Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tetons/Yellowstone RV Trip Day 1: Salt Lake City to Bear Lake State Park

In early April, we thought it might be a good idea to take the family to the Tetons and Yellowstone for some RV camping. Because of the number of people involved, I thought that an RV might be practical. I've never tried it before, but given my experience with relatively large sailing catamarans, I didn't think that maneuvering an RV would be especially difficult.

Because of the number of people involved, I was forced to reserve a fairly large motorhome. I ended up picking a class B Sunseeker 3170 from Utah RV Rentals.

Because of a few last minute change of plans (driven entirely by external circumstances beyond our control), neither Boen nor Xiaoqin could come, so my parents were recruited to come along instead.

On August 3rd, we flew a 6:15am direct flight from San Jose to Salt Lake City, where upon landing the representatives from Utah RV Rentals met us, tossed everything into an open-top pick up truck, squeezed all 6 of us into the cab, and drove us to pick up the RV. You might think me insane for deliberately picking an absurdly early hour, but my reason for doing so came from my experience with sailboat charters: I expected the check-out to take 2 hours, and then wanted another couple of hours for provisioning, and then to gingerly make my way to Bear Lake State Park, where I had a fully hooked up connection.

The check-out doesn't take nearly as long for an RV: you're presumed to know how to drive a car. The systems aren't nearly as complicated, and RV rental companies seem to be really casual about teaching you how to operate systems. For instance, on a sailboat, the propane is usually cut off whenever you're sailing, but on an RV it's apparently OK to turn on the propane while driving!

We left the RV rental place around 11:00, made our way to a Costco, and then proceeded to eat lunch before buying about 10 days worth of consumables. The RV handled pretty nicely, much closer to a boat than a car, but much less bulky and more maneuverable than any sailboat I've had to drive. What caused us to drive slowly, however, was an unusual storm, which made visibility poor and traffic on I-15 slow an uncharacteristically slow 45mph. We did leave before rush hour traffic, so we were able to get onto the smaller roads past Ogden fairly early.

If you use Google Maps to visit Bear Lake State Park, it'll take you to the wrong one. What you want is the Rendezvous Beach campground. We got there at around 5:00pm, proceeded to set up camp and dinner, when Kevin arrived. The kids got to play, and we got to walk around in the park, which wasn't particularly pretty, but it was only a temporary stop.

As expected, Bowen loved RV camping, and after playing was happy to sleep in the same space as me above the cab of the RV. He kicked around all night, however.

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