Yellowstone Day 3

Yellowstone Day Three

Bison

Can’t believe it’s already Yellowstone Day Three!  It is always exciting to see Bison.    Today there is Bison in the fields and even one that wandered along the road.  That was a treat in itself to see a Bison so close and not trying to view one while driving by.  Traffic is at a stand still until a Park Ranger came to make sure there weren’t any people foolish enough to get out of their cars and scratch these ears!

Grand Prismatic Spring

Yesterday we walked along the trails of the Grand Prismatic Spring and Turquoise Pool.  Because this is one of the most spectacular sites to visit we took a different route to view it.  Today we took a hike on a hill above the basin that gives us a fantastic view of the colors.  Our granddaughter was so excited about this, as this is what she talked about most of the trip. The colors were just incredible and you could see more of the spring because it was warmer outside which created less steam coming up from the hot water.

Grand Prismatic Spring
Grand Prismatic Spring

 

Along the Firehole River

The  spring run-off is in full swing in Yellowstone, and the rapids and falls on the Firehole River are breathtaking.  We took several breaks along the river to take in the sights.  According to the staff, this year has more rain than normal, so every river we either drove by or stopped at was overflowing and moving swiftly.

Mamma Moose and Baby

A must-see for our daughter was to see a moose, and today is her lucky day.  Up close we could see a Mama Moose and her baby.  On the way back to Henry’s Lake from Yellowstone we spotted the two of them and had just enough space to pull over to watch them.  Oh what a joy it was to see and everyone was very excited because we could get some good moose pictures to remember our Yellowstone visit.

Back at Base Camp: Henry’s Lake

Another full day at Yellowstone,!  We are ready to kick back and re-join Jeff back at our base camp at Henry’s Lake State Park across the border in Idaho.  Jeff was not able to make today’s trip because he is recovering from falling off the ladder while trying to wash the RV’s front window in May.

 

 

Happy Trails!

 

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Yellowstone Day Four & Five

Yellowstone – Day Four and Five

Our last two days at Yellowstone!  What a fun trip it has been.  Our base camp at Henry’s Lake in Idaho was perfect for getting into the West Yellowstone entrance.  Henry’s Lake State Park is a great place to also stay and kick back for a few days, however, watching our grandchildren have so much fun visiting Yellowstone and also having activities while at Henry’s Lake was such a great way to make wonderful memories

Day Four

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone is breathtaking!  We spent about a half of a day there enjoying the different places surrounding the canyon and looking at the shear volume of water cascading down the Yellowstone falls and continuing as the Yellowstone River.  We parked a short bit away from the bridge that crosses near the top of the falls and hiked down to the bridge.  It was amazing the beauty of the water going under the bridge and then just dropping off at the edge to become this huge water fall.

Virginia Cascade on the Gibbon River

The Gibbon River flows east of the Continental Divide.  A little off the beaten path is Virginia Cascade along the Gibbon River.  This follows a one way road along the river with the water following a gentle slope that almost invites you to kayak down the river, however then suddenly it drops more dramatically and you feel glad you didn’t go with the invite.

Day Five

Yellowstone Lake and the Continental Divide

The last day visiting Yellowstone, we drove over the Continental Divide of the Americas to Yellowstone Lake.   On our way to the lake, we stopped to get some close up pictures of a beautiful moose.  They are even more amazing up close and as this big male grazed it gradually move closer to us.  Such a highlight of this last day.  We also spotted some more bison lounging in the morning sun. We crossed the Continental Divide several times as it wanders around the park, but this trip took us to Isa Lake – unique in that it flows both east and west of the Continental Divide located at Craig Pass.  Interestingly the east outflow ends up flowing to the Pacific, and the west outflow flows east to the Missouri River and on to the Gulf of Mexico.

Mud Volcano and Dragon’s Mouth Spring

The Mud Volcano in Yellowstone is a type of ‘mudpot‘ or ‘mud volcano‘ a geothermal phenomenon (according to Wikipedia) .  This was a great little hike up a side of a hill.  We stopped by here to see the mudpots and were surprised by a Bison munching away close to the path near that hill.  You could tell he was aware that we were there and basically ignored us as he slowly made his way up the hill and into the forest.  Once the bison was gone, we proceeded down the path to see the Dragon’s Mouth.  Looking at the opening and hearing the roar of hot air and steam coming out, I can understand where it got it’s name.

