Brown Chicken, What Now!?

I have now developed a fear of moving days. We needed to clean out our systems. Like REALLY…our home smelled like an outhouse and we couldn’t wait any longer. Honestly, we had done GREAT on our resource conservation. We went almost an entire week, with 6 people, using the resources we had without moving, dumping or refilling any tanks. But my goodness did it smell obvious that it was time.

(Warning, the following may be a bit graphic for some)

As Eric and I were packing up, the “Littles” were keeping themselves busy with playing around the campsite. We were about to raise the last of the jacks to get the trailer ready to go when we hear Ethan say, “I think I’m going to need more than a bandaid” to Jill. Ethan comes to Eric and says, “Um, Eric, I think I have a problem.” Eric looked over at Ethan, Ethan removed his hand and blood started pulsing out of his hand. Eric says, “Dear God, Ethan, go see your mom!”. Ethan comes over to me, Eric grabs our mini first aid kit (the big one with the good first aid supplies was OF COURSE inside the now locked up trailer) and I start tending to his wound. The cut was not very long, but was deep enough that I was able to see fat cells and some tissue when rinsing. He needed stitches, I just knew it. I quickly wrapped his hand tightly to slow the bleeding and told the crew I need to take Ethan in to the Dr. Lightheaded, Ethan got into the car, and we got on the phone looking for the nearest urgent care or Dr to Yellowstone that would be able to help. The closest place that felt comfortable looking at him was in a town called Rexburg, where we stayed the weekend prior, and was over an hour drive away. We started the drive and Ethan shared the story of what happened. They were playing with pocket knives, throwing them into some logs and trying to get them to stick. They’d earned the knives by learning knife safety and practicing cutting, etc. from Eric, so we trusted them maybe a touch too much with them without constant supervision. Well, one particular throw of the knife hit the log and bounced back to Ethan and cut him. He said it didn’t hurt, it was just bleeding really badly.

We got to the hospital, the staff was very kind and quickly stitched Ethan’s hand and sent us on our way. They even gave us some really pretty handmade masks to keep. Thank you to those who donated them!

Meanwhile, back at camp, Ethan’s incident happening just before we were ready to pull away for the dump station threw off our checklist. I got a call from a frantic Eric. He was stressed and not acting like himself. The bus is SO loud that it makes hearing a phone call very difficult. Ethan and I spent about 2 hours trying to understand what he was saying. Finally we heard that the power tongue jack was destroyed and he couldn’t find a dump site. Yellowstone is a hot spot for camping, but finding a place to dump, fill and get groceries has been the most difficult we’ve encountered yet. Places that say they are open on Google are closed, it’s just a mess, time consuming and exhausting.

Eventually, Eric found a place to dump and fill but Eric was stuck because of the tongue jack. The hitch bolts have been sheared off, the L bracket on the sway bar is broken, the trailer brakes still need to be fixed, the rv bathroom fan is broken and now our tongue jack, the part that makes it possible to raise the trailer off the ball hitch was destroyed. Eric was unable to move from the dump site and they were charging us $1/minute because we were in the way. Eric dragged the tongue jack and made the problem even worse just to avoid the extra fees that hours longer would incur.

Ethan and I drove as quickly as is safe to Camping World in Idaho Falls, another 30 minute drive in the opposite direction of Eric to purchase the tongue jack, which was of course double the price of what we could have gotten one if it weren’t an emergency. Eric was able to talk to the staff at the rv dump station on the next shift and they refunded his $200 of $1/minute fees for not being able to move.

We met up in the parkling lot near the camping area to install the tongue jack. The old jack would not come off. The power tools we were trying to use were not cooperating, we were starting to feel pretty beat down. Finally, we decided to stay the night right where we were and try again in daylight the next day.

The frozen pizzas I’d picked up in town had thawed from sitting in the car for 6 hours while we fought with fixing the trailer. We have only baked in our little easy bake oven sized oven a couple times so I’m not quite sure about all of its quirks. Our thawed pizza dough pizzas were to be placed directly on the rack. I followed those instructions and regretted it. The dough sagged in between the grates, touching the metal the flame for the oven was directly under. The crust was charred and I had to remove the grate just to take the pizza out of the oven. Here is a picture of the most Instagram-worthy food, ever.

When the kids went to bed, Eric and I broke down from all the stress. We were trying to view things from a positive perspective but we were struggling in that moment. We showered hoping that would wash away some of the stress of the day and we could reset and start over.

The next morning was bone chillingly cold, windy and rainy. We went to West Yellowstone, about 20 minutes from camp, and found the greatest hardware store with one of the friendliest and much needed salespeople. We rented a sawzall and headed back to finish our tongue jack fix. Cutting the old hitch was much easier with that tool and short work was made with it. It was bitterly cold and windy and wet though, so only a couple of hours of work chilled us to the core.

After we got the tongue jack replaced, we headed back into town to do another quick dump and fill and went back to camp. This was our first experience setting up in muddy rainy weather. Our knock-off Anderson blocks, little half-moon raiser things, kept slipping and sinking in the mushy ground. We were soaked through our clothes and shivering from the hours of being out in the elements. After blowing a fuse and having a couple minor breaks, we got a sort of level set up and called it good enough for the night. The gratitude we felt for having a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, dry clothing on our bodies and a heater made us all giddy. The kids were complete goofballs and we ended the day laughing. Thank heavens for our family. Life can be such a challenge, but the fact that we have each through all this has been an anchor we can not begin express the importance of during these learning curves.

“True grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done. No moral man can have peace of mind if he leaves undone what he knows he should have done.” ~ John Wayne

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