Saturday, June 30, 2018

"18/#18 A Finish To The Last Blog

OK, where was I on the last blog. Oh yeah, we had left Fishing Bridge and went over to the West Thumb Geyser field and Lake Yellowstone. It had been a long day so far. Remember we started out at 5am and it was now close to 2 pm. We were tired and hungry and in need of a pit stop ( wink,wink).

Our next destination is the one thing that visitors to Yellowstone look forward to seeing more than anything else. You guessed it, Old Faithful. The most famous geyser in the world. It may not be the largest geyser in the world but it is the most regular. No it does not erupt every hour on the hour like some myths would have you believe, but the rangers can predict the eruptions for the next 24 hours to plus or minus 15 minutes. We arrived at the Old Faithful Visitors Center and realized the next eruption was only 20 minutes away. We went out to the truck, made ourselves some sandwiches and headed back to the viewing area for a picnic lunch.

True to form Old Faithful started to erupt 2 minutes earlier then predicted and finished 4 minutes later. Not perfect but there are some airlines that could take lessons from Mother Nature as far as on time performance. We walked down to the gift shop near Old Faithful Inn and treated each other to an ice cream cone before heading back to West Yellowstone.

It had been a long but wonderful day and we were tired so we headed back to our home in West Yellowstone Montana because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, June 28, 2018

'18/#17 An Early Start To A Day In The Park

The weather forecast for our days off this week was ideal for tourism. Even though we work here, on our days off we consider ourselves tourists. Mary has decided that we should get up before dawn and get into the park to see the sunrise over the falls. Sunrise is at 5:30am, we need to get up and get dressed, and the ride to the falls is at least 30 minutes so the alarm was set for 4:30 am. A snooze or two and we were on the road by 5:20. Oh well, like I say our plans are written in jello.

After a couple of wrong turns we made it to Artist Point for the best views of the lower falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Dozens of pictures later we wandered over to the upper falls that feed the lower falls. Between the snow melt from a very snowy winter and the heavy rains of the past weeks the water flow was at a 14 year high. The water was, as Mary put it, very angry. It may have been angry looking but it was also very impressive and awesome.

We continued our tour of the park by heading down to
Fishing Bridge. While crossing the bridge we spotted three male elk swimming across the river. Pretty cool sight. Next stop the gift shop and while waiting for it to open I met the cutest park ranger ever.

A trinket or two latter we headed over to West Thumb Geyser Field to see some of the hot springs and look out over Lake Yellowstone. It is always an awe inspiring sight.

I am at work right now so I have to cut this short. I will continue this later from our home here in West Yellowstone because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, June 21, 2018

'18/#16 Just Hangin' And Thinkin'

Here we are in West Yellowstone, our home for the summer. This past two weeks the weather has been... let's say less than optimal. We have had rain, sleet, wind, and snow. Except for getting out to do some errands we haven't done much sightseeing lately. We did get a lot done as far as servicing the truck and getting some shopping done.

Work is getting easier as we become more proficient. The buses with all the Asian tourists still keep us hopping and the campground is becoming more routine. Being routine allows us to take more breaks and not be tethered to the office so much.

One thing we have learned in the campground is that many people are narcissistic and/ or clueless. Here we are in the middle of tourist season and approaching the 4th of July holiday and people can't understand why we don't have vacancies for them. Have they never heard of making reservations in advance? Some of them get indignant or belligerent when we tell them that our sites are all full because other people made their reservations four, five , and 6 months in advance. I just don't get it.

It looks like the weather is going to be getting better next week just in time for our days off. Right now I am sitting in the office minding the phone while Mary is taking a break back in our trailer. I'm sure she will put some dinner together and we will eat here in the office.

The phone is ringing again so I will sign off now at work near our home in West Yellowstone Montana because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

'18/#15 Another Day Exploring

The whole reason we live this life is to see this amazing country so on our days off we head out to explore all that the area has to offer. This week we took a drive through Teton National Park. The local recommendations all said to go south through Idaho and come in from Jackson Hole. An easy ride down the main highway and then across the scenic byway into Jackson Wyoming. Driving through Teton Pass was an adventure with winding roads, blind curves, and steep grades I was glad not to be towing the trailer. At the top of the pass we were welcomed to an awesome view of Jackson Hole which is just that, a giant hole in the middle of the mountains.

At the bottom of the pass we entered the city of Jackson and all the traffic associated with a tourist town. After jockeying our way through town we entered Teton Park. That is where the mountains and jaw dropping views begin. Hundreds of pictures that will be shared on line do it no justice. Everywhere we turned it was like

looking at a post card. In fact we couldn't stop saying how none of it looked real.