Video of Day Four and Five

For some reason the preview is not working for the video… Please use the link below: Video – Yellowstone Day Four & Five   Happy Trails!

  Back to Base Camp and packing up to head north and explore the area around Helena Montana.  

Yellowstone Day Two

Yellowstone National Park – Day Two

Camping at Henry’s Lake State Park, Idaho

Camping at Henry’s Lake State Park was a good find by Christine.  It is an easy 15 minute drive to the East Yellowstone entrance.  The town of West Yellowstone offers several restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores etc., so we often stopped to pick up a few necessities on the way back out of the park.

Nez Perce Creek

Our first stop is taking pictures of more geysers on the way to Old Faithful – our primary destination for the day.  Besides getting some more pictures of a whole field of geysers with a foreground of wildflowers to die for!  We also spotted a female elk in another field.

Nez Perce Creek Pictures

Old Faithful

How iconic is Old Faithful for Yellowstone?  We arrived at Old Faithful lodge about 15 minutes before the next eruption.  There was plenty of room around the geyser to find a spot to take pictures.  Our grandkids loved the show. We had promised them that afterwards we would have breakfast at the Old Faithful Inn.  The place was packed of course with the after the geyser crowd, but we only waiting about 15 minutes before we got a table.  The food was great.  You had a choice of selecting from the menu or doing the buffett  Afterwards we went up the three flights of stairs to look at all the quaint features of this very large log cabin.  Writing desks abound near all of the guest rooms.  Those used to be very popular for sitting down and writing to your family and friends of what a great time your having and wish you were here. :) .  There is also a deck for those guests to view Old Faithful away from the crowds.

Old Faithful Pictures

Midway Geyser Basin – Great Prismatic Geyser and Turquoise Pool

After a big breakfast we headed out to Midway Geyser Basin where some intense colored pools are located.  Our grand daughter had made the Grand Prismatic Pot her number one must-see of the trip, and she was not disappointed.   As we were starting our journey back to Henry’s Lake, we came face-to-face to a bison wondering down the road; so we got some up-close and personal pictures of the great beast.

It is a nice walk around the Midway Geyser Basin even if it was one of the most crowded spots we visited to-date.  Lots of colors and reflections make the trip worth while.

 

Midway Geyser Pictures

White Dome Geyser and back to East Yellowstone for ICE CREAM!

A short drive down Firehole Lake Drive gives us a chance to take pictures of the White Dome Geyser.  We caught it on video on the road just before getting there.  Good enough!  On to Wast Yellowstone for Ice Cream at Eagle’s Store.  Yum  Huckleberry Ice Cream was everyone’s favorite and then there was the Chocolate Runs Through It, that was in the running as a favorite too.

Here’s the video:

Happy Trails!

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Yellowstone Day One

Yellowstone Day One

Touring The Grand Loop

We made it!  Yellowstone Day One.  Our youngest daughter and her family have joined us in this trip to Yellowstone National Park.  We came in through the west entrance.  After driving a few miles we are thrilled to see so much water, green grass everywhere and finally see our first Bison just lounging in the morning rays of the sunshine.

Terrace Spring

Our first stop is at Terrace Spring on the Grand Loop Road.  It is a great introduction to the geothermal springs at Yellowstone and a nice place to stop and wonder a bit.

 

Gibbon Falls

Our next stop is Gibbon Falls – a very popular stop on the grand loop.  Even with all the people, it was easy to get some great pictures.  There are several places to take pictures of the falls at different angles.  With a drop of around 84 feet and lots of water pouring over it with the spring run-off it is an impressive sight.

 

Beryl Spring

This is one of the hottest and should we mention the smelliest springs in Yellowstone.  Beryl Spring is in the Gibbon Geyser Basin just past Gibbon Falls.

Artists Paint Pots

This offers a great hike over to the different types of springs.  We saw mud pots, which bubbled up hot mud (which according to our grandchildren smelled like bacon) and lots of steaming springs.  What made this even more special were the views over a valley with lots of wildflowers and to the snow capped mountains on the other side of Yellowstone.

