General Travel Advice
Single Woman Traveler – When Is It Time to End A Trip?
This story starts in a happy place. While I was at Crater Lake, sitting on the porch of the Crater Lake Inn, I met a lovely man, who was polite and respectful. We had similar backgrounds and shared experiences. He just seems familiar. He invites me to dinner, but I can’t go because the next day I’m walking 24.6 miles around Crater Lake so I’m getting up very early. I ask for a rain check, and I’m invited to join him on a trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.
Single Woman Traveler – How to Know It’s Time to End A Trip
A great travel experience has six key elements. Once broken, it’s hard to recover the trip. These elements are my rules I believe a single woman needs to follow when traveling.
- Good Night Sleep
- Eat Food
- Safe Vehicle
- Drink Water
- Have a Credit Card that works
When several of the six elements don’t happen, it’s time to decide what to do next. This is how a single woman knows, it’s time to end a trip.
Single Woman, Man, and An Invitation
The man who invited me on the trip is Dutch. He lives in Belgium. His English is perfect because he studied in the U.S.A., so communication is easy. As I said, we met on the porch of Crater Lake Lodge, the view is spectacular, and the conversation was friendly and lighthearted. He says it was ‘destiny’ we met. I call him Mr. Destiny.
Flattery gets me every time, which is my big character flaw. Mutually we decide, I’ll join his road trip through Yellowstone, the Grand Teton’s, the Pacific Coast, and to my home in Seattle.
One boundary for me which I feel is super important as a single woman is separate rooms. First, I don’t know him. Secondly, I want to be safe. Thirdly, everyone needs a little alone time. He agrees and says he has the rooms booked. Lastly, but equally important, I tell him, I have an end date, and need to be back in Seattle before the 26th. It’s always good to set an end date and to tell a few friends what you are doing. This way if you go missing someone will know where to look for you.
Why Accept the Invitation
Why did I consider the invitation? I see joining him like I’m entering a tour group where you don’t know the people. Plus, it’s important to take opportunities when they happen so that you live your best life.
Additionally, as the saying goes, that if you can travel with someone, you have a friend for life. I’m a single woman, life is short, and sometimes you have to take measured risks. Therefore, I accept the generous invitations from good people.
Leaving the Butte, Montana, airport, we quickly became lost heading to the highway. I learn that Mr. Destiny didn’t have cell coverage, maps, or rooms booked. He considers getting lost part of the adventure. Ok, I understand that, except, we are traveling an area as big as Europe. That means we are in the car for about eight hours each day. Avoiding extra time in the car is my preference.
Here is the Map to Little Bighorn
Single Woman Rule #1 – Good Night Sleep
It turns out, Mr. Destiny only had the first night booked. Yellowstone is a location people book six months in advance; a good night sleep is looking sketchy at this point.
Good Travel – Rule #2 Eat Food
Our first meal indicates our food experience on the trip. At a Chinese restaurant, I suggest maybe we should leave, because the restaurant is empty. He insists we eat here because he is too tired to go to another restaurant. I fill up on water. He orders and gobbles it down.
Little Big Horn
At dinner, we decide to go to Little Big Horn located in the Crow Agency, on the Crow Indian Reservation, in Big Horn County, Montana which is near the northeast entrance to Yellowstone. The closest town to Little Big Horn National Park, is Hardin, Montana. Hardin and Little Big Horn are 5.5 hours away from Butte. I book the hotel from my cell phone, and the trip begins.
Rule #3 – A Safe Vehicle
In the morning, he tells me he had been visiting with a couple, and the man seemed stoned and may have let some air out of his tires. After he fills the tires, he tells me there wasn’t an air pressure gauge, but he knows the pressure is correct. A discussion and some arm twisting happen, which results in a stop at a Les Schwab tire store for a free tire inspection.
Checking the tires reveals one tire is 40 lbs., one was 60 lbs., one was 70 lbs., and the last was 35 lbs. pressure. The Less Schwab tire man explains the tire pressure should be 30 – 32 lbs. and adds he is glad we didn’t drive on the freeway with ‘over-inflated’ tires. I’m concerned.
