Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.

A Cool Trip – Part 4


The snow kept coming sideways and we talked about cutting our day’s drive short. We had planned to go as far as Fort Benton where a friendly RV park always awaited us, but Fort Benton was down a big hill along the banks of the Missouri, and we had seen pictures of how the town had fared in the September snowfall a week earlier. Did we want to be trapped in this valley town with snow covering the steep roads in and out of town? For that matter, could we even make it that far if we wanted to?

We had to get off the road or end up in a lonely prairie ditch. But where to go in Great Falls?

I remembered a Wal-Mart across from the town’s famous smelter and refinery, and that’s where we pulled in.

Wal-Mart Customer Service told us we were welcome to stay for three days. They had all the groceries we might need, a water supply, and a relatively safe place for us to stay. Three other rigs were already parked there and would remain there until after we left.

Wal-Mart even had Wi-Fi but it didn’t reach out to the parking lot.

Generally I prefer to be in an RV park or a place like Exit 16’s park, since public parking lots can be a bit risky if you’re camping overnight alone, but we had no choice by this time and were thankful for the relatively safe haven as the snow began to cover us up.

It would have been foolish to continue traveling, as the many accidents that day proved.

However, we were quite frozen in this place with -17degrees Celcius, feels like -23 (1 degree Fahrenheit, feels like -9F). In the morning, the windows had about a quarter of an inch of frost on them (on the INSIDE!), and the holding tank was frozen at the outlet, as we found out when we tried the next sani-dump we came to. We also tried to add water to our potable water tank – to no avail. The pipes leading to the tank were frozen.

We had a furnace, but running it all night might run our battery down and as luck would have it, the trailer battery was very low in the morning. The Captain ran the Honda generator and brought it back up. Everything was a struggle, and we were getting worn down.

The second night, some drug-crazed kids did a kick boxing display near our rig on the parking lot (yes, in that very cold temperature)! The driver even kicked the lid of his own car’s trunk. (The Captain said, IF it’s even their own car.) Then they tore out of the parking lot at 90 miles an hour.

After two nights there, if we continued north and then east as we had planned, we would be driving into more blizzard and heavy fog in extremely cold temperatures. We were only one long day’s drive from our destination, but there didn’t seem to be any point in going on, even if we could have done that safely. But could we safely go back?


Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

34 thoughts on “A Cool Trip – Part 4

  1. Talk about a great hook on this piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A big dilemma indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This reminds me of spending the night in an RV in Canada with my mother driving, in a shopping center parking lot, a long time ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree that it didn´t make sense to continue. The poor pheasants are hiding and almost freezing too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We can plan – but then, life decides something else for us ………
    As long as you come out on top, that´s just another experience.
    No harm done, that´s what counts.
    Cheers !
    Life is Good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Not really fun, but at last a safe place to stay.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Not balmy there? Looks like an adventure! The hardest trips are the ones that make the best stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well so far it sounds like it wasn’t smooth sailing, but look at the wonderful story you have to share with us. I’m getting shivers just looking at the photos! Brrrrr….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Omg, I can’t get over the snow and cold. Have you been there at this time of year before? I know it’s far north, but it seems so early to have that much snow. Not that it makes a difference once you’re stuck in it. I’m shivering over here, again. Brrrrrr.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yes, we’ve been going there for the last ten years and we’ve never had more than a skiff of snow or overnight frost, but usually balmy days, like an extra long summer. This was very unusual.


  11. My god. This is like reading a (really good) suspense novel. I think you should save these posts to create your next novel, Anneli. I can’t wait to read the next installment. That said, I think you and the Captain are extremely courageous!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a great travel adventure you share here, Anneli! Superbly written with the explanation of how the storm pushed you into a corner, how very cold it became (frost inside the window!), and some of the tribulations you were forced to address. The kick-boxing element topped it all. Great photos, too. You highlight well the imperfect and inconvenient aspects of travel that we all contend with on our adventures. As this is Part 4, I’m heading back to get caught up on your Cool Trip.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s