Norris Basin

The Norris Basin Tour took the remainder of Day 1 at Yellowstone.  There are lots of places to view, with the Steamboat Geyser shooting high in the air.  There are also many different colors of springs and flowing streams indicating the different types of bacteria living here.  Incredible hiking paths led to opportunities to photograph the immensity of the Yellowstone Caldera.

Happy Trails!

Henry’s Lake – Island Park Idaho

Henry’s Lake

Near Island Park, Idaho and West Yellowstone

It is only 114 miles from Paradise Valley (Livingston Montana) to Henry’s Lake State Park at Island Park, Idaho. We picked this park because it is only 15 minutes or so from the West Yellowstone entrance. Web reviews were good but it was hard to find many pictures to show the lay-out. We were very pleased with the park.

Off of highway 20 just past Island Park is the road leading to the state park. Go up and over a knoll, then you see the park and Henry’s Lake along with a small range of spectacular mountains to the west. Reservations are required, so we had our spot picked out already. The facilities look brand new with a really nice bath house. Our site was equipped with water and electric, including 50 amp power, however we lost one leg of our 50 amps during a wild lightning storm the 2nd night, so dropped down to 30 amps. We had parked closer to the electrical box to give our kids room to set up their tent on the asphalt pad where Lola was parked, so we elected to just keep 30 amp power and have the park staff repair the electrical equipment after we left.

The bath house has regular toilets and there are additional “pit” toilets scattered around the park. This park has the newer pit toilets that have cement floors and the staff must use something like Happy Camper enzyme treatment because as long as the previous occupant has put the lid down there is very little smell ;-).

There is lots of room between camping spots, with mowed grass and wild flowers in between. The staff is friendly and everything is well maintained.

Flying the Eyes of Lola (Our Drone)

After checking the Idaho State parks websites and a few blogs it looked like it was okay to fly the drone. I took it up to get pictures of Mt. Two Top to the east and Black Mountain and Bald Peak to the north. A few days later while I was doing some maintenance on the drone a ranger stopped by to let me know that drones could no longer be flown in Idaho state parks. He was very nice about it, and if I had wanted to get some more pictures it would have been easy to drive off the park land to fly.

If you are looking for a campground near Yellowstone that also has boating and ATV access, check out Henry’s Lake State park. We were sure glad we did!

Happy Trails

Bozeman Montana and the Museum Of The Rockies

Yellowstone Day -1
Museum of the Rockies
Bozeman, Montana

After spending a couple of days in Thermopolis and going to the Dinosaur Dig what could be better than stopping in Bozeman to go to the Museum of the Rockies (MOR). It has been a lot of fun traveling with our daughter and her family.

Museum Of The Rockies

At the MOR the main exhibits are more dinosaurs and there are also exhibits on Native Americans, early pioneers and a traveling show about guitars. The third floor is a hands on area for kids to check out how a volcano is created and the surrounding area. There are several different shows in the Planetarium that are a must to see. The MOR is a great experience for young and old and is in a wonderful facility.

We left the dogs in Lola during our visit to the museum, and while the rest of the family went shopping in the museum store I went out to check on the dogs.

It had been raining while we were in the museum and because we left the windows open in Lola the inside was a little damp. Once we all got together again the girls decided to go shopping. Can’t resist a Costco and there is one in Bozeman.

Our son in law and I stayed in Lola with the kids and dogs. While we were waiting for the girls to return a tremendous lighting and rain storm went through Bozemen. Lola was rocking and the streets had temporary flooding.

By the time everyone was together again at the MOR the rains had stopped however that didn’t stop traffic from being congested. We decided to go back the way we came in from I90 to MOR. Much easier drive.

The Drive To Henry’s Lake State Park Idaho

The drive from Bozeman to Henry’s Lake Idaho is a very picturesque drive with mountain streams and cliffs around each corner. I enjoyed driving especially since there are very few grades to deal with, and the ones we do have are gradual.

Traffic starts to increase as we drove along the Gallatin Gateway in Montana getting closer to Yellowstone National Park. We had become spoiled driving around the eastern side of Yellowstone through Wyoming and central Montana and seeing more antelope than cars!

We finally pulled into Henry’s Lake State Park at 6 p.m. ready to set up camp and have dinner.

