We are safe and have arrived at our final Western destination.... the Flagg Ranch in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons...but not without incident.
Mom started out the morning a nervous wreck. She was on the phone with her mechanic, discussing mountain driving. "Keep it in low gear and not too much on the brakes. If you stall you will lose all power, including brakes and steering." She was in tears and shaking. We decided to go as far as we could and if the mountains were too much we would stop wherever we could closest to the park, park the RV and head into the park with our tents and the car. I offered to drive. "I don't want something to happen to you," she said..."but I don't want to die either!" More tears. I told her to relax and enjoy the ride; besides we had a good 150 miles to go before we would hit any serious mountain driving.
We cleaned up our campsite and said goodbye to our new friends from Colorado, the Vernon's. We met during a killer basketball dunk contest in the pool, myself and Adam, the father, hooking the kids up with ollie oop passes. They were super cool people. We exchanged info and promised to visit one another in the near future. We then packed up our vehicles and followed the dirt path out to the main highway.
When my mother made her move to pull out of the parking lot my brother and I witnessed something neither of us were prepared for. Out from under the RV came a tiny gray and white striped kitten not more than 6 weeks old. It sputtered and crawled for a about 5 feet in front of us before sprawling out on its back and crying to high heaven. It had holed itself up in the RV overnight and fell out and was partially run over by the rear tires. We jumped out of the car and ran to it. Mom had no idea that it had happened and drove straight into town a few miles before she pulled over to call us and see why we weren't following. The poor kitty had the throes of death in its eyes and was crying in immense pain trying to catch its breath. I picked it up, barely fitting in one hand, and considered just snapping its neck to put it out of its misery, but a group of young kids and a grandmother had witnessed it too and came running over. It was an awful scene. The grandmother wrapped it up in her shirt and took it away, which I was thankful for, because she seemed like she knew exactly what was happening. I thanked her graciously and got back in the car. When I caught up to my mom and relayed the story, we were all pretty much sick to our stomachs. "It can only get better from here!" I said as we mustered our heads back together and made for the highway. I tried to explained to my little brother that sometimes things just happen that way. He seemed to understand completely. We put the music on and got our brains focused on the road ahead.
50 miles down the road at a cruising speed of 65 or 70 mph, another kitten came whipping out from under the RV.... HOLY SHIT! We just missed hitting it, as it made its way to the side of the road. It had been spared the tires somehow and was alive. Thank God. I flagged my mom down and made her pull over. John and I scoured the under-carriage of the RV to look for more kittens. We didn't find any.... and luckily no more came out of the back while we were driving. I don't think we could have handled the carnage.
My mom did a great job in the mountains and we made it to the Flagg Ranch! It is so beautiful here and the ride was surreal. We have no internet or phone coverage in the park so it may be a few days or even a week before I post again. Right now I am sitting in a coffee shop with a bunch of yuppie white people and their Macs in Jackson Wyoming. The douchebag next to me is loudly over-explaining where he gets his "brain freeze" when he drinks cold drinks. His girlfriend who "just totally stepped out of an LL Bean catalogue", is doing the same. I think you know the type. I'm gonna get out of here before I start complaining about bio engineered food or some shit.... ha ha. Hope you are all well!