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Trip to Yellowstone via Grand Tetons and Salt Lake City


Sep 4th, 2013, 10:23 PM
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Trip to Yellowstone via Grand Tetons and Salt Lake City

Trip summary: My wife and I are both in our early sixties. Just the two of us were on this trip. The trip covered ten days and visits to four states. First night in Salt Lake City, second night in Montpelier, ID; third and fourth night in Jackson, WY; fifth night in West Yellowstone, MT; the sixth night at Old Faithful Inn; the seventh night at a frontier cabin in Mammoth Springs; eighth night, back at to West Yellowstone; ninth night back to Salt Lake City. The tenth day was spent in airports on the way back home.

Night 1 >Best Western Plus in North Salt Lake City
Night 2 >Clover Creek Inn – Montpelier, ID
Night 3&4 >Motel 6 – Jackson, WY
Night 5 >Alpine Inn – West Yellowstone, MT
Night 6 >Old Faithful Inn – Yellowstone Park
Night 7 >Two room budget cabin (shared bath) – Mammoth Springs, Yellowstone Park
Night 8 >Alpine Inn – West Yellowstone, MT
Night 9 >Fairfield Inn – Salt Lake City Airport area

The Best Western motels I have stayed at are sort of hit and miss. This one was a hit and one of the nicer ones. I had enough BW points to stay free so that made the price right.
The Clover Creek Inn was acceptable. The A/C unit was a bit noisy, but we were only staying one night.
It had been many a moon since I have stayed at a Motel 6. I think they have down sized since I last stayed in one. It was our only time to be in the same lodging for more than one night. We were ready to get our luggage all sorted and rearranged. There was hardly room for the luggage. No closet, just hooks to hang clothes. I picked it for two reasons: Price and I could cancel with short notice. I kept thinking I will find something before we left on the trip, but didn't like the lodging prices around Jackson/Tetons. Looking back, I should have bitten the bullet and stayed somewhere with more room since we would be there two nights. I took a picture of the room if anyone wants to see it. I didn't include it in the group of photos I am posting.
Alpine Inn is a mom and pop motel. Rooms are nice and the owners are helpful. If you can’t or don’t want to stay in the park this would be a good base. The drawback would be the distance you would need to cover in order to get to the attraction areas of the park.
Old Faithful Inn – You need to stay here at least one night if you can. Our room was in the East Wing. We had two queens and a private bathroom. The room was a little warm when we first arrived. I raised a window and turned on the fan that was in the room. We had checked in shortly after four so the room cooled down by the time we came back from walking along the boardwalk.
Mammoth Springs Cabin – When I first booked this room this was all that was available. It was a two room cabin with a shared bath. The two rooms had a room with one queen and the other room had two queens. Way more than we needed for two people. I joked with my wife and said I should hang out at the registration desk and rent one of the rooms out. I had called at different times to see about getting rooms at Canyon, but they never had any when I called. They would always have rooms at Grant or Mammoth. I probably would have checked on the other Mammoth rooms if I had known my wife was going to like the area so much. I don’t have a lot of patience so I didn’t call a couple a times a day like has been suggested if you want to get the rooms you really want. As it turns out, Canyon wouldn't have been a great area anyway due to the smoke from the fires at the time we were there. The really down side for my wife was having to walk to a shared bathroom and shower. I now know that shared bathrooms are not to be considered on any future trips. The bath facilities were only about two cabins down, so not a long walk for us. She was hoping she would not have to make the trip to the bathroom later in the night. If you stay in a cabin with a shared bath be sure to have a flashlight with you. There are a few lights on poles and some people leave their porch lights on, but a flashlight is needed to safely walk around after it gets dark.
Fairfield Inn Airport– If you are flying out of Salt Lake City this is a good location. They have nice beds, indoor pool, and are only about 15 minutes to the airport. There is a gas station close by so you can fill your rental car before returning it. They also have shuttle service to the airport.

I will continue with the actual trip portion of the report over the next couple of days.

