It’s always a hassle to figure out what car to rent, where to stay and for how long travel around. These past few years, we’ve been spending a month or two of our summer in Colorado, doing as much snowboarding as we could, and then taking a few days to visit some new place we’ve never been before.
But this last trip, was for the books. After snowboarding for two weeks in Colorado, we spent 10 days getting to know some awesome places we haven’t been before. As we didn’t have a good plan of where to visit, where to stay, or how long to stay in each place… we had the BRILLIANT idea of getting a campervan.
At first, we were hesitating on the fact that a campervan and winter didn’t get along pretty much, but we were just ignorants: good campers have heaters!
We talked to Rocky Mountain Campervans, based in Denver, and a few days later we had a date with Pearl,the perfect white VW Euro Campervan! Seriously, we couldn’t ask for more, it was fully outfitted and ready to rumble.
We picked “her” at the Rocky Mountain Campervans HQ – where we met Boyd the owner and a big passionate VW fan – every van in his company has a name, a story, he knows it tricks, and what’s hidden in every corner. You haven’t even left the place, and you already want to get one for your own! (we love meeting passionate people)
Once on the road, our main destination was Yellowstone but we had many remarkable spots in between. During winter season, most of Yellowstone entrances are closed, together with many other roads, so we had to take the long way up. We decided to take it chill and live it up, our first stop on the way was Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
We spent two days riding Jackson, unfortunately we didn’t get good snow, but it was amazing to visit such a rad resort, Oh Jackson you are steep !
We arrived there without really knowing where to spent the night (actually where to park Pearl)… the town was nice, but not enough for a “camp vibe”. Most of the campgrounds were closed due winter, and the only open one was in the Grand Tetons National Park. Wait a minute Grand Tetons WOW National Park.
The 40 minutes-ish drive from the campsite to the mountain resort was unreal. So glad we stayed there, it was just us, the stars, the massive mountains, and all that snow. Well – that was all we could see at night (but I’m sure we were accompanied by many wildlife too).
We will never forget our nights with Pearl. Stopping for good, and converting the van into a house.Won’t say it was easy, it was like a mission, specially in really cold nights. Popping up the roof, turning around the seats, putting all our sh*t in order (hardest part), pulling out the table, and start cooking. Sometimes indoors and sometimes outdoors in a BQB with a bonfire. But being there in the solitude, with the biggest stars, feeding your fire and cheering the day with a beer, was priceless.
Fact: the camper had a propane heating system, so we always slept with a nice temperature.
Mornings in the van were just the best, waking up in beautiful locations together with the sunrise – actually, most of the times the sunrise revealed the scenario where we’ve parked the night before- cooking a nice breakfast, anything could beat that. “Best breakfast in town” was always were we where. Some mornings we got some unexpected visitors, like foxes or deers around Pearl, and we couldn’t ask for more, haha literally.
So after these two amazing days in Jackson Hole we got back on the road up to Yellowstone, driving through Idaho. During summer, you can enter through the South Gate, located next to the Grand Teton NP – so you can drive all through the park – but in winter, we had no choice but to drive up to the north Entrance – at Garibaldi, Montana.
North Yellowstone was just better than what we expected, animals and beautiful wallpapers everywhere, bisons were part of the facilities, they are in every corner of the park! Sometimes we even thought there were employers posing for you at the right place.
The only open campground was in Mammoth Hot Springs, and it was really nice to stay there. Animals were all around..You almost had to asked them to let you go to the restroom.!
In the park there are also some rivers you are allowed to swim (not many). The freezing snow melts meets the super hot volcanic water, and makes the perfect natural hot tub, that was definitely a highlight of our time in the park (and a great opportunity to have a bath).
The park is so big, – we mostly jumped into Pearl and drove around to some magic spots, as Lamar Valley – also known as the Serengeti of North America. We parked there, pop up the rooftop and cooked some pasta watching the wildlife do their thing. Again, priceless.
After 4 magical days at North Yellowstone, we book a little tour for West Yellowstone – at that time of the year you can only access with a snow tour operator. Honestly, wasn’t really exciting, we are not big fans our tours, but it was good to learn some history and Yellowstone’s facts, plus to see many many geysers, including the renowned Old Faithful.
The day after, it was time to begin the long way back to Denver. On our way, we came up with the idea of doing a little detour to Moab . So – instead of spending Aggy’s birthday on the road, we spent it in Moab.
The trip couldn’t been that flexible or such tailormade without the camper – we are so grateful we found out about Rocky Mountain, and had an unreal experience.
The hotel, was where we park it, and besides cloudy nights, it was always a billion star hotel.
If you are planning an unforgettable roadtrip on the Rocky Moutains, don’t hesistate writing Erin and Boyd to:
Special thanks to @k2snowalliance @k2snow