Paradise Valley – Livingston Montana

Paradise Valley KOA

Near Livingston Montana

After two days at Thermopolis where our grandson was able to go on a dinosaur dig for a day, we drove on to our next stop Paradise Valley outside of Livingston, Montana.

Reviews of the KOA can be found here.

The Drive to Paradise

From Thermopolis it is a 276 mile drive through western Wyoming and into southwest Montana. We took US 310 to I-90 then US 89 at Livingston to the Paradise Valley KOA. From Christine’s research the easiest entry into Yellowstone with a big-rig is through West Yellowstone, so we basically drove around Yellowstone from the southeast (Thermopolis) to West Yellowstone stopping at Livingston mid-way.

The roads in rural Wyoming and Montana are amazing. We were expecting rough roads, instead we had miles and miles of smooth mostly straight and for the most part 2 lane highways along this stretch. There was very little traffic, so while the speed limit is 70 to 80 we cruised along at 60 to 63 with a few cars passing us. There were few turn-outs but with the roads clear it was easy for other travelers to pass. This is the way exploring America should be.

Paradise Valley KOA

Paradise Valley KOA is nestled in an alpine valley with Black Mountain and Mt. Cowen to the west and Canyon Mountain to the north offering spectacular views along the Yellowstone River that flows right next to the park. We think we understand the term “Journey” and “Destination” on the KOA signs. “Journey” KOAs are next to highways where “Destination” KOAs are farther from major roads and seem to offer more resort type activities. This KOA is the nicest KOA we have stopped at and look forward to spending a few days here sometime in the future.

In addition, we had breakfast , which was served in a pavilion area offering pancakes, eggs, hash-browns, bacon, ham etc. at a very reasonable price. Good food and mountain air; we were sorry to go, but ready to explore Yellowstone.

Happy Trails!

Thermopolis Wyoming – Hot Spring State Park

Hot Spring State Park

On Our Way to Yellowstone National Park and the FMCA Rally in Gillette Wyoming

The last year has been a challenge for the Trippin’ Engles.  After spending almost a year fixing up a house in Sacramento, we sold it and are back on the road.

We stayed at the Eagle RV Park in Thermopolis for two nights so our grandson could visit the Wyoming Dinosaur Center and participate in a ‘dig’.  He just finished 1st Grade and since he was 3 he has wanted to be a paleontologist.   This was a dream-come-true for him!  While he was out with his parents digging up bones, Christine and I took our granddaughter to Hot Spring State Park.  This is the largest hot spring in the world.

The rangers at the state park allows us to fly the drone and get some videos of the hot springs.

 

More to come soon.  Internet access is sketchy at best here in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho so we will post as we can.

Happy Trails!

Trippin’ Engles

A Drone’s Perspective – 2017 Trippin’ Year In Review

ColoradoA Drone’s Perspective – 2017 Trippin’ Year In Review

2017 was a crazy year.  Living in an RV and being retired allows us the flexibility to do the unplanned!  Join us with a look at where we traveled this past year.  Check out or blog at RVBuiltForTwo.com or our YouTube channel Trippin Engles for more videos on our travels.  We linked to some of the Blog/Video posts in the underlined links below.

Happy Holidays

The Year In Review – A Drone’s Perspective

Florida

January saw Christine holding down the ‘fort’ in central Florida while Jeff flew to Eugene to attend his dad’s funeral.  Then in late January we trekked down to Lake Okeechobee to stay a month in South Central Florida.  When we arrived at our campsite in Moore Haven Florida, our DJI Mavic Drone (Eyes of Lola) was waiting for us allowing us to capture airborne video for the rest of the year’s wanderings!

March: Heading West – Escapade in Tucson

Next we made our way west to the Escapee Escapade RV rally in Tucson spending time in Texas at a couple of Thousand Trails campgrounds Lake Tawakoni and Lake Whitney and visiting good friends of ours in Arlington,Texas.

The Escapee Escapade in March was a great experience in Tucson – even if Jeff had to get some dental work done and we had to get our slide-out repaired at La Mesa RV while we were at the rally.

April: Visiting in Sacramento

We made it to the Sacramento area in April, staying at Thousand Trails Lake Minden and visiting our two daughters and their families who live in the area.

