We had it all planned out. After a week in Yellowstone, we'd drop down on Highway 89 into Grand Teton National Park and spend a week there enjoying what we'd read was much better bicycling infrastructure along with crazily beautiful views of the Teton mountains. We couldn't wait.
But Mother Nature had other ideas. While we were in Yellowstone, the Berry Fire, one of the wildfires in this two-national-park area of western Wyoming, grew to the point that the NPS had to close Highway 89 just south of Yellowstone and the south entrance to Yellowstone/north entrance to Grand Teton. Blasted!
Here's an article on the fire and road closure with maps and photos: http://wildfiretoday.com/2016/08/27/south-entrance-to-yellowstone-still-closed-by-berry-fire/
Since we had already done all we could do in Yellowstone without a car or taking more expensive tours, we'd actually been ready to head to Grand Teton before our week in Yellowstone was even up. Since the road was closed, we stuck it out for a full week, but when our week was up, on a Sunday, we were going to leave no matter what.
The road was still closed on Sunday.
Our only real alternative was to drive to the west entrance of Yellowstone and into Idaho, spend one night, then head up in to Grand Teton National Park from the south side. So, that's what we did. There was much more driving involved, but we did get to add another state to our map of where Pearl has slept (see right sidebar).
We stayed at Wakeside Lake RV Park in Rexburg, which was a nice spot with huge pull-through campsites with full hookups (nice after boondocking for a week in Yellowstone) on a small lake. It was only about half full, so we had plenty of space. With our Good Sam discount, we paid $30 for a full hookup site with 30 amp service.
There was a large laundromat on site that we did not use. Restrooms with showers looked very clean. The only real negative of this park was road noise from Highway 20. The park is conveniently located near the highway, which gets a lot of truck traffic. This bothered our sleeping occasionally.
There are normally lots of activities on the lake: kayak and SUP rentals, wakeboarding, and fishing, but on a Sunday, the rental spot was closed, and that made for a quiet afternoon -- perfect. We were able to walk the trail around the lake with Paisley and simply enjoy the view.
There was even a nice empty field right behind the campsites where we could throw Paisley's ball, a real plus.
Just when we were so excited to have full hookups, though, bad luck found us. Sometime in the wee hours, the electricity went out. When we got up and investigated, the water was out too. The RV park had an electric water pump, and as we found out from the host, electricity was out to not only the park but a good portion of Rexburg. Oh boy!
We badly needed to pump out our gray and black tanks so needed the water more than we needed the electricity. But it was not to be. We did drain the tanks but were not able to do a tank flush as we normally like to do. The problem was certainly no reflection on the park but just more bad luck, just as with the wildfire blocking the shorter route to Grand Teton. We hoped this run of bad luck would be over soon.
We did have some beautiful views on the way to Grand Teton as we passed the huge Palisades Reservoir -- and saw some lovely fall foliage, shades of things to come.
Stay tuned as we finally make it into Grand Teton National Park!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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