Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Déjà Vu.........

7:25 am - Wednesday - June 17th - Livingston, MT - 46° F, 86% humidity, wind 4 mph out of the south by southwest.....heavy cloud cover today with a forecast high of 56° F, and some more rain......the view this morning.....↴

Ever since we knew we would be passing through Livingston, MT we had dreamed about returning to Gardiner, MT and Mammoth Hot Springs, YNP to see familiar places and faces from our summer sojourn there back in the summer of 2017.  The drive south through Paradise Valley was just stunning, as it always is.....

......we arrived in Gardiner around 12 pm and drove slowly through town to the northern gate of Yellowstone National Park where we showed our National Parks pass, and were promptly waived through for the 5 mile drive up the Gardiner River gorge to Mammoth Hot Springs.  It was kind of eerie to see how UNcrowded Mammoth Hot Springs was.....there were parking spots available everywhere.  In fact, we could have parked right in front of the General Store if we had wanted.

Of course, being a National Park with national companies acting as concessionaires all employees were wearing masks in the store, and other facilities, but not us.  We found J.R. Davenport and his wife Tammy busy at work and spent a few minutes exchanging hugs and talking excitedly about life, and being able to see each other in the flesh once again.  Within minutes our good friend Art Young came into the store, and another round of hugs was like 'old home week'.....even a little like Déjà Vu.  Of course, I got so involved in talking with our friends I neglected the obligatory 'usies'.  Our time spent working with these people in the General Store back in 2017, on and off work was one of the best summer gigs we have ever drama, just hard work, and good friends.

Soon everyone had to go back to work, and we promised to meet up again with them in the days to come as we said our 'until next times'.  Soon we were plunging down the Gardiner River gorge back to Gardiner to see another good friend, Kristen Dodge......she goes by, and we call her 'Dodge'.....

Didn't forget this 'usie'.....lovin' it up with Dodge

.....'Dodge' was one of our managers at the General Store in 2017, but now lives and works in Gardiner.....she is the bartender at a local dive bar called 'Two Bit Saloon', which has a very nice selection of craft brews on tap, and a killer Rueben sandwich.  We hugged each other for several minutes hardly believing we were seeing each other again after 3 years.  Of course Dodge had to go back to work, so we made ourselves at home at the bar ordering a couple of brews, and a Rueben to between customers we talked non-stopped, and made plans to get together again in the next few days.  This is one of the joys of this life style....reconnecting with good friends at random is good!

On our way back north on US-89 to Livingston we spied a campground right down on the Yellowstone River about 8 miles out of Gardiner.....we decided to drive down and check it out.  There are 20 dry camping sites right on the river going at $20/night.....killer deal, and they are right next store to Yellowstone Hot Springs....double killer deal!  We decided on the spot to leave Livingston on Wednesday morning and drive the 43 miles there to spend the next four days....... 

.......we were home around 3:30 pm, and making plans to meet Claude and Gail for dinner initially at Neputune's Taphouse & Eatery (Yelp gives the 4.5 stars) at 6:30 pm, which ended up being a mistake....when we arrived they were packed (on a Tuesday night?) with an hour wait.  We then checked with several other options and found all the best restaurants in town were packed with waiting times up to 2 hours....doh! Ultimately, we headed to Katabatic Brewing Company which serves brews only, but you can order in from Fiesta en Jalisco (where we ate Monday night).  We found a couple of tables open there, and settled in after ordering some brews and some food from Jalisco's.....the Katabatic Burger for TLE & I (we split it again).....Claude and Gail got their Quesadilla with chicken.....the food, brews and fellowship was exceptional.

We discussed our plans for the next four south to Yellowstone Hot Springs and dry camp in the aforementioned LaDuke Springs campground.  Around 8 pm we bid our adieus and headed for home.  It was a very good day spent renewing acquaintances, drinking good brews, and eating good food.....I'm still full this!

Thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Wow, that's so cool to see everyone again! Wish we were there with y'all! Give Dodgee our love!

  2. You are in one of our favorite places in America! Hard to believe about the Hot Springs figured would be packed! Wonderful to see and spend time with your friends!