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The Lawrence Family RV Trip of 2023



Josh and I took a bucket list RV trip with our kids, Addi, Ava, and Kellen, this summer to Yellowstone and the Tetons recently as a little break between cherry harvest and the upcoming apple and wine grape harvest. Our first RV adventure, we made it 1600 miles roundtrip in a rented 32-foot motorhome. Two hot springs, one close encounter with an elk, dozens of bison, two waterfalls, countless s'mores, great food and lots of laughs. Here's a recap of our adventures in case you're interested or perhaps planning your own trip!



DAY 1

Loaded up and hit the road for Missoula, 329 miles. Kids played some mini golf at the RV park, then Josh tried out the smash burger taco trend on his Blackstone, which turned out really well (scroll to the bottom for recipe). We went traditional with the fixin's but I think it'd be fun to try some gourmet approaches next time. Overall the recipe was delicious and easy to execute. We brought ground beef from our friends Alan and Alison who run Huntzinger Farm and Ranch. You might remember Alison who used to be the marketing manager for Gard! She left Gard several years ago to raise her girls and get more involved with the Huntzinger operation.


DAY 2

Traveled 200 miles to Bozeman and stayed next to the Bozeman Hot Springs, which was a really neat experience that we highly recommend. Multiple indoor and outdoor pools with varying temperatures, great lighting at night, relaxing music and fun vibe. We also visited Montana State as Ava (sophomore in high school) is starting to contemplate where she'd like to go to college in a few years.


Back at the campground, the girls played some volleyball, everyone tossed the football around, and the kids played a little corn hole. Whipped up some stir fry on the Blackstone for dinner, and finished with s'mores and a campfire.


DAY 3 & 4

Spent the first part of the day enjoying downtown Bozeman for shopping and lunch, then drove 78 miles to Gardiner, Montana, at the north entrance to Yellowstone and set up camp for two nights. We spent one day rafting 18 miles on the Yellowstone River while there. Our family has a love for river rafting after our four-day overnight adventure rafting the Rogue River in southern Oregon a few years back to celebrate Josh's aunt Kay's 80th birthday - Josh also went on the same trip as a child to celebrate his Grandma Dorothea's 80th birthday! We also spent some time at the Yellowstone Hot Springs adjacent to our campground, which

had two warm pools for soaking at different temperatures - plus a cold plunge pool. While at the RV, we had a close encounter with an elk who came to lay in the shade for a while one afternoon. More stir fry on the Blackstone, another campfire and more s'mores to end the day.


DAY 5

Ventured 53 miles into Yellowstone to stay at Fishing Bridge RV Park, right in the heart of the national park near Lake Yellowstone. On our way, we visited Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Falls, Hayden Valley (saw lots of bison) and Upper Falls near the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. It was the peak of the tourist season at Yellowstone and there were definitely lots of people and vehicles, but overall it wasn't as bad as we thought it might have been. Traffic was always moving, and we never had to wait in lines or behind crowds to see the sights. While at the Lake Yellowstone, we also visited the historic Lake Lodge for a glass of wine and taking in the sights while relaxing on the deck there.


Note for Yellowstone seekers: We felt that north Lake Yellowstone, where we stayed, was the ideal location right in the middle of the park - probably a great place for a future stay to see more of Yellowstone as it was a central location for venturing out for day trips.


For dinner, we cooked brats and sausage dogs back at the RV. Brats are one of Addi's favorites - we boil them in beer, then finish them on the grill or Blackstone.


DAY 6

We felt a trip to Yellowstone could not be complete without a visit to Old Faithful and Upper Geyser Basin as we ventured south towards the Tetons. The warm weather we'd been having


turned rainy this day, but not too bad until after we saw Old Faithful in all her glory. We really enjoyed walking around Upper Geyser Basin where Old Faithful is located - the geothermal features of Yellowstone are really fascinating to see in person! While there, Kellen picked up a faux racoon skin hat which he was excited about and wore most of the rest of our trip.


After, we ventured 45 miles through the southern part of Yellowstone along the beautiful Lewis Lake to arrive at Headwaters RV Park at the northern tip of Grand Teton National Park.



DAY 7

Another rainy day as we drove 46 miles through the Tetons. Unfortunately, the weather brought a heavy cloud cover that concealed the sights a bit, but the Tetons were still amazing to see. Stopped at Jackson Lake Lodge for a huge order of nachos for the family and a great view of the lake and Tetons on our way to Jackson, Wyoming. The whole family really enjoyed Jackson Hole and hope to visit again sometime.


The downtown shopping area was very busy, but enjoyable. Found a great wine shop and grabbed a couple bottles of wine since our stores around Royal City and Moses Lake don't offer many interesting options for wine, especially imports which are fun for us to explore. Capped the day off with an amazing dinner at the restaurant Local right downtown.




DAY 8

Packed up and hit the road for the 160 mile cruise to American Falls. It was another gorgeous drive through the mountains and along Palisades Reservoir. Set up camp at a nice RV park on the reservoir.


Weather came back around to sunny and warm, so Josh and Ava teamed up against Addi and me to play some corn hole, and later Addi, Kellen and I battled it out in a couple games of Bananagrams (a fun alternative to Scrabble, basically). Another round of smash burgers on the Blackstone, and ended the day with more s'mores by the campfire.





DAY 9

Decided to treat ourselves with a hotel stay in Boise on our way back home. The 219 mile drive through southern Idaho farm country felt a lot like home. Once in Boise, we hit the river for a two-hour tube float - a must when visiting Boise on a warm day.


The river was backed with all sorts of vessels floating, which made for a lively time. We've really enjoyed spending time getting to know Boise as Addi starts at Boise State University in just a couple weeks! Downtown Boise is a lot of fun with tons of dining options. We tried out Bittercreek Alehouse and Owlyhee Tavern this time, which were both great.



DAY 10

Ventured the 357 miles home to Royal City. Nice to be home! Ten days was about right for our Yellowstone RV trip. Packing up nearly every day and hitting the road felt like a good cadence for our family as most of our drives were short and allowed us time to enjoy each of our stops. There's so much more to see in Yellowstone, so we are hoping to get back again sometime to see more - perhaps staying in some of the historic lodges next time.



 

RV Trip Smash Burger Tacos


Serves: 6-8

Suggested Pairings: We had Chardonnay because we love it! :) A proper pairing recommendation would be The Don or Boneyard - but most importantly, drink what you like!

Tools needed:

  • Blackstone or similar griddle

  • Solid spatula or burger press

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef

  • Tortillas (taco size)

  • Cheese of choice, shredded

  • Seasoning of choice - we like Johnny's Seasoning Salt and Pepper

  • Toppings (see below)

Toppings:

  • Shrettuce (aka shredded lettuce)

  • Tomatoes, diced

  • Onion, diced

  • Pickles, sliced

  • Ketchup, mustard or preferred hamburger sauce

  • Any other hamburger toppings you prefer (chopped bacon would be delicious!)


Instructions:

  1. Preheat your griddle to medium-high.

  2. Mix ground beef with shredded cheese and seasoning. Measure out the ground beef into a 1/4 cup measuring cup to form each burger.

  3. Place the burger patties on the griddle, spacing them out enough to make room for the tortillas.

  4. Place a tortilla onto each patty and press down for 5-10 seconds before repeating with the remaining patties. By the time you're finished with the last patty, the first ones should be ready to flip. Once you flip the patties. If you'd like more cheese, add it now.

  5. Once the burgers are fully cooked, which doesn't take long, remove them from the griddle and add your desired toppings. Fold in half like a taco and enjoy with a glass of something delicious!

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