Day One – 522 miles traveled – Rapid City to Yellowstone

The plan was, Wheels up at 7:30. Time to hit the road! … and we were right on schedule. Everything was packed up, hooked up and ready to go. I put the truck in drive and started down my (very steep) driveway with as much caution and tretrepidation as you would expect from a woman who was about to leave with her daughter for 30 plus days. We about two thirds of the way down the driveway when Aaron yelling “Stop, STOP STOP STOP! OH SHIT!!!”

…Not the w0rds you want to hear at such a time. I put the truck in park, put on the e-break and got out to see that the nose one of the kayaks in the back of the truck was now poked directly through the front end of the camper.

Photo Jun 26, 8 01 30 AM-sm…. Now, I’m sitting here, trying to describe what that felt like, and I cant really find the words. Immediate thoughts included, “we’re fucked” followed by “surely it’s fixable” followed by “well, ….. if it doesn’t rain…” It took a moment to gather the hysteria back into some sort of manageable form so we could continue to move forward. I was able to back the truck back up a bit and free the kayak before we drove down to meet the farewell party at my office.

Photo Jun 26, 8 01 31 AM-smAaron had the idea to find some roofing material used to patch leaks to cover the hole, which seemed like the perfect solution until we realized (after the second hardware store stop) that it looked like we were going to have to buy a whole roll. That was going to cost mucho moneys and then I would be left with a whole roll of roofing material I wasn’t going to use. It was then that I had the bright idea to call my friend Jamie DeWitt, who happens to own a roofing company, to see if he had any scrap pieces laying around. Not only did he have a small roll left over in his truck but he was only 4 blocks away when we spoke. He was able to fly over, patch the hole and send us on our way with smiles and a great story. As the whole ordeal unfolded I said “Hey, let’s get the major disaster out of the way before we go, then we won’t have to worry about it.” … I am currently knocking on wood in hopes that that was, in fact, THE major disaster.

Devils TowerWe had just settled in for the long haul to Yellowstone when Anna pointed at a billboard on the side of the road and said “Are we going to go there? I’ve never been there!” I looked over and saw a photo of Devils Tower on a billboard and said “We can if you want to.” to which she enthusiastically replied “Yes!” So we took the turn north at Sundance and made a super brief detour to the alien invoking tower before returning to I-90 and heading onward.

Photo Jun 26, 2 03 43 PM-smI waffled on which way I wanted to take to Yellowstone but opted to get off the interstate as quickly as possible which resulted in a trip over the Big Horn Mountains at Buffalo over to the town of Ten Sleep – simply breath-taking country. Country I will return to again, to give proper exploration when there aren’t still hundreds of miles to go with a camper in tow.

BonAnnZa Day 1 105The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, mostly filled with the desire to “just get there”. It’s slower going than I am used to with the camper and all, but we drove for almost exactly 12 hours. For the most part, I left my camera in its bag. I did take it out once we got into Yellowstone, but mostly, it just sat quietly next to me. I did see things I wanted to shoot, but the need to get to camp overpowered the need to shoot, not to mention the hassle of stopping and finding pull outs big enough for the truck and the camper. We finally reached the campsite, on the left, the sign welcoming us into our temporary home and on the right was a still in spots baby elk with the sun setting right behind it. I managed to pull the camper over and grab my camera – I had JUST lined up the shot when mom came over and started grooming the baby. Perfect light, perfect shot, welcome to your trip, you two.

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