Yellowstone and Grand Teton Trip 3 Aug 2003

Sal and I were off to yet another National Park. This time it was actually two, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

On Sunday August the 3rd, we drove to ......

St. George, UT

We have a new (used) tent trailer. Sal and I decided that this is a good way to go. Not as big as a travel trailer but better than a tent. (Not better, though, than a Marriott.)

So here we are with the tent trailer hooked up to the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The trailer weighs just over 2,200 pounds so the Jeep was able to tow it with no problem. The trailer has electric brakes so I had to get an electric brake controller installed in the Jeep - otherwise the Jeep had a Class IV tow package installed that is supposed to handle up to 6,500 pounds.
This was our "test" trip to an RV park in Pauma Valley, north of  Escondido. It was to make sure we had packed everything we needed and that we knew how to drive, setup and live in the trailer. The unit is a Coleman Sedona. Comfortably sleeps 4 on its two beds, but four adults inside during a rain storm would fray a few nerves. It has a refrigerator that runs off 12V, 120VAC or propane. a two burner  propane stove and a propane heater. It has a sink with a cold water tank and sewer hookups and a table that seats four. We bought a porta-potty to save long walks on cold nights.

This was the start of the real trip. On Sunday morning, we hooked up the trailer and headed off to Yellowstone.

That night we stayed at the Temple View RV Resort in St. George, UT. It was 93° at 9PM. Our tent trailer does not have air conditioning. We did bring a small fan and that helped make sleeping possible. Monday morning we packed up and headed off to .......

Syracuse, UT

As it has now come to be common, our first stop is at the Syracuse UT home of Sally's daughter, Kelly, her husband Loren and their two daughters. They did most of the planning for trip. We stayed at their house on Monday night.

Daughter number 1 : Alyssa Lauryn Roundy
Daughter number 2 : Ashlee Myree Roundy

Mack's Inn, ID

We left Syracuse on Tuesday morning the 5th. Kelly and Loren had bought a real travel trailer. We headed north on I-15 to Mack's Inn,  ID, ( Mack's Inn is both a town and an RV park right on the Snake River just about 25 minutes south of the Yellowstone Park west gate at West Yellowstone, MT.

This is Kelly and Loren's travel trailer. It was big. He has a large diesel truck that he tows it with. It has a real toliet and shower with hot water.
Here is our tent trailer setup in Idaho. We had 120VAC, water and sewer hookups. We had an electric heater which was really nice at night. Temperatures probably dropped into the 50's.
I brought two CB radios. Put one in each truck so we could have communications while we traveled. I bought them at a Thirft Store in San Diego.  Loren went just a bit crazy as Kelly and Sally talked much of the travel time on the CB's.

Yellowstone Park

On the 6th, we headed straight for Yellowstone Park.

Here are the Roundy's as we started off in Yellowstone Park. Ashlee didn't like the backpack carrier and that lasted about 2 minutes. From then through the rest of the trip, she was on her own two feet.
Shortly after entering the park, we saw a herd of elk. This group included one large antleered male. He was very calm and Loren went to try to get a picture of him.
This used to be called a "Bear Jam". This actually was an "Elk Jam". There are not too many visible bears in Yellowstone anymore. Most have been taken into the backcountry away from the crazy touristas. The 1988 fire results are still visible everywhere. In many areas, you can see growth (6-10 foot tall lodgepole pines) returning.
Here is Alyssa in front of Old Faithful.
We had to wait about an hour for the next eruption of Old Faithful. It was worth the wait.
After that, we walked around the geyser field near the main lodge. This 'baby' geyser is called Anemone Geyser. It is an area called Geyser Hill near Old Faithful.
There was a wooden walkway all the way around. Both Alyssa and Ashlee did great on this walk. It was about a mile. Alyssa commented that "it smelled like eggs."
There were many of these emerald  pools.
Another pool.
Here is Grandma Sadi (Sally) with granddaughter Alyssa at one of the smaller geysers.
Here is that smaller geyser. It is a group called the Lion Group: Little Cub, Lioness, Big Cub and Lion. This one erupted for 3 or 4 minutes.
We got back from the walk just about the time that Old Faithful was about to erupt again. The crowd sort of grows and grows until the eruption and then there is a giant traffic jam getting out of the parking lot.
I took this picture from inside the Old Faithful Lodge. There are three big picture windows in the lobby.
Kelly and Loren on the shores of  Yellowstone Lake.
After seeing Old Faithful, we took a drive around the park on a loop road (through West Thumb, Fishing Bridge, Canyon Village, Norris and Madison). On one stop, along the Yellowstone River, we watched a herd of Bison having lunch.
Panoramic view of Yellowstone Lake (2357 feet).

