In May, 2023 we made another "Factory Delivery" RV trip. This is the 4th time that we have done this, but we had always just picked up the RV before and never spent any time in Chicago. We decided to spend a few days in Chicago this time before picking up the RV. We really enjoyed the Chicago River Walk.
We picked up our RV rental in the afternoon of May 11. We had done this before so we knew the drill pretty well. It went a lot quicker than in the past because there weren't other people there picking up RVs at the same time.
After picking up the RV we drove to Rockton, Il., which is about an 1 1/2 away and went to a Walmart where we stocked up with the supplies needed for our trip.
The next day we drove from Worthington, Mn to Rapid City, IW. There was a lot of wind and rain almost all day long. The Wind especially makes it hard to drive the RV. We arrived at our KOA campground in Rapid City early enough to then drive out to Mount Rushmore which was about 30 min. away. Thankfully the rain and much of the wind subsided long enough for us to see things at Mount Rushmore.
The next day we drove from Rapid City to Cody, WY and then just a little bit past it to Buffalo Bill State Park where we had an RV space reserved. We traveled on Interstate 90 all of the way from Chicago, but about 2/3rds of the way through our travels to Cody we had to leave Interstate 90. There were several routes we could take and we chose to take the slightly longer but more scenic route over Powder River Pass and through the Bighorn National Park. It was still very cloudy, but the rain had stopped!
The first day we traveled from Buffalo Bill State Park to the East Yellowstone entrance. From there we drove to Fishing Bridge Junction, then to Canyon Junction, on to Norris Junction, and then out the West Yellowstone gate to the little town of West Yellowstone where our RV park was located.
We drove into Yellowstone to Madison Junction and then headed down toward Old Faithful. There are several Geyser basins, Lower and Midway Geyser Basins, before you reach Old Faithful.
Each geyser basin is a little different and have different types of features. Some are very colorful, some not so much, some are boiling, and others not.
The landscape around the basins is also greatly affected by the heat and minerals from the water.
Headed toward Old Faithful once again on the 3rd day. We had skipped the Black Sand Basin area the day before, which is just before Old Faithful, so we stopped there first. Then we went to the Old Faithful area to see a few of the other geysers in the area and to visit the historic Old Faithful Inn.
We then headed on toward West Thumb which is the far West end of Yellowstone Lake. After that we continue on around the Grand Loop completing the whole loop that day.
On day 4 we drove into Yellowstone and then up to the North side to Mammoth Hot Springs. There was another very interesting information center there and we spent a lot of time in it. We were a little tired of walking through the many thermal areas, so we decided not to walk into the Mammoth Hot Springs boardwalk area as it is quite large.
The drive from Yellowstone to the Grand Tetons was beautiful. We drove in from West Yellowstone as usual, but there was a much larger lineup of cars as we entered, probably because it was heading into the weekend.
From West Yellowstone to West Thumb was a known route and then at West Thumb we headed South toward The Grand Tetons. It is a very enjoyable drive and we made a number of stops along the way ending up at Colter Village where our campground/RV park was located.
We then drove from Colter Bay Campground in Grand Tetons to Jackson Hole Wyoming. This could be a 1 hour drive, but we took all day as there is so much to see along the way.
The Jackson Lake Lodge was built by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and completed in 1955. It is an amazing piece of architecture located in a beautiful setting.
We also visited the National Wildlife Gallery. It has collections of wildlife art spanning over many years.
We spent 2 nights and one full day in Jackson Hole. The town is very "western" themed. Jackson Hole may sound like a little “hole”, but it is actually a very upscale kind of tourist place. There is a ski run that comes right into the edge of town, bikes everywhere, hikers everywhere, etc. It is a real center to launch off from for adventure in this area.
We had another fairly low key day there taking an Uber into the square and spending a few hours in the shops there. We ate lunch at the Jackson Drug Soda Fountain. No drugs here, but a cool old fashion soda fountain. A plain milk shake only costs $14 and they go up from there!
We decided to take the slightly longer and more scenic route to Salt Lake City. Mary Ann really wanted to drive through Idaho Falls and Pacatello, Idaho. It was a beautiful drive up and over the mountains, through the Idaho farmland, and on to Salt Lake City.
We were surprised how the Salt Lake area stretches on for a very long way going through pretty much continuous towns. Brigham City, Ogden, Layton, Farmington, and then finally Salt Lake City.
We spent two full days and three nights in Salt Lake City. The RV park was very nice and there was a light rail stop right across the street that took us into downtown.
I had figured out our entire schedule beforehand, and our days in Salt Lake just fit in as our schedule worked out. Our full days there was a Wednesday and a Thursday and that worked out just perfectly. The Tabernacle has an organ recital at 12:30 every Wednesdays and the Mormon Tabernacle quoir practices every Thursday evening and is open to the public.
This was our longest drive of the whole trip as there isn't any place between them to break the drive up. We stoped a lot though as there were interesting things along the way, so that helped the long drive to not be too difficult.
We drove past the Great Salt Lakes and then the Salt Lake Desert for quite a wile where they collect salt commercially. We stopped at the Bonneville Salt Flats and after that we Stopped at the California Emigrant Trail Interpretive Center. There was lots of signs ourside explaining the trail and what the settlers endured, so we didn't take time to go inside the center.
Final stop on our trip, Reno Nevada!
We spent two full days and three nights in the RV park. It was a little bit outside of Reno by a Casino called Boom Town.
We did a little bit of shopping on the first day in Reno. We decided to get Mary Ann a new computer as her MacBook Air was 9 years old, so we went to the Best Buy and bought her a new Gold MackBook Air.
We then moved to a hotel for two days and three nights. We dropped off the RV on the first day and then did final packing for our trip home. We flew home on May 31st with a direct flight to Guadalajara on Volaris airlines.