Day 18 – 9/17 Billings to West Yellowstone (MT)

It got cold again in the camper as we didn’t have any heat on, but it was good to sleep.  I got the space heater going now, and a great cup of coffee.  My iPhone updated to iOS 14 overnight, so hoping that doesn’t break anything.  We leave to West Yellowstone today, it’s about a 5 hour drive, so we are planning on leaving by 10am. 

I checked the forecast for there and it’s low 70s during the day, and low 30s with some days hitting 25 overnight but mainly around 6am, then it goes back up when the sun comes out.  That’s the forecast for the 10 days we’ll be there basically, so we’ll be getting close to freezing temps every night, that’ll test our skills at making sure the camper doesn’t freeze.  I think the Rapid City 2 nights were our breaking in, and now it’s the real test. 

I also checked the impact of the fires in CA, OR, and now CO on the air, and it looks like the smoke haze is there, and the air quality is getting worse.  It’s on “yellow” now, which means it’s getting worse, but it’s not bad yet.  We’ll monitor all of this close and we’ll decide what to do week to week.  We’ll take our time getting there, and just focus on being safe.  Oh, on that note, we still have to buy bear spray 🙂

Our drive here was good, roads were good, and the views were amazing.  We could not see most of the views though as the mountains were covered in smoke sho while what we could see was already breathtaking, I can only imagine the entire view without the smoke, and how amazing it may be.  The vast areas up in the mountains, with a few houses here and there reminded me of parts of Norway, like when we saw the Fjords, there were houses and even one small community in the middle of nowhere by a mountain.  We saw rivers and lakes on the way too, just super pretty. 

There’s so much to see in this area, I have a feeling we’ll need to come back already.  We drove pretty much straight here, only made 2 bathroom stops, 15 mins each, and one gas station stop to fill up the tank, and we were here in under 6 hours.  That kind of drive is not even a big deal now for us, at least for me.  Kids didn’t complain much either.  They were supposed to be doing school work, but that only kind of happened for the first hour.  Then they claimed they were getting sick and just played the rest of the trip on their electronics.  Bia got her work done when we arrived, but Bella didn’t, so we’ll have a longer day tomorrow to have her caught up. 

We arrived at our KOA Westgate in West Yellowstone around 3pm, and we have a pull through site, so easy to setup.  The site is super nice with a concrete area, swing, table and fire pit\grill.  We had to go back and forth a few times, even though this is a pull through, so we could get the trailer just right with both doors opening into the concrete.  The trailer ended up quite forward, so pretty close to the road on the front, and lots of room on the back, so the truck is parked behind.  Carol and I are still getting a hang of this parking process together.  I got the trailer all setup while Carol setup the inside, and the girls were playing.  They loved it here the moment we stopped the trailer.  It is a very nice campground.  I setup the support 2x4s I have with the straps and the trailer is very solid and doesn’t move sideways at all. 

Once we were all setup, Carol started working on dinner.  I went to the campground store to get some beer and Bella came with me and got some cookies.  I told her they could only have the cookies when they were both done with school work, so they didn’t have any cookies as she was the one who didn’t finish :). We sat outside enjoying the weather and just relaxing for some time, and the people on the camper behind us had a toy hauler, and opened the back, set it up like a deck, had a little gate for their 3 pugs, and were hanging out there. 

The gentleman started playing guitar, and it was super nice.  We were enjoying just sitting there, relaxing and enjoying the live music.  We decided to go tell them that we were enjoying the live music and ended up talking to them for quite some time.  We just stood on the grass outside their area and chatted.  Theresa and Aaron were super nice, I’m glad we went there.  The girls loved their pugs, and took them for a couple of walks while we were there.  Bia even said she wants to take them for another walk before they leave (tomorrow morning).  It just happened that Aaron has been to Brazil, and used to go to Bahia I think (or Recife, I can’t remember) as a mental health consultant, and did so for 5 years a long time ago, he even spoke a few words in Portuguese.  Theresa is an engineer and told us about some of her projects as well.  The girls were very excited to be chatting with them and playing with their pugs.  We said good night and came to our trailer to have dinner, and from there just got things ready, wound down and all went to bed.  It was a very nice afternoon.

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