We woke in the morning to a lovely view of the countryside of Pendleton, Oregon. Surprisingly we were in the parking lot of a Walmart, but that didn’t matter. This photo doesn’t really show how nice it was yet Stuart had a nice view while brushing his teeth!
When we packed up the trailer, we didn’t really know how to do it. I knew enough to not keep things on counters and to make sure that things were secure. Well, each time we opened the door after traveling we had to reorganize everything. Things shift, curtains fall off, and eventually a table detaches from the wall. I learned that my construction skills needed some work. It looked good, yet with all of the vibrations and movement during travel some things started to come apart. I learned that wood glue should have been added behind things that have been nailed. It needs to be as solid as possible. I will show photos of this at a later post.
So, this morning it took us a little while to sort through our stuff to get it back in order for the road. We had one large cooler, one smaller, two containers holding water (my water tank unfortunately leaked from my patch job and couldn’t be used), planter of herbs, bags of clothes, two suitcases, camping toilet, food bins, etc. If you are planning on moving this way, don’t overpack the trailer. Keep it as simple as possible. You don’t need a lot of clothes, probably one water tank will work, don’t over pack the cooler. I tossed so much food because of not packing it properly. Stores are along the way and it is better to just buy what you need for a day or two rather than for the whole trip.
We got started a little later than we had hoped. Eventually we would get the repacking of the trailer down, but at this point we were novice. We were excited to be in Yellowstone by the end of the day. Along the way, here is what we saw.
Topher would still try and sit in the sunniest part of the truck. He would do this in our apartment. He is such a sun pig.
Eastern Oregon was beautiful. Along the trip I enjoyed how hay was stacked in different areas.
Being on the road for hours, it is interested to see how the clouds change.
Reaching Idaho was exciting. There is something about crossing over into a new state feels satisfying on a road trip. We were leaving our state and moving on into our new life.
Idaho seemed to have more farms along the highway.
At this point we are probably in the afternoon on our second day. We have been using our gps on Stuart’s phone. It gives us an idea on how long it will take to our next destination. When pulling a trailer though, we learned that our time is slower than what the phone says. Stuart drove at the speed limit for a bit slower.
The clouds in the sky started to get a different shape. It started to look a bit intense.
I hoped that I wouldn’t see a tornado start to form! I started looking for bridges to hide under, but luckily didn’t have to actually get to that point. When you are driving for hours your brain starts to wander and can come up with crazy scenarios.
I enjoyed seeing the trailer in the shadow. I couldn’t see it behind us as we drove and this verified that it was still there.
It looks like I have a town in Idaho!
Just as I was thinking there probably wasn’t any artists in this area I saw this:
It is starting to get darker and we still have many hours to go before we reach Yellowstone. The clouds get darker and darker.
We keep driving because that is the only option to do. We are at the beginning of our journey and we are looking forward to settling into our campsite. It is hard to get a reservation at Yellowstone and we wouldn’t be able to book another night. As it gets later and later and we are still hours away we wonder if we should just find a campsite along the way. Well, we decide that we had traveled that far that we should just try and get there that night.
We finally reach Wyoming and the clouds that we have seen hanging out have finally decided to dump everything out. I mean everything! At this point Stuart had been driving for over 14 hours and it was dark. The intensity of the storm brought torrential rain, hail and a really intense thunder and lightening storm. There was also a strange mist that covered the entire area. The combo of the rain and mist made it incredibly hard to see that road.
At this point, I thought that we were destined to crash. If an animal came out onto the road there would be no way for us to see it or to be able to stop quickly. We were such a large unit that we couldn’t just pull over somewhere. There weren’t any major businesses with parking lots and it was really hard to tell how wide the sides of the roads were. So, we continued on. We should have stopped before when there were places to stay, yet it is easier to say this after the fact.
Thanks to Stuart’s expert driving skills we survived! It is an experience that I never wanted to deal with ever again and thought that we would never drive at night for the rest of the trip (last day of trip was another). The rain finally ends and driving becomes much easier.
Once we finally reach the town of Yellowstone it is midnight. We are exhausted from the journey. We reach the gates of the park and a ranger sends us through. She warns us about animals crossing. She mentioned how many miles to our campground, yet we don’t care. We are finally there. It would take us another hour till we actually reached the Grant Village campground.
We reach what we think is the campsite, but it is actually a ranger station. We try and pull out, yet that became awkward. A ranger pulls up and questions us hard for why we were there. We tell her we have a reservation and she backs off. We manage to get ourselves out of the parking lot. We continue on.
I had a reservation, yet you don’t know your campsite number until you get to the park. At this point it is 1 in the morning. We hoped that there was paperwork there waiting for us. We had come that far and didn’t know what else we would do if it weren’t. Well, it was there. Of course our spot was also at the furthest point in the park at a loop.
We quietly drove down the road towards our loop. We take what we thought was our loop, yet it wasn’t. We then see our loop and go towards it. Well, we pull in and then realize that it wasn’t a loop. It was a dead end. What we thought was the road was actually a telephone pole lane. We had pulled ourselves into the middle of the road with nowhere to pull the trailer around. We had got ourselves into the worst position at the end of a long day of driving and at 1 o’clock in the morning. To top it off we were surrounded by other campers who were sleeping peacefully in the campers.
So, of course we tried to back the trailer out while bickering with each other. He couldn’t see me in the dark and I couldn’t see where he needed to back into. Stuart basically had to do a 30 point turn. Eventually we were able to get out of the dead end and pull into our campsite. We decided to not say anything to each other for a little while because we were so distraught. Nothing at this point would settle how tired and cranky we were. Sleep at this point was going to be the only cure. I did give Stuart a back massage with my remaining energy. He at least deserved this for all of the strain he had to deal with pulling the trailer.
Well, we learned a lot on our second day. First was to pack lighter. We learned to try and not drive at night whenever possible. If you have a reservation, don’t push yourself too hard to get there. There are other campsites outside of Yellowstone that would have been a safer option. Check out the campsite location on foot before trying to pull in.
Have you had similar situations on a road trip? Did you learn something from your own trip?