|Sun, 27 Aug: We change states...
Up very, very early this morning—0500 to be exact. A quick breakfast, get the coach ready, and roll wheels before 0700. It was just getting light and we're on the road!?! Whassup?
Well, we have a short (133) miles to travel, but it'll take us better than four hours to do it. We are heading to a first-come-first-in-no-reservation campground and we're banking on folks leaving Sunday morning so they can return to that "W" thing. Only problem is that between where we started (Cody WY) and where we want to be (West Yellowstone MT) is Yellowstone National Park.
So, west on US 20 out of Cody thru some spectacular country rising to more than 8,500' elevation. An hour later (and 50 miles) we entered Yellowstone at the east entrance. We always get a charge out of flashing our "old fart" senior pass at the gate. Ten bucks for unlimited access for the rest of your life! Such a deal.
The next few hours saw us heading west thru the park. North of Yellowstone Lake, then north at Fishing Bridge to Canyon. West at Canyon to Norris, and back south to Madison and finally west again to the west entrance at West Yellowstone. Along the way we enjoyed the usual Yellowstone treats; thermal features, bison grazing, almost hit a deer, and the idiots that insist on stopping in the middle of the road. Our "Daily Dolt" award has to go to the two gents who set up their photo shoot, tripod and all, right on the roadway of a narrow shoulderless bridge. They managed to stop traffic in both directions...
Once out of the park we continued west on US 20 a few miles to Baker's Hole National Forest Campground. We were able to find a site with electric power to call "home", but it is deep in the woods so no SatTV or solar (we've had to turn on the internal battery charger). Today's total was 133 miles with an overall fuel economy of 6⅝ mpg.
When attempting to set up we got the coach leveled OK, but when it was time to extend our room slides the hydraulic pump would not run. After jiggling some wires we finally got it going, but we have a "to-do" project to clean the multitude of cables and connectors that are part of that system. Ugh!
Finally set up we were delighted to learn that our sister-in-law, Carolyn Swanson, was in West Yellowstone. We made arrangements to meet for lunch in town and had a long "catching up" gabfest. Alas, she flies back to Iowa tomorrow so that'll have to do for visit time.
Our immediate plans are to stay here till after Labor Day. During our stay we expect to make day visits to Yellowstone in the car and play tourist. Sandi will try out her new 200-500mm telephoto to get an idea of its functionality. Better to make mistakes here than while on our African Safari next year.
Wed, 30 Aug: Playing mechanic and tourist...
We really enjoyed our first nite in West Yellowstone. The scent of the pine forest and a cool temps (in the low 40s) made for snuggle-under-the-covers bliss. Given our early up time Sunday morning sleeping in Monday morning was a bonus.
Once up and about we enjoyed a lazy morning. After lunch we undertook our "to-do" item of working on our hydraulic pump issues. We removed the entry steps which granted us access to the hydraulic system. We disassembled the wiring to the pump relay and from the relay to the pump. Several of the connections were dirty and one was corroded and pitted, a good indication of a poor connection.
A generous application of wire brush, sandpaper, and elbow grease soon had them gleaming again. Reassembly, good and tight, and an application of terminal dressing should do it. Everything seems to working as designed so we're optimistic we've successfully completed another maintenance project.
Yesterday, Tuesday, we stayed home. Sandi was a bit "off her feed" so sticking around made sense. We did manage to get quite a bit of computer stuff taken care of so the day wasn't a total loss.
This morning we both awoke rested and were out of bed before seven. Following breakfast we loaded our photo gear in the car and drove into Yellowstone. Our first stop was Gibbon Falls, a lovely fall along the Gibbon River about five miles north of Madison Junction. We were there by 0930 and the sun was just beginning to fill the canyon. We stuck around about an hour and the sun continued to fill the canyon, but then disappeared behind approaching clouds.
After Gibbon Falls we drove south 21 or so miles to Old Faithful. We got in position about 15 minutes before she "blew". It was a short (2 minutes) "spoot" and didn't go very high. Cool temps also made lotsa steam so the overall effect wasn't the best we've witnessed. Still, how can you go to Yellowstone without seeing Old Faithful?
After the "spoot" we grabbed burgers at the Geyser Grill. The clouds continued to roll in along with the crowds. Time to head home, which we did.
Fri, 01 Sep: Still vegging, still enjoying...
Yesterday, Thursday, we drove into West Yellowstone to wash some clothes. We had three bags full and found a nice coin laundry that turned them into two baskets of clean duds. When we finished it was lunchtime so Bob treated Sandi to pizza at the Wild West Tavern. Excellent...
Upon our return we noted that the AC power was off. Bob checked the pedestal and found the 30 amp breaker tripped. He also noted that the 50 amp receptacle looked new. So, we connected to the 50 amp receptacle and lo, no open ground error! They'd replaced the bad receptacle during our absence and we now had 50 amp power. Life is sweet!
This morning we got the coach ready for the road and drive the few miles into town and the Grizzly Bear RV Park. We paid for the use of their dump/water site and got ourselves ready for another week to ten days of dry camping. While in town we picked up our mail waiting for us at General Delivery. AND, the hydraulic pump worked flawlessly as we retracted the slides, leveled the coach, and finally extended the slides. Fingers crossed, we think we've got that gremlin under control.
We're now back in the National Forest Campground watching the influx of Labor Day Holiday campers. This is a gorgeous place and Yellowstone is always a choice destination. We expect the park to be packed so we'll lay low till this last madness of summer is behind us.
Sat, 09 Sep: Still More Vegging...
Well, it has been more than a week since our last update. We had originally planned to depart Tuesday morning, the day after Labor Day. Well, we batted some ideas around and finally decided that we liked it here in the cool elevation of West Yellowstone so, on Tuesday, we extended our stay for another six days. Thus, we're still here and will now depart on Monday morning.
What did we do with our additional six days? Not much at all... We picked up mail and spent time dealing with the "business of life". We had hoped to return to the park again, but the smoke from the western Montana/Idaho/Oregon fires made it too hazy to enjoy. In fact, a couple of days mid-week it was thick enough to make it uncomfortable.
So, we've just "vegged" out, which is pretty much what retirement is all about, right? We did enjoy a couple of excellent Mexican lunches at West Yellowstone's two Mexican food trucks. They were highly recommended on Yelp so we tried them both. Very good...
From here we plan to go "downhill" to Ogden Utah for a few days. Our niece Stacy Moore-Swanson and her two children live in Ogden and we always enjoy visiting. From there, still undecided...
IMPORTANT! We have just completed a short (1'07") video clip that was shot with our dash camera during the recent total solar eclipse. It shows the moments up to totality, totality, and the moments following totality. What is striking is the rapidity with which day turns to nite and vicr versa. To view the video Click Here!