The Trick is to Die Young, as Old as
"On the plains of hesitation lie the bleached bones of those who waited, and while waiting, died"......
“I travel not to
go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is
“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It's a
dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road,
and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be
swept off to.”
“The traveler sees what he sees, the
tourist sees what he has come to see.”
Cindy's June 2009 Blog
Feel Free to browse past blogs for plenty of travel ideas and many of the places we've been in our first 12 months on the road - 2007 Blog's
Well-behaved women seldom make history
June 1st 2009 We Finally Arrived in Yellowstone
I can't believe we are halfway through the year already, it seems like Christmas was a couple of weeks ago. When I was talking to my sister and she said the girls are already out of school for summer break, it shocked me. Are the days becoming shorter as I get older? Does it have something to do with global warming?
I remember when I was a kid, thinking that a 7 hour school day seemed like 12 hours. Playing tag outside with my friends until dark was at least a 5 hour game. Now going to the grocery store for a few things runs into the 2 hour mark for me, seeming like it was only a short 20 minutes. One good thing about spring and summer, the sun goes down so much later that it fools me into thinking the days are longer.
Pat and I got out early today and drove around Yellowstone for a bit trying to get familiar with our surroundings. Since we are new here, the Buffalo are one of the most visible and intriguing animals of the park. I told Pat that after our first month or so here, we won't even stop to take pictures of them anymore because we will be so used to the giant animals.
Spring is also a time when mothers are taking on new off-spring every day. It is hard to believe that the baby buffalo we are seeing now grows into such a cumbersome looking beast. These little bundles of energy resemble a big Red Labrador more than a Bison.
We had a chance to watch these little guys in action when we stopped to watch a heard of Bison crossing a stream. The Red Dogs (As alot of the locals call them) were chasing each other in circles, dashing in between their mommas like little lighting bolts and just having a fun time. We could hear them yelling at one another and bucking like baby broncos as they out ran each other.
This left the mothers unfazed by the action as they continued to graze on the grasses that are just now starting to turn green. At this point in the year, the mothers are actually pretty skinny and we could see the rib cages on most of them. Last year we were here closer to the middle of June and the wildflowers were already blooming, most of the winter fur had fallen off of the Buffalo and they had gained enough weight to not see their rib cages.
Wondering why mommas are rubbing horns
(Sorry about all of the photos but like I said, we were pretty excited about all of the action and I couldn't decide on just one)
Everyone told us that June is the wettest month of the year and today was no exception. After an hour or so, the rain was coming down so hard that we took photos from inside the truck for a while before we just hung it up cause the lenses were getting so wet.
As we were driving back to our new home base, I spotted a large hawk eyeing the open field in front of him and made Pat come to a screeching halt in the middle of the road. He threw the truck into reverse and sat watching while we took a few photos, hoping to catch it soaring off to find a meal. The rain didn't allow us to wait that long because it was coming down hard and the interior of the door was getting flooded. We didn't want the mechanisms of the windows and door locks to get fried, so we gave up.
Around 7 pm, we got a knock on our door from our neighbor Larry inviting us to go to a meeting for the employees who wanted to join a new Photo Club he was organizing.
Pat and I were on that in a minute and attended the meeting until 9:30. We all talked about where the best places to shoot, how to use the cameras we have and shared some of each others photos.
Larry had an awesome slide show made up on a DVD and set to music and it brought tears to my eyes. I told him it was like watching a Disney movie since his photos were so incredible. He has been working here for the past few years and knows where to find different animals as well as has the patients to wait for them to stir. That is going to be my biggest down fall, having the patients to wait for some action. I am a instant gratification sort of person.
Hopefully this season will enhance my patients level because the pay off will be so great. When we got back to the camper, I had to body slam Pat into the refrigerator to get him to turn on the heat. He refuses to plug in to shore power, even though we are at an all amenities site. I do understand that we want to stick to our solar but when it's 42 outside, doggone it, I want some heat.
He won and wouldn't plug us in or turn on the heat. This worked out fine since I put extra covers on both of the dogs that were asleep on the couch and threw 2 extra blankets on my side of the bed, since Pat didn't want any heat he got none.
It's funny because in the middle of the night I woke up so darn hot that I took the covers off for a few minutes. Serves me right for being such a blanket hog.
Tuesday June 2nd
The day started as a cold and rainy one so we pretty much hung out at the camper all day. Pat was eager to get out and look for animals until I reminded him again that we will be here for 5 months, so we could actually pick a warmer, drier day to get out in the weather. I don't even think the animals will come out on a day like this.
