SUMMER ROAD TRIP, DAY 16
Did we save the best for last? Check out our final stop in Yellowstone and get the down and dirty details of camping with no electric hookup.
Southern Yellowstone – West Thumb Geyser Basin
It has been a busy week so today we decided to take it easy and stay near the campground with a short drive to West Thumb Geyser Basin. I’ll be honest, I was feeling a bit done with the whole geyser thing.
Don’t get me wrong, it is an exciting and mind-blowing concept that an active volcano and subterranean magma chamber is directly under our feet, but I enjoy hiking in the woods instead of open areas. We also hadn’t read or heard much about the West Thumb Geyser for some reason so we weren’t expecting much.
We were pleasantly surprised when we realized the boardwalk is right along the lake and we spotted some of the geysers submerged in the lake itself. Looking out at the water, you’d think we were in the Caribbean instead of Wyoming! The water is crystal clear with a rainbow of colors progressing out to the center.
Camping in Yellowstone
It’s mid-June so it should be warm right? Or at least that’s what I was thinking! It is warm during the day, but at night it gets down to the thirties. The campground has no electric so that means NO HEAT. We have two sheets, a down comforter and another blanket. I am sleeping in a tank top, t-shirt, long sleeve shirt and sweatshirt on top and yoga pants with sweatpants on the bottom. My husband sleeps in shorts and a t-shirt and thinks I’m crazy. If I can see my breath, we have a problem! Shockingly, it has been bearable.
Getting out of bed in the morning is tough, but once we are up and moving it’s not too bad. No electric normally would mean no lights or running water in the pop up either, but we use a portable jumpstart battery to run the water pump for the sink and LED lighting.
Grant Village Campground in Yellowstone National Park
The sites are fairly level and spacious, but I wouldn’t say they are private. Picnic tables and fire-pits are within view of each other. We are staying in section I which is the furthest from the check-in area and the shower building, but it also has the most sites near the lake.
The location is convenient if you are planning to combine the trip with Grand Teton National Park, but it is a long distance to the northern section sights. If we were to do it again, we would split the time up between Grant Village and a campground further north.
In bear country, the parks have established what they call a “bare” campsite program. All dirty dishes must be washed at a cleaning station (here they are in between the bathrooms), not at your campsite due to bear activity. All food, food-related items like pots and pans, and toiletries (I’m talking toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, and conditioner) must all be stored in a hard-sided vehicle/trailer/motor home or in the campground food storage lockers provided every few campsites. Since we are in a soft pop up, all of our things with the exception of clothes stay in the car.
There are bathrooms with toilets and cold running water in each section, but the showers are in a separate building. The campground hands out a piece of paper at check-in with a specified number of showers and we were told not to lose it because it would not be replaced. The shower area is clean, water is hot and there are many shower stalls, but there are specific hours from 7 am – 9:30 pm so that was a little inconvenient.
There are also laundry facilities in the same building as the showers. We did our laundry there today and it is reasonably priced.
What are We Eating?
We are keeping it simple for meals. In the morning we use a propane stovetop to boil water for instant coffee and oatmeal. For lunch, we make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with chips and fruit cups. We snack on granola bars and Twizzlers throughout the day. For dinner, we heat up more water and eat Ramen noodles with canned chicken.
Next: Expense Roundup
And so our epic 80 day summer road trip continues – 13 U.S. states, 2 Canadian provinces and 13 national parks. You can also follow our journeys via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Miles Driven Today: 198, Total Miles Driven: 3,207, Average Gas Price per Gallon: $2.60
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