Days later, and my mind is a jumble of roads, landscapes, canyons, waterfalls, bad coffee, mosquito bites, 16-wheelers, casinos, huge bison, and blue lupine galore.
After three days in Yellowstone Park, and a leisurely drive through Grand Teton, we're comfortably parked in a small, well-tended RV park called Montpelier Creek KOA. Three terrific advantages to this place: Full hookup, level ground, and WiFi. I'll elaborate below, in my second installment of impressions & tips.
1. Full hookup. This means that your spot has three small but all-important things to connect to, right alongside your vehicle: electricity, water, and sewage. So you can leave the lights on just as you do at home... And charge your appliances -- camera, cellphone (even though there may not be any coverage), PDA, laptop, etc. You can take long showers, wash the dishes (if you want to eat and drink from real, rather than disposable, dishes;) and you can "dump" -- get rid of your waste water.
When Michael made the reservations for the RV parks, we didn't realize how important full hookup was. Now we know, and so do you. Sure, you can put on a brave face and say you don't mind getting up in the middle of the night and going to the public toilet at the other end of the park when it's dark and freezing out. But you don't have to.
2. Level ground. If you don't want to sleep, eat and use the toilet/shower feeling that you're aboard a sinking ship, look for a level parking spot.
I don't know whether you can ensure such a spot when booking far enough in advance. For all I know, maybe these coveted spots are reserved for regulars, like our neighbor Hans, who comes to the same park with his family several times a year. This is Hans:
3. WiFi. No need to elaborate. No, I don't want to read work-related emails. Yes, I do want to blog, and say Hi to my kids. And Michael is much happier if he can follow the World Cup, of course.
4. Signaling. Inevitably, sooner or later, you will have to reverse. If you weren't a member of the Boy/Girl Scouts or some other youth movement where they teach you useful things like tying knots and arm signaling, this is the time to develop such a system with your travel partner. Absolutely vital when he/she is reversing into a tight spot (and with an RV, every spot is a tight spot), and you're hollering at the top of your voice "Right, right, no, stop, enough, straighten up, now a bit forward, enough, try to keep parallel to the pavement, turn the wheel a bit -- I said A BIT -- mind the side mirror -- STOP -- you're about to scrape the exhaust pipe on this rock --"
More stories and tips another day, WiFi permitting.
Now it is time to help Hubby with dinner, and hope that the new anti-mosquito ointment we just bought is more effective than the previous one.