#HouckTheMountains2015 – A Review

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Grand Tetons along Teton Rd.

Our family had an excellent Labor Day getaway. The kids didn’t start pestering each other until we were less than 2 hours from home on our return trip….that in and of itself is a miracle for any parent!   Our vehicle ran wonderfully, even if we experienced a “vantasy”…..ogling the brand new Honda Odyssey with tons of room, as the 5 of us and all our camping gear/luggage were snug in our CRV.   The food was excellent (ALL YOU CAN EAT PRIME RIB BUFFET for $30 at Old Faithful Inn). We had great views, made memories as a family and bonded away from cell service! We were refreshed by the sweet, sweet scent of mountain air…..I love that fresh, clean, crisp and did I mention SWEET mountain air.   The air in the mountains is like Prada to our Target air in my opinion, that is of course when there are no forest fires 🙂

Please see my previous blog with our itinerary.  We only changed a few things along the way. Last year I had told myself that I would go to Sturgis this year (Sturgis Rally in August) and partake in Rolling Sturgis (a roller derby event) however due to my knee and financial issues I didn’t make it to Sturgis.  On our way to Devil’s Tower we stopped in Sturgis and I purchased a growler of Pipe Welder Porter from The Knuckle!   We had planned to camp at Grant Village, however the weather was predicted to get below 30 degrees that night, so we upgraded to a Frontier Cabin at the Lake Hotel – great decision on my part 🙂

The other added bonus to our trip was the that the last week of August, the National Park Service announced Every Kid In A Park, all 4th graders in the USA can sign up for a National Park pass good for the entire 2015-2016 school year…..and guess what, our middle man is a 4th grader!   All of our entrance fees and tour fees were completely FREE for our family.   Since this pass is good all year, we may now try to hit Voyageurs, Isle Royale and Apostle Islands sometime in early June next summer – but that is another blog for the future.

I do want to share a few photo highlights from our journey, though these few only touch the surface…..I took TONS of photos.

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Day 1: Devil’s Tower

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Day 2: Enjoyed time with family and friends at my cousin’s wedding along the Yellowstone River in Billings, MT

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Day 3: Beartooth Pass and Yellowstone

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Our Family at Old Faithful Geyser

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Day 4: Grand Teton’s with brunch at Dornan’s

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Day 5: Jewel Cave National Monument

Here are a few other notes~

Campgrounds/Cabins:

All of our over-night experiences were very good.

Devil’s Tower view – has a great view of Devil’s Tower and a small restaurant with great food, but there really isn’t anything for kids to do there. The bathrooms were pleasant and clean. For the price it was great, but for a little extra you can stay at KOA just at the bottom of Devil’s Tower.

Uncle John’s – we arrived to my Aunt & Uncle’s house for the wedding and they had already prepared a tent for us.  The atmosphere was warm and full of family love.  It doesn’t get better than that 🙂

Yellowstone’s Frontier Cabins were amazing little hotel rooms in personal cabins.  Nothing fancy and no cooking area.  Comfortable and clean.  We only had to kill one spider and they provide eco-friendly bath products!  They were awesome.

Beaver Lake Campground was wonderful!  We arrived late (after check in) and a note was on the door for us.  Bathrooms were nice.  If we had been there for a weekend, there was tons for the kids; playground, pool with slide and trampoline type thing.

Food and Beer review:

Day 1:  We stopped at Al’s Oasis for breakfast. – good stuff!   We stopped at The Knuckle Brewing Company for craft beer that was very tasty, and the service was great!   For supper we enjoyed Devil’s Towerview Restaurant – buffalo burgers and indian tacos were spectacular, they also had a wide selection of ice creams.

Day 2: We ate lunch at Uberbrew in Billings, MT.  Great family atmostphere.  A great variety of brews on tap…and Mac & Cheese made with their Golden Ticket Ale…..be still my mac&cheese disliking heart, they won me over.   Also, I don’t know who catered my cousin’s wedding…but fried chicken and ribs for dinner…HECK YES!!

Day 3: We snacked on the road most of the day, traveling around Yellowstone.  We had dinner reservations at The Old Faithful Inn and everyone except our youngest signed on for the all you can eat Prime Rib buffet; Prime Rib, trout, wild rice pilaf, mashed potatoes, green beans almondine, roasted red pepper and smoke Gouda bisque, salad fixings and desserts.   They also had a very stellar craft beer and wine list to choose from and the ambiance was out of this world rustic and charm.

Day 4:  Brunch at Dornan’s Chuckwagon with huge breakfast meals….but you go for the view!   We also had dinner at Buglin Bull in Custer, SD….Wild Boar Shank on a bed of mashed potatoes…nuf said.

Day 5: We were on the road home and splurged on Taco Bell…..some habits die hard.

In the end this trip is going in the books as 5 STARS!  It was stellar in every way, with only a few hiccups.  I feel ultimately blessed for the family time and memories made.

~CAKES~

Side note – I did come back and weigh in…had gained 3 lbs on vacation 😦  But I started back to eating better and working on a routine.  I am down 1 lb so far in my 16 week challenge 🙂 HERE

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