Miami to Chico Hot Springs

Trip Start Jan 02, 2010
Trip End Jan 10, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Saturday, January 2, 2010

We're not in Miami Beach anymore. After 8 hours of traveling 2222 miles to Bozeman, Montana, we walk out the jetway and into the small uncrowded airport, pick up our luggage, take care of our paperwork for the rental car all in less than 30 minutes and proceed outside to the car.  It was a chilly 49 degrees when we boarded our early morning flight in Ft. Lauderdale and now it’s 40 degrees in Bozeman on January 2nd?   First lesson – weather is unpredictable here.  We’re thinking that we don’t even need our gloves and hats.  Maybe we brought too much clothing with us?

We are heading to Chico Hot Springs Resort ( for one night before proceeding on to Yellowstone National Park.  Our concept is to experience a "sense of place" that could not be delivered in a Hampton Inn in Bozeman and after being in a plane for so long, we’re ready to get out and see the countryside.  As we drive the I90 interstate we begin to observe that we have exchanged the city for mountains and valleys, the color of the landscape has changed from tropical green to winter brown, the bright warm sun is now hidden behind grey overcast skies, and from urban Miami/Broward County with 3 million people, we are headed to Pray, Montana with 300 people.    We are under the impression that we will not have cell phone access for this week, so with a bit of withdrawal settling in, we make last minute calls to family and friends.  Note:  we were able to get cell reception and email on our iphones here at Chico Hot Springs and also at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge.

We check into Chico Hot Springs Resort and are very happy.  We have booked North Cabin #707 which is up a hill away from the main resort on a ledge shared by three other cabins.  We expected to have isolation and views, which you can see in the photos.  Great!  Then we notice a steady stream of people to the next cabin.  It turns out it is a wedding party assembling and to our delight they have some fireworks just after sundown.

We get a lesson in radiant heating.  Who knows about these things in Miami Beach?  Our cabin temperature was in the low 60’s when we arrived, and Harvey had boosted the thermostat up to the 80’s.  Our cabin is not warming up after 1 hour so he calls the front desk and someone promptly comes up.  We learn about radiant floor heating and it that it takes about 1 hours to be toasty.  The prescription is to cuddle until then.  It is with good humor and laughs that we agree.

For dinner, we decide to eat at the Chico Dining Room. Fortunately, they were able to accommodate us.  It’s really best to make your dinner reservation when making your room reservation.  The food is that good and the ambiance is charming with lots of dark woods and interesting photographs on the walls.   We feel the warmth and friendliness of the staff.  This must be what it’s like when you live in a place that doesn’t have a lot of people.  We feel comfortable.  We like it here.  We enjoy our glasses of Malbec and our main courses of lamb chops with polenta and wild Alaska salmon with fresh veggies, both flavorful and beautifully presented.

It’s now very dark as we drive up the mountain on a dirt road to our cabin.  With the help of white Christmas tree lights framing our cabin, we find it.  It’s warm and cozy when we enter.  We crawl into our bed and watch the movie Avatar that Harvey has brought along.  It is so full of symbolism and is perfect for our upcoming Yellowstone experience. 
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