We survived one year in a motorhome and had a lot of fun doing it. One thing we learned through our travels was not to stay any place too long, if we weren’t enjoying ourselves there.
Today, we are living up to that personal promise. We didn’t enjoy being in Cody or the area East of Yellowstone National Park so, we decided to leave. No refunds or second thoughts….we are outa here!
We drove 2 1/2 hours west into the heart of Yellowstone National Park in seach of a campground (with no reservation possible). Every reservable campsite was booked solid months ago.
The fourth of July week in Yellowstone is their busiest week of the year and they start booking campsites a full year in advance. We had reservations to be here 2 months ago and had to cancel them because of COVID-19. Now there’s nothing available.
We drove to every campground on the East side and then started checking the central campgrounds. Eventually we found ourselves on the West side of the park, still looking for a place to call home for the night. We took in the incredible sights of Yellowstone as we drove the parks roads and primarily the “Grand Loop” for hours.
We are always successful when we put ourselves “out there” like we did today but, as night fell on Yellowstone we did not have a campsite. So sad……
It is not legal to boondock in Yellowstone. You need to have a campsite or you need to leave the park to camp. You can’t use the turn outs and you can’t sleep at any of the points of interest. If a ranger finds you camping you will be fined and promptly booted from your spot. We didn’t want any issues at 2 or 3 AM so we didn’t even consider this option.
We weren’t going to travel 3 hours back to Cody WY so we decided to drive 20 miles North West to a small town called West Yellowstone in Montana.
As a bit of a backstory, I need to share that Yellowstone NP has almost no cell signal or cellular data. We have Verizon cell phones and an AT&T hot spot with no signal on anything. We couldn’t even make phone calls in most of the park.
When we stopped at the Old Faithful Geiser, they had a little internet access and when I say “a little”, I mean very little. Each webpage I needed to open took about 2 minutes. Painfully agonizing!
I was able to get open a few RV sites to grab phone numbers and then I proceeded to call about 5 RV parks in Montana. However, I was not able to find a campsite that was available anywhere.
We drove to Montana anyway, mostly because we all were pumped up to see Montana. LoL.
The town of West Yellowstone reminded me, a little, of Moab, UT. A small town with lots of restaurants, small motels, boot shops and small RV parks for the Yellowstone overflow crowd.
This town also has cellular towers and we had 4G LTE internet again! The kids were so excited about the excellent internet access and it made Jenn and I laugh. All the kids want is internet access and they are reconnected with all their friends.
We searched the town high and low for a place to park our RV and came up empty. There are “no camping” signs on every street throughout town and every RV park was booked. We were forced to drive out of town in search of a suitable place to spend the evening.
We found a dirt road that looked like a off-roading entrance way to the forest which seemed like a quiet place to camp for the night but, they had a “Day Use Only” sign at the entrance so we circled around and headed back out.
We continued North about 1 mile outside of town and found a rest area for truckers. We reluctantly decided to make this our campsite for the evening.
We got ourselves all setup for the night and went to bed. Then about 1 hour into our sleep the truck next to us started his generator and woke us all up. Ugh!
It turned out that the truck we parked next to had a refrigerated trailer and the refrigeration unit turned on and off all evening to keep the trailer cold. So, with that going on, combined with the trucks blowing by on the highway all night, it was hard to sleep. We woke up about every hour and seriously contemplated life.
What a night!