Here is a link for some photos. I am not sure how this will work for everyone. Each time I look at it, the layout comes up differently. If you have google+ you should get a slideshow with picture captions. If the whole group of photos appear, click on the first picture and it should start the presentation. You may have to click on each picture to move to the next one. If you cannot view it, let me know and I will see about changing to a different format.

Oklacat is offline  
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Sep 5th, 2013, 02:57 PM
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The photo in the outhouse scared me.
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Sep 5th, 2013, 03:13 PM
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Yeah, Spiro. I have to have at least one goofy shot when I go somewhere.
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Sep 5th, 2013, 07:07 PM
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Trip Report continued

Day two
We got up early since we had to be at Temple Square before 9 a.m. The doors for the broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word close at 9:15. We were there at 8:30 which is when the doors open. During the summer months the broadcast is held in the Conference Center building due to size constraints in the Tabernacle. The Choir was rehearsing for the broadcast. They rehearse the complete broadcast then go live at 9:30. The live show is over at 10:00. I didn't take my camera in because I wasn't sure that it was permitted. Cameras are allowed and taking pictures is fine during the rehearsal portion, but not during the live broadcast. Dress is supposed to be casual. I saw suits and also shorts, so I guess the casual is a tourist casual. Here is a link if you are interested in reading more about the broadcast:


After the broadcast, we toured a few more buildings at Temple Square. Around noon we headed out of SLC toward Montpelier, ID. We were taking the scenic route to Jackson instead of going by way of Interstate to Idaho Falls and then to Jackson. We took route 89 which goes by Bear Lake. Bear Lake is a deep blue lake that reminded us of small version of Lake Tahoe. Half of the lake is in Utah and half in Idaho. We arrived in Montpelier around 4:00 p,m, Checked in with no problem. I think maybe the altitude and long day on Saturday was taking its toll on me. I crashed for about three hours. When I woke up my wife said she had been looking around the town some. Not a lot there. We went to an ice cream shop and had raspberry milkshakes. Bear Lake area has a Raspberry Festival earlier in the month (August). After that we went back to the room and talked about what we would be doing the next day on our way to Jackson.
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Sep 9th, 2013, 09:03 PM
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So glad you liked the Alpine Inn. My family has been staying there for over 30 years! I haven't stayed there with my kids--we need more room, etc--but for 2 people or less it is fantastic. And the owners are great! Bear Lake is just so beautiful but not much for dining around there. (except for the raspberry shakes and you could probably live on those for a day if you HAD to. )
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Jan 12th, 2014, 02:36 PM
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Thank you so much for sharing your experience and photos! It's breathtaking. We'll be doing our first trip to YNP, GTNP and Salt Lake City July 2014 and your report just makes me more excited to our trip. Looks like you were there in Aug. how was the weather in the areas?
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Jan 24th, 2014, 06:06 PM
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Sorry for the late reply. Glad you enjoyed the photos. One day I hope to complete my report. (Yoda says, "there is, 'can' and 'cannot' there is no try", or hope.)
By Oklahoma standards it was nice during the midday. July and August in Oklahoma can have some 100 degree days.
In the parks the mornings were cool. We wore light jackets in the morning. While in Yellowstone, it rained almost every afternoon. There were fires in Yellowstone so they probably appreciated the rain more than we did. We never got to have a nice picnic lunch. One was spoiled by a bear causing the area to be closed shortly after we just started to eat. That was in GTNP. In Yellowstone, we were rained out three times so ate in our car.
The traffic in the park was not as bad as I expected. We had no delays in traffic in the park except one time. That was due to road construction. We had about a 20 minute wait. That was on the road between Tower area and Yellowstone Lake. Since our trip was in mid August the traffic was probably lighter than it could be in July.
The Salt Lake City area did have some close to 100 degree days while we were there.
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Jan 28th, 2014, 12:22 PM
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Nice report. We're planning a similar trip in June.
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Jan 28th, 2014, 06:51 PM
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Well framed photographs.
I hope your wife does not learn of that super "babe' you are traveling with.

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