Day 3 – Bozeman, Montana
Today was our longest driving day yet. We made it a priority for our driver to get in bed first and early, so he was ready to pull out from Cheyenne, Wyoming by 7am.
With stops for fuel and considering how slow we sometimes have to take our 2003 Fleetwood Discovery, as well as the fact that Nick felt it was a good idea to rest the transmission after several mountainous passes, the 600 miles took us about 13 hours from start to finish. We pulled into Bozeman Hot Springs Resort and Campground at 8pm, eager to enjoy the mountain air!
These travel pictures don’t do the scenery justice, but here are a few anyways…
What did the kids and I do for 13 hours in the RV? Well, a little of everything, haha. Here are some frequently asked questions about how we travel and vacation:
Do we continue homeschooling when we travel?
Yes! We plan to do school on our “moving days,” the days when we are primarily driving vs able to get out and explore. For our two weeks away, I’ve planned on one week of our lesson plans, broken up here and there when we have chunks of driving time. This gives us something to do and is part of what we want our lifestyle to be. So I enjoy continuing it vs breaking all together.
What activities are best for kids while driving so far?
This is ever changing depending on their ages, but we’ve tried to make stories a priority in our traveling. For us this means a lot of audio books via Audible or Scribd or the Canon+ app. It also means I checked out about 60 books from the library before we left, divided into 6 different bags. I bring out a bag at a time that lasts about 4-5 hours before I switch it for another one. These include picture books and chapter books for the various ages of my kids.
I also have created a “satchel” of items for each kid with activities for them to do at any point. Included, depending on the age of the child, are Water Wow coloring books, magnetic puzzle books, dot to dot activities, coloring books with colored pencils, nature journals for sketching surrounding scenery, Picasso tiles, dry erase books, baseball cards, and sticker books.
Do we use screen time at all?
Very little. The kids don’t have their own devices, but we do have a TV and DVD player in the RV. We didn’t use it at all on our 2021 two week trip. I did reward the kids on this 13 hour day of driving by turning on the The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe after their nap and reading hour. But for our typical days of 4-5 hours driving, we don’t find it necessary.
What helps kids deal with the wiggles?
We rotate who sits where in our RV! Since starting our RV renovation, our seating/laying surfaces include the captain shotgun chair next to the driver, a loveseat sofa, two bunk beds, the master bed and the pack-n-play. Between the three kids and myself, we take turns sitting by Dad at the front, and sitting on the sofa and bunk beds depending on what activity each child wants to do, needs to do, etc. Having this change of scenery can help them by not forcing them to stay in the same place each time.
Here are the meals we had today:
Breakfast: prepped breakfast burritos, prepped cinnamon roll muffins, yogurt and protein shakes
Lunch: sourdough ham and cheese sandwiches
Dinner: about two hours before we arrived in Bozeman, I put some already cooked/frozen ground beef in the instant pot on a slow cooker setting, along with frozen corn, frozen green beans, canned tomatoes, fresh potatoes, beef broth and some seasonings. When we got to Bozeman, the potatoes still weren’t cooked enough, so I simply did the pressure cooker setting for 2 minutes and it was ready! I heated up a few slices of sourdough bread for us to share and we enjoyed piping hot soup outdoors in the cool mountainous air!
Day 4 – St. Mary, Glacier National Park, Montana
Today was another day of driving, but since we didn’t have as far to go, we took our time and left a little later so we could enjoy the complimentary breakfast at our resort. We didn’t get to enjoy the hot springs like we planned, but that’s part of long driving days and it’s ok! We all are learning more and more to go with the flow.
A few hours into our trip, and following some steep mountain passes, we decided to change our route to remain on the interstate. This added some time to our trip, but we felt was safer for our rig.
The entire drive from Bozeman to our RV park near St. Mary on the northeast side of Glacier was surprising- the variety of landforms we saw and all we drove through! Rolling hills, mountains with trees and without trees, flatlands, deep river bottoms dotted with darker shades of greener grasses and trees, farmlands, cabins, and ranch houses. We loved winding through Montana next to the Missouri River and noticing signs pointing toward several Lewis and Clark trails (who we’ve learned about in the past year).
About fifteen miles from our RV park, we emerged on the views where we would be staying for the next four nights. We first came upon Duck Lake, the beauty of which awed us, and which was soon enhanced and surpassed as we approached St. Mary Lake.
I’ve included a few shots from our RV park at Johnson’s of St. Mary- it’s incredible!
After getting settled, we took a brief walk around part of the campground before ending at Johnson’s Restaurant, which has been in service over 72 years. Such a neat place with yummy homemade food, especially the huckleberry lemonade, beef barley soup, and huckleberry ice cream!
We were ready for showers and bed after eating so much!