I have had mechanical breakdown PTSD. After our trip this summer, being stranded waiting on a part and having no other home to go to, I have been hesitant to travel again.
I don’t want to feel that way. We bought Bella Box on Wheels to travel, and that’s what I want to do. So when Travel Dave suggested a trip to Yellowstone National Park, I swallowed my nerves and said: “let’s go.”
I’m so glad we did. It was an amazing trip and just what we both needed.
We left home on Wednesday the 26th of September with a planned one night stop in Provo Utah at a KOA. I wouldn’t recommend this particular KOA for large motorhomes. It was tight getting in, and we scraped on trees getting out. We were on the road by 7 am the next morning, arriving at Yellowstone Grizzly RV park around 1 pm. This park is located in West Yellowstone Montana about a block from the west entrance to the Yellowstone National Park. It’s the perfect location and a very nice RV park.
We took a short drive into Yellowstone that afternoon and got to see some wildlife right away. It’s hard to miss the bison, they are everywhere; Many times on the roads, causing a “bison jam.”
I didn’t take many pictures on our first drive but the next morning we were in the park before sunrise, and I was able to get some good shots.
Yellowstone is a magical place. It’s wild and unspoiled, verdant and volcanic. The landscape changes as you drive through and the beauty is almost overwhelming. The park belongs to the wildlife, we are the guests in their home. Remembering to respect their dominion is part of being a good guest. On this trip, we saw way too many people who forgot to be good guests. It saddens me to think that at some point these types will spoil it for the rest of us.
On this trip, we decided that instead of seeing the many mapped attractions we’d seen before, we’d spend most of each day looking for wildlife. We hoped to see bears and wolves, and although we struck out on the wolves, we were rewarded with the wildlife jackpot on Monday when we were lucky enough to see a grizzly.
We were about 125 yards away on the road while she was just happily digging for grubs in the field, oblivious to the 30 people standing in awe, clicking the shutters of their cameras. I experienced a serious lens envy watching some of the photographers with lenses as long as my arm. I can only imagine the detail they were able to capture. Still, I was happy with what I was able to get with my small telephoto lens. Seeing this bear made the trip for me as it was the first time I’d ever seen a grizzly in the wild. They are huge, and I wouldn’t want to meet one on a trail. Which, of course, is the excuse I use to keep from having to go on a hike. Damn good excuse, if you ask me.
We had planned to stay through Tuesday, but with rain in the forecast and the fact that we’d hit the grizzly jackpot the day before, we decided to start the drive home on Tuesday.
We drove through a lot of that rain, stopping for the night in the truck parking at a rest stop about 200 miles from home.
The next morning, something happened that gave me pause. We were awake before dawn, surrounded by large trucks. Across the rest area, were several cars that had overnighted. Dave took Dallas for a walk and returned to say that a young man had approached him about jumper cables for his dead car battery. My first reaction was fear. Traveling as much as we do, we hear all kinds of warnings about how unsafe rest areas are. I cautioned him to be careful and even to take his gun ( which he has a permit and training to use).
We carry a battery pack, and he was going to take it over to let these people use. I nervously stood outside the RV to watch across the rest area as he went to help. When he came back, he said that this was a young couple with two children who were headed to Las Vegas. The battery pack we had was taking a long time to charge their battery, so he just gave it to them. I was ashamed of myself for my first reaction and wondered when I became this fearful cynical person. This isn’t who I want to be, and this incident was a needed reminder to think about the type of person I do want to be.
We got on the road soon after Dave returned, Dallas in his navigator seat and me on the couch. As it got light, I would lean forward to peek through the windshield to see where we were.
After the majestic beauty of Yellowstone, it’s hard not to compare. But, there is beauty everywhere, we just have to remember to look and see it through the right lens. A little like life, how we view it shapes our reactions to what happens around us. I want to see the beauty and the goodness.
A few shots on the way home
I came away from this trip with even more appreciation for the beauty of Yellowstone, but I also came away with the reminder to see the beauty in everything. Each day, even the ordinary ones, holds wonder in some way and if we keep our heart and our mind open, we’ll see it and be better for it.