Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Well, after waiting for over 5 hours to get our RV in (and that was with an appointment made last week), we got the front end aligned and the brakes checked and bled. Very, VERY frustrating!

Tomorrow morning we're going to pack up and head up to Craters of the Moon. It's a lava field in Idaho, and is pretty cool. Then we're going to meander up to Washington.

These are a couple of pictures of a pair of ospreys in a nest on top of a bridge outside a small town in Idaho. We pulled off the highway so I could get Lukas up and dressed, and found it. Pretty cool.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


We've covered quite a bit of ground since I last wrote. We haven't had any internet and very little phone service, so I haven't been keeping this up, and then it's been so blasted hot everywhere except in the park, I just haven't had the energy.

After our first night at Yellowstone we went on up to Earthquake Lake. Not much has changed in the 30 years since I last saw it. The slide looks like it happened yesterday, not almost 60 years ago. There was an earthquake in 1959, and it broke off the entire side of the mountain, which slid down into the valley and half way up the other side of the opposing mountain. Unfortunately, there were campgrounds in the valley, and 19 people are still buried under the slide. Altogether, 28 people died that night.

This is the side of the mountain that broke off. Notice the roundish rock formation in the middle?

This boulder (3000 tons) broke off from the formation and rode the slide down and up the other mountain, without rolling. They could tell that because of the lichens on it were undamaged.

After that we went up to Bozeman to try to get some phone service and stock up on groceries. Then we headed back down to the park, where we spent the 18th and 19th at Fishing Bridge. We went up to Mammoth Hot Springs, where they have a resident herd of elk who are absolutely fearless of man.

Then we went to Tower Junction, through some of the ruggedest terrain and worst roads in Yellowstone, very narrow roads, no shoulders, up and down, deep drop-offs... you get the picture. Below is a picture of the RV on the side of the mountain where they cut out a road. Between the RV and the mountain is the road. They had to cut the road into the mountain, so if you stand in the middle of the road and look up, there's the mountain. Wow...

We proceeded on the road to Canyon, which goes by Mt. Washburn. This area is one of my most favorite places on earth. It is just so beautiful. On the way up, there was a bit of a traffic jam with a ranger posted there. There had been a grizzly sow and her cubs for the past several weeks coming down over the road and into the valley below. They had closed off the turnouts in that area and posted a ranger at the next turnout because she was going up to some of the cars. She hadn't been seen for a couple of hours, so we continued on.

This is at our campsite at Fishing Bridge. Scott and Scottie are playing ball. Both the kids found friends pretty quickly. The next morning I spent 3 HOURS in the laundromat. Never again! There were people standing by washing machines waiting for them to finish so they could get their laundry in. One mother dragged 6 kids in, all under the age of 9-10. I'd rather wash the clothes by hand in the RV.

Here's Lukas and Pip, waiting for us to get going. We headed back to Tower with the intention of going to Lamar Valley. I hadn't been there for 30 years, so I wanted to see it again. Back over Mt. Washburn and onto Tower, with the windy up and down, narrow, no-shoulder roads. Then just over the worst of it, I put on the brakes and the pedal went to the floor, and the red brake light came on. PURE PANIC!!! I started pumping, and they came back a little bit. I slowed way down, and kept on pumping to keep a little bit of braking. We got to Tower-Roosevelt Junction and pulled over. We let it cool down and Scott checked the brake fluid, which on this thing is a complicated procedure, because the brake fluid well is under the front tire well. He took off the engine cover to try to find it, then crawled under the RV to get to it. Well, it was full. He checked for leaks and there were none. So we decided to turn around and go slowly back to our campsite. Thank goodness, the brakes returned to normal. He figures there was an air pocket in the line, so when we get to Idaho Falls, we'll have the brakes bled.

It turns out that there was a silver lining in that cloud. Scott has been really wanting to see a grizzly bear, but so far we have just been missing them. Going back over Mt. Washburn where the grizzly sow had been seen before, there was a huge traffic jam. I let Scott and Alecia off at the turnout where everyone was gathered and went up further on the mountain where I could park. Luckily for Scott, the sow and cubs were there, and he spent about 45 minutes watching her through the binoculars. He tried taking some pictures, but they're not too good. I need one of those $500 telephoto lenses :)

So we headed back through Hayden Valley with it buffalo herds, and stopped at Dragon's Mouth Spring, a hot spring that has a hollow, roaring sound.

There were buffalo all over. One was walking in the parking lot, hopped the fence and strolled up the hill.
We returned to Fishing Bridge for another night. The kids biked around, and Lukas, Scott and I watched Everyone Loves Raymond.

