2016 TGOF (“THE GATHERING of OLD FAITHFULS”) REUNION

 

"The next Gathering of Old Faithfuls is slated for Tuesday, August 16th through Sunday August 21st, 2016.

Gathering Dinner at Old Faithful Lodge - Thursday, August 18 beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Main Event at Old Faithful Lodge Rec Hall - Friday, August 19 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Nightly Evening Gatherings at the Old Faithful Picnic Grounds Tuesday through Sunday 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
If former Savages are not able to attend all days, please make plans to be in attendance for the Gathering Dinner and the Main Event


Lodging reservations can be made beginning 05/01/15 by calling "Xanterra" at 1-866-439-7375 or 1-307-344-7311. "


The Gathering of Old Faithfuls 2016 Update

Hi Savages - a "TGOF" update.
1. 2016 GATHERING DATES: Organized group activities or events will begin Tuesday 8/16/16 and will continue through Monday 8/21/16 for those wishing to make a full week out of the TGOF reunion. Of course you may simply choose to go off on your own each day - in which case you can join us each and every evening, from 7:00 to 10:00 PM, weather permitting, as we gather at the OF Picnic grounds for snacks and beverages. More on the evening gatherings later. Valerie and I, as well as a few others will be in Old Faithful by Sunday Aug. 14th.

If your time is limited, I would suggest a Thursday arrival / Saturday departure, as the main event will be held Friday, Aug. 19th from 9:00 A.M. to NOON, presumably/hopefully at the OF Lodge Rec Hall as it was in 2013. We hope all can attend this main event for group pictures, guest speaker, general communing, and the all-important silly awards. Bring & display your YP memorabilia – scrapbooks, pictures etc. We also intend to have the group dinner at the Lodge Cafeteria at 7:00 PM on Thursday, Aug. 18th as we have in the past.

2. LODGING RESERVATIONS: Reservations for the August, 2016 TGOF can be made starting Friday, May 1st of 2015, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Mountain Time via Xanterra at 866-439-7375 (toll-free) or direct at 307-344-7311, or via the Xanterra website: http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com . You can also just go to www.Xanterra.com and fairly quickly navigate to YP reservations. However, your best shot at getting your choice of lodging is to call Xanterra on May 1st. Though Xanterra won't confirm this, we know for a fact that some rooms are held back and released periodically, so if you miss the May 1st opening reservation date you may still be able to obtain lodging by calling Xanterra periodically over the following weeks and months. NOTE: Many people make reservations over a year in advance “just in case”, not really sure whether their Yellowstone vacation will actually happen. Consequently, lots of cancellations will occur in that week or two prior to our gathering. While the chances are fairly good that you’ll be able to obtain lodging in the final couple weeks by calling Xanterra every day, it is NOT likely that you’ll get a number of consecutive nights in the same room!

3. DEPOSIT DETAILS - The reservation deposit consists of one night's lodging, and is “mostly” refundable up to 48 hours in advance of arrival. New for 2015 – 2016: If you cancel reservations within 30 days of arrival there is a $15.00 cancellation fee. Still, if you are not certain that you can attend, there is little risk in going ahead and securing lodging - you can always cancel later – a month in advance of arrival and get a full refund. I would also advise that you book plenty of days, as you can always trim back your number of days at a later time. For example, you could book 5 days and literally wait until you arrive to cancel the 5th day – though I don’t know if they would charge you the $15 cancellation fee… So, for 2016 – reservations are fully refundable up to 30 days in advance of arrival, a $15.00 charge if within 30 days of arrival, and within 48 hours of arrival, non-refundable.

4. PLEASE LET US KNOW !!! - If you do make reservations, PLEASE let Gary or me know where you are staying, the number of people, as well as your arrival and departure dates! This will help us immensely in the planning process.

5. CANCELLING RESERVATIONS - If at some point you decide that you cannot attend, please let us know before you cancel. It is likely that someone would love to acquire your reservations. Reservations can be transferred to someone else but there is a specific procedure to follow. And just FYI, it can be a hassle.

6. SHARING ROOMS/EXPENSES - If you are willing to, or would like to share a room in order to split expenses, let Brian or Gary know! We will do our best to match you up with others who would like to do the same. If you are a single and hoping to share a room, I would suggest that when you make reservations, get a room or cabin with 2 beds. Some rooms are pretty cramped, but if you are also willing to let someone crash on the floor with sleeping bag, etc, again, please let us know.

7. VOLUNTEERS - There will be volunteers with vehicles who will be helping transport folks to various activities and it is likely that we will be able to get some folks to and from airports as well, saving them the cost of car rental. If you can just make it to Old Faithful there will be plenty of transportation to get you to and from the various activities. Sharing car rental expense is another possibility and we'll try to match up folks with similar arrival and departure times.

8. LODGING CHOICES: Below are the summer 2015 rates, NOT including 8% tax, and a new 5.8% “utility” fee! - and of course the 2016 rates will likely be $5.00+ higher.

Old Faithful Lodge Cabins:
Rustic Cabin = $83 per night, 1 double bed and 1 single bed, or 2 double beds. Sink only, communal bathroom & showers nearby. Frontier Cabin = $140 per night, includes 1 double bed, or one double bed and 1 single, with full bath.

Old Faithful Inn:
"Old House Room without bath", 1 or 2 queen beds, in-room sink, communal bath down the hall = $108. "Old House 2-Room Unit without bath", 2 or 3 queen beds, in-room sinks, communal bath down the hall = $198. "Old House" Standard Room, 2 queen beds and full bath = $162. “Standard Hotel Room, 1 or 2 queen beds, full bath = $199 Various other rooms - front side, back side, east wing, west wing, 2-room, geyser view, suites and semi-suites from $226 to $525. NOTE: Anyone who mentions the $525 Old Faithful Inn Suite to Valerie is not welcome to attend the gathering… For Dinner reservations at the OF Inn 307-344-7311

Old Faithful Snow Lodge: (former Campers Cabins location)
Old Faithful Snow Lodge Frontier Cabin = $109 per night, one or two double beds with bath. Old Faithful Snow Lodge Western Cabin = $155 per night, 2 queen beds and full bath (nicer & roomier). Snow Lodge Premium Room with 2 Queens and bath (beds ;-) = $240. Snow Lodge Premium Room with 1 King bed and bath = $259. (Snow Lodge Rooms –internet access $4.75/hour, $11.75/day, $24.95/3days)

9. ALTERNATIVE LODGING LOCATIONS:

Grant Village:
About 5 miles south of West Thumb Junction; about 20 miles from Old Faithful. Grant Village has nice Lodge Rooms for $160, and Premium Lodge Rooms for $201. It is the closest location with lodging to Old Faithful and you can get to Old Faithful inside a 1/2 hour. Grant Village has stores and a restaurant. Grant Village may well have rooms available for 2016, long after May 1st, 2015, as Old Faithful is the premier attraction and Old Faithful rooms go first.

LAKE:
Lake Lodge has lots of cabins at reasonable rates: Pioneer Cabins $83 (With bath! - best value in the park!), Frontier Cabins $131, Western Cabins $194. Lake is about 1 hour from Old Faithful. Lake Hotel has rooms from $160 - $660. Internet access $4.75/hour, $11.75/day, $24.95/3days. No charge in the business center. Lake Hotel Frontier Cabins - $149 Lake, like Grant Village above, may well have rooms available for 2016, long after May 1st, 2015, as Old Faithful is the premier attraction and Old Faithful rooms go first.

West Yellowstone:
Literally a dozen or more motels and hotels... It's about an hour drive to Old Faithful depending on the number of elk, buffalo or bear jams. (I remember that in June of 1972 it was a 2-hour drive because of all the buffalo jams. Most of the buffalo in the park were converging on the Old Faithful area, apparently to celebrate the Bisontennial ;-)

10. CAMPING – See the Xanterra website for camping or RV sites at Grant Village or Madison Junction.

11. AIRPORTS / FLIGHTS:
West Yellowstone: Closest airport to Old Faithful but flights are very limited, and sometimes "you just can't get there from here". I recall that flights may be cheaper than Jackson, but that car rental is much higher. May not have car rental at the airport itself. Car rental was a hassle for someone in 2013 - had to go into town and didn't get the size vehicle they ordered, etc. But do check the combined cost of flights and car rental in West versus Jackson.

Jackson: Nice facilities, multiple car rental companies on premises, but check carefully as some car rentals are in town, not on premises, and it easily adds an hour to your trip if you have to take a shuttle into Jackson to pick up your car. You'd also need to add a good hour to your return trip to Jackson to turn in your car. Do check to see which car rental outfits have vehicles at the airport. It's about a 2 hour drive from Jackson to Old Faithful. While likely the most expensive option, the flight into Jackson alone is quite a scenic experience!

Idaho Falls, ID & Bozeman, MT: It's generally significantly cheaper to fly into Idaho Falls or Bozeman and car rental is cheaper than Jackson. But you're about 2.5 hours to Old Faithful, and I reckon that's not too bad if you can get good flight times.

Please contact me, or Gary Henderson, if you have any questions about lodging arrangements. Some months prior to the gathering we will send out an activities schedule. A few events will require advance sign-up or reservations, such as the Snake River float trip down in Grand Teton National Park, or the guided tour of the YNP Heritage and Research Center in Gardiner, flag raising and lowering on the roof of the Old Faithful Inn, but most activities will be purely optional. Group activities will consist primarily of short walks to moderate hikes, off the beaten path, designed to see special features and aspects of the park which few tourists ever see - the "Grand View", hot-potting in the "Boiling River", swimming in Firehole Canyon, Lone Star Geyser, Mystic Falls & Fairy Falls hikes, and of course a couple of secret fly-fishing spots are on the agenda. The Mt Washburn hike will likely be on Sunday 8/21 (you might want to start getting in shape for that... beginning tomorrow!) We will be asking for volunteers for various needs, such as helping to transport folks to and from various events, helping to transport supplies to the evening picnic grounds get-togethers and helping to clean up after. We will ask people who will be driving to the 2016 TGOF to bring as many lawn chairs as possible. And... well... more on all that another time ;-)

"Reservations can also be made via Xanterra.com. Click on Book Your Adventure at the Top and choose Yellowstone National Park"

Watch this space for updated information.

CONTACT US: brian @ yellowstonereunion.com

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