Friday, July 12, 2013

Intermission Tour Part Deaux

Each day is a new awakening.  The air is clean, fresh, brisk and plain awesome.   I don't know how people live here and not think the rest of the Country is insane.  So wholesome and fresh.  I expect most believe the Kardashian's are foreign, probably aliens.  Well, that's probably a bad example because everyone must believe the Kardashian's are sick, self centered, no talent, crude, ill mannered, disgusting, deceptive, no nothing ignorant young women with a crazy mother.  Sad!   Anyway, since each day presents new adventures and most involving pictures which if you aren't here you probably are bored to tears.  To prevent painful boredom, I am "bundling" my comments to cover multiple days. 

July 12 – 16th

Polson MT is small town surrounded by unbelievable beauty.  I’m sure the locals take it for granted as they wake up to this serene beauty every day but, when passing through you just want to take in just how majestic God’s Canvas truly is.   Our RV resort schedules events daily.  Friday of course will be happy hour with BYOB.  We have met some great people.  So interesting.  People from all over the country and all walks of life.  We’ve been having the most fun with a couple from Houston, Ashley and Linda Pardue.  Ashley is a retired Captain from Southwest Airlines and he was full of stories and information.  He has been providing great insight into the “cock pit”.  Knowing what I know now, I’m not sure I would fly with any other airline but Southwest.  Another interesting tid bit is that when Bill’s Assistant (Ex-Assistant) Pat Dorsey read the blog and heard some of the Ashley Pardue stories, she immediately let Bill know that SHE WAS A NEIGHBOR OF THE PARDUE’S when she lived in Houston.  UNBELIEVABLE!  What were the chances?  300 million to one?  Pat shared stories about her neighbors from Houston and the stories were confirmed by Ashley.   The same Pardue couple. 


Most everyone we’ve met are true road travelers and on the road a minimum of 6 months of the year.  Many own pads at different resorts and they spend 2+ months at different locations.  Of course, when your Motor Coach is $1mm plus, I expect you would live in it more often.  We’ve seen some magnificent Motor Coaches. 

Friday the 12th is Happy Hour at the Club House followed on the 13th with a Carnival.   The Carnival was “full out” fun.  As we were meeting new neighbors it was interesting to see how many glampers were from Texas.  We were surrounded by Texans.  Although we met couples from Canada, Washington, Utah, Oregon and Florida, the majority seemed to be “Texans”. 




We had another fab weekend in Polson MT.  Sunday, June 14th, we traveled to Lakeside Mt to visit the son of one of Bill’s friends and colleague.  Paul Batz son Ben, was volunteering at Lakeside Lutheran Bible Camp so we went for Sunday Services.  Lakeside was a mere stone’s throw from Polson.  This camp was ideal.  I don’t ever remember a camp with so much to offer.  Once again the natural beauty was unmatched.  We had breakfast with the Camp Counselors and visitors, toured the campgrounds and we were then invited to worship.  I find it so invigorating and uplifting when I witness young adults in worship.  To hear them lift up their voices and provide testimony and commitment to spread the gospel, well, I am filled with hope for the future of generations to come. 



We later spent the day visiting Big Fork MT which was a sweet old Ranch town then traveled through Findley Point.  One town almost replicates the other with ever so subtle differences and all outlined in lakes and mountains.   As we were getting close to our departure date, we had dinner with our good friends the Pardue’s at Findley Point.  We shared good times and good wine.



On the morning of the 16th we planned a pre-checklist review for our 17th departure.  Good thing we did.  We apparently left something on for over two weeks which was draining the “massive battery bank” on the Bus.  No juice!  Seriously, not even a quiet churn.  Dead, Dead, and more Dead.  Since we made sure to take out the appropriate insurances and road side assistance support, we called it in and in less than an hour a service arrived at the resort to “jump” the bus.  Really!!!  Well, the young man (possibly 17) got out of his truck with a hand held booster box.  I turned to Bill and told him “We are in trouble.  This kid is carrying a battery pack and the bus has 4 batteries with another 2 suck hounds as the master batteries. “He has zero chances of starting the bus.  To no one’s surprise, the booster pack didn’t work so he now was attaching the primary batteries to his truck.  NOTHING!   


