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Old 12-02-2013, 10:55 PM   #1
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Seattle to Wyoming, 8/28/2013

We took a trip out to Jackson Hole, WY to meet some of our Colorado friends. With a toddler, our driving range is really only 6 hours (max...) per day so we camped our way out and back. 8 days, 7 nights.

Day 1: Seattle to Coeur d'Alene, ID via I90
Campsite: North of I90 on Copper Mountain Rd.

We hit the road in the morning after the final packup and headed East on I90 out of Seattle. Dog was my copilot.


We stopped at Moses Lake to let the boy run around. They have a pretty good playground right off the highway next to the lake.


After playtime, we rolled into Spokane and ate dinner at NoLi Brewery. Their beer was fantastic and the temperature was perfect that evening on patio next to the river.
We headed into ID and found a little spur off Copper Mountain Rd just after dark. Those Hellas are bright!
We really pushed our carseat endurance for the first day...
Our toddler alarm clock got us up early, so we hiked around a little before hitting the road.






There were some weird bees that were very interested in us but never landed. They just buzzed around and were loud.
On to Montana!
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:55 PM   #2
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Re: Seattle to Wyoming, 8/28/2013

Day 2: Couer d'Alene, ID to Butte, MT
Campsite: Delmo Lake USFS CG

We rolled East on I90. We stopped in Missoula, MT for lunch at the Iron Horse Brew Pub (who no longer brews their own beer...). I ducked into REI and picked up an awesome stainless steel, vacuum-insulated pint glass. I love it.



The boy was sleeping pretty hard after lunch, so we kept the hammer down until we got to Butte. There's a very welcoming blue spot in the NF on the map that says Delmo Lake. I also saw (on the map) a little trail on the north side of the lake that seemed like just the place to use the 4wd. Well, there was a locked gate across that road when we got there so I was out of luck
We went back to the lake and found it to actually be a big mud hole. End of summer, what can ya' do?



The campground at the lake was pretty nice and completely empty, so we stayed there.



We went poking around the lake shore and got good and muddy.
Just as I finished cooking dinner, it sprinkled a few drops of rain, then BOOM, deluge and massive lightning! We scrambled inside, rolled up the awning and ate dinner inside. Did I mention massive lighting? It was very close! We heard a couple trees falling and went to look for them in the morning. The storm lasted about an hour, then rolled right out and it was quiet for the rest of the night.

In the morning, we walked around all the campground loops. The West loop is much cooler, with the farthest West sites being the coolest with lots of good fort-boulders. This would be a nice spot to spend a couple days.

We hit the road for WY.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:56 PM   #3
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Re: Seattle to Wyoming, 8/28/2013

Day 3: Butte, MT to Flagg Ranch, WY
Campsite: The Headwaters at Flagg Ranch

We needed to restock on groceries and beer and fuel up so we stopped in Belgrade before taking US191 South. We stopped at a tiny little rural food market. I had it in my mind to eat some trout for dinner and thought I could find something local for sale. I did not. We ended up with some frozen Tilapia from god-knows-where, but at least it went with the rest of the fixin's we had...

Rolling South on US191 with a full tank of diesel.



We stopped for lunch, feet dipping, and rock throwing along the river near Big Sky and watched some rafters float past. Waylon (yellow mountain dog) did not like that one bit.









Upon entering Yellowstone from the West, we saw some elk punching the clock at a big turnout with a bunch of tour buses. Cool... Pedal down.
We did grab one passing photo of a geyser area, but we didn't stop because we'd be coming back through later.



We checked into our campsite and waited for my friend Craig and his family to arrive from Denver. Not being a "camping bus" as the boy calls them, we were given a tent site so that was pretty cool. This campground, BTW was selected by Craig's wife- she was 7 months prego and wanted to stay in one the cabins. We wouldn't be spending much time actually in camp, so it was fine. Oh, I used the heck out of the free hot showers.



I had noticed the right swingout rattling a little, so the boy helped me tighten up the hinge bolt.



Craig and his family arrived, and the boy and Craig's daughter immediately secured the essential equipment for camping.



We cooked our fish, drank some beer, and decided to check out the Tetons the next day.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:56 PM   #4
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Re: Seattle to Wyoming, 8/28/2013

Day 4: Grand Teton NP and Jackson, WY
Campsite: Headwaters at Flagg Ranch

We hit it early the next day with some pancakes then hit the road South through GTNP. We stopped into the visitor center at Colter Bay. The lake was a little, um, low.



We spent some time throwing rocks into the mud (which was strangely satisfying!) then cruised through Teton Park Rd, stopping at most of the turnouts to enjoy the views. The rest of the internet has much better pictures of that area so I'll spare the space.



We went into Jackson for lunch at the Snake River Brewery (which was excellent!) then checked out that park with antlers in the middle of town.



Heading back toward the campsite, Craig grabbed this cool shot:



Instead of going back to camp, we took FR251 West to Grassy Lake Reservoir. All the campsites here were sparse but occupied. On another weekend, this would be my first choice. We drove right down to the shore.



We spent a bunch of time wading and the dogs took a swim.







