The question was: how badly did I want my surprisingly comfortable, $29.99 CostCo chair? Badly enough to try to order it online, absolutely. Alas, it wasn’t on their website. But badly enough to return to CostCo for a third day in a row?

It took me a while to decide, but I really wanted that chair. That said, I definitely wasn’t paying resort prices for a campground for a second night. It was time to hit the wilds. Off I drove, into Gallantin National Forest, and a land of roads with no names, just numbers. Directly south of Bozeman, three campgrounds border the Hyalite Reservoir. The first one looked nice, but a review said the second one was great, if you were willing to drive along a bumpy, rutted dirt road for a while.

Bumpy roads? No problem, I’ve done that before. (This was probably a bad decision but I wouldn’t know that for a while. <–foreshadowing!) And that campground, Hood Creek, looked fantastic. Narrow, winding roads, but the campsites were on different levels, bordering the water, laid out for privacy and views. Unfortunately, it was noon on a Friday in June, and I was too late: the campground was full. The camp host suggested I give the next one down the road, Chisholm, a try.

I did. And… it was not great. It wasn’t horrible, but the available sites didn’t have water access or views or anything. It was $20 for your basic parking spot in the woods. I was tempted to keep driving. Maybe the first campground I’d passed would have an available spot? Maybe a campground back on the road to Yellowstone would be better? But I had no cell service, so no internet to research my options, and the skies were looking gray. Plus, well… I really wanted that chair. If I kept driving, I’d have farther to go to get back to get it. So I settled in with a book or two. (I’m currently reading everything Martha Wells has written, because I liked the Murderbot Diaries so much).

A camper van surrounded by tall trees.
My campsite: a parking spot in the woods, basically.

Within the hour, it started to hail. I like the sound of rain on Serenity’s roof. I am not so fond of the sound of hail on Serenity’s roof. It’s funny how much a seemingly minor increase in volume can change a noise from comforting to threatening. But there wasn’t anything I could do about it, so I read my book and waited for it to stop. To the best of my knowledge, the van survived just fine. Of course, I have no way to actually get on the roof and check for damage, but eh. I’m going to assume it’s fine. If it’s not, I’m sure I’ll find out eventually.

After the hail, the sky cleared. I kept my nose mostly buried in my book and bright and early the next morning headed back on that bumpy, bumpy road for the 45 minute drive to CostCo.


I shouldn’t have been surprised, really. When I took S to CostCo in Eureka, I told her that if you see something you want at CostCo, you should always buy it right away because there’s no guarantee that you will ever see it again. A third helpful employee tried to help me find the chair I was looking for, but this time, it was like it never existed at all. She let me look over her shoulder while she searched her computer for variations on camping chair, backpacking chair, outside chair, but nothing matched the one I’d seen on Thursday. It was the magical disappearing chair. I should have known that a comfortable camping chair for $29.99 was too good to be true.

The good news, though, was that instead of driving to Yellowstone in a hail storm, I got to drive there on an absolutely beautiful, blue sky, perfect weather June day. But it’s now almost 10PM and I’m tired after an eventful day, so I’m going to save my Yellowstone stories — and my foreshadowing! — for tomorrow. (Spoiler alert: I’m fine, so is Serenity.)