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Monday, July 31, 2017

"Life moves pretty fast...."

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8:21 am - Monday - 52º F, humidity 72%, wind 2 mph out of the southeast.....partly cloudy....forecast high in Gardiner of 88º F (Mammoth Hot Springs - 83º F).  Wow, I slept in until 8 am! Wow, TLE was up before me....double wow!  Wow, I guess I was tired!  

Hard to believe Sunday was the last Sunday of July......August 1st is Tuesday......A famous person once said......"Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller from 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'.  We are really looking forward to our off days to we can stop and look around.  As we were driving up the final 7% grade into Mammoth Hot Springs I slowed the car so we could drink in the big view looking north toward Gardiner, MT.....it is such a big, beautiful glacial valley.  We are trying to stop and look around before time passes us by, and it is time to roll our wheels once again.



Just a few weeks ago we walked into the Mammoth Hot Springs General Store for the first time.....everyone we met was a stranger.  Now those strangers have become friends whom we greet each day by name as we walk through the store to the lunch room to get ready for another day of cashiering and ice cream scooping.  On that first day we felt like strangers on the outside looking in, but now we are part of a big family of hard working folks who have each other's backs.

Our Sunday 'CLOSE' shift was a little busier than Saturday, and time went by quickly.  I spent most of Sunday's shift as cashier in the fountain, and once again we surpassed $80 in tips.  At 8:30 we closed the 'Fountain' once again, cleaned up and then I pulled my drawer around 8:50 pm to count it down.  TLE followed about 30 minutes later to count down her drawer and we were on our way home by 9:30.


Classic Ferris Bueller

I'll leave you with the above YouTube video from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.......watch it....I know you'll smile!

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. - Just a reminder, we do derive some income from our blog.  The first source is via Google Adsense.  You have probably noticed various ads in the right hand column of our blog, and in between the daily blog entries.  If you are interested in any of those products and click on any of those ads we do get a few cents for each click.  Secondly, we have an Amazon Affiliate account through Amazon, which means if you click on this link (Amazon Affiliate link) and do your Amazon shopping using that link we will receive a small commission on each completed purchase.  Using this link does not add one penny to your purchase price, nor does it affect your Amazon Prime account status.   

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Parking patrol......

8:09 am - Sunday - 53º F, humdity 76%, wind 3 mph out of the east southeast......sunny with a forecast high for Gardiner of 85º F, and Mammoth Hot Springs of 79º F......clouds on the way, but no rain forecast for today.

For the first time in 4, or 5 days it did not rain Saturday.....it looked as if it might rain, but the moisture never materialized.  Saturday was also our 'hump' day, so it is downhill to Monday (our Friday) now.  The weather has been so nice this past week we have been leaving most of our windows open all day and all night, and have not had to use our A/C at all during that time.  In fact, we should have good hiking weather by Tuesday as we continue our quest to hike 100 miles in Yellowstone.

The customer traffic continues to slowly decline as families with school age kids are making their way home to finish 'Back to School' shopping, and put their kids back in school by the middle of August.  The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, which has been closed most of the summer for renovation and repairs will be reopening August 1st, so that may have an impact on our customer traffic, so we shall see if the slowing trend is only temporary, or permanent. 

During the middle of the day we have this ongoing battle with desparate vacationers invading the employee parking lot in search of a parking spot.  TLE has made it her personal mission to thwart them, and she can be seen occasionally chasing parking miscreants from the lot, as well as moving orange cones around to block unused spots.  In addition to the orange cones each site has large block lettering proclaiming the site  'RESERVED', and there are numerous signs throughout the parking lot proclaiming the site for 'FOR EMPLOYEES ONLY', but that does not deter those whose motto seems to be 'It is better to ask forgiveness than permission'.  At the peek time of day which begins at 1:30 pm when the 'CLOSE' shift folks arrive we need every single one of those parking spots as for about 90 minutes we have the 'OPEN', 'MID' and 'CLOSE' shift folks all on site at the same time.  I get a kick out of her confronting the occasional scofflaw as we arrive for our daily shift.....there is almost always at least one person trying to park illegally in our lot when we arrive.

I spent my 'CLOSE' shift scooping ice cream and talking with my co-workers when the periodic lull in foot traffic occurred, which was often.  We still managed to scoop a lot of ice cream, and our customers rewarded us with over $90 in our tip basket.  The foot traffic dropped off significantly after 6 pm, and as a result we were able to begin cleaning the 'Fountain' area early resulting in us finishing our cleaning by 8:40 pm.....just 10 minutes after our official close time.  I spent time 'merchandising' around the store which essentially means straightening T's, sweatshirts, and jackets on their hangers, as well as 'fronting' other retail merchandise.  'Fronting' means pulling stock on shelves to the front to create a uniform appearance, and make the product visible to customers as the walk down the aisles.

