The Yellowstone saga continues.
Timeline refresher: We first visited Yellowstone in 2010. Curly was 2.5 years old. We've visited several other national parks, but Yellowstone was our favorite.
|Reg in his coon-skin cap showing Mini the sights.|
|Mini - Curly - Tank|
A few years ago, I made a reservations to go to Yellowstone with my dad. This plan took shape while I was in Scotland with Dad and my girls for Curly's first world championship for Irish dancing in 2018. I always thought we'd go back to Yellowstone, because some of the kids barely remember it. Dad has been several times, but he was anxious to go back.
I learned the hard way that if you don't make a reservation the minute they open up in May a year BEFORE you want to go, then there is crap left. The reservation I got for July 2018 sucked. We would've been staying in what's called a ROUGH RIDER. A cabin with no bathroom or sink. Shared facilities down a path.
Underwhelmed by the options, I still reserved the ROUGH RIDERS. As the dates approached, we decided to bale. The trip was too close to our trip to Orlando for Nationals for Irish dancing anyway. The thought of dealing with a shared bathroom down a path left me grouchy.
May 1, 2018, I called and made reservations for July '19. They were decent reservations. Part of our stay was in our fav location of the park in frontier cabins with . . . (drumroll) bathrooms.
Then Coach and I realized Curly was dancing in Vancouver in July '19. It seemed crappy to take Mini for moral support and Curly to dance and leave everyone else home. We certainly couldn't do BOTH Vancouver AND Yellowstone. You might remember how I struggled with that decision. We once again cancelled our Yellowstone trip.
So, on May 1, 2019 Dad and I manned the phone lines trying to get a top notch reservation for July '20. When we struggled to get a cabin at Tower Roosevelt, an employee admitted that the online reservations opened an hour before the phones.
I was furious. I'd called in advance asking stuff like: how many consecutive days can we reserve, how many cabins can I get - we have a big group, etc. No one ever said: ONLINE OPENS FIRST.
On May 2, '19, I called up and shared my frustration. The lady took pity on me. I mentioned that the park ought to be giving Dad first dibs on a cabin since his trip in June of '16 ended badly.
2016: Dad travelled to Yellowstone with my brother Pat and his four kids. He was bucked off of a horse when a chuck wagon drove into the corral too fast and spooked his horse. If Dad had just dismounted because the 1 hour ride that he agreed to take with my niece was over, he'd have been fine. But they make you wait until they help you dismount. He was sitting in the saddle. One foot out of the stirrup. The other in. When he was bucked, the side with the foot still in dislocated at the hip and the hip snapped.
He suffered a brain bleed, 6 broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and a broken hip. He required hip surgery. The doctors admitted to him that this was not the first time they'd seen major injuries from that horse rental barn. We learned the specific horse he rode had a history. Dad hired a lawyer (months later) and seriously considered suing, but ultimately he didn't.
Coach and I breathed a sigh of relief that this happened on Dad's trip to Yellowstone with Pat -
NOT during the trip he took with our family to Glacier exactly two weeks earlier. Pat was framed as a hero. Coach just shakes his head at that mystery KNOWING that I'd have been blamed for anything that happened on my watch.
On our trip, Coach scolded Dad when he crossed a street to take photos of a bear in an open field: "GET BACK OVER HERE. I HAVE ONE MISSION ON THIS TRIP AND THAT IS TO GET YOU HOME IN ONE PIECE."
|Excuse me sir, GET YOUR ASS BACK IN THE CAR!|
When we went white water rafting in Glacier, I made the reservation in advance. Told Dad to bring his book. Found him a comfy chair. After we all put wetsuits on, I couldn't find Dad. He walks up wearing a wet suit. "Oh, I decided to join you. The lady at the desk says it's safe."
I begged him not to. "MOM WILL KILL ME." The man has a mind of his own. He was 76. Coach made Dad sit on the raft directly in front of him. I was to dive in after any of our offspring, but Coach was on Dad watch.
|We all survived.|
When the taking-pity-on-me woman heard that I'd be traveling with my elderly dad who walks all fucked up thanks to a Yellowstone horse, she offered an ADA cabin in the desirable part of the park where I had once again reserved ROUGH RIDERS.
So, 2020 was all set. Dad had a cabin WITH a bathroom. I assured my children that they could all enjoy the shared facilities, but I planned to borrow Dad's bathroom. It wasn't the greatest, but we'd make due.
YOU WILL NEVER GUESS WHERE THIS LEADS (like the most recent development outside of covid). YOU CAN TRY TO GUESS IN THE COMMENTS, OR JUST TELL ME IF YOU'VE EVER BEEN TO A NATIONAL PARK AND IF SO - WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE?