We left our beautiful spot along the Snake Creek near Platte, SD and headed westward. As beautiful as a spot is, we always have to keep in mind that future adventures await us too!
Badlands – Not so Bad!
First up, our routing change would have us passing through the Badlands of South Dakota, which would mean we could finally meet up with Becky Schade of InterstellarOrchard. She started reading our blog some time ago in her own research for hitting the road full time as a solo female traveler, and I became instantly charmed with her writing style and tenacity.
She’s been searching out unique and fun temporary jobs to keep her funded, and her current adventure is working in the gift shop at Badland National Park for the summer.
We had a delightful time hanging out with her for the evening, going on a hike and seeing a snapshot into her life on the road. She’s every bit as awesome in person as she presents on her blog, and completely inspiring. We definitely hope to rendezvous with her in the future many times!
The little Circle 10 (our review) campground her employer is putting her up at is cute and basic, and easily reachable from the eastern entrance of the park. If you’re passing through, I know she’d welcome visitors!
On our way out, she treated us to lunch at the lodge – and then we took the scenic drive through the park to continue our westward journey. It was just as stunningly beautiful as we remember the drive being during our last pass through the area 6 years ago when we came through to get Chris his South Dakota driver’s license.
Next up, Chris & Jim Guld of Geeks on Tour let us know they were staying in nearby Sturgis, on their way to the big FMCA rally in Gillette, WY. We started following these guys when we first hit the road – I mean, who couldn’t? They’re geeks.. in an RV! And they’ve been at this since 2003. We’ve been corresponding more and more lately, and had a couple near misses in Florida over the winter.
So it was obvious where we’d make our next stop – finally to meet them in person. And of course, they turned out to be even more awesome in person than we anticipated – we’re cut from similar clothes for sure. Well, except for them being Windows people – but we can overlook that. We had a fantastic time hanging out with these two, connecting, sharing stories, sharing lots of wine, dinner and talking about life on the road as working geeks.
And just as those plans were coming together, another follower contacted us saying they too were in the area. Lynn and Clark Bonelli of Tales from the Mutiny hit the road full time back in October and had been reading our stuff – so they joined us too! Instant nomadic meet up! And another set of awesome and fun folks we hope to keep meeting up with into the future.
We ended up extending our stay for two nights, just so we could soak in more nomadic community. Despite Rush No More RV Resort (our review) being one of the most closely laid out RV Parks we’ve ever been in, it was worth it to be amongst new friends.
And you can bet we also shot some new Ramblings footage over these past few days!
The Montana Mission
Now it was time to get on with one of the main reasons behind our particular routing through this part of the country – a special mission.
Long time readers might have picked up that we take our special missions to heart, like Operation Dip Toes last summer.
The only state my father never got to when he was alive was Montana. (Yes yes.. it’s time to get out the kleenex again.)
Before we launched his ashes around a lighthouse in Connecticut last month, I did as I promised him – and gathered a small bit to take to Montana.
I’ve been anxious and nervous about making it this far on our itinerary. It’s a major milestone in the letting go process. Was I ready for it? I made no promise of when after all – I could just pass on by gently through Wyoming and return to Montana at a later date. After some wonderfully soulful connections in South Dakota (Jim also recently lost his father), I felt I was ready to complete the mission.
And isn’t it fantastic that Sunday was Father’s Day? Perfect timing for a perfect tribute.
We looked ahead to our routing options…
Go more southerly through Wyoming and then cross up into Montana via the interstate? Or take the back and more direct route via Hwy 212?
Well, of course direct and backroads win! But let’s introduce another factor..
That’s from our Coverage? app, showing the two carriers we have – AT&T and Verizon.
See that big white blob? Our nice direct path would be passing right through that. And remember, this is Montana now, not some little state like Rhode Island. That white chunk represents well over 200 miles of no coverage. Oh, and bringing up the Allstays, RVParking and Campwhere apps – there were very limited overnighting options along this route too.
We carefully considered it – where we ready to risk passing through such a large area without coverage? Being out of touch from time to time is nice after all. And the bus has been performing wonderfully. We decided YES! we were ready to get to Montana as soon as feasible, get my dad crossed into Montana, take him for some scenic road tripping and navigate the wilds of Montana with limited technology.
We said our ‘until next times’ to Jim & Chris and Clark & Lynn - checked all the fluids in the engine – and off we went.
Beautiful driving across the corner of Wyoming, and then we crossed into Montana where I had Chris snap a shot of my dad and I in Montana.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. The only state you never got to was Montana. My gift to you this year, is taking you there myself.
I had to wait another hour or so until we made it to the island of connectivity (Broadus, MT) to send this picture to my mom and brother to let them know that Dad finally had gotten to all 50 states.
We continued on westward to further adventures.. adventures in which my father’s motto of ‘Always Positive’ are being chanted often.
Tune in tomorrow to find out how we saved $100 in fuel on the next segment of our trip into Billings, MT…