Launch Day was August 12, and RVedo (our RV) headed out of South Dakota and into Montana. Goodbyes were painful, due to how awesome our friends and family are. Following tear filled goodbyes, the first day of travel continued to be rough. The kids seem to need a day to settle in on any long road trip, so while the behaviors and constant whining were frustrating, it wasn’t unexpected. Night one we stayed at a KOA, which seemed like a right of passage for any RV newbie. The campsite was small and crowded but we had a muddy pond behind us where the kids were able to see frogs, which of course earned the campground a four star rating from them.
Day two of travel went much better, in fact the kids did so well that we decided to cancel our site reservations and travel a few extra hours towards the west coast. This would mean “boondocking” (yet another term I’ve learned as an RV newbie… basically means staying in a parking lot overnight while you are on the road). After arriving at our destination and having dinner at the Cracker Barrel (which is known for hosting boondockers) we headed out to the camper to get ready for bedtime. That was when Joel noticed the RV next to us, which appeared to be an overnight neighbor. Inside there was a guy just … staring. Sitting in a daze and staring blankly ahead. When he saw us notice him, he stood up only to show his pants were half down. Is it just us or was something was super creepy about that situation? We decided to move along to Walmart, another business known to host boondockers. Walmart was way worse. There were probably thirty RV’s and it seemed to be quite the community. Some had patio mats out and awnings set up as though they planned to stay a week or two. In addition to the RV’s some of our new neighbors seemed homeless (no judgement… as soon as our house sells we will meet the criteria to be considered homeless ourselves), living in cars or just on the ground. One car clearly housed a few people using meth. Again we decided to keep moving along.
Our third try was Cabelas, who gave us permission to stay the night and told us frequently RV’s will park on the other side of the parking lot by Kohls. We settled down at Kohls for the evening. We were the only camper and it was quiet compared to our other options. Our oldest was slightly confused by the situation but after stories and milk, she got the message that it was bedtime and we were here for the night. Once the kids were down, Joel and I took turns shopping :).
Then it was bedtime for us too. I was a little nervous about the situation so decided to sleep on the couch, so I would be near the door in case someone decided to break in and steal my kids. If that happened, I planned to take them down with my kung fu skills… or scream really loud for Joel to call 911. I fell asleep but soon our youngest was awake and crying “Scrape! Scrape! Owie!” After investigating the situation, I realized his crib was full of sand from the pond the night before. By this point, sister (his roommate) was awake and had moved to the couch. Rather than clean up sand, I put brother back in the bed his sister had just evacuated, luckily he fell right back to sleep. Leaving the room I noticed sister was now sleeping where I had been. Worried that brother would toddle out into the parking lot now that he was no longer confined by a crib, I decided to sleep on the rug by our door (I know, but in my exhausted fog this seemed like a good idea. Plus it gave me the opportunity to snuggle the pile of shoes that was sharing the door mat with me). This lasted a few minutes but then brother was crying again, probably due to an unfamiliar bed and we had no electricity so his nightlight wasn’t working. I layed down on the crib size mattress next to him and he snuggled into me falling back asleep. I didn’t sleep much more but enjoyed the cuddle time with my little man until the sun started to come up.
The next next morning, while Joel closed up the camper, I walked across the parking lot for coffee. Sleep deprived little brother was out of control in the coffee shop. When I picked him up in hopes of calming him, he pulled off my hat and exposed my unwashed hair sticking out in every direction. I put my hat back on and thought briefly about explaining to the barista that he was not behaving this way due to poor parenting, but only because we had slept in their parking lot… but I decided this was an argument that would be difficult to make. We took our coffee and headed out.
Luckily Joel had gotten some sleep so he could pull RVedo over the mountains while I sat in the passenger seat sipping my latte, dazed and staring blankly ahead… just like that guy at Cracker Barrel…but at least my pants were up.
Now for those of you who are worried about us at this point, I will tell you that we survived our travels and are now settled in a quiet and safe campground in the woods for the next week. But that will be a post for another day. Thanks so much to all of you who are following my blog. Please don’t hesitate to share my posts and comment as I continue to develop this site! You have all been so supportive and it seriously fuels my days! Blessings to all of you.