our guests. Lisa & I leave at 9:00 AM and breeze through Sturgis and Deadwood on I-90. Most of our guests are stopping at Devils Tower which will be extremely busy. We arrive at Deer Park RV around 1:00 PM Meet with the Park owner and get the site assignments for our guests. As our guests arrive, Lisa hands them the campground info sheets and local attraction information. After all our guest arrive we have a social gathering at our site. All the guests brought snacks, I grilled some different types of sausage we had bought on our travels and we all sat around taking about our days adventures. It’s great to see everyone socializing and safe after another travel day and looking forward to another day with this great group people.
August 8, 2017
by Cathy Stiff
We are in Buffalo Wyoming. Leaving tomorrow for Garryowen Montana. We read about a ride on a dirt road going through a canyon called Crazy Woman Canyon. There are 2 theories about the name. One is that an elderly Indian woman was left there alone and went insane and thus the canyon was named. The other is that a settler saw her husband killed and scalped and went insane. It is a wild place. Some friends were kind enough to take us in their jeep. Not a place for a sedan. This canyon is narrow and follows a small stream with occasional waterfalls. The Indians used this canyon to gather their warriors in preparation for battle. It is one of the most beautiful places I have seen yet! If you get a chance, put this on your bucket list.
August 9, 2017
by Joanne Blewett
Day 21, August 9, 2017, was a travel day: we moved from Buffalo, WY on the Bozeman Trail to Garryowen, MT. It was a short 100 mile drive – and we passed a Walmart in Sheridan, WY, where many of us stopped to “re-stock the pantry.”
We were asked not to arrive before 1PM. To meet the 1 PM arrival time, Dale and I stopped on the shoulder of I-90 for lunch. I thought it very considerate to have several fellow travelers call to see if we were OK. Lunch took about half an hour, so we pulled back onto the highway for the last 30 miles, arriving at 1PM on the dot.
In the afternoon, we explored the Custer Battlefield Museum and saw the largest collection of Custer Battlefield artifacts anywhere in the world; it was an impressive display. We chuckled when we saw George A. Custer’s New York Life insurance policy for $5,000. While there, we saw a video about the battle – Dale bought the video to enjoy again and again.
For supper we were served walking tacos by our Ambassador team. It is a clever way to eat tacos with no clean-up. John’s margaritas helped get the party moving along; we had a good time, good food, a wonderful desert, and great companionship. It had been a good day all around.
August 10, 2017
by Tom Latendresse
Our day began early with a car caravan out to an overlook deep in the hills surrounding the Little Big Horn River and Reno Creek. Our Guide, Chip, pointed out the positions of Custer’s troops before they advanced to the battlefield where they encountered the Sioux warriors and their “last stand”. As he described the terrain, he provided interesting detail about the troops and their scouts, most of them Crow Indians. We had an unobstructed view of the area from Reno Creek towards the west where the tragic battle took place.
The next phase of our tour took us to the Little Big Horn Battlefield National Monument in the heart of the Crow Nation. The monument consists of two parts: the Custer Battlefield and the Reno-Benteen Battlefield which are several miles apart. The Park Service provides an excellent map of the two sites and the terrain in between. Chip escorted us through both sites where numerous granite markers indicate the places where Cavalry troops were killed. His detailed knowledge of the troop movements from hill to hill and valley to valley gave us a sense of the confusion and general disarray of those two days, June 25 and 26, 1876.
The 7th Cavalry Memorial stands atop the Last Stand Hill and serves as a giant gravestone for hundreds of deceased soldiers whose names are inscribed on all 4 sides of the obelisk. Nearby is the beautiful, poignant Indian Memorial, installed after Congress renamed the park Little Bighorn Battlefield. The Memorial has handsome granite wall panels with inscriptions written by each Sioux tribe.
Our sojourn today was most interesting, especially the dusty gravel road into the hills. We only lost 2 cars – one to a flat tire… and one simply wouldn’t start. Our trusty Guide and Wagon master took care of everything.
Our tour ended with lunch at the Trading Post where Montana’s best Indian Tacos were served. Tired tourists shopped a bit, then went back to the 7th Ranch for afternoon siestas.
August 11, 2017
By Tom & Melinda Latendrisse
Our trip today was a little longer than previous trips and the route took us out of the Crow Nation towards Billings, MT. The I-90 route took us through Billings and into Laurel where we turned south onto smaller roads but very scenic. The road took us through a mountain pass into the Bighorn Basin and eventually Cody.
We arrived at Absaroka Bay RV Park just west of Cody in the afternoon. With no scheduled activities, we were free to explore the town for the rest of the day. Cody has many attractions and activities to entertain the traveler. It is also a great shopping mecca for western-themed clothing, leather goods, and art. There is also the great “Buffalo Bill” Cody Center of the West to look forward to. The next few days in Cody will be both educational and inspiring.
August 12, 2017
by Billie Bison
I live in the RV with George and Pam every night. During the day Pam puts me into her large backpack so that I can travel with them and maybe someone will want to take my picture. Lisa told me I was to be the STAR of the trip and would have my picture taken everywhere we go. That hasn’t always happened. Today Pam told me there was nothing special planned for the group so I could stay home while they explored the town of Cody. I think she went shopping (she came home with a new blue cowboy shirt).
