We spent the best part of 2 days driving south-east from Glacier National Park to the western entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Our rental car needed an oil change, according to the car’s dashboard, and unlike other rental companies who just get the driver to get an oil change done when needed and they re-imburse costs, Avis will only swap cars because ‘they want to cause as little disruption as possible’. Huh! We went to 3 Avis offices in 3 different towns in Montana and none could provide us with a replacement vehicle and we waited around in West Yellowstone for several hours and in fact it all ended up being pretty disruptive. Finally the manager at West Yellowstone airport reassured us that it would be okay to drive it to LA without getting the oil changed, and Avis could sort it out then.
We did get to see West Yellowstone at the height of the season – last time we were there it was mid-April, there was still snow everywhere, the Park had only just opened and very little in the town was open apart from the hotel we stayed at and a pizza place where we had dinner – this time we had bison burgers for lunch, but we didn’t get to the Yellowstone entrance until 4pm, by which time all the available campsites in the park were taken.
So we went to a campground in a nearby national forest and headed to Yellowstone early the next morning. As we’d seen Old Faithful last time, we gave it a miss this time and visited other geysers, sulphur pool, hot springs and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. There were a few ‘wildlife jams’ on roads because people kept slowing down to look at bison grazing in meadows, but then we saw a whole herd a bit further south. We drove south beside Yellowstone Lake to Lewis Lake campground and were lucky enough to get one of the last sites. Not so lucky this morning at Jenny Lake campground in Grand Teton National Park – we missed out by a minute, unfortunately. All the campsites were taken by 9.30am!
The Teton Range is magnificent – tall, jagged peaks still dusted with snow here and there at the top, with a dozen glaciers spread across the 5 peaks.
And now we’re heading further east, to the Black Hills in South Dakota. Motelling it tonight in Worland, Wyoming and will spend the next few days camping.