On the way back up the bank, I finally needed 4WD! (Craig's Honda Pilot with AWD walked right up...) I probably could have made it with some throttle and the rear locker on, but what the heck?
We went back to camp, ate some steaks, and drank some beer. It was a good day.



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Old 12-02-2013, 10:56 PM   #5
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Re: Seattle to Wyoming, 8/28/2013

Day 5: Yellowstone NP
Campsite: Headwaters at Flagg Ranch

Up early again (toddlers are good for that), we booked it up to Old Faithful for a matinee before the rest of the country showed up. It was Labor Day Sunday. Again, for good pictures, see the rest of the Internet.



We pulled off for lunch at Florian Flat Dr. and did some more creek-wading.



There was a bison foraging around in the woods near the picnic area, but we couldn't really see it.

We took US89 North (Grand Loop Rd) but headed East on Norris Canyon Rd. We were tooling along when we saw this guy up on a hill. HOLY CRAP, GET THE CAMERA OUT, IT'S A BISON! There weren't any tour buses around or anything! So we zoomed in and snapped away.



Then, around literally the next corner, was this:













Yeah, they own the place.
The kids both started napping after we stopped at the boiling mud holes, so we burned through the rest of the loop without stopping.
We pulled off at this cool waterfall (outlet of Lewis Lake?) and did some more looking and wading.





Then it was back to camp. We ate dinner at the fancy-pants restaurant at the campground and I finally got the Trout I was craving. More beers then bedtime.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:57 PM   #6
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Re: Seattle to Wyoming, 8/28/2013

Day 6: Yellowstone to Butte, MT
Campsite: Boondock Near Delmo Lake

Monday morning, we packed up, said good bye, topped off the fresh water, then headed North through Yellowstone again. This time, from the West Entrance, we took US287 to Ennis, grabbed some groceries, then stayed on MT287 to Virginia City. Which turned out to be a total Tourist Trap. But Nevada City, a couple miles up the road, was better. Still a little 'trappy, but they had cooler stuff to see. Like the world's larges collection of automated acoustic music machines.



They also had a bunch of very vintage structures, some of which were original, arranged in a little "town" with "live history" actors strolling around.





And an awesome antique swing THAT STILL WORKS!



We stayed on MT287, then took MT41 North to MT2, then Hot Springs Rd until that turned into Delmo Lake Rd just North of I90. Along this route, flyfishing is clearly the dominant industry- we passed through 2-3 very small towns who each had 2-3 custom fishing rod factories. It was also clear why MT does speed limits like they do...



Upon hitting Delmo Lake Rd from the East, the brutal washboard commenced. It kept shaking the fridge door open (4 bombers of beer in the tray probably didn't help that...) and generally rattled our teeth. I tried lots of different speeds, a few different lines, and even put it in 4wd so the back wouldn't hop so much. It turns out, there's an ORV area about 15 miles in and those guys' trailers just jack this road up. Anyway, after 20 miles of dirt, we reached the lake again but decided to use one of the dispersed areas since they were now available.





The dogs found some fresh cow poop to roll in, so I got to bathe them with the shower wand. That worked REALLY well.



Dinner and S'mores, then we hit the sack.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:58 PM   #7
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Re: Seattle to Wyoming, 8/28/2013

Day 7: Butte, MT to Coeur d'Alene, ID
Campsite: Off Hayden Creek Rd in the Coeur d'Alene NF

We got up and took a little hike from the campsite.



Then we headed out to I90. I unlocked the hubs when pavement started. Dusty tires make me happy



We cruised through downtown Butte just to check it out while we were there. That chick on the mountain is pretty cool. It's also amazing just how they built the town right on top of and around so many mine shafts. The headframes are just part of the skyline.



By this time, everyone was used to the Way of The Road, so we kept the hammer down, ate lunch on the go, and made it into Coeur d'Alene mid-afternoon. Their City Park has an absolutely amazing wooden playground. They don't allow dogs in the park, so ours had to guard the van.



While we were playing, we heard someone say "beach". Our ears perked up and we went back, grabbed our towels and suits, then went down and took lake baths like hobos.



We ate some dinner in town then headed up into the woods for the night.

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Old 12-04-2013, 12:13 AM   #8
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Re: Seattle to Wyoming, 8/28/2013

Day 8: Coeur d'Alene, ID to Seattle, WA
Campsite: home, sweet home

Wednesday morning, we got up, ate some quick cold breakfast, converted to Road-Mode, and got rolling.



I topped off with fuel so when everyone conked out, I just kept going. We stopped for a groggy lunch in Moses Lake, then everyone resumed their road-naps. Then we hit construction on Snoqualmie pass and got to sit for a few hours. Bah!
After that, it was just a matter of parking at our house, unloading the fridge, and starting the laundry.

A very awesome trip for everyone involved!
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:05 AM   #9
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Re: Seattle to Wyoming, 8/28/2013

Great trip report. Thanks!
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Old 12-04-2013, 10:06 AM   #10
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Re: Seattle to Wyoming, 8/28/2013

All of your trip reports are great. I envy the amount of time you are able to spend in your SMB.
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