My jiminy cricket is working overtime, and alarms are going off in my head. I have doubts.
Rule #4 – Restrooms
He doesn’t have a National Park Pass. Ok, I do have a pass we can use. We see Little Big Horn which is also known as Custer’s Last Stand. Slowly through the visit to the park, he becomes sick from his Chinese dinner. He spends most of his Little Big Horn experience visiting the Parks restrooms.
Back to Rule #3 – A Safe Vehicle
We head back to the car. Our vehicle has become unsafe. We don’t have a safe car, because an invasion of yellow jackets covering the car swarms us. The yellow jackets eating the bug remains plastered on the front of the Nissan don’t want us to spoil their meal.
Not surprisingly, a yellow jacket makes it into the car. He begins to drive. Sorry, but I can’t say driving with a bee in the car is my ideal situation. Rule #3 – have a safe vehicle doesn’t seem to be in the cards for this trip. I convince him to park the car and get the bee out. We get rid of the bee, I’m relieved! Off we go and continue the trip.
Back to Rule #2 – Food Needed
Once we get to the Hardin hotel, he is now too sick to eat dinner and goes straight to bed. We aren’t in walking distance to any restaurant. My bad, but, I didn’t know where to book the hotel. The town is so small that it’s mostly fast food restaurants. Locals tell me where not to eat, but, share to eat at subway. He won’t stop at Subway. Rule #2 Eatting well, isn’t in the cards for me for the second day.
Single Woman Needs a Reservation at Yellowstone
In the morning, he suggests for the next night, that we stay outside of the Yellowstone and drive into the park each day, and shows me his hotels selection. Rule #1 Get a Good Nights Sleep – isn’t happening with his plan. Maybe he doesn’t understand where he is because this is Yellowstone!
Here are the Sleeping options at Yellowstone. It is tent camping, backcountry camping, RV camping, (all require permits) or Offical Yellowstone hotels and cabins which require a reservation.
Here is more information about Yellowstone.
Single Woman Needs A Good Night Sleep
I explain Yellowstone is 3,471 square miles and 21 Million acres. It’s huge. If we stay outside of the park, all of our time will be spent driving in and out of the park. The park is ginormous. There isn’t enough time to drive in and out, and see the sights daily. To have a good night sleep and experience, we have to stay at a hotel in Yellowstone.
Rule #5 Drink Water
At Cooke Town, we stop for food. He orders a beer and Chili with all the fixings and a full hamburger and fries, after having had two breakfasts that morning because he had skipped dinner. For breakfast, I had three slices of bacon. For lunch, I order a salad with olive oil and vinegar. My salad never comes, so I drink water.
Rule #6 Have a Credit Card That Works
Mr. Destiny pays with his credit card. The waiter returns telling him the credit card doesn’t work. He blames it on the restaurant and leaves for an ATM. I sit there waiting for him to return. After he pays, I pop into a health food store, buy an apple, orange, bananas, and vegan yogurt. Finally, some food!
We drive on to Yellowstone.
Single Woman Needs a Good Night Sleep
Unfortunately, now Mr. Destiny can’t make a reservation because of his credit card isn’t working. Sitting in the parking lot, I use the restaurant’s Wi-Fi and make a reservation inside Yellowstone. I’m out of roaming data with no cell coverage at as we enter Yellowstone. The reservations desk tells me, they only have one lodge with one room left. I book the one double bedroom. I’m thinking; he can sleep in the car if he doesn’t like it. I’m so desperate for sleep that I break my separate room rule.
Once we arrive, I go to the front desk and ask if there is another single room. Luckily, the hotel has a cancelation. The first reservation, which is my room, is on my credit card. Mr. Destiny pays with his credit card but, it doesn’t work. So, he’s off to get cash from the ATM.
I ask if we can have the rooms for two nights.