Three of our neighbors had a similar Motor Coach and were “experts” as road warriors.  They were witnessing our troubles and rode to the rescue.  They had all the necessary tools for diagnosing the problem and what was needed.  Which by this time, we pretty much figured out we needed new batteries.  Yes, “ka-ching” new batteries.  Our Texas neighbors were helpful in providing insight to the departure process and checklist in addition to assisting with a few additional fixes.  Texans….. you have got to love Texans.  They were so helpful and provided us with their contact information which is ever so helpful.  They were leaving on the same day as us and checked in with us before they left to make sure we were good to go.  Thanks to Jim, Darryl and Hutch. 


July 17th 

This is the day we departed Polson MT and real first road test of the Bus.  We were headed to West Yellowstone destination Grizzly RV Park.  The roads are narrow with steep inclines so as “co-pilot” I found it necessary to work the “grip bar” quite often.  There were instances when I had to abandon my post as the 6 degree grades with the run-away truck ramps were stressing me.  I knew it was better for Bill if I left my post.  I went into the Coach, slept for three hours and by the time I woke up; we had passed through the difficult areas.  Bill drove for 6.5 hours and we arrived West Yellowstone on the Montana side.  Our RV Park sits on the border of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.  We are at the West Entrance of Yellowstone Park and we could walk to the entrance from our park.  Once we go through the entrance, we are in Wyoming.  Bill and I are discovering some of the perks of being 60 ish.  For $10.00 we receive senior memberships to ALL NATIONAL PARKS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.  Whoo-Hoo. 



July 18th 

Bill and I ventured out to get a taste of Yellowstone as our guided tour wasn’t until the 19th and we were anxious.  With our Senior Pass in hand, we entered the park.   It wasn’t long before we were encountering young Moose and Elk.  We stopped at one of many thermal pools and boiling pots.  The thermal pools were 150 degrees and higher.  The pools all boil and bubble.  Natures Hot Tub only deadly.  There were mini Geysers and, pounding water falls.  We hit Terra Pools, Gibbons Falls and River as well as Madison Falls.  All equally gorgeous and all natural.    All sites were equipped with board walks which we were strongly advised not to leave as the ground was hot enough to cause serious injury and possibly death.  Yeah, I’m good with staying on the board walk.  The DANGER signs posted everywhere were a constant reminder.  As in family tradition, once we’ve had a full day, we retire to the nearest watering hole to check out the locals and other tourists while indulging on our favorite or new adult beverage.  We then remembered our dog Darby and thought it best to get back to the park so he could “relieve” himself.  We suited up our outdoor playground (relaxation chairs, tables, music and wine) and chatted with new neighbors.  While engaged in chatting it up, the Cowboys rode into the park.  Yes, Cowboys with chaps and horse.  The real deal.  I’m a sucker for a cute cowboy.  They were pushing happy trails and I was almost there.  Last time I was on a horse I’m pretty sure I almost died so, I passed.


Regardless, the eye candy was nice.  It was another great day. 



 July 19, 2013

The weather in West Yellowstone is PHENOM!!!  Temps are low 80’s during the day and in the 40’s at night.  Great sleeping weather.  I have to put on a sweater to walk the dog.  Heaven!   The weather map reflects 7 beautiful days of this weather. Oh, and humidity is 7%.  I’ve never, ever been anywhere where the humidity is less than 10%.  When we checked in the Manager told us that there was an active Grizzly in the “PET WALKING AREA” and to keep our bear spray close by.  Until the grizzly “moves out” maybe we should walk Darby in the park area.  Bill was funny, he conveyed the “bear spray” message and then relayed to be that he has his own spray and it has a chamber.  You know I had to venture into the woods where the designated pet walk area was located.  Just had to!  I figured Darby would sense danger before me.

We saddled up for the day and went on a “lower loop” tour of Yellowstone.  So much History.  Yellowstone is the Nation’s first National park of the Country.  The President at the time was President Grant and the year was 1872.  Once again we played poorly with the Native Indians and they were run out of the Park, their land.   I understand the population of Wyoming is less than one million...  Something like 500.000 people.   So much land, so few people.  There are parts of Wyoming that are so desolate that my though is every prison and penitentiary should reside in Wyoming.  Change its name to “THE PRISON STATE”.   