Soon it was once again 9:30 pm and time to haul anchor and head for home port.....we were home before 10 pm putting our tired feet up, and sipping adult beverages.  I fell asleep in my recliner waking up about midnight to go to bed......:-)

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. - Just a reminder, we do derive some income from our blog.  The first source is via Google Adsense.  You have probably noticed various ads in the right hand column of our blog, and in between the daily blog entries.  If you are interested in any of those products and click on any of those ads we do get a few cents for each click.  Secondly, we have an Amazon Affiliate account through Amazon, which means if you click on this link (Amazon Affiliate link) and do your Amazon shopping using that link we will receive a small commission on each completed purchase.  Using this link does not add one penny to your purchase price, nor does it affect your Amazon Prime account status.   

Saturday, July 29, 2017

'Funky'......

7:46 am - Saturday - 50º F, humidity 86%, wind 4 mph out of the south southeast....partly cloudy, as it almost always is.....forecast high for Saturday is 79º F here in Gardiner, and 76º F in Mammoth Hot Springs.  The only temperature I am really concerned about is the one in Mammoth Hot Springs as that is where we are each day, even on our days off sometimes!

We both slept until after 8 am Friday.....normal for TLE, but not for moi.....nonetheless I enjoyed getting up a little later than normal.  The air was cool, 50º F, which is an indication that the weather is beginning to cool as we are now past the zenith of summer here in Montana/Wyoming.  It's kind of weird knowing that we work in one state, and live in another.  Back in South Lake Tahoe we would drive over to Carson City, NV once every 3-4 weeks, but here we drive into Wyoming pretty much every single day.

Before work I spent some time puttering around in the trailer.  I had ordered some new tubes (700 x 32C) for my Cannondale Bad Boy, and had planned to replace the tube in the rear tire as it had a slow leak, however, when I opened one of the tube boxes I discovered that I had mistakenly ordered tubes with Schraeder valves, and I need Presta valves.....doh!  So I decided to repair the tube, and then return the tubes I had bought from Amazon for a refund.  The cool thing about Amazon is that you just go to the item purchased and click on the box entitled "RETURN ITEM", answer a question as to why you are doing that and then print a mailing label.  Since it was my error I had to pay $5 postage to return them.  I then ordered the correct tubes, and they should be here by Monday, or Tuesday.  Whilst repairing the leaky tube I also discovered I was almost out of tube patches, so I ordered some more of them, also.

By then it was time to begin getting ready for work.....we have the 'CLOSE' shift Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so we don't have to leave for work until 1 pm, which I love.  I can get up later than usual and still have hours to piddle around before work!

Once again things were slower than normal in the store, but that is to be expected as things do tend to wind down near the end of July, and here we are now at July 28th!  I once again pulled a cash drawer and spent a couple of hours of my shift taking payment for ice cream, coffee, hot chocolate, chili, hot dogs, etc.  The best part about being cashier is being able to converse with each customer about their day without the pressure of scooping ice cream.  During one of the many lulls in customer traffic I snapped a few pictures of my Lovely Elaine interacting with a customer......

 That's our friend Genie to TLE's left




......all too soon it was dusk and time to close out another day.....I say 'all too soon' as we really do enjoy our jobs, and the people we work with.  I stepped out side on the front porch of the General Store to capture the evening sites looking toward the hot spring terraces....


.....we were on our way down the Gardiner River Gorge by 9:45 pm......we stopped off at the Rusty Rail to have a drink with our friends Genie and Roscoe.....this has become a regular Friday night thing, and we enjoy it.....the Rusty Rail is our kind of funky dive bar......we were home by 10:45 relaxing and getting ready for another day of fun.

 Yeah....funky

On a side note, my Dodgers are having a wonderful season......they are now 40 games over .500 for the first time since 1973.....they are now 71 and 31 (wins/losses).  Looking forward to the post season this year!

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. - Just a reminder, we do derive some income from our blog.  The first source is via Google Adsense.  You have probably noticed various ads in the right hand column of our blog, and in between the daily blog entries.  If you are interested in any of those products and click on any of those ads we do get a few cents for each click.  Secondly, we have anAmazon Affiliate account through Amazon, which means if you click on this link (Amazon Affiliate link) and do your Amazon shopping using that link we will receive a small commission on each completed purchase.  Using this link does not add one penny to your purchase price, nor does it affect your Amazon Prime account status, if you have one.  

Friday, July 28, 2017

'Knuckle Buster'

8:07 am - Friday - 50º F, humidity 91%, wind 3 mph out of the east southeast...sunny....no clouds....forecast high for Gardiner is 83º F....for Mammoth Hot Springs it is 78º F.

Once again we had our 'MID' shift beginning at 11 am and finishing at 7 pm.  When I inquired of our co-workers whether it had been busy the two days we were off and the replied that it had not been very busy, which only confirms what I have noticed over the past week......the crowds are getting thinner already.  Thursday was no different, and thank goodness it was.  

