June 28, 2016
Another day on the road. We did an unplanned stop just outside Bozeman to check out a Grizzly sanctuary and it was well worth the detour to get some bear education before we (possibly) see one in the wild. Outside temp seems to effect me more when driving. A few tired spells on the I90 drag but some podcasts and Jackie’s unrelenting devotion kept me going. As we zoned in on the Wyoming border and got off I90 the landscape dried up and started to look a bit more wild west. Off the interstate we were finally able to make some impromptu roadside photo-stops and took some pics of the Welcome to Wyoming sign. We nervously drained the gas as we passed through a few one horse (and 0 gas station) towns. Finally filled up in Powell (3rd fill of the trip, including the rental fill, with about 1000 miles up so not too crazy) and Cody was only 30 minutes further.
The Ponderosa is a nice little park on the edge of town. Good news – the main drag was walkable so we were able to stroll up to town to check out main street and the famous Irma hotel. The kids scarfed ice-cream on the Irma porch as the missus and I drank some cold beers in the welcome shade.
Ryan took a pic on a Buffalo. We will dedicate a separate post to Ryan’s obsession with Buffalo.
For our evening’s entertainment we bus’d it to the very awesome Cody Rodeo Nite. This was some proper Americana with anthems, prayers, cowboys & cowgirls, bulls & bullshit, ropin’ steer etc. Harry got to chase some calves in the main arena and the locals in the stands next to us whoop’d and holler’d for him as he at first sprinted and then stalled as he realized the calf was coming for him. A very memorable end to our first day in Wyoming.
June 28, 2016
On our first morning in Montana we took advantage of the modern conveniences afforded to us and watched the rugby and Norn Iron in the footy on our pop up tv. The kids want to press the button constantly and watch it rise James Bond style from the mundanity of the kitchen counter-top. In this mechanical wonder the modernity and extravagance of our camping experience is juxtaposed with the crappy cable signal from the dormant building site that is this RV park…or something like that. The campsite brekky was included so we gorged on pancakes and Frosties (they’re grrrreat!). We spent the rest of the morning and afternoon in the impressive Museum of the Rockies – biggest collection of t-rex skeletons, biggest t-rex head, old-west living homestead and lots of other cool things.
At this point I decided to go into full photog mode and now share some of the heavily edited snaps below. This was our first time to bring the RV out on a daily excursion which is a bit of a PITA but it went well with 3 stops while we were out (museum, downtown, walmart). Once we scoped downtown and found a spot we were in good shape. We had a great dinner/lunch in a Bozeman brewery (and another swifty in a neat little cider place) and spent the evening strolling up and down the handsome main street.
Day 4 Verdict: We liked Bozeman. Definitely a spot to recommend on a trip through Montana. Fantastic selection of bars and restaurants. Takes a nice picture too.
June 26, 2016
Settling in to the RV life. Got the sewer hook-up sorted before we departed Silverwood. 90% man-points achieved. Pack-up was pretty quick. Weather was miserable as we left. Felt bad for folks rolling up for a day at the waterpark. Was not looking pretty. Our drive was long and uneventful. Idaho blended into Montana. We blew past the welcome to Montana sign before we had a chance to take a snap. Lots of ‘big sky’ vistas as we trundled along.
Stopped for lunch in Missoula – and by lunch we mean grilled cheese sandwiches that we cooked up ourselves in a gas station.
Made it to Bozeman by ~6pm. The RV park was 50% building site but nothing is a problem when you can retire to your home on wheels. The park was connected to the Bozeman hot-springs so we jumped in there for as very mellow outdoor dip. It should be really nice in about 3 years when all the construction is done. Achieved full hook-up status in Bozeman with the cable TV connected for the quad-fecta. 100% man-points achieved. Kids played chess on a giant chess-board and we all tucked into some b-b-q before hitting the hay.
June 25, 2016
Will keep it short or I’ll never catch up. Had a fab day celebrating Harry’s 10th birthday. The McHugh’s love Silverwood. It’s a ‘just right’ theme park in every way. It was great to be able to walk from the RV park to the theme park entrance first thing in the morning. The park was quiet so we didn’t have to battle queues for rides / food / beers. We snagged a cabana for the day as an extra treat. After the park fun we ended the evening by the campfire with some hot-dogs and a few Angry Orchards.
Day 2 verdict: Great first full day in the RV. Got the water hooked up in addition to the leccy. Feeling more rugged and manly by the day (and also fatter and more sluggish on account of the cake and beer).
June 24, 2016
Day 1 was hectic. RV pick-up from Road Bear RV went smoothly. Very helpful guys took us through paperwork and orientation. Lots of stuff to remember – buttons to push, hoses to connect. Whole process took about an hour. We left the depot with only the faintest whiff of confidence that we would make it back to Sammamish. Let’s not even talk about getting this behemoth to Montana.
Back at the ranch we spent 2-3 hours jamming the truck with enough underpants, Pringles and Prosecco to keep us fresh, fed and sedated for the journey ahead.
Driving the RV is a little nervy on the single lanes around Sammamish but confidence grew as we hit the I90 and headed east. By the time we pit-stopped just shy of Spokane I was anointing myself as the Jackie Stewart of RV driving.
The kids were really comfy on the journey and Jackie (Ryan, not Stewart) was able to jump around from seat to seat to keep everyone fed / watered / content.
Jumped into Idaho sometime around 10:30 and we reached our destination 1 by 11pm.
Found our site in darkness and managed to back the truck in on first attempt. It was late but I still made a few attempts to get the leccy figured out. Finally realized the breakers were off on the site’s post. Once that was resolved we were on the grid and began to relax.
Day 1 verdict: Awesome. Although it was all stress and logistics to get going there was a lot of satisfaction in getting to our destination and getting setup for the first time.
April 11, 2016
As one does, I was embellishing stories of youthful escapades to my skeptical 11 year old daughter. I mentioned the pivotal role I played for my country in the ‘92 Barcelona Olympics. What this boiled down to was, me bouncing around on a trampoline, in criminally ill-fitting Speedos, in the bowels of Montrose (home of RTE) in the Spring of 1992. For this mortifying experience we were paid a very princely £35. For that one glorious summer I was known by my friends (all 3 of them) simply as ‘the dove’.
I thought that the only place the clip above existed was on a decaying VHS tape somewhere in a musty Dublin shed or attic. Having spun the tale and too my remaining amazement, my resourceful daughter went and found the clip on YouTube. It is with mixed feelings of post-trauma and fond reminiscence that I share it with you now for your amusement.
Kudos to killianm2 for his fine curation of vintage Irish TV. Never thought I would see this one again.