Back in November 2016 our daughter told us about her June 2017 trip to Salt Lake City. She and her husband were going to a company convention and were worried about what to do with the 2 kids. “No problem, we’ll meet you along the way and take them in the RV!”
Seems reasonable. We were still living in the RV outside of Portland. We knew we had a few weeks of work on the storage lockers before we went on the road full-time.
Everyone asked what our plans were. The answer became a story. “We are going to Loveland Colorado to pick up the grandkids on June 12th. Not sure how long we’ll have them but we’ll meet up with their parents sometime. That is the extent of our plans.” I ended up saying that a lot.
Well, a few weeks turned into months as we discovered issues with the RV. With the industry selling more RVs per quarter, every quarter, and the consolidation in the industry, each factory is getting pushed to turn out more RVs every day. As the quantity of hand-built RVs increases, the mistakes increase. We got the worst of it resolved.
By March it was clear we would be moving on soon. June still seemed a long way off.
“What are we doing today?”
As we slowly made our way across Oregon, then Utah, and Idaho, this became the familiar breakfast question. Most days have a few work related hours. An industry conference call about some work related item, some emails to read and ponder, maybe even some documents to read or write.
But the strange feeling of not having anything to do was constant. Of course, living in a house put together with screws and staples that bounces down the road at 60 miles an hour means a recurring need to check seams and joints. But day after day, we rode bikes, hunted for places to eat, or just sat around marveling at nature. Then every few days we’d get up earlyish, pack up, and hit the road for a few hours.
In Hayburn Idaho, I looked at the map and noticed we weren’t far from Yellowstone. After mentioning this to the travel director, I forgot about it. A day later she said we had reservations close to the park.
For those that never travel around the country, you wouldn’t know, but its an incredible place. Wild animals are just roaming around. A typical traffic jam is caused not by some stupid driver trying to occupy the same space as another car, but by some animals going about their daily life of feeding for the upcoming winter. A herd of a hundred bison decide to migrate down the highway because it’s convenient to the fields and river. Drivers try to rush them. Which doesn’t end up doing anything except making the bison mad. Or scares some mother bison into protecting her calf by ramming the car.
While at Yellowstone, I opened the map and noticed going north through Montana looked about the same distance as driving I-80 through southern Wyoming. Leslie quickly plotted a course and agreed. While Montana isn’t much different in landscape than Wyoming, I’d never been there. Now I understand why so many movie stars buy ranches up there. It’s huge, beautiful, and there are actually some sizable towns. And there are some great restaurants around. We will return.
What? It’s June already
One day Leslie starts talking about campsites in Colorado. What? Why? Oh, that day that seemed so far away, wasn’t! So we actually were in Loveland on time. And then it was time to go pick the kids up and move them into our quiet RV!
And suddenly. Life is not so simple. The skinny little 4 year old that lived with us is a strapping 5 year old vacuum of food. Every hour or so, he’s asking for food. His 3 year old brother eats even more. It’s a constant battle to feed them enough.
But, they will roam around the RV for hours with matchbox cars and trucks. Melodramatic stories are being created and unfold to the sounds of lasers and airplanes. They play so well together, that when someone starts crying because they can’t have the excavator, we realize ITS TIME TO FEED!
But where do you stay?
For the last couple of places we stayed in KOAs. The good thing about them is they usually have something of a pool and some sort of playground. As we drive in, the kids squeal. Then for Arkansas, we are staying with the Federal government at Army Corp of Engineers campgrounds. These are mainly along rivers that the ACE have dammed for flood control, electricity, navigation, or all three. They typically are more rustic, showing the normal way the government spends a lot of money on something, then promptly tries to cut expenses to nothing.
In a week or so, we’ll be in Mississippi. This means a semi-permanent parking spot on some of Leslie’s family’s land. Sometime after we get there, I think we meet back up with the grandkid’s parents. Or maybe not, if they decide being non-parents is too fun!
Visit us at Happy Trails, Y’all
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