Around 11:30 the first of four registers crashed, then rebooted leaving us with no way to accept credit cards electronically.  By noon only one register was still able to process credit cards electronically so we had to begin processing credit cards using the old 'knuckle busters'.....you know, the ones where you place the credit card on this manually operated machine, along with a two part transaction receipt then slide the arm over it all creating an impression on the transaction receipt.  I haven't seen one of these 'knuckle busters' since the
70's!!
  
Yee olde 'knuckle buster'

Normally it takes about 10-15 seconds max to process a credit card purchase electronically, but using the manual 'knuckle buster' it takes anywhere from 3-5 minutes for the uninitiated.  Amazingly, when we advised our customers of our dilemma cash magically appeared in their hands.  We went from processing credit cards about 50-60% of the time to only 5% of the time......whew!

Within 90 minutes 'IT' had debugged the system, and life returned to normal......but wait, there's more!  A week from Thursday the 'IT' department is going to update our 'POS' (point of sale) software and it is possible this will happen all over again.....it did last year.....oy vey! Well, at least we had a dry run, so to speak, and will be somewhat prepared for next Thursday if worst fears are realized.  You don't realize how much computers do for you, and how much time they save you until they don't work.....I feel a fever coming by at least next Thursday.....:-)

Once the computer malfunction was rectified the rest of the day went swimmingly well.....we would have brief bursts of activity at the 'Fountain', but for the most part it was a slow afternoon.....no complaints from me!

Another change introduced Thursday was a brief tutorial by our 'Fountain' supervisor Brian.  Apparently we have been scooping ice cream too generously and headquarters wanted to refresh our memories as to what a 'single scoop' and 'double scoop' look like.  Apparently our single scoops have been running about 8 oz, when they should be about 4 oz.  The result is we have been plowing through ice cream at about twice the rate as the other stores.  Personally, I thought from the beginning we were scooping too big, but when everyone else is giving large scoops it won't work to have one person scooping way smaller, so I just adjusted my scooping to whomever I was working with that day.  Amazingly, the customers are still quite happy just getting their 4, or 8 ounces of ice cream!

The day went by quickly, and pleasantly.......once again we were sliding down the Gardiner River Gorge in our Beetle to our home for the evening.....life is good, and we are in a good place mentally, physically and emotionally.  We are sooooo thankful we rolled our wheels and changed our view 7 weeks ago.

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. - Just a reminder, we do derive some income from our blog.  The first source is via Google Adsense.  You have probably noticed various ads in the right hand column of our blog, and in between the daily blog entries.  If you are interested in any of those products and click on any of those ads we do get a few cents for each click.  Secondly, we have an Amazon Affiliate account through Amazon, which means if you click on this link (Amazon Affiliate link) and do your Amazon shopping using that link we will receive a small commission on each completed purchase.  Using this link does not add one penny to your purchase price, nor does it affect your Amazon Prime account status, if you have one.  

Thursday, July 27, 2017

26.75......

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7:22 am - Thursday - 53º F, humidity 78%, wind 5 mph out of the east southeast..partly cloudy with another chance of rain today at about 50%.

After finishing our 8.8 mile out and back hike Tuesday we talked, optimistically, about doing another 4, or 5 mile hike Wednesday to get total '100 Miles Hiking Club' total up to over 26 miles, but in the back of my head I thought "We'll see how we feel then".  Sometimes TLE changes her mind.  Well, this time she didn't......just after waking up Wednesday she suggested we hike the 'Beaver Ponds Loop Trail', which according to our handy dandy 'Yellowstone Trails Hiking Guide' was about 5 miles in length......
.

......the trail starts about 2/10's of a mile south of the 'General Store' and terminates about 2/10's of a mile to the north of the 'General Store' employee parking lot.  Anyway, armed with that knowledge we were in the VW heading up the Gardiner River Gorge to Mammoth Hot Springs around 11:15 am.  We began hiking to the trailhead from the employee parking lot about 11:40 am.....



.....the initial trail takes you about .7 miles to a junction where the actual Beaver Ponds Loop Trail begins.....from this point the sign says it is 4.3 miles to the termination of the 'Loop Trail'.  As we climbed ever higher, eventually passing 7,000' elevation, the views became big and long....

 You can just see the Grand Loop bridge over the Gardiner River in the deep background

......we began to see wildflowers in great abundance.....here I managed to capture three different varieties in one shot....don't ask me what varieties they may be, because I have no idea.......



......we reached the first of the 3 beaver ponds at the 2.8 mile mark finding that we had crossed back into Montana........



......there was shade periodically for the first 2.8 miles, but once we passed the first beaver pond we were in almost continuous shade for the next 2 miles........


