Sunday, August 29, 2004

Buena vista

The lunch stop.

Buena Vista

A river park along the Arkansas.

Buena Vista

Judy has been visiting with our nearest neighbor. They love their Monaco.
They've had trailers, fifth wheels, Class Cs, Class As, gassers, diesels.
They've tried it all. This one is just right. Speaking of "just right",
I'm always on the lookout for the perfect motorhome for brother David. No.
He never asked me to find the perfect motorhome for him. This is totally
unsolicited assistance.

Brother David doesn't just drive on roads. He wants to be able to go
anywhere. A year ago, we discovered the EarthRoamer Class C factory in
Broomfield. The EarthRoamer. It is a thing of beauty. It is not too big.
They call it a Class C, but it is a big shell stuck on a diesel pickup
chassis. It is made to go anywhere, but they are made one at a time, so it
is custom built, it is in a constant state of redesign, and it costs way too
much. I think the solution has to be mass produced and well established.
Something like the Bigfoot, maybe. I haven't looked inside one, but every
now and then I see a Bigfoot camper on the back of a hefty diesel pickup. I
think that's the solution. A big old high clearance, four wheel drive
pickup, with a Bigfoot on the back.

Finished up the job and left for home on Thursday. Found the other
high-altitude-puff. Running at our lunch stop at 11,000 feet. Speaking of
running at high altitude, I checked in with Stephanie to see if she is
running the Leadville 100 this year. No deal. She decided not to run for
an entire day and night, a hundred miles, starting at 10,000 feet, on trails
back and forth over the Continental Divide. How do you not want to do that?
After the first fifty miles, you're allowed a pacer to run with you and help
you through it. This year, Stephanie is going to pace a friend for six
hours. That will be about 26 miles. A run just for fun.

A drive north from Buena Vista, through Leadville, through Copper, through
the big tunnel. Back to Denver until the next trip. It won't be long.
We're off again in a week.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Buena Vista

It is usually so dry here. This is a wonderfully wet year. No water
shortages: plenty of rain. The rivers have water in them. The lakes have
water in them. It got us to thinking about water and the planet. Is water
created and lost from year to year, or is it a closed system? Is there a
certain amount of water on the planet, and all the snow, ice, rain, rivers,
lakes and oceans will always total to the same amount? Floods and droughts
are only about the distribution of water on the planet? One area's dry year
is another's flood? Just curious.

The "high altitude puff". As altitude increases, everything in sealed
containers expands. Well, the air in the sealed containers expands, anyway.
Bags of salad puff up as inflated balloons. Potato chips poise for their
opportunity to explode. Squirt bottles of ketchup and mustard.
Deodorant..... Yeah. Roll-on deodorant. That can take a while to dry.

Guys and gadgets. We love gadgets don't we? One of my favorites has been
the indoor/outdoor thermometer with wireless remotes. When you buy it, you
get the home base and one remote. The home base will handle three remotes,
so you have to buy two more. Then, after a long time, one of the remote
units quit working, so I had to buy another. That was a problem. The new
remote was better than the old ones. The new remote had its own digital
display. So I had to replace the old remotes with better new remotes. That
was a problem. I had remotes units at home. I had them in the motorhome.
Over the course of several years, I lost track of all the remotes. You can
pick the channel you want the remote set to, but there are only three
choices. If you have more than one remote broadcasting on a channel, it
confuses the system. My system got confused. Nothing worked.

To solve the newest problem I've managed to create, all I had to do is
locate all the remote units I had acquired over the last several years, and
take the batteries out to turn them off. Then I can turn them back on, one
at a time. Problem. The home base is working. All the remote units I can
find have been disabled. The home base is still receiving a signal from
remote unit one. We can't use that channel until we can locate and disable
remote unit one.

We searched the motorhome. We searched every drawer and cabinet in the
house. Nothing. How do we find a remote sending unit? We know it's there.

I took the home base unit out to the motorhome. It stopped receiving a
signal from unit one. It was out of range. That told us the missing unit
was in the house, not in the motorhome. I tried to work it out by
temperature. The temperature signal for unit one was close to the
temperature of the home base. That meant it was in the house and not
outside. I couldn't figure out how to narrow it down to a single room in
the house to search again, though. Finally, we had to give up. We waited.
We waited and watched. Remote unit one kept sending. How long would we
have to wait for remote one to just wear out and quit sending? A year?

