This article may seem like I’m trying to deter you from RV’s, but this trip I’m about to tell you about is the most memorable and marvelous vacations I have ever taken yet in my life.
My Tia and I (and our three dogs) planned a road trip in an RV for two weeks. Destination = Yellowstone National Park. Expectations = met but definitely not in the way I thought.
It started off by renting a 25-foot RV from Cruise America (which I don’t recommend, why? You’ll see) for us and the three fur children to take to Colorado and Wyoming. The first length of the trip was the paperwork and information about the RV because we have never even touched or been about 100 feet from an RV ever. And that’s where it all started. We come in July 28, a day before departure, to pick up the RV so we can have it ready for morning to head out first thing in the A.M. As the gentleman is giving this little tour about how to use the generator, water, electricity and more, we step out and I see a little dot on the floor in front of my feet move in my peripheral vision. I look down, and viola! A whole roach, alive and everything, is standing next to my feet, then shimmies away under the RV never to be seen again. That should’ve been the first clue, in fact at this point, it is. So we let that pass through our heads cause, deposit is down, and today is literally the day before this trip we planned and talked about for over about a year.
We drive off with the RV and immediately realize this will be a vacation for the books. Although the crosswinds and steering an RV are way more difficult than a regular car, it’s not that bad to drive. People on the highway treat you different, it’s more difficult on the highway if you’re not a steady driver, you’re carrying a lot more weight than just your car, the braking needs time to get used to because it’s stopping all this cargo in the mobile home Plus the RV itself, and you actually feel more for truck drivers. Other than our steering wheel being majorly misaligned, and another roach (more of many) suddenly appearing on the GPS on the dashboard as it came out the screen.
That moment in specific was hilarious because I was casually on my phone and my Tia all of a sudden started screaming her lungs off (and she has a high pitched scream) and startled me. I see her point towards the windshield and I’m looking ahead like wtf you pointing at??? Meanwhile she’s still screaming and I’m like what is about to happen omg. She leans in a little and I realize she’s pointing at the GPS and I see a huge fricken roach crawling all over that shit like it owns it. So I’m like “GIVE ME YOUR SHOE GIVE ME YOUR SHOE!” And the rest is history.
RVs aren’t all bad, we met a couple of extremely kind people along the way, one being a park ranger in Texas in Stewart Creek State Park who my Tia and I can never thank enough. Ee were lost near Dallas, Texas and needed to settle for the night. Little did we know Texas isn’t a big campsite fan and doesn’t have many around where we were. We found a hidden gem called Stewart Creek (lake?) state park, and we’re driving though pitch black wilderness. We stopped at the dump station cause we just didn’t know what to do. This guy in kind of a golf cart 4 wheeler thing comes up asking if we need help, long story short, we ended up parking next to his RV using his extra plug for the generator. We were extremely unbelievably lucky that night, I still don’t believe it.
Turns out the ranger was also from Miami, and it was actually his last day on his 3 month off-3 month on job. We tried to leave a note the next morning thanking him and left a number to treat him to dinner on us one day, but I don’t believe we’ve heard from him since.
The RV has everything you need to survive. The best thing about it was that everything was right in the same place, you had a bathroom, shower, microwave, AC, and more. The thing about it is... for the shower and water to run, you have to have a tank of water full with the water pump on, which in mind uses gas or propane, you need to refill the propane, the generator runs on the gas from the car, and the ROACHES. If you didn’t have the generator on, AC is off, water and electricity is off. So you either have to pay with it with the gas you buy, or purchase a campsite for the water and electricity. The refrigerator had problems the whole time, thankfully we anticipated the food and purchased a cooler before. They’re expensive, I spent alone (and we split gas) over 700$ on just food, campsites and gas in two weeks. The things that happened to me, nothing on the internet about it, I googled and asked for information on RV tripping but just found articles on what you should bring and how fun the trips are. The internet doesn’t tell you about what really happens. While I know my experience isn’t like everyone's, keep in mind I did rent an RV from a company and have never been in one before, there is going to be BS that’s going to happen. I didn’t even mention everything, the dumping of the shit and pee (yup) tanks and how hard it is to keep everything clean. And it’ll make you ponder what it looks like inside ambulances and how people don’t have syringes flying in their eyeballs because everything moves... a pinkie toe on the brake, everything falls... the wheel turns a micro centimeter, everything moves. I’m sure people who have settled into their own RV where they call home have everything down packed. But there are some who can’t afford it or just simply want to take a once in a lifetime RV road trip type thing, I have yet to see articles or readings on how what really happens when you vacation. Maybe my experiences are unique, but so are everybody’s. I just wanted to inform as many as I can the true and uncensored story from just a person to be prepared for the unknown. You may have this whole plan for life, 28 plans maybe, but your life will occur like none of them. You can’t predict what good or bad will happen, you can only do good and hope that it comes back to you.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
I climbed it. The Great Sand Dunes. Well, maybe like 3 quarters of the way? All I know is I died on that hike. Literally, I came out a new person walking back from that shit. Pictured above is a large open wetland of sand, where some relax and children play. The sand is strong and packed and your feet won’t sink, as you continue on what feels like walking cross country is a large open field of sand the hills start appearing closer and closer. Do you ever see a group of marines running on the beach? It’s because sand is harder to run in, it’s more of a challenge. You’d think walking uphill in sand will be alright... it’s worse... than life. You see a variety of people from kids to old timers who did better than me. You can rent sand boards from the Oasis campsite a couple miles away from the parking lot. Or like me, you can just simply attempt to climb to the top. If you go, bring about a 24 pack of water and a sleeping bag to take 21 nap breaks along the way. It’s a beautiful park and preserve that has many attractions to offer, it’s another unique scenery that you simply can’t find anywhere else on Earth.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is the oldest of the oldest of national parks, the first to be established on March 1 1872, and with over 3000 square miles of park and preserve, it continues to be one of the most iconic and astonishingly beautiful places on Earth. It’s highest point is just over 11,000 feet and sits on top of an active volcano.
As we were driving up in the RV to the south entrance, the ranger gives us info and a map. We begin driving to the closest campsite, left at 4am from Colorado to try and get there early because all of them are first come first serve. We arrive at Lewis Lake and behold there are sites available. We park in one and start to head down to register. We read the rules and it said generators must be off 8pm–8am, which is a normal, the difference is we wouldn’t have AC, which we weren’t a fan of that scenario. So we end up leaving and heading to the Fishing Bridge RV Park, which is the only site in the park that has full electricity and water hookups for RVs. We were extremely lucky again as it’s by reservation only, we drove up and hoped for the best. And the best came, someone marvelously didn't show up for their reservation, so they handed it to us. We paid for the night and headed to relax for the night with easy minds. The next day we took to drive around the whole park, basically in the circle road where the epicenter would be in the center of the park. We literally only saw two bison, one pictured above, and I again with luck, got only photos of them, but to me it was enough. Keep in mind the backcountry, the hiking trails and the hidden wilderness is where the wild roam. You have to have patience and control in order to search and properly view and enjoy wildlife like we wanted to. Like National Geographic does. (Used to want to become a photographer for them, still might). The true peace you see in wildlife can only be seen when peace has been inside of you. And if not the only reason it is one of the only reasons I want to go back, for them, to take photos of them and see how we can never live.
So the things I didn’t see online or wasn’t expecting from Yellowstone was the campsites, and about campsites in general, I recommend you call a couple nights before and reserve spots in order to have a positive plan. Some are reserve only, some are first come first serve and most are both. Hiking and living on a mobile home like that can only be learned from experience in my opinion, no article or book or other person can teach you what it will be like for you, only you can predict, expect, live and know that.