Sunday, August 08, 2010

Summer Vacation: Yellowstone?

A week from home we get into Wyoming: the wild west.  We are on our way to Yellowstone.  There isn't alot of variety in Wyoming so I spent some time asleep on the drive but was awakened when we got into the Bighorn mountains.  They were beautiful.  This picture, however, is not the Bighorns it is just a very beautiful sunset cloud formation.

On Saturday night we pulled into the Cody Wyoming Walmart parking lot.  The night before we had stayed at a nice campground where we did our laundry and swam in the pool.  At the Walmart we pulled up to a nice piece of grass on the backside of the parking lot, visited with a few other RVers (one of the family was from Holland), and did some shopping.  We also made some phone calls to make arrangements to meet my brother Jacob in the park the next day, found out when and where church was the next morning and went to Pizza Hut for our first pizza dinner in 3 weeks.

That evening while trying to find the church we happened to stumble upon the Cody Murals, another church history site--a site we had known nothing about.  We visited the murals and found them quite interesting.  That night we also discovered, while studying maps, that across the mountains from Afton, Wyoming (southwest Wyoming) is Cora, Wyoming.  Both towns were settled by Mormon Pioneers. Our girls (Afton and Cora) were tickled pink over the discovery.

That night we snuggled into our comfy RV beds and had sweet dreams in the Walmart parking lot expecting to have a great Sunday in Yellowstone with my brother.

Sunday morning went as planned and after church we set out to Yellowstone National Park.  The views up through the mountains were a lot more of the same that we've seen again and again on the trip: cool geologic formations in interesting colors, lots of pine trees, a few lakes and rivers, yada yada yada.  There was a burned out section of trees that we came across that was a little different and thus very interesting.  It ended up being a sign: just as things are going along all nice and normal something's going to pop out to surprise you.

"A sign?" you ask.  Yes.  A sign.  Just minutes after passing these stand of burned down trees we also passed a recent road construction site with lots of gravel on the road.  As one of the cars passed us in the middle lane they kicked up a bunch of rocks, one of which took aim at the upper window of motorhome, over the cab.

Kirkham was up in the overcab bed when the window exploded like it had been shot out.  He leapt off the bed, white faced, and scrambled down scared to death. The girls started screaming and I jumped to my feet to discover what had just happened.  Dave was able to maintain control of the vehicle through the commotion and quickly got us to the side of the road so we could discover the full extent of the damage.

Fortunately the front window curtains had been closed as well as the curtains between the bed and the living area so most of the glass was contained in the bed area; that was pretty well covered though.  We quickly assessed the situation: we were 40 minutes from Cody, Wyoming and 40 minutes from the East Entrance of Yellowstone, we had no cell service so we couldn't call anyone for help, we didn't know if there was any help in either direction, my brother and his wife would be leaving their house anytime to meet us at Yellowstone that evening and we couldn't call them either.  We were on our own, so, we set out to first, make the RV safe to be in, second, make the RV drivable and third, get ourselves somewhere where we could safely spend the night and get the glass repaired.

To make the RV safe to be in we had to remove as much of the glass as we could pick, sweep and shake out.  We didn't have a powerful vacuum with us so we knew we'd have to keep the kids in the back of the RV until we could get to a car wash with a giant vacuum.  We took all the blankets, pillows and curtains that had been up top out of the RV and put them into a big garbage bag to launder later.  We took the cushions outside and beat them to get off the glass.

To make the RV drivable we had to cover the giant gaping hole up front with what materials we had on hand.  We had garbage bags and (thank goodness) we have a 14 year old son with a duct tape obsession-- he had 8 rolls of duct tape with him (different colors for different occasions, I guess).  Dave and Heath got on the top of the RV, hung themselves out over the top, and secured the garbage bags and duct tape while I continued working on the inside and Kirkham and the girls kept cool in the shade of the RV outside.

So, that was the end of our Yellowstone aspirations for that day.  We headed back down to Cody and spent the next few hours making phone calls to insurance, AAA, Jacob and Alli and tracking down glass companies that could fix our window.  Then we found a car wash with a vacuum and vacuumed out the whole RVand got the RV as close to back to normal as we could.  I sustained the only injury during the whole glass fiasco.  I got a shard of glass in my foot and got glass dust rubbed into my leg when I brushed up against a wall.  Both were very minor afflictions especially considering what might have been.

We spent about an hour on the Shoshone river fishing, a few hours wandering around the town of Cody and the rest of our time that night was spent in the RV, in the Walmart parking lot, reading and having bubble blowing contests.  We got our same spot back, with the grass, that we had stayed at the night before.
Riding the bison on the streets of Cody, Wyoming.  If we get to Yellowstone tomorrow I hope we'll see a real one!

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