Posts Tagged With: solo women travelers

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 8

I slept amazingly well considering I was on bear alert and a little on edge.  I waited for daylight so I could go across to the restrooms to get cleaned up and ready for the day. I was hyper-vigilant walking on the path through the bushes and carried my pepper/mace spray in the ready position.  With my quick reflexes and physical acuity I’m sure if I ever had to press the nozzle of the mace it would be pointed in the wrong direction and I’d get it in the face instead of the bear.  At least I wouldn’t be able to see him eating me.

I was reluctant to leave the grandeur of the bay but will savor the beauty and plan to return to Grand Teton National Park as a destination with my sister, hopefully, next year.

Yellowstone National Park is only 18 miles up the road from Coulter Bay Campground.  That was a pleasant surprise and, again, I saved the $30 entrance fee thanks to my Senior Pass.  My plan was to visit Yellowstone then head north to Glacier National Park but cell reception in the Tetons had been patchy to non-existent.  I even had trouble with my GPS so I’m a little anxious about driving to Glacier on secondary roads without any type of cell service in case of emergencies.  A girl’s got to be careful and aware when traveling alone, especially if she can’t call Geico or dial 911 if she’s in trouble. I decided to not think about it until I finished at Yellowstone, having already established a beautiful alternate route to Seattle if needed.

On the way to Yellowstone I passed the Continental Divide for the first time this trip.  An elevation of 7,988 feet may not seem like much to most people, but I’m from Florida where the elevation of my home is 6 feet.  I checked Wikipedia for a refresher on the “Continantal Divide” since it’s been about 100 years since my last geography class. If you’re interested, America’s Continental Divide:

is the principal, and largely mountainoushydrological divide of the Americas. The Continental Divide extends from the Bering Strait to the Strait of Magellan, and separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain into the Atlantic Ocean (including those that drain into the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea) and, along the northernmost reaches of the Divide, those river systems that drain into the Arctic Ocean

Of course my first stop in Yellowstone was to see Old Faithful.  I only had to wait about 10 minutes for its eruption and it looked exactly like the old newsreels and pictures you’ve seen.  What made it especially exciting were the hundreds of people from all over the world waiting with me and the “oohs” and “aahs” as the geyser took off.  I stopped in the Travel Center to get my National Parks Passbook stamped, wrote some postcards to the grandkids and continued my exploration.

So I  moseyed and meandered through Yellowstone for a couple of hours observing waterfalls, geysers and hot springs.  So beautiful.  It’s funny …  I packed my clothes and equipment for kayaking and hiking adventures but my heart led me to continue driving and exploring, observing the beauty around me.  I entered Yellowstone from Wyoming and exited the park to West Yellowstone, Montana.  I had a late lunch at the Bullwinkle Saloon.  An adorable restaurant but $18 for a cheeseburger?  Oh wait, that included a Blue Moon and the tip. I finally had a wi-fi connection so I called home to let everyone know I was OK, caught up with emails and messages.  Wait, maybe I had two Blue Moons.  OK, $18 isn’t so bad. I checked my Allstays app (don’t leave home without it) and my atlas and decided it would be foolhardy to attempt Glacier National Park this trip.  I did not feel prepared or comfortable continuing without cell service or warmer clothes that were stored in my rooftop carrier and I’d rather be beaten than try to get the duffel down from there after the fiasco with my kayak. So, on to Plan B – just keep driving west.

I passed through Billings and Bozeman looking for a place to stay and finally gave up and decided to boondock at a WalMart in Butte, Montana.  I had a leisurely dinner at a local restaurant and spent a comfortable night tucked away between two giant RV units. Unfortunately, I parked under a security light and gave up a little bit of comfort for the safety of the big boys parked on either side of me.  It was a long day filled with wonders.

 

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Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Life, Retirement, road trip, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 6

I ended Day 5 at Lake Ogallala State Recreation Area.  Camping at a recreation area is very different from camping in a state or national park.  You pay admittance ($10 in this instance) and just drive to wherever you want to overnight.  Lake Ogallala is gorgeous.  I parked right on the beach under the trees and prepared for the night. After unloading my kayak, chair, cooler and other items I drove to the only restaurant in the rec area.  It was 4:00 but I  thought I would treat myself to a cocktail and a hot meal.  The sign read that the kitchen didn’t open until 5:00.  OK, I’ll sit at the bar and enjoy a glass of wine until it opens.  I ordered my wine and told the bartender I’d just sit and keep her company for an hour until I could order dinner.  She said, “Nope, that’ll be two hours”.  Well, I had crossed into another time zone and it was actually 3:00.  So, now I’m two zones away from home and I’m a little confused because I don’t know how to re-set my fit bit watch and I’ve been deducting an hour every time I glance at it.  OK, so now I’ll deduct two hours.  But I’m still hungry.  I bought a bag of Doritos and a bag of Cheetos (actually the first junk food since I began my trip – hooray for me!) and returned to the lake.