Exiting the north end of the park it was just a short drive to the south entrance to Yellowstone Park. This is a part of the park we have never seen before. We just drove through to get back to West Yellowstone. We will come back to explore that part of the park at a later date. It had been a long day and we were hungry and tired. After a nice dinner in town we headed home and called it a night in our home in Montana because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, May 24, 2018

'18/#14 Starting To See Our New Neighborhood

The reason we live this lifestyle is so we can see the country. We picked this location so we could see more of Yellowstone National Park. On our days off we drove into the park with the goal of seeing some of the things we didn't get to see when we stayed in Cody Wyoming 6 years ago. We also went back to some of our favorite places from our last trip. Mary took so many pictures that we could put them together and make an old fashioned "flip-book" of buffalo.
As close as we need to get!

Japanese tourist looking to get gored!

This trip we finally got up to Mammoth Springs and the Gardiner entrance to the park that is marked by the Roosevelt Arch. Gardiner itself was kind of disappointing A couple of blocks of homes and a row of tourist shops does not make a town. Inside the park is the site of Fort Yellowstone which has a little more historical significance and is a bit more scenic. We didn't spend much time there but we have all summer to go back.

Of course there is the wildlife and the majestic scenery. We drove through the newly plowed and opened Dunraven Pass and out to Lamar Valley. The valley is, I feel, the most unspoiled part of the park. If there was no road there would be no sign that man had been there. It is what I imagine the west looked like 300 years ago. Herds of buffalo, numbering into the thousands, sharing the valley with bear, wolves, deer, and elk. With the Lamar River meandering through and the wide open grasslands it is a very peaceful and serene place that I never get bored seeing.

No trip to Yellowstone would be complete without a stop at the Old Faithful Geyser. We opted not to stick around for almost an hour to see it spout but we will another time. We will also head to the south entrance that takes us to the Tetons and the Grand Teton National Park. This is another road that has just recently been cleared of snow and opened for travel. So much to see and all summer to see it. Ours is a wonderful life.

I am actually on the clock right now in the campground and have some things to do. So I am signing off from our home in West Yellowstone because....

Home is where we park it,
Fran and Mary

Thursday, May 10, 2018

'18/#13 Settling In

It has been a week since we arrived in West Yellowstone and today is day four of work. Everyone has been real nice and it looks like we will have a great summer. Our schedule is still in flux until training is completed so days off are kind of random. We will have one day off, work one day and have two more days off before we are in our regular schedule.

Saturday we will head into Idaho Falls to do some shopping and try and see some waterfalls along the way. Then during the week we will head into Yellowstone National Park. Our current location is just 5 minutes outside the park's West gate. In fact just over the fence behind our trailer is Yellowstone National Park.
Our guests have been coming back from the park telling us about buffalo, elk, and bear sightings. There have been quite a few babies with their mothers in the buffalo and bear sightings. We have seen baby buffalo before but not bear cubs with their least not in the wild. 

Some of the roads in Yellowstone are still closed and there has been an avalanche or two reported on the east side of the park. The northern side of the park is reporting 8-12 feet of snow off the roadways. The roads themselves are clear but hiking any of the trails is not possible at this time. We will check in with the park rangers when we head into the park. 

Well I will sign off for now since we are at work in the RV park we are calling home for the summer because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Sunday, May 6, 2018

'18/#12 Welcome To Our New Home

The trek is over. We made it to West Yellowstone and will be here for the rest of the summer. The weather has been clear and cool but the temperature still drops below freezing at night on occasion.That means we still have to keep an eye on our water lines. There is quite a bit of snow still piled up on the side of the roads and at higher elevations but it is melting. The rivers in Yellowstone are running heavy with all the snow run-off.

We went into Yellowstone our first full day here looking for wildlife. Of course we found buffalo everywhere there was grass not covered with snow and we came across an elk munching on the grass along side a river. Mary is determined to find a moose this year but none on this trip. At the Old Faithful visitors center we saw snow piled up all around the parking lot and there was a snow bank that reached up to the eaves of the building and beyond. There were not a lot of people here but the season is just getting started.

The next day we decided to take a drive into Bozeman MT since that is where all the bigger stores, malls, and restaurants are. This summer that will be a scheduled trip to get supplies that are not as readily available here in West Yellowstone. The population here in town is only about 1300 so the big stores aren't found anywhere nearby. There are couple of independent grocery stores, a hardware store, gas stations, and a few other small businesses for the locals to shop. As for the tourists there is an abundance of small restaurants and souvenir shops. A number of them aren't even open yet but that will change soon.

Speaking of tourist shops and attractions....we start work  this Monday. Our duties will be in the RV park, gift shop, and I-Max theater. The day we got here they had just gotten a delivery and I'm sure the empty shelves will be full of t-shirts and souvenirs in no time. Several tour buses have been here the past few days and from what we understand that is our "bread and butter" for the gift shop. The theater shows a movie about Yellowstone and then the buses head into the park. Of course to get in and out of the theater you have to go through the gift shop. This layout is no accident as anyone who has traveled to a tourist destination knows. I'm sure we will have fun and stay busy during the season.

Anyway, today is our last day before we start work. We will put the final touches on setting up the trailer for our stay for the summer so it feels like home here in our rig in West Yellowstone Montana because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary