Grizzlies, Wolves and Crackerbarrel (at last!)

Trip Start Dec 17, 2011
Trip End Jan 27, 2012

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Where I stayed
Howard Johnson, Billings, Montana
What I did

Flag of United States  , Montana
Thursday, January 5, 2012

This morning we went to the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery centre in West Yellowstone. We arrived a little too late to see one of the wolf packs being fed, but it was still amazing to see them so close and without the restrictions of wire fencing for most of the time (there was a building with glass windows and both packs would come up close to the glass so we had a really close up, unrestricted view of them. Also there were hardly any people there, so we weren't bothered by crowds. At one point Fred and the kids were in watching the wolves and I went over to see the Grizzlies (I couldn’t resist when I spotted one sitting upright on her bear bottom and looking so cute) and while I was there, the other female Grizzly in the enclosure started play-fighting with the sitting bear. Suddenly it was all on with them roaring at each other and standing on their hind legs batting each other with their massive paws. But as fast as it started it was soon over, and they both waddled away to separate ends of the enclosure, the sitting bear returning to her bottom-grooved shaped patch in the snow and resuming her sniffing relaxed posture. After the two females had had their little scrap, both big bears were let out the back to their den and two eleven month old cubs, Roosevelt and Grant, were let out – and they were soooooo cute! It was fascinating watching the cubs rough and tumble and play. The information/museum room was also fascinating and I couldn’t get over how much bigger a polar bear was to a Grizzly (and Grizzlies are huge!).

We are staying in the Howard Johnson hotel in Billings, Montana tonight (about a four hour drive from West Yellowstone) and while I catch up on laundry and the blog, Fred and the kids have hit the pool and waterslide (which cost them $1.50 each – something we have never seen in all our hotel stays across America, both this time and our last visit in 2009, so we weren’t impressed). Also when they went to go into the pool, Fred had to sign an indemnity form so he wouldn't sue the hotel if they had an accident swimming - pay for insurance and sign an indemnity form? You can't have it both ways, Howard Johnson! At least the laundry is cheap at $1.25 for a load of washing and $1 a load to dry.

Tonight after checking in, we went to our old friend and favourite restaurant, CrackerBarrel. This is our family favourite and the first time we've found one on this trip, as they aren't in all the states. Great (!) food, fantastic prices and for Tracey and Kate a big shop on the way to the restaurant (and Fred too, though he won't admit it - Tracey). If you go to the U.S (not in California or far western states), go to CrackerBarrel - they are the BEST.
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