San Diego to Yellowstone
Traveling in a RV across the country continuously for a year (or longer) requires a LOT of logistics and planning. Some of this we can plan ourselves and other stuff is completely out of our control, but we try to make the most of it.
We purchased our RV and got settled into a cul-de-sac off of Melissa’s parents’ house, so we could wait for our EZE Tow Dolly and run back and forth to our storage unit to offload stuff and pick up stuff that we planned for this trip.
It was a real bummer that when we got back from our sailing voyage, our storage unit management called us and said they were going to have to remove all of our belongings out of the storage units, so they could add fire resistant heat shielding to the roof of both of our units. They said, they would remove and refit all of our belongings in our units, so they could do their job. What they failed to mention (and a little bit our fault) is that when they removed our belongings, they shifted everything around so they could not put it back in correctly.
Well, apparently we did a better job than they did, since we fit everything inside the units and when they were done, they had “leftovers” that they couldn’t place back in. They took our leftovers and put them in their one of their extra units. This wasn’t so bad, except that when we originally placed everything in, we did it in a very strategic fashion, so when we came back from our sailing trip, we could get right to our “RV” boxes that were placed right at the entrance (last in).
Well, now that everything was shifted, we couldn’t find a lot of our RV stuff and had to literally go “spelunking” through our unit to find what we could. I still haven’t found my amazing carving skateboard that I have been waiting to ride forever.
We had tried to plan everything in a sequential order and usually it works out. This time it did too, but with some extra finesse. We ordered an EZE Tow Dolly, so we could tow our Prius behind our RV and everything seemed fine. Then I called them and asked for a delivery date and they said it was about a month out. OMG! Are you kidding? I kindly told the woman on the phone that we were leaving in about two weeks and she was amazing and said she would RUSH ORDER the shipment and it would be delivered on time, with no extra charge. Let me just say here, that customer service is not dead and we were elated.
Well, we spent the next several days going back and forth to Walmart to purchase a million different things (and taking them back, if they didn’t work out). Thank goodness, we didn’t sell our Prius when we got rid of everything to sail the South Pacific.
We added a tow hitch that would accept the tow dolly AND have a space to put our tow mounted bike rack on. This has been a savior and a challenge at the same time, since we cannot take of the tow dolly without taking off the tow mounted bike rack. C’est la vie, it will all work out.
During all of the chaos and challenges, I really want to give a huge shout out to our friends, Scott and Tracy, for putting us up in their amazing house with their beautiful and loving dogs (I miss them so much) and of course, to Melissa’s parents for putting us up in their house during our transition. They are so awesome and I really love hanging out with them.
Okay, back to the story. We eventually got everything that we thought we needed aboard the Harlow Hut II (RV) and decided we would leave late in evening on April 21, 2017 to miss the Los Angeles traffic.
Nothing is perfect, as we know, however, we know from experience that you just have to leave to get the journey going regardless of what obstacles lay in your way. We have seen so many others just sit and wait for the perfect opportunity and it never comes. We, on the other hand, move forward and know that it will all work out.
I drove for hours and hours the first day. It was exhausting, since I had never driven a rig this big and pulling a tow dolly with a vehicle on it. Our RV is only 30’ but with the tow dolly and the Prius on it, it is about 50’ overall, which is quite a bit of responsibility.
We drove up through Las Vegas and eventually pulled off the road in a little town called Beaver, Utah. We were going to stay in the Flying J (trucker diesel station) parking lot, but it was packed, so we pulled up across the street and “boondocked” (parked with no power, water, electricity and FREE) at a pretty level area with a stream at our side door. It was a great location for our first night on the road. Did we mention it was FREE!
We slept like babies. Actually, babies get up every few hours, so I guess we slept peacefully? The next thing we know, it was time to get back on the road and we did. We powered through the rest of Utah and finally ended up in Idaho, which was our first major stop.
I hate to bring the tempo of this blogpost down, but the last couple of years has been filled with our loved ones departing this earth. We have had several very significant deaths in 2016/17 and my dad was one of them. We were in Idaho Falls, Idaho to lay some of his ashes to rest with his mother at her gravesite and give some to his living sister, who lives in Idaho Falls.
We pulled in at a RV park in Idaho Falls and the next day we took the Prius off the tow dolly and went to visit my dad’s sister. The visit was great. We got to reminisce about old times, look at pictures and take some new ones. Eventually, we departed to take some more of my dad’s remains to the cemetery where his mom resided.
We input in the directions via our iPhone GPS app and off we went. It was all going well, until we started up a pretty narrow dirt road and it kept getting a little more sketchy. Melissa and I looked at each other and we kind of figured we weren’t on the right path to a cemetery but we kept on. Eventually, it started to snow and the road was getting really rutted, so I kept on until we could turn around and go back. We eventually made it to the summit and it was really snowy and muddy and we actually could turn around, so we did.
Did I mention we were in a Prius? Oh my, why should that stop The Adventure Travelers? We made it out, but with a little mud all over the side, like some kind of inky dinky 4X4.
So, we plugged the info into Google Maps and the app told us to go down the same road (only 10 miles back) and turn on the correct road. It was blacktop highway all the way to the cemetery, which we thought it should have been.
We found my grandmothers gravesite (and other family members) and we spread my dad’s ashes, said our respects and went back to the RV park.
The next day, we checked out the local sites, like the actual Idaho Falls. Since we were on a timeline to get to see our daughter, who was getting out of school in Michigan for the summer, we decided to move on North and get to Yellowstone.
We called ahead and ended up getting a really great RV site right on the edge of Yellowstone on the Idaho side (Pony Express RV Park). We got there way before the summer crowds and it was still snowing. This was an advantage and somewhat a disadvantage. We loved not having the crowds that are usually associated with Yellowstone, yet, it was pretty cold and luckily we planned on that and brought some winter gear to offset the snow and chill in the air.
We love people and the interaction with people, however, during this time of year, we were very happy to avoid the crowds. We saw some magnificent creatures, such as the bison, elk, deer and even a really healthy coyote, which at first, we thought was a wolf.
We explored every nook and cranny of Yellowstone. Of course, we saw Old Faithful and all of the vents and pools that spring up from the bowels of the earth, but we also drove through the snow to get to the magnificent views of the Little Grand Canyon and took photos of the amazing waterfall that was cascading down to the river and we made a snowman along the snowy banks.
We decided to introduce, “Dino” the dinosaur, as our mascot. He will be traveling with us everywhere and you will see him in most of our videos and pictures along the way.
We have also named our Prius, “Pepe the Prius”, since he’s such a good little car and zips us around everywhere and he has a lot of Pep!
After three days of adventuring in Yellowstone, we decided to move on to our next destinations of Mount Rushmore National Monument and Crazy Horse.