When in Doubt You Are Not – It’s Time
While at the ATM, I ask the concierge if he can help me find a flight back to Seattle. I explain I have no cell coverage and the internet doesn’t work well in Yellowstone. But, the real question is where to depart without backtracking and still see Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, so I don’t ruin his vacation, and to make the best of the situation.
The closest town that doesn’t cost $1,000 one way is Bozeman Montana. With two nights here and one other night in south Yellowstone, we have three days to see the park.
Make Dinner Reservations in Advance
I book my flight, make a dinner reservation at 5:30 PM at the Lake Hotel Restaurant, and the last hotel reservation. Obviously, I am thinking a lot about food. Leaving through the southern Yellowstone entrance, the second hotel reservation is at Grant village, and I was able to get a Grant dinner reservation, but the only one is available at 5:00 PM.
Bottom line when it comes to Yellowstone: Book rooms and dinner reservations in advance! After all this drama, the concierge suggests we might need a drink, and the Lake Lodge is the place to watch the sunset on the mountains and lake. Great idea!
When in Doubt, You are Not
Mr. Destiny is back at the hotel in the business center. Trying to fix his credit card, I ask if he can step outside to talk. After all, it’s Friday, the weekend, his situation is cash only until Monday in Europe.
Softly, I explain, while this is an adventure, it’s time for me to go home. Explaining my plan, we can see the park. I need to go to Bozeman to leave on a flight. He can continue without me.
He looks sad. Mr. Destiny replies he wants to take care of me and he loves me. What! – Not the I love you card! That is not working. I thank him and say, I’m going home. Oh, it also comes out he is married!
Happily, I had my flight reserved. My exit plan is in motion. But, I don’t want to get thrown out of the car or ditched in the park to become bear food. A positive attitude helps get through the days. The plan works, and the sights are amazing. I fly home without any disagreements, becoming bear food or being thrown out of the car.
Map to Bozeman
Leaving from the south entrance and driving the highway outside of the park, rather than fighting the tourist and wildlife in the park, we can make good time to Bozeman. From Grant Lodge, it takes about 5 hours to reach Bozeman and my flight home. We drive through Jackson, Wyoming on the way.
Entering The Grand Tetons
How to Know It’s Time to End A Trip
My emotions overwhelm me when I think back on the trip. Mentally exhausted, the gorgeous landscape calmed my nerves. Honestly, as you can tell, this isn’t my type of travel.
Breaking every one of the Single Woman Six Travel Rules makes for a horrible travel experience. I’m not complaining, because I saw Yellowstone, but honestly, the company could be better.
The Yellowstone sights were outstanding, and nothing could ruin the majestic beauty of Yellowstone. I think, being in nature, walking and admiring the sites kept us both sane. Sometimes trips don’t work out as I want them too. Make the best of every situation by smiling a lot.
There is always a way to make a tough situation better, and pleasant because after all, I control my reaction. Stress isn’t going to control me.
People ask, When is it time to end the trip? I think remembering the six little travel rules helps decide when to leave. Your limit might be when any three are happening. But, when all six elements, are broken, it’s time to go home. In my case, I had to end the trip. I knew it was time to stop my single woman adventure.
Moral of the Story
My trip with ‘Mr. Destiny’ wasn’t as expected. I need a travel partner or a person who doesn’t need a caregiver. I need the basics, good nights sleep, food, safe vehicle, water, restrooms, and a credit card that works. Listening to his problems, like a psychiatrist, problem-solving hotel reservations, credit card, and car issues, while watching him eat, is not my idea of fun travel. In hindsight, I felt like a tour guide. However, I can say, he was always a gentleman but he dominated and demanded lots of attention from complete strangers, desperately seeking attention.
It’s never a waste of time to travel, even if it doesn’t build a relationship. I learn something every time I travel. Yellowstone is magnificent, I saw great sights and met interesting people.
“Love your life. Take pictures of everything. Tell people you love them, Talk to random strangers. Do things that you are scared to do. Take your life and make it your best story in the World. Don’t waste it.”
Travel Tip: Need to pick a good car when traveling? Try this rental car advice post.
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