Leg 6 – Part II – West Yellowstone to Fishing Bridge

Snow on picnic table
Up early, and there is snow everywhere. I really don’t want to drive the RV in snow. I call the Yellowstone road conditions number and they say that the roads that we want are open, but the road from Old Faithful to West Thumb, which crosses the Continental Divide twice, is “snow tires recommended” and “snow packed.” Oh boy. I start the day off by trying to talk Lady CurbCrusher into staying in West Yellowstone and driving into the park for a couple of days. That just puts a damper on the start of the day for everyone, because, as you all know “if Momma ain’t happy, no one’s happy.”

So we drive the short distance to the entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Except for the cold, the driving is not bad. We’ve decided that we’re going take the southern route from Madison to Old Faithful to West Thumb, then up to Fishing Bridge, and that we’re going to stop and see the stuff along the way in the RV as we make the trip. The total distance is about 60 miles, but we take about six hours to make the trip, stopping at most of the sights along the way. This is a bit of a pain, because the motorhome/car combo does not fit in a lot of the “RV” parking spots that are in the various pull outs in Yellowstone.

We reach Craig’s pass (the Continental Divide) area in the afternoon after lunch. It is fine. The weather forecasters have been wrong, and instead of overcast skies, there has been sun for most of the morning. So the road is dry, there is snow on either side of the road above about 7500 feet, but the driving is safe. The worse part is the climbing, but our trusty Workhorse and Allison combo keep up with the speed limit on the climbs with no problem.

West Thumb Geyser Basin Trail
This is the deepest into the park that we’ve ever been, as Lady CurbCrusher and I had made a winter visit to the park about 13 years ago and been as far as Old Faithful. At West Thumb, there is another geyser basin, and I think it is more impressive than the ones around Old Faithful. This geyser basin sits on the shore of Lake Yellowstone, which is still frozen, except for the area along the shore where the hot water from the geyser basin empties into the lake. Very cool, and very picturesque with the mountains across the lake.

The final part of the trip is from West Thumb to Fishing Bridge. This is about a 21 mile road that runs along Lake Yellowstone. The road is an easy drive, and you get great views of the lake and mountains all along the road.

Fishing Bridge has the only “full” hook-up RV park in Yellowstone National Park. However, there is not electricity. A lady up a the store told us it was because Xanterra, the company that operates the shopping and campground concession, only has two years left on their contract, and does not want to spend the money upgrading the electric capabilities in the park unless their contract is renewed. Regardless, it means that you get water and sewer and and electric box that you can not plug into. The sites are tight, with enough room for your rig, and a place to park your car next to it. While the place was probably designed and built when a big RV was 25 foot, there are a number of “big” rigs (35ft + ) in area we are camped in. However, since there are not a lot of folks there, they are only using one side of each loop. That makes it feel a bit more roomy, and they are trying leave every other site empty to give the feeling of a larger site. As there is no electricity, and generators are permitted from 8 to 8 each day.

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