Yellowstone Adventure 2021: Day 1

Roadtrip!! Seattle to Missoula

After almost two very long years without an adventure, it felt amazing to spend the week before (yes, just a week before… yikes) planning our Yellowstone Adventure. Last October, we had just booked our main stay at the Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel, after a friend raved about it after they returned from their Yellowstone adventure during Fall 2020- saying it was perfect for the uncertain times of COVID, was in the best location, and gave you roughing it experience without actually roughing it. I had fallen in love with the hotel as soon as I saw the website…

We booked and then nearly a year goes by without any planning until the week before. Honestly I just was not excited to go – when I thought of Yellowstone I thought all it was about was Ole Faithful, which I felt was put to shame by the geysers I had seen in Iceland (without the crowds)…boy was I wrong. As I pulled out the newly ordered Lonely Travel book and started reading I was mesmerized by the descriptions of all the places to visit and started to realize that maybe a week was not long enough. After 20 straight hours of planning (only taking a break to sleep and take Gizmo outside) I had a full, but flexible itinerary for our 8 day Yellowstone Adventure.

To view just our itinerary (which has been updated based on our experience) visit Postcard’s Sample itinerary page to find Yellowstone Adventure in 5-7 Days. Read on to experience a more day by day detail account of our adventure – which was by far the most eventful trip we have taken together thus far!

The week leading up to our trip I wanted to ensure that I was easing into the vacation. I had read that the more you can do to prepare for the trip for work and for planning for it the more beneficial…so I had spent every night shopping for food, fine tuning the itinerary and organizing our camping supplies. This ended not not only paying off for a more “unplugged” and well planned trip but knowing when our storage unit has been accessed as I had been organizing and prepping on Tuesday. Friday night when I went to grab our tent from the newly organized closet I was shocked to see that it was no longer organized the way I had left it. I wondered if Derek had moved my paddle board somewhere…and then the tent….then a wave of shock came over me when I realized there was no where to move those large items. I walked upstairs trying not to cry as I told Derek that I think we were robbed. He calmly grabbed his keys to go check the security cameras. Given I had been int he unit on Tuesday we were lucky that we knew if something was stolen that it would have been Tuesday night – Thursday night. We were to late Thursday night without see anything and we were worried that we would not know what happened when at Friday morning at 1:00 AM a man appears picking the lock to our unit and shopping through our camping gear. He ended up taking my loved paddle board, our amazing tent and our gas firepit.

Luckily we had an old tent that we could make work, it was a fourth the size but we would just bring one air mattress vs two and be cozy. Not a good way to start our trip. After making a police report and downing a couple beers to calm my nerves, I went back to getting the car ready. The plan was to leave early Saturday morning and try to make it to Missoula as soon as we could so we spend time exploring and I could enjoy my first time in Montana!

For the first time in probably the history of vacations, camping trips and road trips, I was up on time (even early enough to see the sunrise and a cruise ship coming into dock).

We were out the door without a hitch! I had done some searching and I found a couple audio books for our long drive to Yellowstone…

I had originally planned to have lunch outside Spokane at a place the Travel Channel recommended, but after showing up at a house vs a restaurant and some research it looked like it had closed during the Pandemic (something that I would soon learn would be an ongoing theme for our trip). Lesson Learned: Call all restaurants and bars before showing up as hours changed with limit staff or the entire place might have closed due to COVID-19 or for the season as we were going to Yellowstone during a shoulder season. Luckily I had enough food to feed a family of four for a month so we snacked until arriving at our hotel in Missoula.

After checking into our hotel (AC Hotel Missoula Downtown) our Yellowstone adventure was off to a great start with the next stop visiting some of the finest breweries of Missoula.

Conflux Brewing Company had the best Bison burger I’ve had with a huckleberry spread (huckleberries are a thing in Montana we learned) also enjoyed a smoked Philly which was delicious and paired well with the lighter beers. Next we ventured to Caras Park and Brennan’s Wave got some stickers for our cooler and discovered Tamarack Brewing which had flights that had all their beers (and ciders) on tap for $16 – very impressed with the selection and it was fun trying brews I would never order since we got them all.

Next up was a longer walk to Finn which over looked the River and the famous M. We enjoyed huckleberry drinks and beer paired with local famous Big Dipper ice-Cream (which is like Molly Moon or the Salted Straw) we of course ordered the huckleberry ice-cream which was the creamiest ice-cream I’ve had and the sweet and tart was a great combo…we even had our first wildlife sighting (sort of 😝)

We ended with a night cap at our hotel and meet members of a famous band which we promised we wouldn’t share their names 🤐 It was fun hearing their stories over fancy drinks.

Ironically, the Montana University Grizzly vs University of Washington Husky game was happening when we were there, but could not find a place to watch it as no bar had the channel 🤔…ended up striking out three different places but based on the score that was for the best 😬

We were exhausted when we returned to our hotel but it was worth it…it was a full but fun day and it felt amazing to cross state 46 off my list!

Additional places that I wanted to go but we did not have time, they weren’t open or it just did not work with where we were in town are below. Excited to try them next time!

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