It only took a week. Judy found it in a cabinet in the bedroom. We
disabled it and the reading for remote one disappeared from the home unit.
One at a time, we turned the remote units back on. It's back. All systems
go. It's currently 70 degrees inside, 59 degrees outside, 36 degrees in the
refrigerator, and 2 degrees in the freezer.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Buena Vista

Yeaa Richard the RV guy! It's cold at night here. Forty degrees. Cold
enough to use the furnace. We've messed around and messed around with the
rear furnace, trying to get it to work as well as the front furnace does.
Between these last two trips, Richard fixed it. He changed a limit switch,
but more importantly found a vent that wasn't set up properly, so the rear
furnace was overheating itself and shutting off before it could heat the
back half of the motorhome properly. Now we get any temperature we want in
the back too. The front furnace continues to work flawlessly.

Work during the day. Explore in the Jeep after work. Lots of birds around
the office. Starlings, finches, and sparrows. A flock of Cedar Waxwings
demolishing the ripe apples on the tree outside. Western Scrub Jays in the
campground in the morning. A wandering gang of Pinyon Jays at lunch. Black
capped and mountain chickadees. Back roads to explore. Wilson's warbler.
Townsend's warbler. Hermit thrush. Close-up with a Cooper's hawk in an
empty campground up Cottonwood Pass. Gulls in the high country. Ducks.
Ring billed duck. Cassin's finch.

There don't seem to be nearly as many bears here as there were at Ruedi
Reservoir on our last trip. We got there and set up right at dark. There
were bear warnings posted all over. By the time I went for my run, it was
totally dark. There was no moon to light the way. There were plenty of
stars. The Milky Way was brilliant, but that didn't translate to a lighted
path for me. I couldn't see any star shadows, so I had to run with a
flashlight. I never want to run with a flashlight. I'd rather make do with
available light, but without it, I couldn't find the trail.

Off I went, out of the campground and down the road, through the uninhabited
forest. The forest was uninhabited, except for the bears. I heard noises.
Not exactly bear noises. Not growling or anything like that. Just noises.
Leaves. Branches. Noises in the night. I could hear the bears all around
me. Surprisingly, I never saw any. I used the flashlight to look for them.
Nothing. I'd shine the light right at my feet while I ran, then spray the
forest with light to surprise them. It never worked. I never saw them. It
was not a comfortable run. I am happy to report that I've run at night
here, and never heard a single bear.

Buena Vista

After leveling the motorhome In Yellowstone, the last step out of the
motorhome was really big. We had a little footstool to put out to make up
the gap, but it wasn't sturdy enough.

Here is our sturdy new portable step.

Buena Vista

From: Steve Taylor []
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2004 5:42 PM
To: Bill Taylor (E-mail); David Taylor (E-mail); Tom Taylor (E-mail)
Subject: Buena Vista

Never know what you'll run across when you're out driving around. That's a
lot of tunnels all at once. I think it was six altogether.

Buena Vista

From: Steve Taylor []
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2004 5:38 PM
To: Bill Taylor (E-mail); David Taylor (E-mail); Tom Taylor (E-mail)
Subject: Buena Vista

A nice little park in town.

Buena vista

Judy is so smart!

When we were young, we would tease her for being mechanically "level".
Well, no more of that. She keeps figuring things out and fixing things now.

This time she did it to the bicycle rack. The new bicycle rack. The old
bicycle rack was a problem. It plugged into the hitch receiver on the back
of the Jeep. Once the bicycle rack is on, you can't open the lift gate to
get at anything in the back of the Jeep. And now that the weather is warm
and we're carrying the kayaks, you can't load or unload the boats from the
top of the car without removing the bicycles and the bicycle rack first.