May and June: Eugene Oregon

May and June were months we dedicated to fixing up my dad’s house to get it ready to sell, and a trip up to La Conner Washington for a family vacation.  We got some great video of Deception Pass Bridge, Whale Watching from Friday Harbor and a video essay on Lone Tree Point at La Conner.

July – September: Sacramento

July, August and most of September were spent fixing up a real fixer-upper we came across in the Sacramento Area.  Something that was not on the radar earlier in the year, but we decided to take advantage of a chance to get a house to fix up and sell.

October: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Towards the end of September we head off to the Escapee HOP in Albuquerque, New Mexico – heading straight east through Nevada stopping in Fernley and Winnemucca first.  Read about getting new tires on the toad in Winnemucca in that post!  Next we head through the Bonneville Salt Flats, Salt Lake and stay 3 days at Scofield State Park exploring dinosaur and mammoth bones at the Wasatch Plateau. We even got snow on the 1st of October.

Cortez, Colorado was the last stop before getting to Albuquerque and we have to come back for more!  The Canyons of the Ancients and Mesa Verde along with horses on the Ute Mountain Reservation gave us a preview of what we can explore in this area.  While in Cortez we got Lola’s engine computer updated at Cortez Diesel.  Check our Cortez post.

Bucket List!  Yes, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is everything it is claimed to be.  We had perfect weather each day.  From exploring old town Albuquerque, the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center, Santa Fe to the wonders of Balloons from 4:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.  What a blast!  This was our first Escapee sponsored mini-rally or HOP.  Check out Day 0 and 1 when we get set up and enjoy our first morning Balloon Sunrise.  Day two – more Balloons (of course) and the Petroglyph National Monument.  Day 3 – Balloons, Sante Fe and the Kuaua Pueblo at the Coronado State Historic Park.  Days 4 and 5 wrap up the Balloon Fiesta with a trip to the Pueblo Cultural Center and Sandia Tram.  Lots to see along with all the Balloon Fiesta Activities.

October: Loreto BCS Baja Mexico

We left Lola in California and flew to Baja California to enjoy the sun of Loreto at the Villa Del Palmar with some friends.

The last part of the year was spent continuing to fix-up our fixer upper.  We hope to be finished by late spring and back on the road to explore the Mountain States and the Dakotas.

Happy Trails and See you on the road in 2018

Jeff and Christine

Happy Trails and see you on the road in 2018!

Jeff and Christine

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Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – Day 4 and 5

Balloon Fiesta – Day 4

Balloon Launch

Another morning we missed the Dawn Patrol, but a surprise landing of several balloons between the RVs.  Quite a treat!  Use the arrows to scroll.

Here’s one of the balloons right in front of Lola:

Nice morning for the Balloon Fiesta again!  We have great weather, fantastic breakfasts and dinners through the Escapee Hop and fun side-trips to keep us busy.

Gas Balloon Challenge

The first evening of the International Balloon Fiesta launched several gas balloons.  They are now in the eastern US and Canada and still travelling!  Amazing how high and far these balloons go.  Gas Balloon Challenge Results here.

Gas Balloon Challenge
Gas Balloon Challenge

Sandia Tram

The Sandia Mountain Tram is the longest tram in the US, and the longest public tram in the world!  The early bird gets the worm and we head off right after the balloon launch to catch the tram as soon as it opens.

It is a quick drive to the tramway, and saw several balloons along the way as well as from the top of the mountain.  The tram goes 2.7 miles and rises 4,000 feet.  There is a ski facility and lots of trails to hike once you get there.

Pueblo Cultural Center

Operated by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, The Pueblo Cultural Center has history, art and demonstrations of Pueblo culture.  We enjoyed the live entertainment at the center as well as the craft tables and shop.

We learned a lot about the Pueblo Indians.  They were one of the few truly agricultural Native American groups in the Southwest.  Most of the other groups were hunter-gatherers.

Wow – so many things to do when in Albuquerque!  Balloons and so much more!

Balloon Fiesta Day 5

Last day in Albuquerque!  The Balloon Launch included a competition to drop a sand bag in a circle or land and take off in a specified area.  Good wind conditions brought the balloons right to us again for some great video.

Happy Trails