June 1, 2023

Yellowstone and North Dakota

We hit the road to Big Timber Montana (343 miles). On our drive, we got to see an animal crossing bridge. Kori wasn’t fast enough to get a picture but it was neat to see in real life. With all the wildlife we have seen in this area I can imagine that it is used frequently. We decided to embrace the north and we stopped at a roadside restaurant to try Poutine with our lunch. It was good but very heavy. As you can see from the picture, the portion size was huge along with our sandwiches. As we ventured down the road we saw a billboard that made me question my sanity. Yep, Testicle Festival. When I said something to Kori she had to look it up. Yep, it is true. From the website https://www.bon-voyage.co.uk/activities/rocky_mountain_testicle_festival

“Rock Creek Lodge just outside of Clinton, Montana throws the world’s largest testicle festival every fall attracting more than 15,000 fans annually to its five-day event. Using the tongue-in-cheek motto, “I had a ball at the Testicle Festival,” the festival feeds over 2 ½ tons of bull balls to its many hungry and rowdy revelers.” Glad we won’t be in town for that one.

The next crazy thing we saw was a Helicopter helping with a lineman. I explained to Kori some of the logistics of this task. Once we were about 20 minutes from our campground in our Tire Pressure Monitoring System went off and let us know we had a leak in one of our tires. Rather than push onto the campground we decided to be safe and stop at a gas station and call AAA. Once we filed the request we enjoyed watching multiple trains pass the gas station. After over an hour with no updates, Kori called AAA back to get an update and was unsuccessful. About 20 minutes later we got a call that the tow truck company from a neighboring city (30 minutes away) wouldn’t swap the tire out for the spare because the leak was on the inside dually and it was a liability. After talking with AAA again they said that it was up to the company’s discretion and they didn’t have another company to try. They did offer to tow us….which Kori quickly questioned because if they were going to send a tow truck to tow our 20,000lb RV then that tow truck should be able to jack the backup and swap the tire. But no, that wasn’t an option. We decided to push the limits of the tire and head to the campground before it got dark. So rather than getting us at 4:30 AM to be out of the RV by 5:30 to be to Yellowstone by 7 am we were up at 6:45 AM, moved all 7 animals to the Rollerskate, and were on the road to the tire show by 7:45 so we could be one of the 1st in line when they opened at 8. Kori visited a local bakery for some breakfast treats while I waited with MandDy. The tire guy reported that the previous people who worked on the tire (in California) unscrewed the valve stem and it was loose causing the leak. He replaced it was a longer one and we were headed back to the campground within an hour. We were so thankful that we didn’t have to invest any more money in tires!

Since we were back at the campground and weren’t planning to head to Yellowstone until the afternoon to avoid the people, Kori convinced me to go swimming. She said that the person in the office said it was heated and that there weren’t many kids in this campground. Once at the pool we were convinced that maybe the pool was a heater during the winter or something because it was cold but we still got in. After about 15 minutes we were joined by a mother and her two daughters who lived locally. We stayed a bit longer then decided to head back to MAndDy, have lunch and pack up for the afternoon journey.

The drive to Yellowstone was 99 miles. Luckily we were not met with a line at the North Entrance gate! We visited the Albright Visitor Center to get Kori’s Passport book stamped and a sticker for the refrigerator. While parking we saw elk meandering through the streets and resting on the grass. After the gift shop, we headed for Old Faithful (53 miles). On our way, I pulled over wherever Kori asked and we walked and got pictures. We made it to Old Faithful unaware of when the next predicted eruption will be. We brought our picnic dinner with full intentions of waiting it out. As we were scoping out a place to sit, he blew! We enjoyed the approximately 2-3 minutes and then we found a place to enjoy our dinner and people watched as everyone left. After dinner and visiting the gift shop we hit the road towards GRant Village to make a loop around the middle of the park. During this portion of the drive, we stopped at some more geysers and saw multiple herds of Elk and Bison. We arrived back at MandDy close to midnight and recounted all we had done during the day.

Friday we headed to Dickinson, North Dakota (390 miles). 30 miles from our campsite was Theodore Rosevelt National Park. We were surprised by the beauty of this park. the winding road gives the perfect opportunity to view the wildlife that is hiding around nearly every turn. we saw the largest buffalo herd yet and there were teams of wild horses all around. Kori was able to get a sticker and we drove the open part of the loop road, which took us about 2 hours. TRNP was a hidden gem!

Sunday we head to Belvidere, SD (300 miles).

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