Getting Back to Adventure: A Summer RV Trip to Montana

Getting Back to Adventure: A Summer RV Trip to Montana
How one RVing family is bouncing back to the lifestyle they love after the global pandemic
By: Dineo & Bryce Dowd

Wow, I can’t believe we are here. We made it out. It feels surreal to be here today. After watching our loved one’s struggle with the pandemic and isolation for a year, it feels like a lifetime. Now, our family is taking a few steps to learn to navigate the current meaning of traveling safely together. The virus is still out there, but we can’t live without adventure. It’s about time! 

Preparing for Our Much-Anticipated Summer Vacation in the RV

We planned an 11-day trip to kick off summer break, and traveling anxiety kicked in right away. So many things have changed within a year. Our packing list consists of sanitizers, masks, and containers of hand wipes, but we also packed the most important thing: a good attitude. Plus, a long list of things we wanted to do and see within eleven days.

The nice thing about living in the travel trailer is you don’t have to worry about forgetting something at home. When our daughter missed her friends and wanted to go back home, we reminded her to look back because her house was following her, and we were doing just what she wanted: living our best life!

Highlights of Our 11-Day RV Trip to Glacier NP and Back

We always try to avoid the dirt roads, but not this time around. Our Minnie led us to some hidden gems along the way, and we realized the set-up for boondocking is quick in a Winnebago RV.

A Lovely Overnight in a Vineyard

Our first night was spent in front of the red trail vineyard in North Dakota, enjoying the rest of the afternoon tasting wine and eating local pizza suggested by the vineyard owner. We slept in and were happy to wake up in front of the vineyard. Then we walked back in the tasting room for the coffee experience, a small coffee shop ran by a student barista.

While we were enjoying the morning and meeting the local people, a local musician stopped by for a cup of coffee on his way to a concert in Pennsylvania. It was a great meet-up because we listened to his music on iTunes for a few hours along the way to Montana. We really enjoyed this vineyard boondocking experience.

Making Cherished Memories in Glacier National Park 

The turning around point for us this time was the amazing Glacier National Park. Bryce thought it was just as awesome as he remembers it as a young boy, so you can imagine how excited he was to take us there. 

Although we didn’t have time to hike the park’s Sperry Chalet trail this time, Bryce wanted to go to the trailhead for a picture with an important walking stick used back in the ’80s. His Dad twisted his ankle and cracked the walking stick, something he will never forget. We shared these memories with Grandma when we were back in Wisconsin, along with pictures of us standing there.  

(Note: Due to national park permitting requirements, we can’t share our photos here, but make sure to hop over to our Instagram to see our personal pics from the trip!)

One of the people we met early in the morning while hiking in Glacier National Park, on our adventure to see the waterfalls in Saint Mary Lake, was a doctor from Ohio. He was glad it was us, not a grizzly bear, and he hiked with us for almost two miles before he went back. 

He also took a picture of our family with the backdrop of Saint Mary Lake and beautiful mountains to show his family that he met human beings on a trail, not grizzly bears. We love to keep these memories and photographs. Our daughter Armani might not remember, but we will never forget.

Enjoying the Flexibility of Our Minnie

During our trip, we made sure to fill up our water tank every opportunity to continue to use the toilet while traveling during the day and allowing us the flexibility to start the morning drive at times without a reservation for that night. 

On one day of our journey, we decided to keep driving extra miles than what we planned for the day. We arrived at the Tiber Marina Campground in Chester, MT, right at sunset - after driving an extra 10 miles on the dirt road. But it was worth it. The view from the entrance was amazing, and the camp host was very welcoming; Bryce stayed up talking to the walleye fisherman from Montana that night.

Another favorite stop along the way home was a rest area with camping managed by Kiwanis Club Campgrounds, which we stumbled across at a good time to stop driving for the day. A fully charged battery and water in the tank allowed us to enjoy the evening, a nice steak cookout overlooking the local municipal airport with a beautiful sunset, and then getting a good night’s rest.

Final Thoughts on Our Summer RV Adventure

This experience made us realize that we were missing out on the real adventure of enjoying little things and exploring hidden gems. Previously, when we camped in a tent, we couldn’t be camping longer than three days and it seemed like we were always in a rush. 

Now, traveling with the Winnebago travel trailer is allowing us to take our time, have peace of mind, and we were able to still practice social distancing and keep the family healthy and safe during this trip.

Pulling along the Winnebago Minnie allows us to meet some interesting people and stay in some incredible places.

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