Well we changed that. We bought a different bicycle rack. We bought a rack
that attaches by means of a sleeve that fits over the tow mechanism for the
car. It stands up between the motorhome and car while we're towing so the
back of the car stays clear. That works, but that also creates a problem.
The car tow mechanism has to lift and rotate when we hook and unhook, but
the bicycle rack sits low over the tow mechanism and blocks that motion.
The bicycle rack works, but the tow mechanism is disabled.

Solution to that problem: buy an extension for the tow mechanism. That
makes the tow mechanism protrude out from under the bicycle rack. That
worked, but with the extension in place, the bicycle rack mount got moved a
little forward. The rack no longer cleared the bumper of the motorhome.
Next solution: mount the bicycle rack farther out on the tow mechanism and
reverse the gooseneck that comes up from the sleeve to move the bicycle rack
back towards the motorhome. That worked.

But we still weren't there. The bicycle rack is mounted. The tow mechanism
works. But when we put the bicycles on the rack, they didn't fit. The
rails were too close together. The handlebars clashed. We moved one
bicycle forward as far as it would go, and one back as far as it would go,
but they still clashed. I turned one around, but then the handlebars of one
clashed with the seat of the other. It still didn't work. Now we were
considering how to reengineer the bicycle rack itself. Do we cut the rails
off and move them farther apart? Do we cut the rails off and stagger them
so the handlebars will clear? Judy to the rescue.

Judy said: "Why not turn the front wheel around on the outside bicycle?
Wouldn't the handlebars clear then?" The handlebars move with the front
wheel, so that would put the handlebars in a different place. Well. Yeah.
That was certainly the simplest solution. Now everything works just fine.
That was the last solution we needed.

We're only on the road for a week this trip: unless another job gets
scheduled in the meantime. We have several good prospects for new jobs.
We've been talking to Glenwood Springs, Carbondale, and Trinidad.

After all the places we've had to go, all over Colorado, we spend this week
in a place called Buena Vista. It doesn't take much Spanish to figure out
what that is about. Buena Vista sits in a broad mountain valley at 8,000
feet. The view is of the Collegiate Peaks range: a whole line of

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Frying pan

We spent two days catching fish like this.

Frying pan

A colorado brown trout.

Frying pan

Ken making it look easy.

Frying pan

The campsite and view at Ruedi.

Frying pan

We meant to stop the first night at an RV Park just outside Glenwood Canyon
to fish the Eagle River. We drove in and parked, walked down the to river,
and walked right back to the motorhome and left. The Eagle was blow.
Running brown. No fly fishing there. We drove on to Ruedi Reservoir.
Ruedi Reservoir is the reason the fishing is so good on the Frying Pan. It
delivers a constant cold flow between there and Basalt all year long. It's
a perfect place for trout.

We got to Ruedi in time to get set up just as it got dark. Another two
hundred miles. Another five hours. We fished all day Monday. It was good.
The water is cold. Your feet and legs get numb. The water is swift. The
bottom of the stream consists of rocks too big to wade comfortably. It is
not an easy river to fish, but it is so rewarding. The fish are big. The
fish are everywhere. You always know where several fish are working within
your reach, in addition to the fish you are currently working on.

It's so hard to step out of the water and walk away when it's time.

We fished till dark, drove the four miles back to the motorhome to spend the
night, and came right back the next morning. We needed to be off the river
by two o'clock to be able to make the drive home by dark. Really, there is
no way we could have exercised that level of self control, leaving the river
while the fishing was still that good, if something unusual had not

Remember how, years ago I succumbed to the Frying Pan by losing the tip of
my flyrod downstream? It's not that unusual to cast off the top of the
flyrod while you're fishing all day. Most rods are two piece, so they have
that joint in the middle. It works loose, you don't notice, and it flies
off during a cast. It's not a big deal, because you have several chances to
get it back. Since you're casting upstream, it's going to float right past
you. If you don't manage to grab it going by, it's still got all the
fishing line threaded through those guides. The drag of the line will
retard the float so you can step downstream after it to get it. All that
failing, just let the hook on the end of the line catch the tiny guide at
the tip as the line pulls though while the rod tip is trying to float away.
What are the chances the hook on the end of the line will slide through
every guide on the top of the flyrod without catching something?