I inflated my kayak and had a wonderful paddle on Lake Ogallala.  I decided I’d do an early morning paddle so I left the kayak inflated, sat down to write, read, drink some wine (I always carry a bottle for happy hour), plan the next day’s route, munch on junk food  and watch the sun set.  Stunning.

There’s one problem with camping in a recreation area – no facilities. Well, there was a vault toilet but yuck, no.  I used my female urination device for the first time and it worked great although my sister-in-law’s method of outdoor peeing worked even better.  Thank you, Lisa. Contact me if you want her method.  I don’t mean to be offensive but these are things girls must think about when camping. I had a very comfortable night except that my eye started draining. After cleaning it with a washcloth and water, it began to feel better and by morning the pain was gone and the swelling under control.  Whew!

No kayaking in the morning.  The lake was shrouded in mist.  I sat on the dock dangling my feet in the icy water while making some phone calls. The setting was quiet and mysterious and I started thinking about Stephen King’s, “The Mist”.  I got extra spooked when I heard a splash and promptly pulled my feet out of the water and up into a lotus position but reminded myself that there are no sharks or alligators in Lake Ogallala.  It still creeped me out until I saw a large fish jump, wiggle and splash.  It was a trout or a bass maybe and would explain why I saw a bunch of people fishing yesterday.

I had a heck of a time deflating the kayak and getting it back up into the rooftop carrier.  I brought a one step stool but I still wasn’t tall enough to position it, zip the carrier and tie it down.  There was no one around to help so I just did a half-assed job and went on my merry way. I stopped at the Visitor Center to clean up, change clothes, a little makeup (hopeless since I didn’t want anything applied around my eyes), comb and style(?) my hair, etc. The hell with it.  I was anxious to find Wyoming.

The rest of Day 6 was glorious.  I entered Wyoming early and was so enthralled with the scenery I passed right through Cheyenne and Laramie without really noticing. My plan was to stop and explore some cowboy stuff but I decided I was more interested in the countryside than tourist attractions so I kept driving west on Interstate 80 until I discovered a byway through the Medicine Bow Mountains.  It took me two hours off my route but was so worth it.

 

I then got desperately lost but eventually found Rawlins, WY and decided that I would boondock for the first time at the local WalMart.  Many of the camping blogs I read recommend staying at the WalMart lots because they’re safe and convenient.  There are security cameras and lights and I was encouraged that there were at least 20 RVs, campers and trucks parked in the overnight parking area.  I know it sounds odd to boondock in a WalMart lot but if it’s good enough for the big boys with quarter million $ RVs, it’s good enough for me.  WalMart loves overnight campers because they buy their supplies from the store, buy gas, etc.  Whatever you may think about WalMart, they are cordial and supportive of their overnight campers.

I stopped for dinner at the Days Inn restaurant next door because I was exhausted and didn’t have the energy to look for any other restaurants.  I had one of the most delicious cheeseburgers I’ve ever eaten.  Perhaps I was just extremely hungry having only eaten leftover Cheetos and a couple of energy bars all day.  I parked between two huge RVs and in the morning the lot looked like a regular campground. I felt secure and had a comfortable night.  I can’t wait for Day 7 – Grand Teton National Park.

 

 

Categories: Camping, Kayaking, Life, Retirement, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mamacita’s Casita – Let the Adventures Begin!

I never saw a live pig until I was 19.  I was raised in Miami Beach in the 1950s and led a sheltered life.  So, how does a spoiled, scaredy cat, mid-century girl end up with her very own travel trailer driving cross country alone?  Here’s the skinny …

We took a hard look at our finances when I retired and concluded that if I wanted to go, do & see everything on my list I’d have to find a creative way to go, do & see.  The most economical way for us to travel is by camping although up til then I considered camping staying at a cheap motel. I  investigated RVs, campers and travel trailers before deciding that a Casita Spirit was the perfect travel trailer for me.  Ultra-light for easy towing and all the amenities I need packed into 17 feet of fiberglass.  I also had to find the perfect vehicle to tow the little cutie & eventually bought a Kia Sorento.  Then all I needed to do was learn how to hook it up, tow it, back it up and set it up!

Mamacita with her new Casita!

Mamacita with her new Casita!

After almost killing each other on our first couple of trips, I realized that this camper travel thing was my dream, not Kurt’s and he did not want to participate in every one of my hare-brained adventures.  I needed to learn to travel alone if I wanted to be Wander Woman and must overcome my fears of the dark, the great outdoors and all things creepy-crawly or I had to give up my going, doing, seeing.  So, I did.

I traveled to Long Key State Park at Mile Marker 62 in the Florida Keys and backed into a campsite by myself yesterday.  I then set up camp and began my blog by the ocean.

First time I backed the Casita in by myself!

First time I’ve backed the Casita in by myself!

And set up camp by myself!

And set up camp by myself!

Blogging by the ocean - not too shabby a set up!

Blogging by the ocean – not too shabby a set up!

Let the adventures begin!

Categories: Camping | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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