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Day: September 11, 2022

Idaho, Montana, and Yellowstone July 15-July 22, 2022

Idaho, Montana, and Yellowstone July 15-July 22, 2022

The drive between Mount Rainier and Yellowstone was gorgeous and followed the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. The sun was shining (we hadn’t seen rain in months at this point) glistening off of distant snow covered peaks and shimmering on green green grass and clear gurgling rivers. We spent the night in an historic hotel in Orofino, Idaho where the elevator was really an old dumbwaiter that fit about two people max. The steep steps up to the fourth floor didn’t seem like a great option for bringing in bikes and we caused quite a bit of amusement in the parking lot locking them up like Fort Knox. We heard “nobody around here steals anything, the cops are too bored. They have nothing else to do- it would be impossible to get away with”. There were also a lot “see, they are still here” good natured jests the following morning. We took in a car show walking along the classic downtown main street adjacent to the hotel and soaked up the local vibe (which was conservative, country loving, and unfortunately Trump devoted). Well, we forgave them that one and headed off toward Bozeman, Montana.

On the way we checked out the natural Jerry Johnson Hot Springs along the Clearwater River. After a short hike in we enjoyed bathing in some of the temperature variable pools. We also enjoyed some rather interesting people watching. This included a man running about fighting an invisible martial arts foe and naked man lurking in the woods. But, hey- you do you.

Since we are hot spring junkies, we had reservations to camp in Bozeman- at you guessed it-The Bozeman Hot Springs Campground. This is a fantastic place with a big indoor/outdoor aquatic center utilizing natural springwater. There is a giant indoor swimming pool with hot tubs of various temperatures. The draw for us were the four outdoor swimming pools in a resort like patio that included flaming fences and boulder gardens. This overlooked a large stage! We got to hear great Americana music while floating in the warm mineral waters and just had a ball. We also went into the town of Bozeman for lunch. It is absolutely charming and very “bougie” with well-dressed hipsters and high-end shopping. We soaked up the vibe here too, with no forgiveness for Trump supporters required. It was just out of our price range!

We had another camping reservation at Rainbow Point Campgruond right outside of Yellowstone and headed that way. There had been floods and the NorthWest entrance was closed. We were camping near the West entrance and had no problems. In fact, the publicity of the park closures had likely kept the normal throngs of people who visit Yellowstone down to about half-throng level. There were definitely some parts that were crowded, but we also hiked for miles sometimes encountering only one or two people. We met up with our good friend Sherry Adams who camped and toured Yellowstone with us. She has been living in Idaho Falls and is a National Park regular.


Both of us were pretty anxious about all of the bear warnings that encouraged us to sleep with bear spray in our tent. We didn’t have any the first night and slept with an axe instead! Not exactly sure how that would have helped but we did our best, and end the end, didn’t see a one. We did get a good glimpse of some bison, learned why they are not buffalo, and saw some beautiful country. We also wanted to check out Old Faithful and the historic Lodge. In the best win/win of the visit we realized we could get a draft beer from the lodge saloon and see Old Faithful erupt (almost on schedule) from a balcony overlooking the natural wonder. Our Yellowstone experience was fantastic, but the call of home was ready to be answered. The next few days would require hours and hours of two-lane highways and lots of corn visualization. We were up for the task.