Remember my friend of many years, Sydney, who traveled with us last year? Today I will be picking her up at the Bozeman airport, here in Montana. Continued from: Heading East This Year
Game Plan Needed for this Coach
Unfortunately, Jagger and I are about 36 hours behind due to the late arrival of the replacement part for our refrigerator. Last week Norcold sent the wrong one, causing the further delay of our departure. Luckily, “Sportland RV” was on top of the repair, calling me when UPS delivered the part.
By the time I arrived the Coach was ready to go. It seems as though our maintenance issues are catching up with us, but that’s part of the Fulltime RV Lifestyle, a bigger expense than I realized when starting our travels over four years ago.
Have you ever observed someone pulling a fifth wheel at an airport? It was my first experience. Not my favorite one either. No catastrophes this time but I would rather not repeat it anytime soon. Several people who I spoke with earlier had assured me the Bozeman airport arrival area would accommodate the Coach, so Jagger and I pulled on through. (This was one of those times Jagger and I naturally ducked our heads while entering the overhang. If only we could sandwich our rig then step sideways with our tires to pullover as they do in the old cartoons.)
As we drive around the arrival loop the first pass I noticed right away there is not a spot even close to our length to stop. If I were to wait here it would result in backing up the entire airport loop. I pass the pickup area for Alaska Air and continue towards the exit and around the return loop, finding a safe place to pull over and catch our breath. I then called Sydney, she told me “the traffic is opening up, I think by the time you return there’ll be a spot to stop.” So we take another lap, hoping for a different result.
I nudged the Workhorse over to the curb and came to a smooth stop. Success! Boy did we get some unusual looks! After helping her load up her suitcase and a kayak… That’s right she brought her inflatable kayak. Jagger was disappointed to find out it wasn’t a new toy for him. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos, I was a little stressed at the time.) We pulled away from the loading area and headed back to more comfortable wide open spaces.
Wagons Ho – Up the Mountain
My original plan was to arrive at Longohr Campground yesterday. There I would have set up the Coach then today travel to the airport with just the Workhorse. The airport was only about thirty minutes from the campground. Well, that didn’t happen. Unable to contact the campground, I was hoping my campsite was still waiting for us.
Up the mountain, we galloped. I was looking forward to our camp at Longohr Campground, which I reserved weeks ago. I was hoping we didn’t lose the spot, but I didn’t have much hope. We arrived safely, spoke to the campground Host, only to come back down the hill immediately. We missed it and lost two days of camping fees. The campground was completely full, including the beautiful site I had chosen earlier online.
I need a place to pull over and regroup. Reaching the bottom of the mountain, I pull out my cell phone and check my Allstays app. It’s 8:00 PM and I need to find a safe place to spend the night, keeping in mind that Walmart is always an option. (I haven’t ever spent the night at Walmart. I must admit Longohr campground was beautiful. It would have been a nice place to camp in the forest along a rushing creek.) After calling several private campgrounds locally, I kept working further out towards our destination for tomorrow. Despite it taking only about 10 minutes to find an RV park in Livingston, it felt like an hour. I was definitely a little stressed.
Our destination: Livingston Campground in Livingston, Montana. It’s right off Interstate 90. They told me they only had one dry camping spot left. Works for me!
We head out on a 22-mile drive and arrive at 9 pm. The campground wasn’t anything fancy, and they definitely had a full house. We were able to maneuver around the grounds slowly, waiting for one parked car to move before we found our place for the night on a grassy area, but stopping on the gravel road.
I got out and approached the Host. “This is where I’m to camp?” I didn’t want to pull on the grass and wreck their lawn or the sprinklers. “Yep!” the Host replied. So I got back in the Workhorse, put him in gear and slowly backed up rolling onto the grass.
“Well, Sydney and Jagger, we are home for the first night of our Summer adventures.” I think I heard an audible sigh as we got out of the Workhorse.
It was well past dark as we put our slides out for the night. I smile to myself with contentment knowing I planned ahead, having water on board for tonight. One less thing to do. Nothing else was set up as we will be leaving first thing in the morning. It felt good to melt into my recliner briefly before bed. I’m guessing Jagger felt the same way as I found him happily dreaming in his bed nearby. Probably about his close friend he played with only a few short months ago.
Even though we’ve had some speed bumps along the way, we are now back on track and moving East, towards our next planned stop near Little Bighorn Battleground Memorial. I’m hoping we will have smooth roads from now on.
Safe Travels…Gary and Jagger