There's snow place like home!
#rollingandwriting , September blog.
September eased in on us then blasted us with a snowy surprise. We knew we would get cold weather being here in Yellowstone for three and a half months so we were prepared, but I think it caught some folks by surprise. Last night all the check-ins at the Lake Hotel were pretty early, and quite a few hikers and tent campers decided to try to find a room for a night or two, as well. The weather is often unpredictable here in the park so you should always be prepared. Here are a
few things I would suggest you have if you plan on RV camping in colder climes. One, and we still don't have it, is a heated water hose. For the moment, we are simply unhooking the water and covering the pipes, but our next trip to town will probably garner this lovely addition to the rigs storage space. These things are not cheap, but neither is replacing your hook-up valves. Since we primarily boondock, we always keep water in our tanks so unhooking is not a big issue for us. It has been nice being plugged all this time in but a little of an adjustment as well.
Note: When working for Yellowstone your hookups are deducted from your pay, or billed to you depending on who you work for.driver's
Another must in any RV with windows is Reflectix shielding. This foil-covered bubble wrap-like material is good for both hot and cold weather. Reflectix is designed to reflect heat or cold back away from the living space of your RV. I will attest to the fact that it works. I put it up on the windshield last night and we had ice on both sides of the window this morning, but the driver's areas stayed warm and dry. We put this in all the windows when it is cold and it really helps to keep the heat in and the cold out. Having something like Reflectix is also important for another reason. Propane heat generates moisture and moisture in your rig is a bad thing. Insulating your biggest heat leaks, i.e. your windows, helps to slow the cyles of your heater and reduce that moisture. Moisture here in Yellowstone has not been a big issue because it has been a dry year, but it is best to be prepared.
In our arsenal of cold weather combatants, we have also added a few electric heaters. We keep
two small heaters in the rig for days when all you need to do is take the morning chill off, and a couple more in the bays under the rig. Our RV and most with an enclosed underbelly/basement will have ducting to the bays to prevent freezing. When your furnace kicks on, heat is distributed to the bays to keep your water and holding tanks ice-free. However, it is best to have a backup plan if something goes wrong with your furnace. Just like a house things breakdown and having redundancy is a good idea. You can even buy special heaters that will automatically come on if the temperature drops below freezing. Whether you are in a van, Class C, or popup camper having an electric heater or two is always a good plan. Even growing up as a kid, my dad always kept a kerosene heater handy in winter just in case the power went out. I have many happy memories of cooking French toast in an iron skillet over that heater on cold Pennsylvania winter mornings.
As I sit here watching the snow melt outside and listening to the ice drop from the edge of the RV roof, I am grateful that we have taken the time to plan ahead for cold weather. As wonderful and exciting as #rollingandwriting is, life always comes with stresses. We try to minimize those as much as is possible by being prepared.
We knew that life in Yellowstone would be different and it has not disappointed.
It has been interesting reflecting on our Yellowstone roll. We have seen new things, learned new things, and gained new wisdom for our travels. If you decide to come to Yellowstone at some point this one thing is the most important item to bring; Patients. This park is massive, it is far from 'civilization' and though it does offer accommodations, stores, food, and trinkets, it is still wild. Cell service is very limited throughout the park, the hotels and lodges, do not have WiFi or television. The animals are both wild and dangerous. This week there were two road
closures here near Lake Yellowstone making it impossible to get back to the Lake from the north or the west areas of the park. The road between the Mud Volcano and Fishing Bridge (This road leads to Cody, WY) was closed due to an oil truck turning over last week, and the road between West Thumb and Old Faithful was closed due to a forest fire. To get back to the lake from either of these directions you would have to exit from the north or west entrance and circle around to Cody, returning from the east or Jackson Hole and into the south entrance. Yes, people got stranded outside and had to make that big drive to get home. Life is unpredictable, and none more so than life in Yellowstone National Park. Be prepared. Have snacks and water with you at all times, keep that gas tank topped up, and be prepared to wait.
Still, even with the bison jams and some of the inconveniences of life in Yellowstone, we are so happy that we have seen so much of the park. We have hiked all but one of the trails in the lake district, it's 2,000 feet up and I'm not game for that.
While out and about we have seen Elk, Bison, Deer, Antelope, Swans, Loons, Wolves (through binoculars but it counts), a Great Gray Owl, and many other raptors. The purpose of the park is to be out in nature, to reconnect with the natural world. If that isn't your goal perhaps it is best to stay home instead of coming out and making others miserable because you are. It's a national park this is what it supposed to be about.
In a little over a month, we will be leaving Yellowstone. It will be bitter-sweet, but by then the cold will be getting serious and even a true four-seasons RV will be starting to struggle with dropping temperatures. I'm looking forward to seeing fall set in here in the park. Already the grass is brown and the wildflowers are fading.
Fortunately, my inspiration for writing has not waned. Looking back I've already released four books this summer and the September release is right around the corner. I do love writing and the extra income from the every-day-hero working here has been a boon. Our next trek will be Tennessee for an Amazon job, but more on that later. Life on the road is amazing and relatively inexpensive, (depending on how you roll), but still has its cost. The books are my way of paying my part.
Have you had a favorite read this summer?
See you on the road.