We’ve been off the grid for a few days & will be back off of it shortly. Apparently wifi is not readily available in the middle of nowhere USA...
Thursday morning started off rough with us being stranded in Ft. Collins, CO for several hours with blown fuses & non-working trailer brake lights. At this point, I had decided this trip was a horrible idea & we should turn around and go home. My perpetually optimistic husband, “Cool Hand Luke” said we would persevere and keep on trucking!
With Colorado in the rear view, we crossed into Wyoming and headed West. Several hours of driving through Wyoming, we learned that we had never before seen or even known such a sparsely populated part of America existed. We experienced the true Open Range! As we drove past rolling mountains, wild horses, cows, and hundred of pronged antelope, we also crossed the Continental Divide as well as the Oregon Trail. As the past few days of the trip had been rough, and we were both crotchety, it was a nice reminder to think about the original settlers that made this trip and all the harsh realities they faced. Our biggest concern at the moment was not running out of DEF fluid or fuel before the next stop (in these mountains, work from the top of the tank!”) And, even then, no one would die if we broke down on the side of the rode, unlike the settlers on the trail.
After hours of driving with no civilization in sight, we suddenly crossed into the Bridger-Teton National Forest and the terrain instantly changed. Enormous beautiful trees, amazing mountain views and lush greenery were everywhere. We spotted a sign warning of a steep mountainous curve ahead and this led us deeper into the forest around hairpin curves, steep declines, and long grades... I'm talking 10%! With every corner and downshift of the motor, I would let out a gasp while the cry out to Jesus and my breath caught simultaneously in my throat. Of course, this would be followed by Cool Hand Luke's irritation with me and the ever ready re-assurance that we were "fine"... Meanwhile, I'm envisioning our rig barreling down this harrowing mountainous road, missing the curve, plowing through the guardrail and sending our family plummeting to the bottom of the canyon and into the serene lake below. Despite the beauty of the views and the seemingly endless crystal clear lake the corners wrapped around, this is the point where it became in everyone’s best interest for Mama to pour a glass of wine & go to the back to drown her anxiety out with the mindless babble of The Real Housewives! Trust me when I say you haven’t lived until you’ve taken a 38’ motorhome pulling a 24’ trailer around those curves! Somewhere in the heart of that forest we crossed into Idaho and caught some of the most breathtaking sights ever...or so I’m told! We would later learn that this was the treacherous Teton Pass that motorhomes, RV’s, and big rigs are highly encouraged to NOT take! But, according to my husband, we were fine....and I should be impressed with his semi driving skills...
610 miles down the road from where we started our day, we pulled into the Mountain River Ranch outside of Ririe, ID and would call this place home for a few days. We were greeted by our sweet camp host who showed us to our sight (5 hours later than our expected arrival time) and settled in for the night (sans WiFi or cell service).
The next morning we were greeted by a group of very friendly Utah(ian’s?) They were a group of retired school teachers and principals that would, over the course of the next few days, go on to cook breakfast for us and demand we eat with them, invite our kids into their game day activities, change a spark plug on the kids’ dirtbike, compliment us repeatedly on how well behaved our kids are, and eventually invite us to camp at their summer home anytime we’re up that way. As far as the Utes go, I’ll be happy to camp with them anytime!
I hopped in the Jeep as the boys jumped on dirtbikes & we made our way across the Snake River, up the mountain, and 1.4 miles down the road to meet up with our friends and their little rugrats @ the 7N Ranch. The kids ran around and played under a beautiful blue sky and 360 degree Mountain Views until it was time for our dinner theater reservation.
As we all awaited a covered wagon ride down to the dinner, Mountain River Ranch had a new Sherrif in town and she was looking for the dirty scoundrels that made off with the gold. We watched the group of good guys and bad guys shoot it out on Main Street in the middle of the old West town, and much to the kids delight, the good guys won! We were then picked up by a team of gorgeous Tennessee Walkers hooked up to our covered wagon carriage and whisked away to the mountain top barn where we feasted on Beef Tri-Tip with all the fixings (including Huckleberry Ice Cream) and were entertained by all the fiddle playing, singing, and story telling we could ask for! By the end of the night, the kids were dancing and playing in the green grass under the sunset overlooking the mountains.
Saturday morning greeted us with all the excitement of the (big) boys’ highly anticipated cow-tag ride. We kissed the guys goodbye at 9 am and watched them ride off on their dirtbikes up the mountain and into the forest. The women and children hopped in the Jeep with the oldest kiddo following behind on his dirtbike and hit the gravel roads of the forest to do a little exploring of our own. It was a gorgeous sunny day and the tops were off the Jeep so it should be a great time! Quite a ways into the forest & higher up on the mountain, the skies clouded up, the temperatures dropped, and wet stuff began falling from the sky. The kiddo on the dirtbike was now covered in dust from head to toe, freezing, and wet, while the kids in the backseat were just slightly damp... We made it back to camp where we cleaned up and treated ourselves to hot chocolate and snacks while waiting on the big guys. At 3:30, the guys showed back up soaking wet, freezing, banged up, scraped up, and sore from head to toe. They had covered 65 miles in six hours and spent the last three getting poured on in 50• temps. The terrain was the most challenging that some of them had ever ridden and they had the battle wounds to prove it. After hot showers and clean clothes, we all made our way back up to the ski resort for a mountaintop BBQ dinner and raffle. The guys made off with a little loot and we headed back to camp for victorious stories of the ride shared around the campfire as battle scars were compared.
This morning it was the little boys’ turn to go for a serious ride in the forest, however Daddy’s sore muscles and minor injuries weren’t quite cooperating. So, as we packed up camp Tommy was kind enough to take them for a short ride. A little over two hours later, we thought we should go looking for them just as they came pulling back into camp. The little one had ran out of gas and was covered in mud head to toe. After a little siphoning of gas they had gotten him back on the trail and safely back to camp where he had his turn of sharing his adventurous stories of the trail.
Once clean & packed up, we headed North West into the Targhee national forest. Montana and Yellowstone National Park are just on the horizon and we can’t wait to see what it has to hold for us.
Who am I?
Hi! I'm. Brandi, founder of The Power Project. There are a few things I'm passionate about in life, and one of those happens to be my LOVE of travel! We enjoy traveling the world with our kids as well as the continental United States in our motorhome. I hope you enjoy some of our most memorable adventures!