That's what happened those years ago. I missed the grab. I couldn't catch
up to it as it headed downstream, and that little hook didn't catch a thing.
That's what happened years ago. And that's what happened this trip. Ken
and Brian were fishing downstream from me. I yelled to them and they tried
to head it off, but by the time that dark flyrod end had floated five feet
away from me, I had lost sight of it against the dark stream bottom. They
never saw it.

This is my wonderful new four weight, three piece flyrod Judy got me for
Christmas. Two pieces of a three piece flyrod aren't much use at all.
Years ago, I sent a letter to the manufacturer describing my problem. They
sent me a new flyrod. We'll go tell our friend Gerry at the fly shop our
problem on Saturday to see if he can help. If that doesn't work, we'll try
the sympathy letter to the manufacturer again.

One o'clock in the afternoon Tuesday my flyrod left me. That provided the
self control to get out of the river by two. For me anyway. Brian and Ken
still had to manage with a lower level of motivation. But they were good.
We made it home by dark. Brian and I each got to go to work the next day.
Ken got to continue his vacation.

So it's an entire week in Louisville for Judy and me. A week and a half,
really. Then we have a trip to Buena Vista for a new job. That will take
most of a week. Another week in Louisville after that, then we leave for
the bassinette exchange trip to San Jose. That should be good.

Frying pan

A fast drive home from Rawlins. Two-hundred fifty miles in four hours.
Fast for a motorhome. We drove straight home with good reason. Had to get
there in time to leave for a fishing trip.

We got Rags the cat back before we left West Yellowstone. He was quiet.
Subdued almost. Maybe he wore his voice box out. He didn't cry in the car
at all. We took him to the motorhome. He got to see his house and his dog.
He stayed happy. And quiet.

While we were at Pebble Creek Campground in Yellowstone, we ran into an
interesting lady. A person we didn't know, ran the battery down in her van
and needed a jump. It didn't take long for the conversation to turn to
birding. She is a birder. She is a world birder. She expects to be in the
Guinness Book of World Records soon. She intends to see birds representing
every family in the taxonomical classification for all the birds in the
entire world. She has been working on this project for years. She is at
195. She thinks in another year, with a trip to Uganda, a trip to
Madagascar, and another to South America, she'll have the entire 215
families. Meanwhile, she was stopping at Yellowstone to do some volunteer
work with wolves before moving on.

We got back to Louisville at noon. Had a three-hour layover, then Ken,
Brian and I headed out to the Frying Pan, over on the Western Slope, to fish
for a couple days. Another guy trip. No cats invited.


A brown trout on the Madison.


One of the pretty rainbows on the Madison.

Saturday, August 14, 2004


We didn't stop in the Tetons.


Off we go towards home. Back through the Park. Through the strobe light
torture of a lodgepole pine forest on a clear mountain morning. Quickly
through the Grand Tetons. Out of the parks through Dubois, Burris,
Crowheart and Lander. The weathered white cliffs and towers of west-central
Wyoming give way to red. When we reach Lander, we're back to home altitude.
All we have to do now is not gain any more altitude than we lose the rest of
the way. Lander is the first Wyoming town lately that has a population
greater than its elevation.

We crossed the continental divide in the Park at 8,200 feet. Then we
crossed it again at 8,300 feet. Later we crossed it at 7,900 feet. Again
at 9,600 feet. Again at 6,700 into the Great Divide Basin. From there,
water doesn't flow to the Atlantic or the Pacific. It doesn't go anywhere
from there. Just before Rawlins, we cross it for the last time at 7,100
feet, and stop for the night.

We're covering fifteen hundred miles on this trip to Yellowstone and back.
That last swing we took around the western slope of Colorado involved 475
miles spread out over two weeks. Not much of a travel schedule. I commute
more than that from Louisville to the office for two weeks.

We did an interesting job this last trip. A nonprofit organization. They
have been in existence for four years. Their financial statements say they
have lost about a hundred thousand dollars a year. Add up all their assets
and subtract all their liabilities now, and they have four hundred thousand
dollars of negative equity. Not a pretty picture.