They got out my backpack late afternoon so I knew we were going out for the evening. The trolley came to the campground and picked us up. It took us to the Buffalo Bill Museum and we were led into a private area where there was a buffet dinner set up for us all. I had to stay in the backpack while everyone ate. After dinner, we moved to an auditorium where I was finally able to come out of the backpack and see the show. It was a good show. Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Review. He played the guitar and told a few jokes (some were funny, some not). His 19 year old daughter played the fiddle and sang and another lady made up the rest of his band. They played mostly old songs from the days of westerns on TV. It was a nice evening, but way past my bedtime. I was glad to get back to camp and settle in for the night.
August 13, 2017
by Paula Spor
Day 25 at Cody Wyoming started with the 9AM trolley tour around Cody. Our driver Rose and guide Bridget had a bubbly personality which made the time pleasurable and informative. They also took us to the Buffalo Bill Dam outside of town. After the tour, we wandered around the art museum. We sat and watched the owl demonstration. In the afternoon we had a delicious buffet lunch at historical Irma Hotel. We saw the beautiful bar that was a gift to Wild Bill from Queen Victoria. In the evening after a long day of exploring and shopping. We had delicious HOBO STEW made by the hands of our four fabulous leaders.
August 14, 2017
by Trish Alexander
The trip to Fireside was beautiful, it was through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. The sky was hanging over the mountains with the most breathtaking views. It made up for the lack of wildlife in the areas. They did not reveal themselves except for a few Bison near the Tetons.
August 15, 2017
by Howard Schillinger
Left camp at around 9:00 AM with plans to travel the loop of Grand Teton Nation Park starting at Moose Junction.
The day was fairly perfect with cool/warm weather and mostly clear skies. There were some high clouds around the mountain tops, but they did really make for some outstanding photos.
Made a few stops for photos along the way to Jenny Lake, which was our first ‘Must Stop’ on the loop. Truthfully, you could stop almost anywhere and get great photos.
Arrived Jenny Lake and lucked out to get a good parking spot. This location was obviously very crowded. Regardless, we walked down to the area with the boat ramp and were surprised to see the crowd had spread out and the line to do the boat ride to the other side of the lake to hike trails and see water falls was small. We jumped on the opportunity to take the next boat. What a GREAT decision. The nature trail and water falls on the other side of the lake were amazing. We couldn’t believe how beautiful every view and stopping point were. The clear falling and rushing water views along the trail were beyond belief. Photos of the mountains were also fantastic. Needing to conserve time for the rest of our day we reluctantly headed back across the lake.
We made a few other photo stops on our way to Jackson Lake Lodge. All were very impressive.
Arrived at Jackson Lake Lodge where we were going to have lunch. We had a bit of time before lunch so we took advantage of the incredible views, gift shops, and bar for a refreshment. Jackson Lodge is a great stop, with outstanding panoramic views of the lake and mountains. Worth the stop and time spent.
Left the lodge and traveled to complete loop past Moran Junction and Elk Ranch Flats.
Made a few additional photo stops which were well worth it. Of note were the Snake River Overlook and Glacier View Turnout.
From there we slowly drove to complete the loop with a planned stop at Mormon Row to view the historic settlements. This stop was highly worthwhile and we took several fantastic photos of these very old settlements that are widely seen in art galleries, etc.
That’s about it. It was a GREAT day that we will surely remember for years to come.
August 16, 2017
by Paula Spor
On the last day at Jackson Hole we woke up to a chilly 39 degrees. Yea! A morning we could sleep in. At 12:45 we were picked up by a Jackson Hole water rafting company. Got our gear (life vests & binoculars) & boarded the float raft. We had 11 people & Eric was our guide. The temperature now was 78 degrees, blue skies with puffy white clouds. Perfect day for a boat ride. As we floated down the Snake River between 4-6 mph Eric pointed out numerous landmarks. We saw a large number of Bald Eagles, marmots, ducks, cattle, & birds. We ate a nice bagged lunch as we floated down the river. We returned to a delicious chicken & biscuit dinner which we shared with 6 other fellow RVers. After dinner we attended an ice cream social & a drivers meeting. We also said goodbye to Rocky the moose. The evening was capped off with drinks, new friends, old friends, & thoughts of tomorrow at Yellowstone, our last stop.
August 17, 2017
by Dee de Gregoria
Today we set out on the last leg of our RV caravan. The trip went quite well as we did not encounter a lot of backup traffic of any kind. Traffic was very heavy at pull offs as everyone wanted to stop to take pictures. Especially around the geysers. Of course we saw NO ANIMALS. We are now two for two. Settled in and explored the Yellowstone Trading Post here on the campgrounds. Dinner at home tonight
August 18, 2017
by Mary Babb
Our tour activities started out bright and early (8:00AM) and lasted until 6:00 PM. We did what is known as the upper loop of the Yellowstone. Some of the outstanding areas we saw were the Norris Geyser Basin, hot springs, waterfalls, Mount Washburn and Lamar Valley.
