Stop eighteen was Osen’s RV Park and Campground in Livingston, Montana. This was a very different campground for us. Osen’s is a small, 45 site, independently owned property, which means no store, pool, playground or bouncy house. We don’t use those things anyway, and they had what we needed a laundry. There is good news and bad news in a small independently owned place. The good – the grounds are well groomed and the property is well kept. The clientele was very different as well, very friendly and wanting to talk with their neighbors. We actually met a couple who live on Jones Loop Road in Punta Gorda, about a mile from where we winter. The bad – the management was not so friendly. They ride up and down in their golf carts yelling at any one who dares to clean their windows or the front of their coach. And heaven help you if you have one tire one foot on the grass! I think they hire former prison guards. Our ratings, Kathryn 5, Paul 5, out of 10.
When we left Buffalo, we drove across I-90 West. As you read in the last post, Route 16 toward Yellowstone was the easy route with the least elevation issues. But, we weren’t going to Jackson, we were going to Livingston, so I-90 it was. You are literally driving across the sky! They don’t call this Big Sky Country for nothing. I still can’t get over all the road closed signs and gates to push you off the interstate because of snow. To go where? There is nothing at the bottom of the exit!
Livingston is on the banks of the Yellowstone River. This old railroad town is the epicenter of fly fishing, river rafting, hiking, and mountain biking. And you can sign up with an expert for a full or half day excursion. I am sure fly fishing or river rafting on the Yellowstone River is a bucket list item for many people and this is the place to cross it off your list. Livingston is where the movie A River Runs Thru It and The Horse Whisper were filmed. To give you a great feel of what this town is all about, here is what the Bozeman Real Estate Blog has to say. “Six things to know before moving to Livingston: 1. It is not a bedroom community for Bozeman. The commute isn’t easy in good weather and in winter, the pass is frequently closed. 2. It’s a town of its own. You have to be ready to fully embrace the town. What you see is what you get. It’s a long haul to something else. 3. It’s a celebrity hotspot. Dennis Quaid, John Mayer, Jeff Bridges, Tom Brokaw and James Cameron have all owned here. Nobody cares! That’s why celebrities like it. 4. You have to be OK with the wind. It is one of the windiest towns in the west. (They mean it. At times the motor home was rocking in the wind.) 5. Livingston is quirky. It’s a funny mix of cowboys, artists, ranchers, and tourists. 6. You better like the outdoors. There is no shopping, sports teams, or entertainment available nearby.” I was surprised how expensive the housing is. The scenery is beautiful, there are no jobs, yet the median price for a single family home is in the upper $400,000. You had better made your money before considering moving here. We only drove into the town of Livingston once, just to see what it looked like.
We were here for the proximity to the North Entrance of Yellowstone. We made the fifty five mile drive into Gardiner to see The Roosevelt Arch and then into Yellowstone. We drove to The Albright Visitors Center, looked at the Mammoth Hot Springs and then drove to the Lamar Valley. I’ve read the Lamar Valley is THE spot for wildlife viewing. They must have been on vacation because we didn’t see abundant wildlife like the posters show, but the photos of what we did see, our bison encounters and big horn sheep are on the Post Card 2021 page. You could spend weeks in Yellowstone and not see it all. We drove one day and barely covered a little corner. Our next stop is the town of West Yellowstone near the West Entrance where we will see more of this amazing place.
I always check Atlas Obscura to find the unusual of where we are going. For Livingston, it was very unusual. Out in the rolling fields in the town of Pray, literally in the middle of no where, there is a nine foot chicken. I had to go find it. The directions of how to find it were excellent and it was an easy walk. It is near the Chico Resort and Day Spa, which looks like a very nice place to stay. They offer rooms, cabins, and you can even stay in a Conestoga Wagon.
On the last day of our stay, I managed another hike. This time into the Gallatin National Forest and the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness to hike the Pine Creek Waterfall trail. It was a great day with a magnificent payoff at the end.
On to West Yellowstone!