Back in the US of A heading to Yellowstone

Trip Start Sep 01, 2005
Trip End Sep 25, 2005

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Flag of United States  , Montana
Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Heading out of Lake Louise back to the States we stopped in Lethridge on the Candadian side for a night, then continued south, spending yet another night in Butte (sorry Butteonites, but you were just geographically convenient, not a destination). Montana has legalized gambling everywhere it seems so when you go out to "the best steakhouse in town" it turns out to be a keno parlor. We do recommend the Hampton Inn in Butte for a stopover. Free inter net.

From there we were debating which route to take to Yellowstone. While we could have driven it in one day, we didn't have reservations in the park until the next night. We had planned to enter from West Yellowstone and just find a motel there for one night but had been warned it was on the ticky tacky side. So as we were driving down on route 287, a scenic but easy drive, we came across a little town in Montana named Ennis. If you are an avid fly fisherman, you will know Ennis but for the rest of you this little town is in the center of a valley and blessed with trout streams and rivers galore. We hit it just before lunch and parked along the Western style main street and roamed a few of the shops. You could find all the fishing gear and attire you would ever want but I also found a great ladies wear shop with rugged but fashionable selections and just had to get yet another cute fleece jacket. By then we were hungry and the sales staff referred us to a restaurant just on the edge of town, the Reel Decoy. It was a great choice. They had all kinds of nutritious and tasty soups, salads, sandwiches but we jumped on the pulled pork which we chased down with some Fat Tire beers and topped up with homemade pies.

By then we were not in the mood to drive another hour only to check into some chain motel so asked for a recommendation for a B and B. That led us to the Jeffers Inn, just outside of town where we were the only guests and had the biggest suite to ourselves for a bargain of $100 a night. The innkeepers recommended we drive about 1/2 an hour over the hills to check out Nevada City, a ghost town, which we did and whiled away a couple hours there. Back at the inn, we had a couple glasses of wine with our hosts and then, too full for dinner, took a back road trip out to see the deer and the sunset before heading back for a soak in the big tub and a good night's sleep. The next morning we had a huge B and B breakfast and drove for an hour or so through a beautiful valley to West Yellowstone. This was one of those totally serendipitous side trips that were unplanned but turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. One of the great joys of retirement travel is you have lots of time to "waste" on these side trips. It also helps to travel in the shoulder season. No way would we have scored a place to stay without reservations in the summer season.

We were really glad we had stumbled on Ennis when we saw all the T shirt shops and chain motels in West Yellowstone, so we just got gas (this was in the post Katrina gas price surge and we never got below 1/2 full) and drove on into the park.

If you're ever out that way, check out Ennis. It has lots of fishing lodges and some B and B's. And bring your poles if you want.
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