Planning is everything. I can get myself “in the zone” when looking at a calendar and a map. I am a gal who enjoys making a list. When I began planning where to go after our fabulous month near Glacier National Park, one word struck fear into my heart – Sturgis. The annual Sturgis Motorcycle rally is an extremely popular event – attendees ride many, many miles to be at Sturgis. Well, actually some of the attendees drive RVs and just ride their motorcycles for the last few miles. And actually some of the attendees fly to the event and have their motorcycles shipped to Sturgis. But still – about 400,000 or 500,000 people are part of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Do you think that Sturgis has sufficient motels and campgrounds for that huge influx of motorcycle enthusiasts? The answer is NO. So that means that campgrounds in all of Western South Dakota, all of Southeastern Montana, and some of Northeastern Wyoming are in high demand during Sturgis week. And they charge Sturgis rates, meaning higher costs than usual if there is a spot available. I wanted to avoid that huge throng of people and go to South Dakota after the Sturgis dust had cleared.
So I said to myself – let’s go to Yellowstone. This would turn out to be one of the better ideas I have ever had in my lifetime.
When we left our Hungry Horse RV park, our first stop would be Shelby Montana. That’s east of Glacier National Park. Truthfully, I expected that part of Montana to look very much like Glacier National Park. The first part of our drive was similar landscape, but then Montana became surprisingly flat. It was so flat that it made me wonder “Why isn’t the western part of Montana called Idaho?” I mean, look at a map – my idea would make Idaho more of a rectangle and would leave Montana still looking like a rectangle. I’ll have to do some research to learn why Idaho and Montana state boundaries look the way they do.
The RV park in Shelby Montana was unusual for several reasons. The first oddity was that the RV spots were sort of like parallel parking as opposed to the usual RV park spots that are back-in or pull-thru. The second oddity was that lockers were available for you to rent. Why rent a locker? To store your firearms while you go to Canada. You can’t take firearms into Canada, so I guess the RV park figured this locker-rental business was a good secondary source of income. Canada is only about 35 miles north of Shelby. But we were going to Yellowstone, not Canada – so we had no interest in the lockers.The third oddity was that in the late afternoon, there was a group of Amish or maybe Mennonite folks who drove up in a medium-sized refrigerated truck. The ladies in the group proceeded to go door-to-door to all the RVs in the park, inquiring if anyone was interested in fresh vegetables. Eureka, what a nice surprise! The fresh vegetables were much appreciated. We bought kohlrabi, peas, red potatoes, carrots, and cherries.
Day 2 held no surprises. The scenery unfolded with virtually the same flatness as we drove south from Shelby to Helena. The RV park destination was quite nice. We had a spot in the back row of the park, so we had nice scenery of a meadow and some rolling hills in the distance. We decided to eat dinner in Helena, so used TripAdvisor and Yelp to find an appealing spot. We chose “Sarah’s Blue Ribbon Porkies”. This restaurant specializes in pork tenderloins that are truly impressive – it was more like an entire half-inch thick pork chop on a bun. Remember, I said I was only “Vegan Before 6”. At dinner, I love me some pork!
Our destination on Day 3 was Island Park Idaho. I don’t remember why I chose this RV park out of the many RV parks that are near Yellowstone. When we drove up to the RV park, I honestly thought I’d start to hyperventilate. Best.Place.I’ve.Ever.Been.
More later, in the next post.