Our lunch stop was at Mammoth Hot Springs. We had a delicious lunch with a fabulous dessert in a beautiful dining room.
We were very fortunate to have a very knowledgeable bus drive tour guide (Jackie) who has a passion and an enthusiasm for the park. When was able to give us information from a historical, ecological and geological perspective. She has a deep understanding of the wildlife in Yellowstone and where the wildlife was apt to be seen. We saw many bison and even a black bear.
Day proved to be “interesting” from other perspectives as well. Our first bus had some mechanical issues and another bus was sent to us at Mammoth Hot Springs. Our second one had a “little” age on it (manual transmission) and air condition was nonexistent. However, everyone made the best of the situation. Compliments to our Wagon Masters (Lisa and John) for continuing to smile and remain calm.
August 19, 2017
by Dee Sauerwald
Today was Day 31 of the tour. It started out as a beautiful, crisp morning. We were fortunate to have Jackie again as our Yellowstone bus driver and guide. The trip began about 8:00 AM. After we entered the park, we were lucky to see many buffalo along the way. Our first stop was the Fountain Point Pot. It is the second largest geyser basin. It is a constantly changing geyser and thermal spring. We learned about Bobby sox trees and saw the large, dormant Excelsior. The Grand Prismatic, the third largest geyser pool on earth, was also there. We learned why there were so many different colors on the bacteria mats. After leaving there we saw a juvenile bald eagle.
Right before lunch, we saw the eruption of Old Faithful. One of the highlights of this trip. Then we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Snow Lodge. We then saw the Grand Loop Cascade. At the breathtaking Kepler Falls we heard how the Kepler Cascade was named after a young boy. It’s the only place in Yellowstone named after a twelve-year-old boy.
After that we went to the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, a very luxurious place. Some other facts we learned were that the Yellowstone is the longest free-flowing river in the US. You need sulfuric acid to make a mud pot. Mud volcanos give off a very strong sulfur smell. It’s been over 70,000 years since the last lava flow in Yellowstone. Bison males can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. When they chew their food they ruminate. Yellowstone has many lodge pole pines. Yellowstone was the first national park.
We returned close to 6:00PM after a very special last tour!
August 20, 2017
by Tim & Cherie Clark
It was a free day on the RV Fantasy Tour and Cherie and I decided to sign up for the Madison River – Montana Fly Fishing Adventure. The trip was guided by Arrick’s Fly Shop located in town of West Yellowstone, MT. We met at the Fly shop and were introduced to our guide for the day, Zach Hoy. Zach spent a little time before we started our fishing adventure on technique and fly fishing tips that would help me get started. I was very happy with his patience and ability to communicate as this was my first outing or attempt to fly fish and would not have been able to do it without his instruction. Cherie was along for the scenery on the river and to take picture of our adventure together.
Zach got the boat launched at 9:15am and we all started down the Madison River together. The real fun started next as Zach began to quarterback the fishing commands to me to carry out. It was not long before I caught my first fish (a small Rainbow Trout) and “broke the ice”. Zach maneuvered the river boat, Cherie was taking pictures and I kept fishing while listening to Zach continue to coach me on techniques of fly fishing and where to place the sub surface lures in the water to catch fish.
Overall we spent 4 hours on the water; caught six fish, including four Rainbow Trout and two Rocky Mountain White Fish (not counting the “ones that got away”). There was a little fawn that we passed by standing in the river along with many birds (osprey, Sandhill cranes) that added to our adventure. It was definitely one of the highlights of our RV Fantasy Tour and we would recommend it to anyone whether you are a newbie or pro. It is a remarkable experience.
Special thanks to john and Lisa for suggesting a fantastic tour company, Arricks Fly Shop. If you can get Zach Hoy as your tour guide it is a plus, I thought he was fantastic!!
August 21, 2017
by Lisa Boutin
It was a bittersweet morning with the thought of having to say goodbye to new friends. Yes, on day 33 they were no longer our guests but now our new friends. We were up at 5:30am to get ready for our farewell breakfast. One by one, we said our goodbyes with promises to stay in touch. Several of our new friends wanted to beat the “eclipse” traffic so they were gone by 6:30am.
We cleaned up breakfast remnants and prepared for the eclipse viewing. The RV park managers told some of our rigs they could stay until 12:30 if they wanted to view the eclipse. The few that were staying the night all gathered at Paula & Otto’s site for the eclipse viewing. Paula concocted the “eclipse drink” of orange juice and grape juice with a little stars sprinkled on top. They were really good. The eclipse was awesome and we all were wearing our funny glasses. John was able to get some really good pictures of the event.
When it was over, we said our goodbyes again to Paula & Otto, Judy & Walt and Dee & Butch. John and I went shopping for a little while to prepare for a pot luck dinner that we were gathering for at Dee & Art’s site later in the day.
Around 4pm the six remaining rigs gathered for our pot luck dinner which was a great way to finish off an extraordinary trip with extraordinary people. John & I couldn’t have asked for a better group for our first go-round as wagon masters. We will never forget the first one. Thank you all!