I'm writing this post from a hotel room in Omaha, Nebraska. Our husky mix Maya has set up camp in her wolf den under the bed, and our lab/corgi Charlie is curled up next to me, while Dan checks in with work and The Internet. Two days ago, we parked our travel trailer at an indoor storage space in Mormon Territory (Utah), and now we're heading back to Chicago for the next six weeks.
Leaving the trailer was bittersweet—both a relieving and a sad transition. We're relieved to not have to worry about towing a large metal box uphill at 65 mph, as well as about tearing it down and setting it up again every week. Living in the trailer, we're still unable to completely relax because we never know if something is going to go wrong out of the blue—like the time in Wyoming when we had to change a flat tire in a Walmart parking lot that was clearly ruled by ravens. Or in Colorado when we were parked on such an incline, the trailer suddenly rolled back a foot, snapping off one of the stabilizers. (We've since invested in wheel chocks.)
At the same time, however, that 25-foot trailer has become our home. The opportunity it gives us to see vastly different parts of this huge country is amazing, and we're going to miss the weekly changes in scenery.
But we have a variety of exciting reasons for our return trip to Chicago, including:
- Checkins with freelance clients
- Dan's brother's wedding
- Katie's mom's knee surgery
- Katie's dad's 60th birthday
- Dan's shows with Blane Fonda and The NoiseFM
We're looking forward to seeing our crew back home, and we'll miss the trailer....but to say our last week in it was fantastic would be a lie. Virtually the entire time we were in Montana, it rained. The wind blew so fiercely for five straight days that our tiny wheelhouse shook throughout the day and night. It was unsettling and loud, with constant rain pounding down on the metal roof.
Worse yet, we only had a couple of days clear enough to venture into Yellowstone National Park. We spent hours all over the park during those trips, but still—not what we had anticipated. There were no daily lunch picnics, no extended afternoon hikes. And even though I don't truly agree with it, I took comfort in this quote from John Steinbeck: “We enclose and celebrate the freaks of our nation and our civilization. Yellowstone National Park is no more representative of America than is Disneyland.”
See? Even Steinbeck says it—we hadn't missed a thing. And those rainy days weren't a total wash. We:
- Listened to: Limetown—an incredibly creepy (especially when you're walking the dogs through an abandoned RV park in Montana) mystery podcast
- Watched: Narcos—a new Netflix series chronicling the Pablo Escobar drug wars in Medellín, Colombia
- Wrote: my first story for RVing web magazine diyRV.com
- Held planking competitions (Dan won)
Before we stored the trailer, we researched ways to keep it safe during our time away and compared notes, not wanting to come back to a propane leak, dead battery, or rodent infestation. We had to do things like leave all cabinets open so they could air out, put dryer sheets over any outside vents to deter insects, and shut off all of the breakers.
It was a stressful afternoon making sure we didn't forget anything, but now we're working our way through the 20-hour drive from Utah to Chicago. We're reminiscing along the way, and keeping it all in perspective: We had six perfect-weather weeks to kick off our trip; a few rainy days shouldn't get us down.
Here are a few of our favorite Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana moments from this new life on the road: