When I saw the snow falling around 6pm last night I guessed we might have issues.
When I woke up at 2am, then 3am, then again at 4:30am, each time hearing the soft pit-pat of snow hitting the RV roof above us – I was pretty certain we’d have issues.
We were scheduled to leave Yellowstone yesterday morning from the “east entrance.” I’d planned four days in the park; the first two nights “dry camping” at different spots and the last two nights at the only place within park boundaries that has full hookups. The sites were chosen for the different “sides” of the park they’d let us see and explore, and the double-night stay before departure was closest to the eastern exit I’d planned us to use on our way to Mt. Rushmore.
For the most part the plan worked well. We traversed every not-closed-because-of-snow road in the park, and stopped at all the touristy hot-spots along the way. We did almost 200mi of driving just within the park. The only hitch was the weather. I’d expected and planned for some snow. Maybe some hold-over snow from colder weeks prior, I mean… it’s almost June, right? But I hadn’t planned for the almost 6″ of fresh powder we got the night before last while snug in our furnace-heated RV.
The east exit I’d banked on using was closed. “Plan B,” made hastily that same morning, was the northeast exit, but there was a rockslide that same night which closed it off from the southern part of the park. “Plan C,” then, was the only viable alternative – leaving via the northernmost exit through Gardiner, Montana and then back into Wyoming via Interstate 90. In a worst-case scenario, this detour would’ve thrown us several hours off our route and would’ve ruined the arrival time at our intended campsite in the Bighorn National Forest.
It just so happens, though, that I’d got a call a week prior saying that Bighorn National Forest campground was closed (due to snow, perhaps a sigul of sorts in hindsight) and they’d refunded my money. Rather than booking another site I’d chosen to be spontaneous and plan something “on the road” instead. And, since we had no reservation that night anyway – the unplanned re-route through Montana went by without any problem at all. We ended up staying at a great little place in Sheridan, Wyoming – a sunny little mom-and-pop RV park where everyone was friendly and there was no rain or snow. As soon as we pulled into our “slip” (I have no idea what they’re called, the marine terminology seemed appropriate) I was relaxed. I pulled off the jeans and long-johns and layered shirts and switched to shorts, a t-shirt, and flip-flops.
Lastly, Since Keaton’s videos have been covering the journey quite nicely, let’s talk some more about the “grown-up” aspects of the trip (and no, I don’t mean the, “If this RV’s rockin’…” kinda grown-up aspects…). I’m talking, rather, about the stuff that goes through my mind as I’m thinking about what I’d write about the day-to-day of “RV stuff.” Maybe about driving?
So far I’ve been the sole driver. This isn’t some chauvenistic, alpha-male thing; Sharaun could’ve driven at any time. It’s just that I took the first few days to attune myself to the way the vehicle handled on the road, learning the lines and lane-alignment and particulars of the steering, etc. Meaning I wanted to drive those days, wanted to take some time and learn the vehicle. After that we were in Yellowstone and it was raining and snowing and the roads were twisty and turny and had steep dropoffs and no shoulders and all other manner of “oh my word are we going to make it?!” sort of mental barriers. So, I handled the driving then too – just because I’d already figured it out. I do anticipate that – as we move out of Yellowstone in the next day or so and head of toward Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, and the greater northeast – Sharaun will get her time behind the wheel as well. After a day under her belt she’ll be as “accomplished” as I and we’ll have a true husband-and-wife team at the wheel.
I think Keaton’s next video will come after the Badlands/Rushmore/Crazy Horse/Devil’s Tower day… so in a day or two. In the meantime, I’ll post if the mood strikes.
And with that, goodnight from Wyoming.