On Friday we headed out of the park to go to Cody. The road on the other side of Sylvan Pass is under construction, so that was fun going over. That's another rugged part of the park, with deep valleys, but beautiful. We got to Cody, where it was beastly hot. I had planned on staying 2 nights at the campground, but it was another one of those that advertised wifi, but didn't produce. Their network was down, and I wasn't the only was who was a bit upset about that. I had tried going up by the building where they have their antenna, but was unable to get on, so I was going back to the RV when a guy passed me carrying a laptop just like mine. We compared notes and complained about campgrounds that advertise wifi, but don't really have it. So then next morning, I canceled our second night and packed up. We went to the museums and I took the kids in. We just spent a little over an hour there, because Scott was staying in the RV with Lukas, and it was already beastly hot. I really want to come back out here someday and spend a couple of days in the museums.

So we went to Walmart and stocked up on cereal and drinks and headed back into the park. It seems as soon as you get into the park it cools down. It was so nice.

When we got down to Canyon, there was a big traffic jam. We saw a moose in a pond by the side of the road, but there were two groups of observers, so I found a place to park and went back. It seems the moose had been chased by some wolves and had gone into the pond to escape. The wolves had gone back into the forest, but the moose was still there, so I shot some pictures of it, and we headed on. Between Norris and Madison, we saw a nice big bull elk with a huge rack.

Well, we're in another vastly overpriced campground that advertised wifi, but doesn't have it unless you're in the first row around the building. Stinks. Their cable consists of 18 channels, but at least the Simpsons is on, so Lukas is watching that. Today we went down to Old Faithful. And again, it's been reinforced that Lukas is not at all enjoying himself. He was complaining every step of the way from the RV to the geyser, and then when it went off, he wouldn't even look at it. And right now I'm watching Simpsons with him while Scott and the kids are at the swimming pool. Oh well, live and learn. But I'm determined to try to enjoy what I can, because honestly, as much as this trip is costing, I don't know if or when I'll be back.

Tomorrow we're going to fill up the water tank and head up to Earthquake Lake, and find a campground in the National Forest. $7 compared to $70, and the only difference is the lack of cable. Oh, and the DVD/VHS player won't work with the generator. Whoopy-doo.

Well, I'm giving up on my idea of dragging Lukas around on trips (other than south for the winter). He just doesn't enjoy it, and it's too difficult for him to get around. We stopped at the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone, and made it down a set of stairs and about a dozen paces before he was done. We sat for a while and then headed back to the RV. Most of all, he just DOES NOT like being without TV or Internet.

Meanwhile, I feel so content to be here. This morning I took some grand pictures of the Tetons. We missed seeing a grizzly bear by about 1/2 hour (the ranger was at the road keeping people in their cars because just a couple of weeks ago, she said, it had mauled a man). We saw a couple of coyote, and lots and lots of buffalo, and elk, and some REALLY stupid people. I couldn't believe seeing a man standing 6 feet from a bull elk taking pictures of it! They act like these are big horses or something. And then the people who stop right on the road instead of pulling off when they see an animal. That really ticked me off. Why do some people lose their brains when they see wild animals?

Tonight we're at Madison campground, and tomorrow we're heading into West Yellowstone to a KOA with wifi and cable. It's been a very pleasant evening. It's cooling off nicely, and there are no bugs. The kids are outside playing and NOT inside. They've been pretty good, although I made Scottie sit on time out for 10 minutes because he didn't close the door on his way out and Pip got loose (the third time). Part of his time out was to think of how he could prevent that from happening again, and he decided he needs to look behind him before he opens the door to see where Pip is. And then I got tired of listening to Alecia farting and giggling about it, and after warning her a couple of times, tonight she had to sit in the bathroom for 5 minutes after doing it again, and (oh I'm feeling my age) had to listen to a lecture about how young ladies do not go around farting.

Well, it's a quarter after nine, and I am so tired. I'm going to go lay down and read until 10 and then chase Lukas to bed and try to make it through an episode of Raymond. Elaine, Scott is actually being nice to Pip. Right now he's sitting on the couch with his arm wrapped around Pip, watching the kids play outside.

Here's pictures from the last few days.

Flaming Gorge in NE Utah.

Scott and Scottie sampling supper.

Lukas roughing it.

Scott and Lukas at the riverside.

Scottie and Alecia in the river looking at a fish.

That's Scottie trying to break up a log by throwing a rock on it.

Moose and calf

Scott taking a picture of me at the Tetons.

This bull was just massive, and you could tell he was the head herd bull. Every other buffalo moved out of his way if he came close to them, even the ones laying down, and he was bawling and grunting constantly.

Lukas at Yellowstone Falls.

Yellowstone Falls