We had the van packed and ready so that we could leave early on Sunday morning. The kids were especially excited to ride in the 15 passenger van because they wouldn't have to sit next to each other. The adults hoped that this would ensure the lack of fighting between the kids. It definitely helped. We also gave Lilly some Dramamine since she suffers from car sickness even on a quick trip to the grocery store. I was worried it would make her sleep the entire trip, but she stayed awake most of the time and was generally pleasant.
We stopped for a picnic lunch at Hell's Half Acre to see the lava rock in Idaho. It's a quick stop right off I-15 between Blackfoot and Idaho Falls. The kids enjoyed walking the trails to see the ancient lava. I thought it was pretty cool too.
We also made a quick side trip into Idaho Falls to see the temple and the falls. The water was very high and so to avoid any accidental falls (so nervous this year) we made the kids stay in the car. We enjoyed seeing all the Canadian geese and their goslings along the banks of the river.
Near Mack's Inn, we took another side trip to see the fish in Big Bear Springs. The fish must not like the rain because we didn't see a single fish while we got drenched on that excursion.
We finally reached our Hotel--The ClubHouse Inn in West Yellowstone just in time to check in and eat a quick dinner at McDonalds. After dinner we decided to take advantage of the last hours of evening light and go in to the park.
Of course we saw many bison as we drove through Madison Valley. There were a bunch of vehicles stopped and we pulled over to see what they were looking at. We were delighted to see a black bear. We all piled out of the car to join the other tourists. We were a safe distance from the bear but we could all see it quite well. I can't even count how many times we had to explain to the kids that even though this bear is brown, it is technically a black bear. Hard concept to grasp, I suppose.
I took some film footage too. I absolutely cannot hold the camera still so it's pretty wobbly.
Seeing a bear was a perfect way to end the first day of our vacation.