April 18, 2015
America's first KOA
We had some time to make up after being stuck in Denver for a few days, so we took the opportunity of better conditions to make up a bit of time. This is a theme that will continue for the next few days, but there it is.
So, we drove from Douglas, WY, to Billings, MT, where we decided to stay at the first KOA in the USA, which has decent reviews. It's actually a very nice campground. The people who work there do a great job, and everything is in tip-top shape.The bathrooms, showers and laundry were all very clean and pleasant to use. When you camp, this becomes important, as many campgrounds don't provide clean, up to date facilities.
The location is good too, right along the Yellowstone River. As a bonus, we had a bunch of KOA points to burn, and we used them to get a "deluxe patio" campsite for free. Just the thing after a long day of driving. It was too chilly to sit outside on our patio by the fire, but we enjoyed the campsite anyway.
We would definitely camp here again.
The next morning we drove into Billings and stopped at the McCormick Cafe for brunch. Great hometown food, highly recommended. The better-known Stella's Kitchen and Bakery is nearby, but lines there were out the door. So, we cheated a little bit - we grabbed a couple of baked items to go from Stella's (very good indeed!) and then walked over to the slightly less crowded McCormick for brunch. We ate the baked items from Stella's later on, and that way we got the best of both worlds.
Thraffic was light enough in Billings on a Sunday morning that we were able to find perfect street parking, right across from McCormick, for Rocinante. It's nice when there's no drama to parking a 35' rig (trailer + truck) right on main street for a an hour or so.
Loyalty discounts for gasoline at PIlot & Flying J in MT
Just a quick note about these gas stations in the state of Montana. They did not honor the standard Pilot/Flying J loyalty cards that normally earn a discount of three cents per gallon for gasoline. Normally at these stations we put in our credit card, and then the pump asks for a loyalty card before offering a discount. However, the pumps at these stations don't ask for that second card. Most of these stations also had the "Town Pump" name and the Exxon brand. So, we quit patronizing them until we left MT.