Babysitting Day, West Yellowstone, MT

The next day, the 7th, Loren had arranged a white water rafting trip for him and Kelly as a gift (don't remember if it was birthday, anniversary, or what). They headed off early in the morning leaving the two girls with grandma and grandpa. We took a drive to West Yellowstone and let the girls play in a park for a good part of the day. We also had lunch there. Both of the girls were very well behaved for us. They have so much energy. I started complaining to Alyssa that I needed some "peace and quiet". She translated that as "piece of quiet" but still made sure that I didn't get any of it.

Here is Alyssa on a Jungle Jim at the park.
Grandma Sadi got to push Ashlee on the swings and send her down the slide.

  Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, West Yellowstone, MT

In West Yellowstone on the 8th, we spent a day at a conservation center for bears and wolves. This was our only chance to see either animal at the park.

Here are the Roundy's
Grandpa Mark and Alyssa looking at bears.
Grandma Sadi spent the whole day chasing the girls.
Wolves - they are noctoural so most were asleep the whole time we were there. In the entire greater Yellowstone ecosystem, only 271 wolves exist in the wild.
Here are the bears.
Feeding time - they must get a lot of jokes about this. Kids can buy bear food (lettuce, etc) and they get to hide it in the bear enclosure. Unfortunately, they remove the bears from the enclosure before they let the kids in - that ruins all the fun.
So after the kids got out (I hope they counted them), the bears were let back in. They knew what was going on and they seemed to know all the hiding places that the kids picked for the food.

A Blue Water Rafting Trip

On Saturday the 9th,  the whole crew except me (Grandpa Mark) went on a slow river rafting trip. It was about five miles on the Snake River. They were picked up right at Mack's Inn and driven 5 miles up river along with the raft. They floated back to Mack's Inn in a few hours.

Alyssa and Ashlee both LOVED playing in the water.
Ashlee started out a bit afraid on the trip, but ended up helping Mom paddle the raft.

We saw a MOOSE along the side of the river.
Alyssa is enjoying an apple while Dad makes sure we're on course.
What a beautiful day for a float down the river, and how fun with these great kids!

A day of Peace and Quiet for Grandpa Mark

While the rafting trip was going on, I finally had my chance to get some "piece of quiet". I didn't really know what I was going to do so I just went out for a drive. I went looking for dirt roads (there are a lot). I drove around the valley for a while and then I noticed a road that started to go up a fairly large mountain. I kept on driving and, to my amazment, ended up on the top of that mountain.

At the top of the mountain is an FAA air traffic control radar. Here is Sawtelle Mountain from the highway near Mack's Inn. You can just make out the radar tower in the center of the flat top of the mountain. It was about a 40 minute drive to the top.

Two views from the top of the mountain. Here is Henry's Lake. Loren, a fisherman, had checked it out the previous day. He thought about going fishing but found that we were there near the end of the season so fishing would not be good.

You could see that this mountain is volcanic in origin. The rocks all around were lava and on a nearby peak, you could still see a volcano caldera.

Grand Teton National Park

On Sunday, we started out on our return trip. Loren suggested that we drive through Yellowstone again and then head south through the Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole, WY.

Grand Teton Glacier
The days we were on this trip had a lot of  thunderstorms with their associated lightning. Here, just south of Grand Teton Park was a grass fire started by lightning. We got closer and closer to it as we headed south and it ended up only a half-mile or so off the main road.
Kelly and Loren in front of Mount Moran (3842 feet).
Grandma Sadi in front of Grand Teton Peak (4197 feet).

A panoramic view of the Grand Teton Range.

Here is our traveling caravan.

Return to San Diego

We made it back to Kelly's house in Syracure on Sunday night after a pretty long day of driving. We stayed there overnight and then headed south on Monday morning. We drove to Mesquite, NV were we stayed, Monday night, at the Virgin River Casino and Hotel for $22. It was 112° outside during the day and in the 80's at night.

Kelly wanted to know what the "Ranch Exits" were along I-15. I stopped and took a picture for her.
Not too much the worse for wear, here is Sally at the wheel, somewhere in Utah.
Here are some zucchini that Kelly grew in her garden. I was't sure we would be able to get these though the Inspection station at the California border. We were prepared to tell the inspectors that we had them but the Inspection station was closed.

On Tuesday morning, I woke up at 4AM. I woke up Sally and asked her if she wanted to leave now. At first she was not sure but I got her out of bed about 5AM and we were on the road by 5:20. It was nice as it was still "cool" out and we beat the rush hour traffic through Las Vegas. We also beat the traffic in Riverside County and we got back home around 1PM.

Trip Statistics:  2616 miles, $261.50 spent on gas (9.99 cents/mile). Lowest price: 161.9 in Syracuse, UT, highest price: 188.9 in Mona, UT. Average MPG 15.23.

Mark and Sally

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