The Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole & the Oldest KOA


Our next stop was Jackson Hole, WY (a destination leftover from last year’s bucket list). We were surprised to learn that the city is actually just called Jackson. According to Wikipedia, the “Hole” applies to the valley located outside the city and was given the notation from fur trappers eras ago when they hiked in from the north to the region, as it appeared to them that they were hiking into a hole. (Your welcome for your free worthless trivia tip for the day).

Unlike last year, we’ve experienced some difficulty securing accommodations this summer. Dan reminds me that the cost of diesel was well over $4 a gallon last year, which may explain why we had so much “luck” securing any spot we wanted during our 2014 US Tour. This summer we’ve found fuel as cheap as $2.45 a gallon.  Big difference on how many other wanderers are out and about with us this year!

The only campground we could find with a spot in this area was about 35 miles north of Jackson near the junction of Moran. We got a great view of The Grand Tetons driving out to the place, but needless to say, we were in the middle of nowhere when we finally arrived at our destination. The campground was pretty much a cow pasture with some dirt roads cut in. The vehicles were parked pretty much on top of each other and the rates were outrageous for the stay. But since we were without options, we endured; it’s what we do.

During our time here, we explored the national park, which is of course, spectacular! We grabbed an impromptu picnic lunch on Jackson Lake in the park, amid all the “Watch for Bears” warning signs and Finnegan played on the shores of the lake on a beautiful sunny day.

We drove back into Jackson for groceries, retail therapy (Didn’t I mention that someone in our group had a “hankering” for a new iPhone 6? The “hankering” has now ended…..) and we had dinner overlooking the the town’s square (complete with stacks of antlers at each corner of the park). We had a drink at the world famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar where patrons “saddle up” on real saddles instead bar stools before meandering our way back out to the RV.

Someone in our group (not me) has also decided that another stop in Sturgis is in our near future, so we left out for the motorcycle “mecca” traveling through both The Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park en route to our next destination, Billings, MT (where there is no state sales tax) for a new Sleep Number bed and an new Apple laptop (I’m all done with Microsoft!); before heading on to Spearfish, SD.

The Billings, MT KOA is the first ever KOA in the country and as such bears the designation of “#1” behind it’s name. This is where the brand started and this park was quite nice. The spots were large level and paved, there was a restaurant on site along with a play ground for both kids and dogs. There was an always packed swimming pools (just kids) and a miniature golf course. The place was conveniently located to town and it was a great stop for us.  Dan here:  I should mention that this KOA also has a dubious distinction – hundred of Cottonwood trees scattered all around the premises, and man, they must’ve been molting, for sure.  The top of our trailer looked as if it had been tarred and feathered by all the cotton droppings, as well as having scores of cotton-balls dragged into the RV creating quite the mess.  Oh well.  Something else happened here that was a first.  A guy pulling a new 5th-wheel with a new pickup turned the wrong way in the parking lane, and lodged a 300 lb rock under his RV, dragging it halfway around the parking lot before it became unloaded and rolled out along the lane.  Boy, was he pissed!  Even after the maintenance guy told him he’d turned the wrong way, and that’s what the big white arrows pointed on the roadway were for.  Oh well.

Dan’s efforts at playing some golf here, were thwarted though. One day while out driving on the city’s Skyline Drive, we decided to just drop in on a highly rated course in the highlands. Our GPS lead us into the middle of a dead end street in the middle of a residential neighborhood where the GPS voice announced: “You have arrived at your destination.” Except we hadn’t. Dan made a quick call to the pro shop to clarify the directions only to be informed that the very beautiful course was private. The very kind woman in the (imaginary) pro shop recommended another course across town, across the interstate and located in the foothills on the other side of the city as an option. As we drove over, Dan called to confirm that they could take a “walk on” and he was assured that they could fit him in. I dropped him at the front door of the pro shop and took off for what I thought was going to be a free afternoon, only to turn back around after about 10 minutes because the golf course was not able to find Dan’s name in the list of “member’s only” who were allowed to play this course. He pouted all the way home……