Sunday, August 31, 2008


You can see Bill and Marge’s farm from the freeway. We didn’t stop to visit with them when we passed Wheatland today, but we watched as we went by and spotted Bill on his tractor in the field. We honked enough that Bill recognized us and waved.

We drove south from Douglas, Wyoming to Longmont, Colorado. Douglas is home to the Jackalope. I didn’t get a picture of one while we were there, but I found this one on the internet.

We’re set up for a week at St Vrain State Park, close to Becky and family.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

travel day

A long and winding road today. We’re in Douglas, Wyoming tonight. Wilson’s Phalaropes in the farm pond.

A parting shot from Yellowstone. Sylvan Lake on the way out the east entrance.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Two weeks in Yellowstone. Time to move on.

Two weeks was not enough. I want another month.

Trip report

Generally I don’t write about politics. If I did, tonight’s report would be about the Democratic Convention this week and Barack Obama tonight. I would gush about a defining moment in our nation’s history. A turning point. A campaign of hope and vision; intellect and empathy.

We watched the acceptance speech. We applauded. We were moved. We watched the commentary. It got late. We stayed up and watched the speech again when they reran it. We didn’t want to let the moment go.

We don’t want to impose our political interests on you so I won’t go on and on. We’ll just make a contribution to the Obama campaign instead.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I have a question

Why is Barack Obama black? A union of Kenya and Kansas. Half Anglo; half African. Why is half-black a black person? He’s half white. Why isn’t he a white person?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Cold and blustery. No adventures today. We stayed home. Surprise visit from Skip and Connie last night. They live in Louisville but happened to be in Yellowstone. They’re on the trip list, so they knew we were here somewhere. They wandered the RV park and found us. Got a good evening’s visit out of that. Surprise visit from Rick this morning. His guide trip for the day got cancelled so he hung out with us for a while.

We’re such social animals. Love this part about running into friends in unexpected places.

Southern California rant

While we were there we drove on freeways with four, six, eight, and more lanes going each way. They’re all packed with cars; and all of Southern California is covered by freeways. But know what’s really crazy about freeways in Southern California? The entire Southern California freeway system was created within our lifetime. Remember every trip from Long Beach to Lake Wohlford was on the Pacific Coast Highway; Highway 101? All the way down the coast through all those beach towns. It was the only way to get there. I think it was Laguna that had the old guy on the corner waving to cars as they went by. For years we would watch for that old guy on the corner and he was reliable. He was always there and he waved at us every time. South on PCH to the bird sanctuary in Oceanside. Turn left for Escondido, then up to the lake. The bird sanctuary is still there at Oceanside.

All those freeways now, filled with all those cars, and Pacific Coast Highway still has as many cars on it now as it did fifty years ago. That’s crazy.

There are so many cool things to draw a person to California, but every time we go back, we feel like we just got dropped into an anthill. It’s that crowded. There is a square mile in Long Beach that has 22,000 people in it. For us, every single attractive thing about Southern California is overpowered by the crushing weight of the crowd. We’ve been gone so long we forget we really were city people when we were kids. We’re not city people now.

California oddity: Joe’s Crab Shack in Newport Beach has valet parking only.

When it was time to leave the crowded Long Beach campground, the right outside mirror didn’t look right. Took a look and found a scuff mark on it. It had been forcibly folded back. The front end of our coach was so close to the road in the RV Park there, someone clipped it on the way by. They probably have a scuff mark on their mirror too.

Newport Dunes, a five start vacation destination resort, was about the worst place we have ever stayed. It was more crowded than the place in Long Beach. Our coach didn’t even fit in the site. It hung out onto the street. After our mirror scraping experience in Long Beach, that felt vulnerable. We totally filled the length of the site and the sites were so tight side-to-side, we couldn’t park the jeep next to us without encroaching on our neighbor. No offsite parking so everyone just parked in the street. We had to coordinate with our neighbor the day before we left so he could move his truck out of the way so we could get out. When we first saw the size of the site, for $90 a night, we protested to the office. They volunteered that we could upgrade to a premium site right on the Lagoon for $250 a night. We decided to stay in the poor part of town. It was only for a week. But then Memorial Day Weekend happened. The premium sites all filled up with oversized rigs. The outside entertainment centers opened up and turned on. A big screen television got set up on a picnic table for the Nascar blast. The park turned into a giant party for everyone, whether they wanted to party or not. Total anarchy. Were we glad we stayed where we were. We’d have been really disappointed with that $250 a night “premium” experience.

