Westward Ho (ly Cow)!


In June of 2022, we found ourselves in a bit of a predicament. We had a confirmed reservation at an Air BNB outside of Gardiner, MT for a month-long visit to Yellowstone National Park in September. As wildlife photographers, visiting the park was high on both our bucket lists:  TG had never been and I was too young to remember much of my family’s visit in the early 1960s.

I’m wearing the sweatshirt but I don’t remember the trip!

But unprecedented flooding caused the park to close, with not a lot of hope that the north (Gardiner) entrance would be open any time this season.

Facebook photo: June, 2022

To salvage the Yellowstone portion of our trip we had a lot of boxes to check:  the dates had to work as we were due at our next stop the third week of October. It had to be within an hour’s drive of one of the park’s entrances, it had to be dog friendly, and the price needed to be within our budget.

As luck would have it, we found a condominium in Big Sky, MT that fit the bill. It was located about 50 miles from the west entrance and was dog friendly.

we found a condo in Big Sky, MT

Something about the host’s Air BNB profile rang a bell. Could it be the same Domenick that owned and operated the Quito Inn & Suites in Tababela?!?

Is this the same Domenick?!?

Sure enough, it was! After the new international airport opened outside of Quito in 2013, it was the only place to stay those first few years and we met him on several of our trips to Ecuador.

Quito Inn & Suites, Tababela Ecuador (2013)

After catching up on old times, Domenick offered us the Big Sky condo at a considerable discount. Yellowstone, followed by eight nights in Grand Teton, was back on track.

Our original plan was to head to New Mexico the first week of November for the sandhill crane migration at the Bosque del Apache before heading home in early December. But we thought as long as we’re this far, why not just keep going??  So we added … and added … and added …

our epic road trip!

After the Bosque we drive north to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories to spend the holidays photographing the aurora borealis, then back south to Fargo, North Dakota for a chance to spy saw-whet owls, and finish with another month in the Sax-Zim Bog with the great gray owls.

a brand new set of Michelin Crossclimate 2 tires for the road!

By the time we’re back home in Okeechobee, Oscar and Maddie will have added six more states to their already impressive count (23 total), plus 3 Canadian provinces.

our little road buddies!

Blogging a trip this long must be broken up into several parts (“Episodes”) which I will post as we go. Travel along with us – or wait until we’re back home and binge-read them all at once. Either way, it should be quite the ride! So fasten your seatbelts and hang on as we hit the road – again.

So fasten your seatbelts and hang on as we hit the road – again!

Coming next: Westward Ho Episode 1 “Walk on the Wild Side”