We left the Shell Campground located in Shell, WY by 11 AM on Sunday and continued heading west on 14 towards Yellowstone NP. As I mentioned in my last post – the campground had a very weak WiFi signal thru Verizon and absolutely no AT&T coverage for our iPhones. I tried to do some research online to find possible RV spots in or near Yellowstone. This is the height of the tourist season here and therefore very difficult to score sites that can accommodate a 38½ ft Coach without advance reservations.
I was able to get quite a few tips from folks on the RVillage.com® website for possible places to stay, in or near Cody, WY which is about 50 miles from the east entrance to the park. And I was also able to get some phone numbers for campgrounds near the west entrance to Yellowstone from our good friends Orman & Suzie Claxton, who are currently in a park there. (Thanks Orman!) However, all these tips were no good to us without cell phone coverage.
We stopped at a rest area near Greybull, WY when we finally had an AT&T signal and made a bunch of phone calls… absolutely no sites were available inside the park according to the number I called from the park website. Apparently most of the campgrounds within Yellowstone are operated by a single entity; Xanterra Parks & Resorts. I then tried some of the numbers for RV Parks in Cody and also a few numbers for parks on the west side of Yellowstone… everyone said they were full. A couple of the numbers I dialed just went to voicemail. So, we decided to just drive on to Cody and try our luck in person.
About 70 miles later, we pulled into Cody, WY. I passed up a couple of the parks that I had called earlier and drove almost to the west side of town when we saw the Ponderosa Campground. We pulled in and stopped behind another rig in the registration lane.
Stilla and I went into the office and “Whad’Ya Know” – they had a spot! We reserved two nights with an option to extend if we let them know as soon as possible and if they don’t get more reservations. We were told to go park and come back to settle the bill, which was $92.88 for two nights – ouch 🙁
We apparently just beat the rush too – campers were blocking the street behind us in the registration lane…
But we had to wait for the rig in front of us to move before we could clear the lane and go to our new site…
We finally pulled in near our site and disconnected the Silverado from the Coach. I walked back to the office to pay the bill. And guess what!?! Another Alpine Coach pulled into the campground! I spoke briefly to the driver and gave him our site number, so we could maybe get-together later.
And here’s our spot… who says you can’t find a campground near Yellowstone without a reservation? 🙂 As a matter-of-fact, later on as we drove around town, we noticed a bunch of rigs parked at the local Walmart. Hmmm… maybe we’ll have to keep that in mind if we can’t get an extension here…
We were originally assigned to the spot to the left of where we’re now parked, but as you can see, in the pic (below), the trees at the front of the site surrounded the satellite dish! So getting a signal was impossible. I went back to the office and asked to change to the next spot over at the end of the row. They were very accommodating and simply switched the reservation with someone who was still due-in but hadn’t yet arrived.
After we got settled into our site, we walked through the park and stopped to talk to the Alpine driver I saw earlier. They were already set up on the opposite side of the park and were inside their Coach. I knocked on the door and we introduced ourselves. His name is David (we didn’t meet his wife yet) and they are with the NoWACA group which stands for NorthWest Alpine Coach Association. We talked for a short time and I left an open invitation for them to stop by our Coach later for refreshments and more conversation.
Then we drove around town to check out the area and find someplace to get dinner. We ended up at La Comida. They had some pretty good fish tacos.
We got back to the park pretty late. A 5th Wheel Trailer backed into the spot next to us (our original site); a couple from Utah with 5 kids. I used the last remaining daylight to clean the bugs off the front of the Coach since it was finally cooling down from a high today of ~90°
We didn’t see the folks in the other Alpine again… hopefully, we’ll be able to get together sometime over the next couple/few days before we move on.
On Monday, we plan on getting an early start for visiting Yellowstone NP. We’ll leave our little dog “Coach” in the Coach with the A/C on since we’ve got 50 Amp hook-ups. We’ve been told dogs aren’t allowed in many places within the park and it would be cruel to leave him in the Silverado while we visit ‘Old Faithful’, etc.,
Check back in to see how our day turns out… I’m sure we’ll have some awesome pics of what is known as the world’s first national park per wikipedia®. We (Stilla and I) last visited Yellowstone in the very early 1990’s and look forward to seeing it again and sharing the experience with our grandson.