This brings to mind our experience at Gulf Waters over Spring Break. A party of related rigs all set up at the west end of the park. That end of Gulf Waters got turned into an open block party with no regard for its effect on the year round residents or other visitors. They must have been from California. After a couple days of escalating disregard, the entire group got evicted. It was ugly, but we’re so glad we live at Gulf Waters. We’re all for people enjoying themselves, especially people on vacation, but they should have some regard for the comfort of others while they do. Gulf Waters has a few rules to protect the comfort of all, and they enforce them. Thank you Gulf Waters.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Been riding the bicycle. Breckenridge, Glenwood Springs, Yellowstone. It feels good.

It’s never perfectly flat. Not in these places. Flat is easy. Downhill is easy. Uphill is a little slow. I don’t mind the uphill though. It’s an investment. The energy you’ve put into it is still there when you get to the top. It’s just stored as elevation gain. Elevation is power.

I’ll spend the stored energy on the way back down. Let gravity take me back to where I started. What makes me crazy though, is to have to apply brakes on the downhill. Hard-won energy stores wasted on friction generated heat? Not what I want.

I want regenerative braking on my bicycle. I want to store and reuse all the energy I put into it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Geyser Day

Old Faithful, Castle, Daisy, Riverside, Grand. That’s a dayfull.


Yellowstone National Park. You’d expect to see the usual bison, bears, elk, and moose.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Funny weather here in Yellowstone. Highs in the 70s and 80s, but lows the last two nights in the 20s. Frozen hose last night. Who thinks about unhooking the water hose at night when it’s 70 or 80 degrees during the day? Oh well. We had plenty of fresh water in the tank to hold us over until the sun hit the hose and thawed it out.

It’s not very high here: 6,500 feet. We’re right next to the Continental Divide, though. It’s only at 7,000 feet here. That seems so odd. You have to go to 12,000 feet to cross the divide in Colorado. That’s a mile higher.

Took a day-trip in the jeep. A five state day: Montana, Idaho, Montana, Idaho, Montana. We’re in Montana. Straight west of here is Idaho. Get to the other side of Henry’s Lake in Idaho, and you cross back into Montana on a fifty mile long dirt road headed due west. Montana hangs down into Idaho right there. Halfway through that dirt road, in the Centennial Valley, is Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, perhaps the most remote wildlife refuge in the country, home of the rare trumpeter swan. We were hoping to see one or two. We got 45! Forty-five trumpeter swans. That was a great surprise. We also got pelicans, ducks, grebes, hawks, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, coots, gulls, kingfishers, three kinds of woodpeckers, flycatchers, swallows, magpies, nutcrackers, nuthatches, robins, bluebirds, waxwings, warbling vireos, warblers, spotted towhee, and sparrows. We looked hard for the MacGillivray’s warbler, a life bird for us, but didn’t get him. No problem. We got forty-five trumpeter swans!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Property update

The Roosevelt house sold. Nice guy. One kid. Already in town. Loves old-town. Loves old houses. Walks by the house every day on the way to the park. Moved in over the weekend.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Madison river

A good day on the Madison with Rick. Warm weather. Flashing silver leaping rainbows. Some browns. Not as fishy as sometimes, but good enough. If we seem to hook fewer fish, there might be other forces at work than the quantity of fish available. We’re getting older and slower, but the fish aren’t.

No matter. We catch enough to hold our interest. A great day on the river.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


A little warm-up fishing on the Gallatin in the very northwest corner of the park. Small water. Small fish. Tomorrow, the all-day float on the Madison with Rick.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Driving days

Glenwood Springs to Green River. Green River to Pocatello. Pocatello to West Yellowstone. We’re here.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Gone fishing

We’re taking a trip from our trip. We’re on vacation. No work for two weeks. A real vacation. Grizzly RV Park in West Yellowstone, Montana. A little fishing. A little kayaking. Hikes. Geysers. Bison. Elk.

Friday, August 15, 2008

What's wrong with this picture?


He gets to dress himself. The boy can wear his pants anyway he wants, and most of the time he wants to wear them this way.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Perseids

A meteor shower that happens every August. Usually we’re out somewhere remote so we can watch it if we want. It’s supposed to be best in the early morning though, so you have to set the alarm and get up out of a warm bed to view it.

We got up at 3 Tuesday morning. We’re in a canyon so there is not much ambient light here, but even with that, there are a few lights to contend with. Got the darkest spot behind the motorhome with a view to the northeast, put out our lawn chairs, and waited for the show. “Meteor shower.” It sounds like a constant, doesn’t it? “Meteor shower” brings to mind little zips of light filling the sky. We must have gotten up too early. We saw a few meteors, but after half an hour it seemed like time to go back to bed.

Wednesday morning. 4 am. I had a great idea. Get out the reclining chairs so our necks wouldn’t get tired leaning back to look at the sky. Great idea. Except for how comfortable it is reclining under the night sky watching the Milky Way and the occasional zip of light. I think I missed a few.