But talk to them, and that's not the picture the conversation paints.
They're running a project that will liquidate soon. They capitalized the
original land purchase and associated costs up front, but since then, they
have been expensing costs they will be reimbursed for at the completion of
the project. When I pulled those costs out of their income statements for
the last four years, and capitalized them too, their financial statements
looked completely different. Now they have a small positive equity, and
look downright respectable. Now their financial statements match their

In Durango, I found an organization that told me they had been losing money
the last couple years and they didn't know why. They were concerned they
might have to close. It turns out they had recognized a bunch of contract
income several years ago they hadn't actually earned yet. Now to show when
they spend it, they had to show losses. I restated the prior years, and
income pretty much matches with their expenses each year. Now their
financial statements match what really happens. They don't have to talk
about closing. They are doing just fine.

Nonprofit organizations have to watch out for every dollar they spend. They
save a few thousand dollars by not having an audit, or they pay for an audit
from a local company that lacks experience with nonprofit organizations, and
they end up running their organizations based on information that isn't
true. It's too bad that has to happen. I like it when we can help.

Sunday, August 8, 2004


Do you think trumpeter swans ever trumpet?

I'm looking for some help with amps. Maybe my brother Tom can help me out
here. Do I have the electricity formula right? Volts x amps = watts?

If we run a 120 watt appliance that runs on 120 volts, house current, it
requires 1 amp? If we run that same 120 watt fan through the inverter at 12
volts, does that mean it requires 10 amps of 12 volt power? We use 10 times
as many amps when we run something through the inverter?

Our electric coffee maker draws about 10 amps at 120 volts. If we run it on
the inverter, it draws 100 amp hours. It takes fifteen minutes to brew.
Did we just use 25 amps out of our batteries? We have four six-volt
batteries strung together for house power when we're not plugged in. I'm
told they equate to about 500 amps of 12 volt usable storage.

The battery indicator lights in the instrument panel are of no help in
determining how much battery we have left. They always read "good". The
best indicator is when I turn the inverter on to run the coffee maker and
there is not enough electricity to run it. We still have some electrons
left, but this is a warning that we're getting low. We need a better
indicator. I want an ammeter plugged into the line somehow so I can push a
button and get a readout of how many amps are left in storage. Mechanics
can do that with a battery tester, can't they? Couldn't a meter be wired
into the system somehow?

Did I tell you, we figured out how to find the rest stops on the co-pilot?
There is a command to increase the level of detail shown. On the broader
scale we had been using, they just didn't show. There isn't much guidance
on how to use this navigator. You just have to know.

Oh. And another thing. GPS can tell you exactly where you are. It can
also tell you exactly how high you are. Judy found the screen that has the
altimeter. Of course, locking on to your location from a number of
different satellites, you can also lock on to your exact elevation as well.

The float

The great Madison River float fishing expedition.

Another good day on river with Rick, the guide. He always makes it good.
He put us over great fish. We hooked some. We even landed some. All
rainbows. All day.

Judy got first fish, most fish, biggest fish, and prettiest fish.

Saturday, August 7, 2004


And a big old rainbow wallowing in the net.

Quake lake

Quake Lake. In 1959, they had a 7.5 earthquake here. Part of a mountain
fell off and dammed the Madison River. It took three weeks to fill, and
create a lake 6 miles long and 190 feet deep. When lakes are created on
purpose, they cut down the trees first. Quake Lake is such an interesting
paddle because there are flooded forests of standing trees. One section is
used as a roost by cormorants. A cormorant condo. They fly out every
morning to feed, and fly back every evening to spend the night. A pair of
bald eagles nests nearby. There is a lot of shoreline to explore.

In this picture, you can see the cutout where the mountainside was that slid
down into the river.

Quake lake

Quake lake

The view from a campground on a hill over the lake.


Our kayak adventures on Cliff and Wade Lakes.


It's nice to run into someone who enjoys the rig they have. This guy loves
his Monaco. It's the third one they've had. He always buys them a year or
two old. Thirty thousand miles on a million mile engine.

He likes both slides on the same side. It seems out of balance to me, but
it helps him fit into thinner places. I have to negotiate room on both
sides for slides. He says he doesn't think the weight of the slides is a
balance problem. He weighs 43,000 pounds. It has a five hundred horsepower

Soda Butte

The biggest fish often seem to happen on the littlest flies.