Pat tried to connect us to the water system and the hose kept leaking where it connects to the camper, most likely because we never use that connection. We are always moving so we use our fresh water tank instead. After he fiddled with that for a while, he decided we need to replace some things which we can pick up tomorrow when we go to West Yellowstone for our orientation.
I guess that Bozeman, Montana is only an hour from West Yellowstone and we want to check that area out. When we shopping at Albertsons in Jackson Hole, it was so extremely expensive there I didn't get very much stuff. All of the little things we usually gets like nuts, fruit, cheese and milk were twice as much as what I'm used to.
We will be on a meal plan here which provides 3 meals a day, even when we are not working. There are certain time frames for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I think that will be a great way to save us money. No cooking or cleaning up for 5 months!! Then when we do get back on the road I will be excited to do the cooking thing again. It costs a mere 7 dollars a day so I think it is well worth it.
My only concern about that is will we be able to resist the foods that they have to offer? Our friends say that the food is home cooking like fried chicken, pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy and they always have dessert. Hopefully we can resist the temptation as not to put any weight back on.
I really like not having to unbutton the top button of my clothes in order to sit down and it seems like my pants have gotten longer and don't look like floods anymore.
We spent the day catching up on stuff and cleaning and organizing things here inside the coach before we start work which I guess will be on Friday. Both of us are excited to begin, leaving the worried feeling behind us. We are going to be working the same shift together, so we don't have to wonder how we should spend our time away from one another.
We had a knock on our door from our neighbors and we spent a few hours with them before coming home to our little cocoon. We watched the weather report for the upcoming week and it is supposed to be in the 40's all week with the lows dropping into the 20's! I guess we need to break out the parkas again, darn, I thought those were stored for good. Last year on June 12th they got 12 inches of snow here, so we should be prepared for anything.
When we crawled into bed, it was still raining and I'm not sure if it ever quit. It was just a mild drizzle, but it was one that fell the entire day.
Thursday June 4th
Sheer excitement today! Went for orientation in the Old Faithful building, which is the oldest building on the Yellowstone property. Midway through our class the smoke alarm goes off and we have to clear out of the building! All of the patrons in the restaurant and everything, it was a great time.
We stood outside for a while, waiting for the firemen to give us the OK to go back into the building and while outside, we got to see one of the geysers go off that has been dormant for awhile. I'm not that big into geysers, but I guess it was a big deal.
After I saw the fireman, I blamed the girls for pulling the alarm on purpose cause they were pretty hot themselves. Of course Pat whips out the point and shoot and takes a picture of me with the hotties, God I love my husband.
We got to meet a few of the people we will be working with over the summer and shared some funny stories as we waited out the alarm. Looks like this is going to be a good fit for us at this point, but I guess we will know more when we really get our hands dirty on the job.
This is definitely not a Red Dog Saloon with all of the rusty characters that filled our lives with drama and heart ache, laughter and good friends. Most of the people coming into the restaurant are from different continents or countries, but all seem to be happy and friendly.
Pat and I will be on a team of 2, he and I by ourselves, once we get started waiting tables. There are 6 tables with four seats each and 21 counter stools which makes for a very busy day!!!! Yee Ha, I am ready to be busy, run off some more Lbs. and put some cash in the pocket.
We came back to camp after dinner, which by the way has been awesome. So far, we've been eating a good breakfast, lunch and dinner without me cooking or cleaning, which puts a smile on my face every time I think about it. We pay $54.00 a piece per week for everything, including a few different meats to choose from, always a nice green salad, two or three veggies, ice cream and some sort of pie, cake or brownie for dessert.
We also bring a piece of fruit home for each meal to eat at a later time for a snack. If I went to the grocery store around here, it would cost me at least $175.00 per week to put that on the table, plus the fuel to cook it and the time to prepare it. You can't beat this in my book. My only fear is control of what I eat, but so far so good.
Pat had a couple of beers when we got home and I had a glass of wine over some conversation and computer talk. I lasted only about an hour or so before I was ready to call it a night. Having to get up at 6:30am is not too bad, but that will change on Monday when our shifts get longer as the summer season goes into effect.
Friday June 5th
Our very first day at waiting tables was a success. Granted I knew we would do OK, but it has been a long time since either one of us has written out a ticket by hand or added them up ourselves. Pat has never waited tables on a breakfast shift, but he did great. He doesn't like eggs and has never eaten them any way but scrambled, so the over easy, over medium...etc type of things are Greek to him.
Our day started off with opening the door at 9am and 20 people coming in at once and within 10 minutes every stool and chair was full. Pat and I shared a station so he had 11 counter seats and I had 12 chairs which worked out real good for our breaking in period. We worked with another server who was extremely laid back and helpful, just like all of the other people who work here.
I made a dozen mistakes through out the day covering them quickly as not to let the guests know that I had made them in the first place. I'm not going to babble on because I think this day to day stuff is boring for anyone who does this stuff everyday of the week.
I will say however that even though Pat and I split a station, we made good cash and had fun doing it. A few more days and Pat and I will really know the ropes, which will enable us to do even better for us and the company we work for. Believe it or not, I like the way this corporate company works. And that is saying alot being as I hate anything Corporate!
It is almost 9pm and I am getting ready to turn in for the night, getting ready for another day of what we loved and left behind three years ago. It is so good to be back in the swing of things and at the same time, I can't wait for our first day off so we can explore the park some more.
Monday June 15th
What the heck do people do that have full time jobs? It doesn't seem like we have time to do anything anymore. I think one reason is because of the split shift that we are working here in the General Store, added to the fact that I am completely wiped out by the time that we get home and that is making me a pretty dull person.
The young or the single people are the only ones that seem to find the time to go to the Pub after work or hang out in the Rec. room to pass the time with one another. Last week Pat and I worked from 11am to 10pm with a two hour break in between, giving us zero time to take photos.
This week we are working from 7am to 6pm with a 3 hour break in between. My in-between shift times have been spent curled up in bed with my two pups while Pat works on the computer. I am so beat by the time we get home that I can hardly move. I don't remember working in a restaurant being this hard, but then again I've had a 3 year rest from the last time I've worked long hours like this.
Our first few days on duty made me feel incredibly inadequate since I had such a hard time keeping up. We then got our sales report for our weekly sales and between Pat and I we are doing 2 Grand a day in sales. That is a whole lot of tables being turned over when most tickets are $20 and under.
The time at work just flies by because I rarely have a chance to even look at the clock. One good thing about the hard work is we are catching up on some much needed income replacement. I am very grateful that they do all of the cooking and cleaning up for us since I would never have the time or energy to do so myself.
During our breaks, the dogs go for a walk or two so they seem to be happy enough. It is still so cold outside that they aren't too eager to spend any time outside. Let me tell you about a funny little thing that happened while I was walking them the other night after we came home from work. It was around 10pm and it gets really black outside here by that time of night.
I had my little Solar Flashlight hanging around my wrist so that I could hold both leashes. This means most of the light was shining down onto the grass at my feet. It is so quite here after say 9pm because everyone in the employee campground really works their butts off and are in bed early just like me. Luca, the Pitt started acting very alert and was pulling on his leash really hard. I tried to pull him back to me but he wouldn't come.
I realized that he must have seen something in the woods in front of us so I shined my flashlight straight ahead of us to see what he was looking at. When I did that, I about crapped my pants! There was a huge Elk not six feet in front of us with a stance on it that looked like it was ready to charge. I pulled both dogs at that point very hard and backed up behind a tree.
I turned them around and headed for the camper, with my flashlight leading the way. I am so glad my dogs don't bark because if that thing would have ran either toward or away from us with fear, I don't know what would have happened. When I got back to the camper I told Pat that from now on he was going with me to walk them at night or I just wouldn't go.
On the weight loss update, Pat has lost 6 more pounds since last time we talked about it and I have lost another 9 pounds. Bringing Pat to a svelte 157 and myself to 150. Someone asked Pat the other day whose pants he had on since they are so big on him. I always wore the same size in a stretch jean so mine aren't so loose. They don't have to work as hard either to keep all the booty in.
We have off from work on Wednesday and Thursday this week so we will be out shooting for sure and hopefully can post some more cool pictures. The last time we had a few days off we spent time inside one day since it rained from sun up until sun down. The other day, it snowed and rained, but we got out in it anyway.
It's 8pm here now and I have to get up at 5:30 in the morning in order to jump around the camper for a bit before I go to work. So I am turning in for the night and just wanted to update my blog with something because I felt so guilty not putting anything in here. Hopefully after my shower, it will be dark outside by then so I don't feel like such a dork going to bed with it still light out.
I'll promise to update after our days off with some good stories about what we did and what we found to photograph.