Our Sixteen Day 4105 Mile Road Trip.
“It was amazing how you could get so far from where you’d planned, and yet find it was exactly were you needed to be.”
(Authors note: This post is broken up into five pages. You can go to the next page at the bottom of the post.)
Coming up with a title for this post was tough. I wasn’t sure if I should go with “Our Sixteen Day West Coast Road Trip” or ” Our Sixteen Day 4105 Mile Road Trip.” Originally, the plan was to visit a few national parks on our journey from Wyoming to South Dakota. Then we would make our way up to Montana and explore the wonders of Glacier National Park, followed by a week or so of relaxation in one of my favorite areas from my church mission, Salmon, which is found in Idaho. This leads us to why I started this post with the above quote. We made significant changes to our plan after visiting Glacier National Park and it was exactly what we needed to do! The below map is a public map I created showing you exactly where we went and what places we visited.
Why we changed our road trip plans
The answer is simple: our kids travel well. They rarely complained while driving. In fact, our youngest, Grayson, would ask in the morning “can we go?”. Sure, there were a few stops that we made that they could care less about, but they enjoyed the time we spent together exploring and the valuable nuggets of information we learned along the way. In fact, we were so happy with how well things went that we decided to plan a longer east coast road trip to finish out the year. But, I digress. Let me get back to the other reasons why we changed our plans.
Not only were the kids doing well, but Katie and I loved the beauty that we saw in South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho. After visiting Glacier, we were in awe. It was the closest to New Zealand that I had seen in the States. We will definitely return to Glacier Park again. After visiting Glacier, I had the idea of visiting the Oregon East Coast and visit the Redwood Forest. The beauty and wonder needed to continue.
So, on our drive from the west end of Glacier National Park to Missoula we started developing our plans and what route we would take. We realized in doing this that we would have several long drive days, but after deliberation, we decided it’s what we should do. It was totally worth it and I wouldn’t change a thing!
The Places We Visited On This West Coast Road Trip
Our adventure started in Thayne, Wyoming. The first stop on our trip was the Alpine slides in Jackson Hole, Wyoming followed by a drive through Grand Teton National Forest and into Yellowstone National Park for our stay in a hotel near West Thumb Lake in the Yellowstone Lodge. The slides were a blast and Grand Teton was breathtaking.
Our second stop was a short drive to Old Faithful. We lucked out because as we were walking up to Old Faithful, it started to erupt followed by a smaller geyser in the background. Katie and I have both visited before, but it was our kids first time. They had visited a pretty terrible man-made geyser in New Zealand that was lackluster. So, it was important to us that they see Old Faithful. They loved it! After we made our journey through the park on our way to Cody, Wyoming stopping by water falls and other great photo op spots along the way. Our plans were to eat and spend the night in Cody, but Cody put on a Rodeo that day and all the hotels were booked, so we moved on to Sheridan, Wyoming.
I think it is important for me to note that New Zealand spoiled us. It really did. We found ourselves a little disappointed in Yellowstone this time around. Granted, the fires have had a major impact on the parks beauty, but Yellowstone is nothing compared to Glacier National Park. Not to say you shouldn’t visit, but once you have been to other beautiful places, you don’t appreciate it as much.
Due to the amount of graphics and images included in this post, we have to split this post over FIVE pages. Click the link above to continue to the next page or the page number below.