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June 21, 2021

Yellowstone or bust, take 4? (I think, but I might've lost track)

I don't think I've mentioned the status of our Yellowstone trip. We were needing the previously mentioned new van in time for our Yellowstone trip. With or without a siren. A few weeks ago, Yellowstone emailed me to let me know that they aren't opening the part of the park where our reservations are. My initial response:  YOU GOTTA TO BE KIDDING ME? 

Yellowstone circa 2010. 

This, as everything is opening? When I called they explained that the national parks are opening very slowly. Additionally they are having staffing issues. Dang. 

After a little deep breathing, I realized it's probably for the best for a number of reasons. One of which:  the main road in the park is under construction this summer. It would've taken 4 hours to drive around the park the long way to get from what we consider the most popular part of the park - to the other best part of the park. Without construction the drive between point A and point B is about an hour.

Still. It's mind blowing. For those of you who have lost track this marks the 4th time we or the pandemic has cancelled this trip. First time was a last minute reservation prompted by my dad:  LET'S GO TO YELLOWSTONE. I sort of booked it on a 'you-can't-get-a-cabin-now' dare. The cabins I scored were rough riders, so no bathrooms. Nothing about it seemed ideal and I still didn't have Coach on board. So, we said AH, WE CAN GET BETTER RSERVATIONS NEXT YEAR. 

The next year, I got decent reservations. My dad and Coach planned to attend. When I realized that I was taking the two girls to Vancouver - it seemed all wrong in a LET'S NOT PLAY FAVORITES sort of way. (I grew up surrounded by favoritism, and I didn't make the list. Now I do my best NOT to play that way). Why not do Vancouver right, since we'd not likely get back there? We cancelled our reservations and took the family on a VERY memorable trip. 

My next set of reservations also included my dad and Coach, who had accepted his role as the official mountain driver by this stage. His presence was non-negotiable. Then in February my dad cancelled his upcoming July participation to take my sister on a trip to Paris. My poor feelings. I addressed how hurt I was by sobbing through a long-overdue, heartfelt laundry list of this-shit-shouldn't-have-happened in my folks' family room. THEN COVID CANCELLED BOTH MY TRIP AND THE TRIP MY DAD AND SISTER PLANNED TO TAKE ANYWAY. 

I did not invite my dad to join us this summer, and same goes for next summer. He's not getting any younger anyway. Plus, boundaries. I can't drink their Kool-Aid anymore. Leave that to my siblings. 

Just planning this trip has been an adventure. You know the saying:  GETTING THERE IS HALF THE FUN? Since when did fun include blood, sweat, and tears?

July 2022, YELLOWSTONE. Gonna be epic. 

I got my early bird code to make a new reservation back  the end of May. I woke up at 1 am when the window opened and was able to reserve the same cabins for the same time NEXT summer. It felt a little Ground Hog Day-ish. Stay tuned as this trip is bound to be lively and full of interesting details when it actually takes place. 

18 comments:

Nicole MacPherson said...

Wow, this is crazy! How frustrating. I sure hope it happens for you in 2022! Also, good for you for not inviting your dad, I remember that whole affair and I'm proud of you for setting boundaries!

Pat Birnie said...

I feel your pain - we were supposed to take our whole family to Portugal July 2020, rebooked for this year & of course had to delay once again. Fingers crossed for 2022! And to add to the pain Air Canada are ridiculously slow about giving refunds. 18 months they’ve had the $ for 20 flights - no small piece of change. I have always wanted to go to Yellowstone - I hope it happens next year. Well done on not inviting your dad, he does not deserve to be included.

Kari Wagner Hoban said...

From what I'm seeing on social media, be glad you're not going this year. Traffic around these parks is pretty bad because EVERYONE is going on vacay this year because of COVID. We are doing day trips this summer and planning on possibly doing something this fall. THIS is why it's good to homeschool.

Maybe you should see if Suz' has any room at her Georgia house! WE SHOULD ALL DO A GIRLS TRIP THERE. :)

Martha said...

How crazy and frustrating, I hope all works out well for 2022!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say good for you for not including your dad going forward. I am very much of the opinion that it's not worth catering to people who aren't willing to treat you with respect and consideration. Even if they're your parents.

Kara said...

We did Bryce National Park over Memorial Day week. Everyone online said it was terribly overcrowded and full of traffic. We did not experience that. Probably because we were there midweek. Will your kids still be willing to vacation with you? My oldest (18) flat out said there was no way she was going to Bryce with us. So we left her home with the dog. She's going to come with us to Flagstaff in July, but only if a couple of her friends come along. This child also refused to go to Massachusetts this summer, with her sisters to see the extended family.

Ally Bean said...

I've got to believe you'll be better off going next summer and that you'll not miss a thing by not going this summer. I am impressed that you got up early and got the same reservation again. When the time is right you'll get to Yellowstone.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Holy Mackerel. This is a never ending saga for you. You must feel defeated, exhausted by it all. Praying that 2022 is YOUR year!
I'm also glad you are not planning around your Dad; you need to put yourself and your kiddos first. I think your sanity depends on it.

