Big Horn National Forest - The Amators Adventure Club
September 30, 2016

Big Horn National Forest

I know when I’m tapping on the rooftop of my skill level.  Tonight is a good example.

This morning we decided to make the hike  (drive) from Devil’s Tower to Big Horn National Forest.  For those of you familiar with Wyoming, this is not an impressive distance. It’s the best we can do in the Chief.  Yellowstone is just around the corner, but it’s not within reach.  I had every intention of finding a campground… there are only 1000 of them in the area so it’s not that big of a deal.  We picked one off scenic route 16 and hauled off on a little dirt road, fire lane 20 maybe?!  There was a decent grade.  Scott was driving.  

Slowly we ground to a halt.  I asked Scott what was going on and he laughed… “Well I guess we found her limit.”  Me, “What limit?” Him, “The Chief can’t get up this hill pulling the car.” Ohhh… I knew we slowed down when we were climbing (in general we don’t go faster than 30 mph up hills) but it didn’t occur to me that the RV might literally stop moving.

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So here we are, stuck on a hill.

Even though the road looked unused, there was actually quite a bit of traffic.  One older fella stopped and chatted with Scott for a bit.  He offered to pull us up the hill with his pickup but that just didn’t sound like a good idea to me.  Maybe I’m too conservative but in my head I saw “Darwin Award Nominee” as a giant flashing neon sign.  Scott and I took the car off and the trailer.  Then Scott backed the Chief down the hill to a point where he could get a bit of a running start.  They came right up.

Being helpful, the guy showed us a nice little boondocking site on the way to the campgrounds.  I’m not sure I entirely understand how this works… why would anyone pay at the campground if you can just pull over and have a completely private area in the wild?!  Scott said it’s because of the amenities at the site.  Maybe.  We couldn’t have made it to the campground anyway.  It’s in a fairly deep ravine another couple of miles down the dirt road.  If the Chief didn’t make it up the first grade, it would never make out of that one.

Let me take a quick pause in the story at this point.  Scott accuses me of always being suspicious.  That’s accurate, I am.  Why was this man was so helpful? I couldn’t help but wonder if he wanted to know where we parked so he could come back tonight.  Doubtful he would be looking to rob us (The Chief doesn’t give off that kind of vibe) so worse… pervert?  {hopefully directed at me and not the kids}  It’s not like we can call anyone for help. When Scott told him that we were only staying one night my first thought (repeat thought – this was not out loud), “Stop immediately!!  What are you doing?!!? Never provide the schedule ahead of time.  That means he’ll feel pressured to do whatever he’s going to do tonight instead of just casing us tonight and we’ll be gone by tomorrow before whatever he’s got planned can happen.   There’s nothing seriously wrong with me – nothing a few years in an RV on the open road won’t take care of.

Getting back to my skill set or lack thereof.  Here we are.  We’re deep in the forests of the west.  These forests aren’t like home…. big things live in these woods.  I can’t even begin to guess what crapped something the size of my head on the site where we’re now sitting.  The only thing I can think of is wild bison but I thought those were almost extinct?!  Whatever – it’s big.  Plus everyone talks about rattlesnakes all over the place.  Even though we haven’t seen them yet and it’s starting to get decently cold, I expect we’ll happen on one soon enough and it really might be enough to do me in on the spot.  I was thinking about everything in the above 2 paragraphs when Scott announced that he didn’t have coverage out here – no internet.

This is a “stop the presses” kind of announcement.  He had work that really had to get done tonight.  “Don’t worry,” he said, “I”ll just take the car and be gone a few hours.”  Huh.  So now I’m alone with the kids in the wild with zero connectivity and a potential pervert that knows tonight is game night if he’s so inclined.  Did you just start hearing creepy noises too?  I have, ever since Scott left.  I keep looking at the dog to confirm or deny my concerns.  The dog is useless by the way.  He’d be the last to know there was a  problem and the first thing to be eaten.

I’ll get used to boon docking. I enjoy the no rules, you take care of you philosophy.  I’m not actually THAT far from other people – a few miles I think.  I know how to light a decent fire and I have knives.  If some weirdo decides to approach us, well that’s a take it one step at a time kind of situation no matter what.  This is no longer beginner boon docking – I think it might be the real deal.

(Scott here) – Let’s be a bit more clear. The Chief ground to a – going nowhere halt – in the middle of this small dirt road. The very helpful gentleman, needed us to move so he could get by and head to his camper somewhere deep in the woods. If he were looking for people to stalk, this would be the last place to look. The road was busier than expected, but not busy by any means.

The stars are something else here though — I had to go to town to work, so by the time I got home it was NIGHT and WOW, stars, milky way, the whole deal. Amazing! I invited Traci to come outside and look with me….. she declined.

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Rebecca, yes she is wearing those heels… in a national forest… in the snow.  What have you done?!?

See the 3 Biggest Things We Wish We Knew Before Starting Fulltime RVing!

Traci Warren