It was warm enough to sit outside comfortably. That’s the best weather we’ve ever had for the Perseids. Some people get terribly excited about the show, but we haven’t found the magic yet. We think we’ll go for a complete night’s sleep tonight.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Life lessons

Lucky for us, we don’t have to learn every lesson ourselves. Sometimes we can benefit from the experience of others. One of our grandchildren was kind enough to share an experience with us so we would know to avoid it ourselves.

When you’re at the park playing, “Never stand between a bull mastiff dog and his tree.”

He (the grandkid) did not enjoy the experience. Mom had to take him home and rinse him off.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Glenwood Springs

We moved west one hundred miles, down three thousand vertical feet, and up twenty degrees Fahrenheit. Breckenridge was a nice escape from the triple digit Denver heat wave, but it was a little on the cool side. Glenwood Springs weather: 85 and 50. Perfect summer weather.

Tiger Run: an upscale resort. It was nice to be there. Loved our stream overlook view every morning. But the sites were a little tight; a little close together. It feels more open here.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Boreas Pass

The Boreas Pass Scenery: A look back at South Park. Spruce/fir on the way up. Aspen on the way down the other side. A look across at the ski area from above Breckenridge.

life bird

A day trip in the Jeep. We drove a short loop from Breckenridge, over Hoosier Pass (Continental Divide), through Alma, into South Park, left at Fairplay, left at Como, dirt road over Boreas Pass (Continental Divide), and back down to Breckenridge. Maybe fifty miles altogether. Not very birdy; mostly scenery; but remember that pine grosbeak I almost got in Estes Park, but couldn’t quite find? There was a bird standing in the road at the top of Boreas Pass. We stopped the car to look at him and there it was: the elusive pine grosbeak. A female. The picture we took isn’t very good. We took it through the windshield. But LIFE BIRD. That’s good.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Colorado Trail

We have access to the Colorado Trail from Tiger Run. It’s a five hundred mile trail through the mountains from Denver to Durango. Haven’t quite covered the entire thing, but we have made lunchtime walks in both directions.

The Colorado forests are changing. The pine beetle is giving us reason to learn to admire not only shades of green, but also shades of brown. It’s like going to Yellowstone. The fires changed Yellowstone forever by our standards. But the standards of our lifetime and our memories are just a blip in geologic time. The blackened Yellowstone forests still stand, but they are gradually coming down. The seedlings on the forest floor are asserting themselves and they will someday be as tall as the remaining snags.

The Colorado forests will look like a forest fire has gone through. It will be a slower oxidation that takes several years to complete. We will get to watch part of the recovery process as well. It will be a long cycle; not like the annual change of seasons. We will only get to see part of it, but then nobody gets to see everything do they?

Mountain weather. Highs mostly in the sixties. Lows in the forties. Blue sky in the mornings. Fifty degrees, calm, and sunny feels warm. Intermittent showers in the afternoon. Lush undergrowth. Flowers everywhere.

Tiny flocks of pine siskins on the feeder. Rufous and broad tailed hummingbirds. White crowned sparrows. Mountain chickadees. Swarms of violet green swallows overhead. Robins on the lawns. An American dipper works his way up and down the stream behind our site. There are trout in the stream.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tiger Run

In another section there are combo sites that are a mix of park models (like a mobile home, but more the size of an RV), chalets (bigger than a park model), and RV sites. That’s where we are this year, in the combo sites. Not many RVs here. Every time another chalet gets built, an RV site goes away.

Some owners have a chalet and RV site combination.

Tiger Run

Then there are the oversize deluxe sites. We’re not there this time either.

Tiger Run

The hungry squirrel. Well, he was hungry till he found us.

It’s an interesting mix of spaces here at Tiger Run. Every site is individually owned. There is a traditional RV section with pull-through and back-in sites. That’s where we stayed last year.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Okay. Either snow issues… or tall dogs. Thanks John.

Next challenge. Can you spot the little golden mantled ground squirrel in this picture?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Do you suppose they could have snow issues here in the winter?

Monday, August 4, 2008


Cold at night. 45 degrees. The little patio at the rear of the coach is downright chilly until the sun hits it.

Our view.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Up at 7:30. Coffee, watch birds, and visit on the veranda until 9:30. Pack up the motorhome for an hour. At 10:30 drive the Jeep to the King Soopers to make a deposit at the bank counter at the grocery store. (A bank that’s open from 11 till 4 on Sunday). Back to the park. An early lunch and the Jeep hooked up to the motorhome by 12. Tanked up at the fuel stop by 12:30. Off to Breckenridge. Two hours of grinding uphill and we’re here. Nine thousand feet. We’re at an RV Resort. Tiger Run.

There is still snow on the mountains around us.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Today was awful. I had to put on long pants, drive to Denver, and spend all day in a meeting. Well, actually, I didn’t have to wear long pants. We had an all day training day at the office. I got to hang out with people I like and talk about stuff that interests me. Not a bad way to spend a day.