Can I vent about this SHORT STAFFING thing? OMG. What the hell has happened to our country this year? SO many people crying they don't have money or work and SO many people NOT going to work. Crazy with a capital C.

The pic from 2010 is SO darling and I'm looking forward to the 2022 pics. Xo

Ernie said...

Nicole - It is frustrating, but honestly a few minutes after I managed to wrap my brain around it, I realized that next year will be better for a number of reasons. More on that later.

Even if I was still drinking the family lemonade (and I'm not), my dad has aged so much that a trip this year (which he was not invited to attend) would've been dicey and next year would most likely be out of the question. He's much slower than he once was.

Ernie said...

Pat - That is outrageous that they have yet to refund your tickets. Yikes. That's gotta be some serious dough. I hope your trip happens next year. My dad thought he was being funny (or his memory is just failing him) when he said to me at a niece's grad party: I'M HURT YOU DIDN'T INVITE ME TO GO TO YELLOWSTONE. I just rolled my eyes and walked away. DO.NOT.GO.THERE.

Ernie said...

Kari - I've been hearing about the crowds at National parks and I'm shocked. I can't get my mind around the reasoning. It's outdoors and people feel safe? They drive there and feel accessible so they just say AH, THAT'S NOT TOO FAR - LET'S JUST GO THERE. I hope that next year things will be less crowded. Our 1st and only Yellowstone trip was so early in the season (back when our kids were young that skipping the last few days of school was not a big deal) that we had NO crowds at all.

I'm always ready for a girls' trip.

Ernie said...

Martha - I hope so too. Thanks. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Ernie said...

Anonymous - Thanks. I appreciate that. I am 50 years old, and still get upset with myself for letting my family hurt me. I think they just have always glossed over me and they don't take my feelings into consideration. Like NO BIG DEAL, IT'S JUST ERNIE. I guess I should be pleased that they know I do my own thing and I'm not one of the dependent, needy kids. That only takes me so far though.

Ernie said...

Kara - Good question. Ed is not the outdoorsy type. He told us from the start that he didn't want to go. He's responsible and he still remembers our initial trip there 11 years ago, so that was fine. Tank loves the outdoor scene and he was all about this trip. He was super ticked when it got cancelled. The younger kids won't have an option. Lad might want to go, but not sure he'll have time off of work - and not sure he will be invited. His behavior lately has been MUCH improved, but who knows what next year will be like. Glad you had a great visit that didn't feel ruined by crowds.

Ernie said...

Ally - I like the way you think. I dreaded getting up AGAIN, as that's what they did last year for those of us who were cancelled. This year was so much smoother, I was actually worried I hadn't gotten a reservation. I checked my email and was relieved to see the confirmation. Yellowstone's website has been totally revamped. I was shocked not to find the antiquated website of past years that takes forever to load. Last year it took me over an hour to just get the site to load. It struggled with the traffic. Such a relief. Still a pain to set my alarm for 1 am. Ick.

Ernie said...

Suz - It is exhausting. This kind of a trip is not exactly a relaxing vacation. It takes planning and lots of energy. What if the weather sucks? Does everyone own a decent rain coat? All that. Plus more stuff to think about. So, these thoughts crop up throughout the year, like should I get a kid this or that for Christmas for the trip. I know it will be great, but I'm not getting any younger and the constant Yellowstone thought process IS exhausting.

The staffing thing - come on. It is bazaar. All these things that we never dreamt would be impacted by the pandemic. Weird. I agree - can the worker bees go back to work please? The work force needs you. And I need you, so I can cross this trip off of my 'to do' list. Forevah.

Thanks, I do love the photos from this trip. I sometimes look at us and think, what the hell were we doing with those little people on a trip like this? Mountains, bears, muddy trails, backpacks that we PUT kids into on our backs (NOT EASY). Adventure and a half. My older and wiser group will probably not pose for as many photos next year. ;)

Bibliomama said...

The pictures are great and I'm sympathetic to your frustration. I admit I'm a bit surprised and disappointed at the way people are characterizing the 'work force'. Short staffing at many places is due to low wages and unsafe practices. Neither of our countries are great at the minimum wage and yours doesn't have health care, so why would someone work someplace that's going to put them at risk? Never mind the people that actually GOT Covid from going to work. Or people that can't afford to move for another low-paying job. Expecting people to work for nothing unsafely so we can have our vacations and fast food isn't a great look, IMHO.

Ernie said...

Ali - I love trip photos so much, I don't feel the need for souvenirs. Thanks for your perspective on the staffing issues. I guess I won't join the debate on the work force situation, as I'm just chuckling at the mind-blowing way my plans have been rescheduled so many times. I'm confident there are many government systems that can use some tweaking and probably ways to better handle much of the way healthcare and wages are addressed, I'm glad I'm not the one trying to sort it all out. Similar to the early toilet paper shortages, I never imagined the pandemic would impact staffing as it has. I also never dreamt my allergy shots would have to be adjusted because of a mold shortage. Weird times.