Shake Down in the Crazies
Updated: Oct 14, 2021
A shake down trip refers to a short, close to home, excursion with your RV for the purpose of testing out the systems and stocking up on necessary supplies.
We were lucky enough to be offered an opportunity to help Raymond's brother with a fencing project at a ranch in the Crazy Mountains, just north of Big Timber, MT. The task of taking on 5 plus miles of fence in the wilds of the Crazies was a little daunting, but we decided to tackle it before we hit the road on our big trip around the country.
Starting at the beginning of August, the project was estimated to last about 2 months, so we decided to haul the rig up near the worksite to stay during the week since it is a good 1.5 - 2 hour drive back into Livingston.
Fortunately, we found a special camping spot right next to a little creek, perfect for the kids to fish and explore, and just an easy walk to Big Timber Creek for more fly fishing and adventures.
I never would have planned to start our full time RV life with 6 weeks of dry camping, but I'm very thankful we had the chance to work some of the kinks so close to home. We've learned so much about how our rig operates when hook-ups are not available - battery life, when to run the generator, how long we can go between water fill-ups and sewer dumps, and so much more. We even had our first snow storm in the rig while up in the mountains and stayed very cozy. We definitely feel a little more confident in our abilities to operate the rig efficiently and are ready to hit the road when the time comes.
Prior to this project, we had not spent much time at all in the Crazies. There truly is something very special about these mountains. The trees and hillsides are full of stories, both ancient and new, butterflies swarm thistles and flowers, a healthy population of fish inhabit Big Timber Creek and its offshoots, an abundance of fresh raspberries ripe for picking await on the hillsides, and amazing hiking trails are all around. The hike to the falls that starts at Halfmoon Campground trailhead is gorgeous - A MUST DO! We went up to the falls several times and even jumped into a pool in the lower falls for a swim on a particularly warm day. It's a very easy, short hike (we clocked it at about 1.1 miles roundtrip on foot) and highly recommended!
The kids kicked off their first few weeks of homeschool while we were up in the mountains - an amazing way to start the year! We took advantage of the opportunities around us to identify, study, and document different types of butterflies, trout, insects, wildflowers and rocks.