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July 2020 Road Trip – Day 1

Last weekend I took a couple of extra days off so we could take a road trip that Rotchana had been requesting. She wanted to see Mount Rushmore. We started our 5 day journey early Thursday morning on what was ultimately 2,500+ miles covered in 5 days.

We left the house at 7:00am and after a quick stop to get some drinks and a couple of snacks we headed towards West Yellowstone. We have good friends that live in California that were visiting Yellowstone so we thought it would be fun to meet up for lunch. The girls promptly fell asleep for most of the drive and we arrived in West Yellowstone around 1:30.

I think it was our second time eating in a restaurant since Covid-19 came along. It felt a little strange and we kind of wondered why so many people were out doing “normal” things when we realized we were doing the same thing. Lunch was good and it was fun catching up with our friends. We’ll see them again in a few weeks when their daughter starts school at Boise State.

Once we got back in the car we were headed for our overnight stay near Cody, Wyoming. Rather than just cut through Yellowstone we decided to go north and take the northern route through the park and take the Beartooth Highway down towards Cody.

One lesson we learned a month ago while visiting Yellowstone is that most of the wildlife is up north this time of year so that was another incentive for taking the route we chose. Lamar Valley didn’t disappoint and we saw quite a few animals besides bison.

Just before getting into the heart of Lamar Valley we saw a large group of cars parked on the side of the road. That’s usually a good sign we’ll see something. We pulled up and looked out, but couldn’t find anything. I put my long zoom lens on my camera and scoured the area and finally found a bear meandering through the field headed back up into the trees. It was probably half a mile or so away so I couldn’t get good photos, but I was able to get a few to prove to Rotchana that there was really a bear out there!

As we continued through Northeast Yellowstone we saw Bison, Pronghorn Antelope, a Badger, Coyote, Eagles, Deer and a few Marmots. Since we’d spent a lot of time already on the road and had a few hours left for the day most of our viewing was slowing down, but not stopping.

The Beartooth Highway is really pretty and I’m glad we decided to go that way. Lots of cool landscapes and scenery to gawk at while making our way to our destination. The girls even managed to stay awake to look at everything as we drove!

We finally pulled into our hotel around 9:00pm. 14 hours on the road, but it actually went pretty fast. We were all a bit tired at that point so we grabbed a quick bite at McDonalds and then got ready for the next day’s drive.

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