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Yellowstone & GT Aug 2011

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Aug 30th, 2011, 02:41 PM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2011
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Yellowstone & GT Aug 2011

My DH and I just returned from a trip to Yellowstone and GT Aug 20-28. We flew into Billings , MT because it was cheaper for the flight and rental car. Rented an economy car from Alamo for $159/week and were upgraded to a Nissan Rogue. We arrived late afternoon so we headed straight to Red Lodge, MT for our first night. Stayed at the Yodler Motel. Nice, clean, definitely nothing special about this motel. Had a great dinner at Bridge Creek Backcountry. Both DH and I had the elk medallions and they were excellent.
Next morning we headed to Cody, WY and checked into Bill Cody's Ranch. I was there 25 years ago and it hasn't changed one bit. Our room had a king bed, nice furnishings, updated bathroom, no AC or TV. While in Cody we checked out the rodeo, Bill Cody Museum, Old Trail Town, and the Bill Cody Dam. All were good and the museum was great. For cheap beers head to The Irma ($3.50 for two bottled beers) and grab the world's best hamburger at the Silver Dollar.

Headed to Yellowstone through the east entrance and up by the Mud Volcano and Grand Canyon. Saw lots of Bison and two coyotes. Back around the west side to the Old Faithful Lodge to check in. Check in was much quicker than I expected since we had been standing in line all day to use the restroom, buy food, etc. Guess I figured check in would be the same. We had a cabin with a provate bath, nice, clean, and within walking distance to everything. Saw Old Faithful about 4 times.

While we were there the weather was in the 80's during the day and then dipped into the 40's at night. Sometimes we had to use the provided fan's to cool the room off at night but by morning it was chilly.

First night in Yellowstone we had dinner at the Old Faithful Dining room. I made reservations several months ago because everyone said you must have dinner there. I can honestly say it was by far the most expensive and worst food of the entire trip. The next night we tried the Obsidian at the Snow Lodge. No reservations taken and it took about 20 minutes to get a table. No problem, just enough time for a glass of wine from the bar. My husband and I both had excellent meals but I have to be honest and say that all the folks next to us were less than impressed with theirs. I had the blackened shrimp with grit cake and DH had the special which was a southwestern talapia salad.

The second day in Yellowstone we headed around the entire figure eight. Everything was beautiful but we didn't see much wildlife. Where are all the elk and bears? I still can't get over how much of the forest was burned in the '88 fire. Still a great park with some very interesting features that you can't see any where else in the world.

Headed to GT and decided to drive through Jackson for lunch. After lunch we drove through Antelope flats in search of elk but nothing but bison. We did see one Moose (finally) in Moose, WY. The scenery is breathtaking! Of course DH wanted to take every dirt road we found but it all ended up OK.

Checked into Colter Bay Cabins with a shared cabin room. Very basic room that shares a bath with 3 other rooms. Will not do that again. We were there for two nights and I was NEVER able to use the bathroom, someone else was always already there. I spent two days running over to the restroom in the restaurant. Had to take a shower at 2PM just to find a time when nobody was there. Not sure if that is the norm but I found it totally unacceptable.

We decided to have dinner at Jackson Lake Lodge. Wow, what a view at the top of the stairs. Nice lodge. We decided to make a dinner of appetizers from the bar and enjoy the OMG view. Good service and good sushi. Mental note to stay here next time.

The next morning we had to return to the Jackson Lake logde to meet our shuttle for the river float trip. The trip was a float trip, no white water, but great views and lots of stories told by the guides. Still no wildlife but an OK hamburger by the river for lunch. After the trip we headed to Teton Village (ski lodge so I thought it had a bad vibe in the summer) and then on to Jackson in search of a t-shirt.

Dinner tonight was at the Snake River Grill in Jackson. Awesome! I had the trout and DH had the tuna. Desert was the sweet corn creme brulee. One of the best meals ever. Yes, I'm into food.

Left early AM to drive all the way through Yellowstone, then Cooke City, taking the Beartooth Pass to Billings, MT. We finally saw two elk in Yellowstone about 9am, yeah. Lots of bison and two more coyotes. Cooke City was smaller than I imagined and only had 3-4 restaurants and a couple shops. Had lunch there and headed across the Beartooth Pass. Wow, what a ride. Really enjoyed the two hours it took to get to Red Lodge. Stopped briefly in Red Lodge to stretch our legs and then on to Billings. Entire trip took about 9 hours including a few stops.

Billings is hot hot hot. 105 degrees. Wow what a change. We had a couple hours so we went to a new winery I found on the internet. Yellowstone Cellars. 5 wine taste for $5. Nice place, nice owner, decent wine. Had dinner at Jake's Steakhouse downtown. Really good food at really decent prices, especially after you've been in Xanterra land for a week.

Back to the east coast and no flight delays due to the hurricane.
kayekaye is offline  
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Aug 30th, 2011, 04:07 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Glad you enjoyed our favorite part of the country. And, we're delighted to hear that the Snake River Grill, one of our favorites, is still getting high marks.
HowardR is offline  
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Aug 30th, 2011, 11:22 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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I'm glad you like this place, and I like it very much
jackma is offline  
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Aug 31st, 2011, 04:20 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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A lot of the wildlife go to higher elevations when it is hot in the summer. We were there in mid-June a couple of years ago and saw tons of everything and didn't wait in line for any bathrooms or anything.
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Aug 31st, 2011, 08:43 AM
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I was there early last August and it wasn't really hot at all. Saw a fair amount of wildlife. Of course, a lot of them are out early and late and not so much in the middle of the day.

I'm having trouble figuring out what you saw and didn't see.

Did you spend any time walking Geyser Look or the Upper Geyser Basin, Grand Prismatic Spring, various views of the Lower Falls in canyon, etc.
Myer is offline  
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Aug 31st, 2011, 09:41 AM
  #6
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Hi Myer, we saw lots of bison, 2 elk, 4 coyotes, one moose, and about 3-4 deer. Guess I was expecting more. We did not do any hikes but stopped at just about every point of interest. I'm sure if we would have gone out really early in the morning it would have increased our chances but most mornings we didn't hit the road until 7:30. I think it was just bad luck because we spoke to others that saw grizzly, black bear, wolves, etc. All just on the side of the road.
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Aug 31st, 2011, 10:21 AM
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we saw 10 or so pronghorns, 7 or 8 bears, hundreds of elk, hundred of bison, in the teens for coyote, 6 or 7 moose, a couple of fox, a couple of beavers, lots of cool birds(I don't know my birds),several deer . Babies with every one of those mentioned above too. We saw them at all times during the day. We did not see any wolves. One bear was within feet of our car. There is a trade off for all seasons, something better depending on when you go.

We didn't see anything on our snake river tour either. Just one bald eagle and that was it.
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