Let’s set the wayback machine to July 4, 1998. My (now ex) husband, my daughters (9yrs & 3yrs), my in-laws, our nephew (12yrs) and I were on a two week road trip. We were packed into a Dodge Grand Caravan and we were camping much of the time.
We had started out on June 30, 1998 with our first stop being the Grand Canyon. I may do other posts on some of the other places we went and what we saw. It was a trip to remember.
Anyway, July 4 we woke up at a campsite right on a lake in Boysen State Park. This was near Shoshoni, Wyoming. Our plan for the day was to head towards Montana. We were looking for “the spot” in the mountains of Wyoming along the way. “The spot” is a place my (ex)husband had stopped at on a previous trip and he swore it was the most beautiful place on Earth.
We did actually find it near Ten Sleep, Wyoming. There was a little turn out on the highway so we stopped. There was a river and lots of trees and it was very pretty but at 9700ft elevation the air was too thin for me to want to do much exploring.
Onward to Montana. We we’re headed to Greasy Grass aka Custer Battlefield. We got to the general vacinity around dusk and the big debate was whether to camp or drive 15-20 miles further on and look for a motel. There were 7 of us so finding rooms wasn’t always easy.
We decided to camp at this place that was basically a wide strip of grass next to the railroad tracks with a store/office at the entrance. We got out of the van and we’re immediately attacked by swarms of mosquitos. Eyes, ears, nose….nothing was safe. A quick run to the store for a can of Off and we were ready to set up the tents.
I was thinking about the fact that it was the 4th and there were no fireworks and looking at the sky. There was lightning flashing all along the horizon so I figured Mother Nature was giving us a little show. It was windy but we didn’t expect rain.
I was tired so I went to sleep early with my younger daughter. It didn’t seem like I’d been asleep very long when I heard shouting outside the tent. My (ex) husband poked his head in and told me to get our daughter and our stuff and get in the van, NOW! Half asleep I asked what was going on.
What was going on was a tornado warning. Now I’m from Southern California. I’ve lived there my whole life. I’ve never seen or been anywhere near a tornado and I was scared to death!
We all piled back into the van to wait. I don’t remember why just sitting in the van was the plan but that’s what we did. I was freaking out but I had to “be brave” for my daughters.
Some hours(felt like years) later we were told it was okay to get back into our tents. The tornado had touched down in the town we were going to look for a motel in.
So, that was my most memorable 4th of July. Mother Nature provided the show.