We checked out of Echo Valley RV Campground on Monday morning and started making our way west toward Boise. I wanted to avoid the high mountain pass through eastern Wyoming we had come over earlier in the week (dropping my MPG to 5.6), so decided to take I-90 north through Billings and Livingston, where we would turn south to cut through Yellowstone again. But first, where to camp in between?
I used my Allstays app to again look for campgrounds about 275 miles from our starting point. It looked like there was a Forest Service campground near Ft. Smith, on a river. I turned at Lodge Grass toward the spot indicated on my app, and found a very bumpy road. After about 20 miles of that, I missed the turn for the campground, but fortunately it was a loop road and there was another one just a half mile down the road. We took that turn, and traveled over an even bumpier road down to the river and the campground. There were 3 trucks with boats there, but no campers and no real designated spaces. It was not very appealing, and Steven was getting nervous, so we beat a hasty retreat, and headed on up the road to Hardin. A storm rolled in during the last few miles, and we took refuge at a truck stop until it passed. As soon as it cleared, we drove on down the interstate to Billings, where we found a welcoming Cracker Barrel. We had dinner in the restaurant, and slept soundly in our little RV in the back lot next to a park full of grass and trees. It was quiet and lovely, and there were two other rigs there with us.
The camp host came around to give us the "Bear Aware" speech, and also to tell us there was a buffalo who regularly wandered through the campground. She reminded us to give him space because he is a wild animal. Sure enough, by the time we finished our dinner, he was making his way into the campground. We watched him for quite a while, then he wandered up the road, and we went about our evening activities.