April 22, 2021
As we continued past the Badlands of North Dakota, we soon entered Montana. We were counting every state that Marlin had gone to, and it seemed he would get excited and jump up to look out the window as we crossed each state line.
Glendive, Montana: We didn't have many quaint hotel options, so we went for the tried and true La Quinta Inn. They have no weight restrictions and the fee is usually $25.00 extra for your pet. It was free at this location which was great. The coffee is pretty good at most La Quinta's with the "Dakota Roast", however at this one, I think they used a different brand and a machine. I was very disappointed. We had to stop at a coffee shop in town on our way out that served up pretty good coffee called the Corner Coffee. Glendive is a tourist town on the Yellowstone river that attracts folks to whitewater rafting, or dinosaur history in the Badlands. It also has a denial museum that claims dinosaurs lived with people in recent history. I'm going to have to call B.S. on that. Sorry, not sorry. Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops were quite abundant in this area.
We found a really nice park for Marlin to walk in with great mountain views called Hollecker Park. It's a nice walk around the lake with your morning coffee, but watch out for dog poo. Apparently it isn't common place for people to pick up dog poo in these regions. I stepped in some, and was not allowed to get back in the car until I had cleaned out all the poo from my boot. We went here twice because it really was a nice place for views and nature, plus it was free.
Gallatin Gateway Montana - This was the big treat for us! We stayed at the 320 Guest Ranch which is actually south of Big Sky Montana, and is one of the first dude ranches in the area. We stayed in the historic McGill Cabin which is a log cabin built in 1927 for Dr. Caroline McGill. A must is to have a Montana steak, with a glass of wine, under the dazzling stars. We cooked our own meals in the little kitchen, and enjoyed a hot breakfast from the Ranch of pancakes, eggs and sausage links (for my boyfriend, not me).
There are no weight restrictions for pets, and they stay for $25.00 extra per night.
When we left two days later, we drove through a "free" part of Yellowstone national park, however the official entrance was closed to cars. We drove through Idaho and came to an interesting roadside attraction rest stop - Hell's Half Acre Lava Field. Be sure to stop and take a potty break. You can take your pup for a hike through the half acre and check out the interesting lava formations.
Park City Utah - This was a necessary midpoint. I chose this because there was no parking fee unlike what was had in Salt Lake City. We stayed at the Hyatt Place, however they do not refund any cancellations, and the pet fee is $75.00, with no weight restrictions. The rooms are nice, and the area is interesting with many hiking trails within the community. It's quite interesting, actually!
After we left, we continued on to California, and before we hit the Nevada border, we came to the Bonneville Salt Flats. There is a rest stop, so be sure to take it, and get some pics with your pup.
Grass Valley California - When we entered California, we expected just another hour and a half until we made it to the Pines Motel and Cottages, however in Truckee California, someone got into a car accident on the freeway, and the whole freeway was shutdown, and traffic was rerouted. Our trip was now 2 hours extra, as we wound through backroads, high up into the mountains, along ridges, with no guard rails. It was beautiful, even the small towns were clean, beautiful and hinted at their gold rush days. When we finally arrived at the Pines Motel, we were pleasantly surprised at how cute the place was. It was a boutique hotel, not at all rundown. It was meant to feel like a bygone era, but with modern fixtures and amenities. It was classy. Weight restriction is 60 lbs, dogs stay free. Behind the Motel is beautiful redwood trails to take your dog walking. Downtown Grass Valley was even better, with a street closed off for foot traffic only, lots of shops, and restaurants, outdoor dining, and coffee shops. Check out the Corvus Bakery for tasty gingerbread cookies and other yummy treats.
The next day, we finally made it to San Francisco. We stop in Half Moon Bay at Poplar Beach for Marlin to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time. It was windy, and the waves were big. Our Journey to the west coast had ended, and now we would begin our journey home in a week.
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