For those who were unable to make this trip, we must say you missed one hell of a week. The group was 14 cars strong, and we did have a few additional cars join us along the way, making the final group 16 cars at the largest point.
Here is a summary of the week:
Day 1 - The day started with the usual introduction, paperwork and review of the week’s itinerary. We then headed out to drive the North Loop of Yellowstone Park, stopping at all the major attractions along the way. Everyone enjoyed seeing the sights and getting to know one another. Towards the end of the day, we quickly noticed that our group was becoming a side attraction to the park due to the Yellowstone decals we had on our cars to identify who belonged with the road trip group. The day ended with a fun dinner at a local BBQ joint where everyone continued to get to know each other.
Day 2 - The morning started off a little wet and chilly. We picked up two additional cars for the day as we headed out to explore the South Loop of Yellowstone Park. We had a few issues with parking as we toured the South Loop, as the tourist season had already started and some of the parking lots were small. However, we managed and were able to see everything we set out to see. Since we were in the busier parts of the Park, we started to gain even more notice due our Yellowstone Road Trip decals. We had park rangers and tourists alike, coming up to ask us all about the group. They were curious to know who we were, where we came from and what the road trip entailed. The day ended with dinner and drinks out at a local bar.
Day 3 - Today the trip began to gain more energy as we set out to tackle a drive over Beartooth Pass. We started our day at the Visitor Center, as we had in days past, and had more and more park rangers come up to admire our Yellowstone Road Trip decals and to ask about our group. Once we had everyone together, we headed out the East Entrance of the Park and picked up speed once we turned onto Beartooth Pass. The road winds its way up to a max altitude of 10,990 feet, before switch-backing its way down the other side of the mountain and into the small mountain town of Red Lodge. The speed limit over the pass is 70mph, but good luck keeping that average through the incredibly tight and continuous switchbacks. The drive itself was exhilarating, and the views of the surrounding valleys and mountain ranges were epic. The drive, to say the least, is one of the most thrilling, breath-taking and amazing stretches of road I have been on. We stopped in Red Lodge for an arranged lunch, and also made a few stops on the way back in order to take some group pictures and do some souvenir shopping at The Top of The World Store. The day ended with everyone grinning ear to ear and re-living the adventure over dinner.
Day 4 - We said good-bye to Yellowstone and hello to the Tetons. Our first stop was for an arranged group shot at the Old Faithful Inn, with the Old Faithful Geyser in the background. The photo shoot went fine, and a few park employees stood around commenting favorably on our group and cars. Then, things went sour very quickly when I was confronted by a head park ranger who was very angry he had not been informed that I had already completed all the necessary paperwork for our group to be there. After getting chewed out by the ranger, I was able to clear up the misunderstanding and we were allowed to finish taking our pictures. However, the ranger did inform us that our decals looked too close to the official park logo, and therefore it was unlawful for us to be using them. Keep in mind, the decals were about three times the size of the official park logo found on ranger uniforms and official park vehicles, and they were clearly labeled as, “2013 Euro Car Road Trip, Yellowstone.” The ranger did not make us remove the decals, and we only received favorable comments about them for the remainder of the trip. (It is worth noting that I received an email when I returned home from one of my contacts saying that there is a law which states no facsimiles of the official park logo can be made. I continue to argue it is not a facsimile, and note that only one individual made a negative comment about the logo throughout the trip). After the photo shoot, we made our way to Teton National Park, where we enjoyed the stunning views and enjoyed the plethora of blooming wild flowers. Some participants took a ferry across Lake Jenny and hiked to a waterfall and vista point; while others took in the views and then went on to explore the town of Jackson. The day ended with everyone sharing an AWESOME meal at the Cowboy Bar, which is below The Million Dollar Bar. I definitely recommend this place for dinner and drinks if you are ever staying in Jackson.
Day 5 – For the last day of the trip we had a smaller group, as some participants had to start their trek home. For those who were able to stay, we made a trip to Teton Village, where we enjoyed a fun Aerial Tram ride 4,139 vertical feet to the top of Rendezvous Mountain, where we could see endless views of the valley floor and Teton Mountain Range. After riding the tram back down the mountain, we drove around the valley floor to see the Chapel of the Transfiguration, Menor’s Ferry, as well as some old abandoned settlements. As the temperature started to climb, we decided to head back to Jackson and further explore the town. Dinner was at a great Mexican restaurant where many of us said our goodbyes before leaving for home the following day.
This is only a summary of the week’s events, and it fails to fully convey the amount of fun the group had. Everyone got along incredibly well, and many new friendships we made. We were all sad to end the trip, as we were starting to become one big and diverse family.
The goal of this trip is to be the start of a bi-annual road trip series, which will provide future opportunities to discover more of our amazing country, enjoy our cars and continue to make new friendships. We are already looking forward to 2015 and our next chance to do some sightseeing, fun driving, relax and catch up. All I can say to you if you are reading this is, if you can join us in 2015, I highly recommend doing so! The event will have the same laid back, and social feel, intermixed with some fun driving and sightseeing.
Here are a few sample images with more coming. I will post the album link once I have them created. We have a LOT of images which all will be posted soon.