Here is the fly that caught "The Fish". A size 18 adams. Roughly the size
of my littlest fingernail.


The RV Park along the Madison.


We headed off through West Yellowstone, and into Montana. Past Hebgen Lake,
past Quake Lake, past Raynolds Pass Bridge, Past Three Dollar Bridge, to an
RV Park we've never been to before, on a glacial moraine bench above the
Madison River. This will be our home base for a couple days while we
explore some local lakes with the kayaks.

We explored the lakes. Cliff and Wade lakes. Spring fed, crystal clear,
blue, mountain lakes. It felt like we should be snorkeling. It looked like
the Caribbean. It's so pretty it makes your heart hurt. We paddled from
one end to the other. We went back again the next day to do it again.
There are campgrounds at the lakes, but we don't take the Bounder to them.
There is a six-mile dirt road to get to them, and then the access roads are
a little steep and rough. Haven could camp right there. Dazy could camp
there too. We leave the Bounder out near the pavement, and drive in with
the Jeep. There are other people at the lakes, but most of the time we had
the water all to ourselves. Oh. And we fished. These lakes have big
rainbow trout in them. We fished from the kayaks. Osprey all around us.
Circling. Calling. Fishing. The osprey nests are silent until a parent
gets close with food. Then it erupts. Heads stick out the top. Screaming
heads with wide-open mouths. As soon as the parent leaves, the nest goes
silent again. A bald eagle circles.

While we were driving through Yellowstone, we passed a road sign. It is a
warning. It says: rough break ahead. It didn't say road damage or rough
road. It said rough break. What exactly does that mean? A rough break for
the road? Has it had a bad day? Or is it perhaps warning about what is
likely to happen to us if we proceed? Hard to figure.

While the kids were still here, I was sitting on the other side of the
stream from the campground with Kyle and Cameron, and we watched a pair of
coyotes circle the campground. The night before we arrived, a black bear
was in the meadow right next to the campground. At dusk one night we heard
a screeching noise, and a big bird swooped in to land on a treetop right
next to our camp. We couldn't see it well, but from its size, head shape,
and call, we determined that it was an immature great horned owl. There
were two of them calling back and forth. The next day, a guy in another
site was telling us about the owl that woke him up with its calls in the
middle of the night. He got up to look for it and couldn't find it. He
turned to go back, and saw he couldn't find it because he was looking in the
trees. The bird was perched on top of his van! It was a great horned owl
baby. The next day, in the bright morning light, mom and one of the babies
were perched right out where we could get a good extended look at them. Our
best great horned owl encounter ever.

Saw the bison herds, elk herds, pronghorn, bull elk, cranky lone bison
bulls, trumpeter swans, osprey, bald eagles, bald eagle nests, osprey nests
with young, kingfishers, deer, a mother bear and two cubs, great horned
owls. Judy saw a moose on her way in.


"The Fish"


Some fish.


Along the Gibbon River, there are several informal pools that have been
rocked off to take advantage of a hot flow or steam vent.


and we passed some waterfalls.


On the way out of Yellowstone, we drove along the Gibbon River.

Friday, August 6, 2004


Fishing Soda Butte.


The view from the new campsite.


From: Steve Taylor []
Sent: Friday, August 06, 2004 10:15 PM
To: Bill Taylor (E-mail); David Taylor (E-mail); Tom Taylor (E-mail)
Subject: 05c

We moved to a more level site by the stream when one opened.

Thursday, August 5, 2004


Gary Kring, my office next door neighbor, who also happened to be in
Yellowstone, stopped by with his family for lunch. Ken and Chris and the
kids left.

We have been fishing Soda Butte Creek for 12 to 15 inch fish. Fished
upstream. The fish were small. Fished the meadow below the campground.
The fish were bigger, but none bigger than 12 inches. Fished the lower
meadow, a couple miles downstream, from the butte down toward the Lamar.

