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Old 09-01-2008, 09:21 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 2,440
Beaverton Or to Grand Tetons & Yellowstone

Beaverton Oregon to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

This was a quick trip that we kind of did on a whim, as it happened that both my wife and I could get the same week off. Going to Yellowstone was also facing a personal demon, as it was the location that my brand new Sportsmobile had broken down four years ago, with only 3063 miles on. I am happy to report, that demon has been put away. The trip was shorter then I wish, but aren’t they all.

The actual first place that we stopped was vista overlook east of Pendleton, OR on 84 eastbound. It is generally a little quieter then the rest stop a couple of miles east. This generally a good place to stop and get a couple hours of shut eye after breaking free of the Portland Metro area on a Friday night. We got up very early and made our way to Joseph OR. Joseph could be a great destination spot by itself but in this case we were just stopping by on the way to Yellowstone. Specifically we wanted to stop at Wallowa Lake and have breakfast, it is also a great place for my dog Sally to go swimming. With full stomachs and a wet dog we jumped back in the SMB and headed out through the Hells Canyon area. By That evening we made it as far east as Mountain View ID. We were all tired and were just happy to find a KOA. There is not much to say about the campground, I will say that the restrooms and showers were the cleanest of any campground I have ever stayed.

It did serve it purpose as we were up and moving pretty early the next day as we were stopping by Craters of the Moon National Monument. If you are into geological formations it is really worth the effort to stop there. I would probably not consider it a destination point but they did have a small campground right there at the monument. We went through Idaho falls took the 26 to Swan Valley, and took the 31, 33, 22 combination up and over to drop down into Jackson Wyoming. There were some significant grades on the route and it had just finished raining. Since I had never been to Jackson, I did want to make a point of going through. I will say that I now feel that taking the 390 would have been a better choice. We arrived at Colter Bay in the early evening. Since, under short notice, the Colter Bay RV Park took reservations, I had already reserved a spot for that night. For $52.00 I got a gravel pull through site, a picnic table and full hookups. (No fire pit) this amount. The Colter Bay Campground right next to it was I think $18.00 and had fire pits. The other campground I found a spot at in Yellowstone was Tower Falls Campground. The park ranger made a visit to all sites to make sure they had done all the correct bear precautions around 9:00 as they apparently were having an unruly black bear in the area.

The next few days were spent enjoying the sights of the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone for which I obviously don’t have the talent to justify in words. Having a dog does make it a little difficult to venture to far off the beaten path. All in all it was fantastic, we got to see a lot of wildlife, and the whole area is just breathtaking. I find the SMB makes it easy to get up and hit the road early, this of course maximizes your chances for wildlife viewing and most importantly there are just fewer people out and about.

We left Yellowstone out the west side and made our way to the 90 via 191, 297. Another interesting stop was the Earthquake Lake visitor center. I found it worth the small fee to learn the history of that geological event. Later that day we found a private campground in Anaconda, Montana. The highlight for the kids was that it was right next door to a golf resort that had a water slide. I am sure from their perspective it was a welcomed diversion to life inside a Sportsmobile. The next day was pretty much a day of driving with a small diversion for a picnic and swimming (especially for the dog) at Coeur d’Alene Lake. We found ourselves stopping at a national forest service campground east of Rimrock Lake on route 12. It served its purpose well, as I was tired and it had been a long day. My daughter thought it was another missed opportunity for S’mores as they had campfire restrictions due to fire conditions.
The next morning we were headed home, we could have taken Route 12 all the way to I5 and headed south but instead took the turn off at Randle Washington so that we could take FR25 on the eastern side Mount St Helens. FR99 was closed do to storm damage and thus we could not make it up to windy ridge observation area. We continued down through Cougar Washington, stopping for swimming for the kids and dog at Yale reservoir. When we made it to the I5, we found it to be a complete parking lot, they would not even let us on. There were some fires started by a RV that had turned I5 into a complete parking lot. Using the on board navigation and my wife and her trusty set of paper maps we were able to find a route south of the problem area and continue home.

Gas Mileage
Date Miles Fuel $ Gallons $/gal M.P.G. Note
8/8/2008 32361 $101.21 25.70 3.899 13.9 Home
8/9/2008 32712 $107.00 25.12 4.259 13.9 Joseph, OR
8/10/2008 32988 $91.00 22.31 4.078 12.3 Mountain Home ID
8/10/2008 33267 $80.57 19.65 4.099 14.1 Idaho Falls, ID
8/12/2008 33592 $113.50 25.06 4.529 12.9 Flagg Ranch
8/13/2008 33931 $100.00 25.32 3.949 13.3 Butte Mt
8/14/2008 34357 $116.00 28.09 4.129 15.1 Moses Lake, WA
8/19/2008 34689 $105.89 28.02 3.779 11.8 Home

Total Miles 2328
Fuel/Cost $709.28

Avg MPG 13.4
Best MPG 15.1
Worst MPG 11.8

Wallowa Lake

Hells Canyon

Craters of the Moon

Carters of the Moon

Carters of the Moon

Grand Tetons

Jenny Lake

Crane at Jackson Lake

Yellowstone pedestrian crossing

Alarm System on the Job

Camp at Tower Falls

Mount Rainier


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Old 09-03-2008, 12:24 PM   #2
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Nice report Greg. How hot was it at Craters of the moon compared to The Grand Tetons? I almost went that way in july but was looking for areas with more varified cooler temps.
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:19 PM   #3
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Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 2,440
It was just hitting 90 when we started to leave and that was about 1:00 PM.

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Old 09-03-2008, 08:20 PM   #4
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Location: SoCal
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Thanks for posting. I really enjoyed seeing your trip. It looks like you had a great time and saw quite a bit.

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'00 Jeep Cherokee 4x4 Highly Modified
'04 Jeep Grand Cherokee- wife won't let me modify it. :-(
Does anyone really read this stuff other than surfgeek?
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