If you missed the first post in this series, start here.
LCB rode our horse as far as she would go, and then eased her over onto the side of the road.
I sensed it was not the appropriate time to say what I was thinking, which was, “Honey, remember our original idea to rent a vehicle for the trip that we forgot all about in our last minute rush to pull everything together? Because I’m remembering the idea now.”
No, that would not have made for one of our finer moments as a couple.
Instead, I fished out my AAA card and dialed while LCB assessed the situation and shared his ongoing assessment with his passengers. I’d give you a sample of the monologue, but he spoke Car and I don’t, so I can’t begin to replicate. The only word I remember is the same word he used as he eased the minivan over onto the shoulder: transmission.
It was a word I would hear many, many times that day. I still don’t really understand a transmission’s function that well, but since I do speak Money, I do now well understand that it functions expensively.
Among other things, finding a tow truck that would fit five people (no nearby exits) was a challenge. But we ended up, over an hour later, riding high in the cab of a tow truck headed toward Denver and a dealership. As the mountain range came more clearly into view, I attempted to spin things for the small people by saying something about how now we’d get a better view of the mountains, riding up high in the truck. Baby-girl looked at me, dead serious, and said, “I don’t think this is any higher than the minivan.”
For the record, it totally was.
We got to the dealer, and in this story’s abridged version, found out that with the weekend approaching, it would be three or four days before we could expect a functioning vehicle. Thus we began the task of renting a car for the day and transferring our belongings into the car. The smaller vehicle also meant we could no longer stock up on supplies the day before getting the RV; there was simply no room. So we drove to our hotel, dined on take-out Chinese, and fell into our beds exhausted.
The saving grace in all this, as some of you may have realized, was that since we were renting an RV in the morning and planning on leaving our vehicle behind for four days until we returned to the very same spot, we had four days before we’d need a vehicle again. While it’s not hyperbole to say there’s never a great time for your husband to turn and mumble the word “transmission” to you as your vehicle comes to a halt, as far as transmission dramas go, this one could have been much worse. In a different sequence or location, it could have decimated most of our plans.
We picked up the RV (a nearly new Minnie Winnie) the next morning at the Apollo location in Denver. Their service was good, the RV was clean and in excellent condition, and they gave us a free upgrade. After all the grief of the day before, we were now pumped. And, Apollo affirmed a great truth that day. In summary, there’s a method to the free upgrade madness; once you’ve tasted the goodness of the upgrade you thought you didn’t need, you’ll be much more willing to pay for the upgrade you still don’t need but now want on your next rental.
Seriously though, the few extra feet and the pop-out in the living area that I thought were unnecessary on account of “vacation’s all about together time” made me realize that I’m super-good with a wee bit less “togetherness.”
Truth in blogging, folks.
Our bathroom was tiny (LCB’s head was basically in the ceiling when he stepped in the shower, and it was difficult even for me to maneuver in the room), but functional. Kitchen-wise, we had a sink, a small fridge and freezer, a microwave, a stove, and a small oven.
After leaving Apollo, we headed north into Wyoming.
The Fam had great fun laughing at my pictures with my foot at the bottom of them, as I would have done to them had roles been reversed, but that’s how I ride and I wanted to paint the picture of the RV life for y’all.
Y’all, it was something, sitting high as LCB steered the Minnie Winnie toward the mountains, all of us living the WinnebaGoLife we’d dreamed of for so long.
We stopped at the Wyoming Welcome Center just over the Wyoming/Colorado border off of I-25. I think this is the best welcome center I’ve ever visited. They had a free coffee station,
Then, we spent the better part of the day getting up to Cody, Wyoming, a small town with a decidedly western feel to it just east of Yellowstone. Knowing we’d be getting in late and probably not staying too long, we stayed at Absaroka Bay RV Park, a few blocks off of Cody’s main drag. It’s pretty basic and the sites are small, but it has full hook-ups, the people were nice, and it was extremely neat. Seriously, the bathroom was one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen. By the way, we unfortunately didn’t get a chance to go, but Cody offers a rodeo every night during the summer months.
That night, we set up camp and I reveled in this new-to-me form of camping. I do understand the appeal of tent camping, but after our Hunting Island camping trip, I basked in the glow of the western flick playing on our flat screen, the climate control heating and cooling, the ice-cold beverages available from the refrigerator, and the glory of sleeping four feet (rather than four inches) off the ground.
That night, the Minnie Winnie and I became good friends.