The tour took us through wildlife areas, volcano eruption sites, steam vents, thermal pools, mini geysers and of course the grand finale “OLD FAITHFUL”.  Yellowstone derived its name from the YELLOW STONES in the river.  That was a brain teaser for me as I thought there would be some meaningful historical event but, no, just yellow stones.  The natural beauty of this place in indescribable.  Nature contributed to the incredible evolution of Yellowstone.  A volcano some 640,000 years ago changed the landscape.  The fires of 1988, changed the landscape, the beetle disease infecting the lodgepole trees of Yellowstone, changed the landscape and the multitude of earthquakes which continue to change the landscape today.  The thermal pools, which run at 180 degrees are beautiful and unforgiving.  DO NOT LEAVE THE BOARDWALK. The grounds are hot, hot.    The pools are beautiful in color and the bubbles boiling on the surface remind you of danger.  There are Seam Vents all over Yellowstone which continuously releases the pressure of the volcanic activity.  Multiple gases releasing and this cycle is on a constant loop.  Our tour was 7 hours.  It was long but informative.  When you consider at before the automobile the visitation to the part was by horse and buggy and stagecoach.  Our 7 hour tour took 7 days in the early 1900’s.   The  Old Faithful Hotel was built in 1904 and remains a showcase hotel today.  You can really feel the spirit of millions of visitors going back to the 1800’s passing through the same halls.  Amazing.


During the tour we did get to see some wildlife to include, Elk, Bison, Young Moose, Bullwinkle and Rocky as well as a Grizzly.  There are Bison herds everywhere.  Over the years these buffalo have become pretty complacent about all the visitors, cars, and cameras.  They certainly prefer not to be “clicked off” while eating or mating.  Sounds fair.  These animals are sprinters and can charge you to a quick 35MPH   0-5 seconds.  They are ugly as sin but at the same time amazingly beautiful.  They have no problem hanging out on the road and although they will not stop for red lights or stop signs, they RULE the road.  We had a big bull just walk around our car and up the middle of the street.  Awesome. 

Old Faithful was just that.  She used to cap off every hour on the hour but a 7.5 earthquake (forget the year) shifted the underbelly and now she goes off every 88 to 90 minutes.  There are multiple steam vents around Old Faithful and the activity picks up just before she is ready to blow.  There were at least 1000 people there while Bill and I were and the same number and greater shows up every 88 minutes. 


As tradition dictates, after a full day Happy Hour at the Intermission Watering Hole was in order. 


That evening while hanging at our campsite two very young men, 13 and 9, came over to meet Darby and then hung back to “chat”.  I was floored that these two kids wanted to hang.  The more they spoke the move impressed I became.  I had the lovely privilege of meeting Leandrew and Dillon both from a charming little island in the Caribbean name Curacao.  Sounds like CUR-A-SOW_  Both children spoke three languages.  English, Spanish, Dutch and some Portuguese.   Their English was beautiful.  They began to tell me about their Country’s history under the Dutch, their fight for independence, their independence day 10/10/10 and the difficulties of building a self-governing government.  They went on to talk about the upheaval in their Country today as their elected leader has recently been assassinated. I was truly taken with these kids.  Made me sad to realize that I don’t expect we have too many 13 and 9 year old “kids’ that speak three languages and so knowledgeable about their Country’s history and current events.  Sad!  With all the resources at our disposal as a Country to better educate our future generations we still fall embarrassingly short.  Leandrew and Dillon could have gone on all night and I did find them captivating but, I needed to retire for the evening so  I invited them back the following evening  so I could be educated eve further. 

The following morning Bill and Darby went Fly Fishing.  That's an experience only Bill can speak to.

It was now time to "Hit the road".  As we were prepping for our departure Bill decided we needed to make things "simple".  In the spirit of keeping it simple, we opted to trade in our Bus for the new aerodynamic design of the "Road Pod".  Seriously, two people were traveling in this pod.

We were now headed to Colorado but making a stop in Wyoming first.  We headed out and Bill handles the bus like it were a Volkswagon.  No, seriously, he hauls butt at 76 and 80 on small roads and cliffs pushing 45,000 pounds of bus and, pulling the jeep.  60 feet of "big stuff" on the highway.
I have to grab my "grip bar", start a novena and be sure to say a fervent act of contrition while enroute to Rawlins, WY.  More to Come.