That's where we encountered "The Fish". It was the perfect setup; a swoop
of current flowing into a curving pool. We could fish it from a gravel bank
on the inside of the curve. A bubble line flowing right next to the cut
back on the opposite side. A bubble line is a good thing. If you get a
bubble line flowing though a pool, that's where the fish line up to feed on
whatever floats downstream. There he was, right up against the opposite
bank, rising to snack on something off the surface, then dropping back down
to wait for the next morsel. It was almost too easy. Almost. There was
another, stronger current flowing right into the middle of the pool to
complicate the drift. No bubble line there, just a stronger current. There
were fish in that current too, but I couldn't see them. The fish I wanted
was under the bubble line.

Here is the problem. To catch the fish, the fly you cast has to dead drift
right down in front of his nose. If the current catches the line, it will
drag the fly, and no self-respecting trout will respond to it. The
challenge is to get the longest dead drift possible so you have the longest
opportunity to fool a trout. In this case, I needed to cast my line across
a faster current to reach the slower current my fish was feeding in. Before
my fly had a chance to drift very far, the faster current would catch the
line and drag the fly. If I could cast to the right place, I needed about a
two-foot drift. I made a couple casts that were slightly off, but not so
bad as to spook the trout. Then I hit right where I wanted: two feet in
front of him, directly in line. All I needed was for that fly to make it to
him before it started skating across the surface. It drifted. It drifted.
It worked! It was so subtle. If I hadn't known exactly where that fish
was, I would never have caught him. The fly drifted down to him. He rose
slightly. I never saw him take the fly. He never broke the surface. The
fly just disappeared.

I gave the line a tug. He was on it. He stayed on it. I landed him fifty
feet downstream. He's not the biggest fish ever, but he was the big fish of
the day, and for the Yellowstone Park part of the trip. A 17 inch
Yellowstone Cutthroat. The next day it rained, and Soda Butte Creek blew
out. That muddy brown thing flowed into the Lamar and blew it out. It will
be days before either stream clears up again. Timing is everything.


The first campsite at Pebble Creek wasn't completely level.

Or we could entitle this "The Bounder Achieves Liftoff."


The camp at Pebble Creek.


Bill left early in the car for Pebble Creek to get us a campsite. I
followed with the motorhome. North to Mammoth Hot Springs, then right,
across the whole top of the park to the northeast corner. Pebble Creek
Campground. Nice place. Remote. Small. Only thirty sites. Quiet. No
generators allowed. Scenic. Pebble Creek runs into Soda Butte Creek. Soda
Butte runs into the Lamar River. The Lamar runs into the Yellowstone. The
Yellowstone flows north into Montana, and joins up with the Missouri, which
runs north and east to join the Mississippi. We fished Soda Butte Creek.
It holds Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. Lots of them. Some very big.

Bill left. Judy arrived with our tow car. Ken and Christie and the boys
arrived and set up their tent. We all hung out. Some of us fished.

Bears. Bears are not uncommon here. This is Yellowstone. There are
supposed to be bears here. Mostly, they're black bears. Black bears are
good bears. They follow the rules. If you do everything you're supposed
to, you're practically guaranteed to be left alone by them. Grizzly bears
are something else. They do whatever they want.

Ken and Chris have been here for several days. Tonight, after smores, the
kids had gone to bed, and we were sitting around the campfire in the dark
with Ken and Chris. Ray, the camp host came by to talk. Thumper, the
grizzly bear, has been spotted out in the meadow heading our way. He has
been in the campground before, but his last time in the campground, he got
trapped and carted off. Now he's wearing a yellow radio collar. He has
been spotted in the area by the bear watchers. He was last seen down by the
butte a couple miles away. Judy and I just spent four hours this afternoon,
fishing right there. Ray wanted to be sure all the tenters were being
careful to follow the rules for camping in bear country. No food. Nothing
that could be considered food. Nothing fragrant in the tent.

I asked why the bear was named Thumper. He is named Thumper because of what
he likes to do to tents. Ray said not to worry. Two out of the three tents
were in the back country. Of course, the other one had to be here in this
campground at site fifteen.

Ken and Chris are in a tent. They were leaving tomorrow anyway.

Indian creek

The camp at Indian Creek.

Indian creek

The conditions we had to endure to fish Indian Creek and Panther Creek.