.....we knew there was a chance of rain after 2 pm, and by the time we began our descent back to the 'Village' it was going on 2 pm......we reached the northern terminus of the 'Loop Trail' just as it was beginning to sprinkle.......

TLE and her hiking skirt.....just beginning to sprinkle around 2:30 pm

......by the time we reached the Beetle we had covered 6.2 miles......hmmmm....a little further than we had planned, but we felt okay.  We stopped off at the Gardiner Market on our way home to do a 'BIG' shopping, and when we exited the store the rain was falling by the bucket full. Wow, we finished our hike just in time!

So, here are the numbers.....6.2 miles hiked, almost 800' of elevation gain, 1115 calories incinerated averaging an even 22 minutes per mile.....total moving time of 2 hours and almost 17 minutes......our '100 Miles Hiking Club' total mileage is now 26.75.....we hope to pass the 40 mile mark next 'weekend'.....



We were home around 3:15 pm and had to unload the groceries in a driving rain storm, but we were grateful we had finished our hike before the rains came.  We passed probably 10 people on our way down to the 'Village' who were hiking up to the beaver ponds......I have no doubt they got a drenching.

We spent the rest of the afternoon resting.....TLE did run a few loads of laundry through the 'splendid Splendide' in preparation for the beginning of our new work week on Thursday.

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. - Just a reminder, we do derive some income from our blog.  The first is via Google Adsense.  You have probably noticed various ads in the right hand column of our blog, and in between the daily blog entries.  If you are interested in any of those products and click on any of those ads we do get a few cents for each click.  Secondly, we have an Amazon Affiliate account through Amazon, which means if you click on this link (Amazon Affiliate link) and do your Amazon shopping using that link we will receive a small commission on each completed purchase.  Using this link does not add one penny to your purchase price, nor does it affect your Amazon Prime account status, if you have one.  

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

LAVA!

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8:29 am - Wednesday - 55º F, humidity 88%, wind 4 mph out of the east......very cloudy with a 50% chance of rain.

In order to get our 100 Mile Hiking Club certificate from YCERP (www.ycerp.org) we are going to have to average around 10 miles of hiking per week until the end of our stay here in YNP*, so Tuesday we set an ambitious goal of hiking the Lava Creek Trail from the US-89 Trailhead near Mammoth Campground up to Undine Falls and back (8.8 miles round trip).  We previously hiked about 2 miles round trip of this trail from the Undine Falls end in order to see the falls a couple of weeks ago.

We knew there was a forecast of rain (60%) by 2 pm so we were on the trail by 9 am hoping to complete the round trip in five hours, or less.....the skies were overcast as we began the steep descent toward the Gardiner River......

.




.....once we got down far enough the trail leveled out for quite a ways before we began our inevitable climb up to Undine Falls.......

Smiling at the beginning

The Gardiner River looking southeast just before the confluence with Lava Creek

.....the overall elevation gain up to the falls is 1,358', and boy did we feel that in our leg muscles!  We arrived at Undine Falls around 11:15 am after just two hours and fifteen minutes of hiking......

Made it to the turn around point....Undine Falls

.....we found a log to sit on by the falls and spent about 15 minutes snacking and relaxing before beginning the return trip to the US-89 trailhead.  This hike hardly feels like an out and back as the views going and returning are starkly different....

Pano shot looking back toward Mammoth Hot Springs

The confluence of the Gardine River and Lava Creek

 
TLE crossing the Lava Creek Trail suspension bridge 


The Gardiner River looking northwest.....a beautiful glacial valley

....still smiling near the end....notice that TLE is carrying the 'Bear Spray'!

....we arrived back at the car around 1:15 pm having hiked the 8.8 miles in just over 4 hours averaging around 24 minutes a mile, or better than 2 miles an hour, plus we burned a few calories along the way......our actual 'moving' time was 3 hours and 32 minutes......we, obviously stopped often to take pictures and just enjoy the scenery.....



.....after a quick stop at the Gardiner Market we were home by 2 pm putting our feet and legs up to let some of the stiffness ooze out of our extremities.  Around that time we got a call from the Delaware North office near the Grand Canyon offering us winter jobs there beginning November 1st......cool!  The next faze of our 2017/2018 travels is now confirmed.  We will be spending the winter at the Grand Canyon working as cashiers at the Delaware North store at the Desert View Watchtower location.....


.....this iconic 'watchtower' is located at the east end of the Grand Canyon near the Desert View visitors center.....we visited this site briefly about 3 years ago while we were on a one day site seeing binge of the Grand Canyon.....



.....now we will have a few months to really explore the Grand Canyon from every angle imaginable, and we are totally excited!  We will be able to walk to work from our campsite!  

Thanks for stopping by!

*YNP = Yellowstone National Park

P.S. - Just a reminder, we do derive some income from our blog.  The first is via Google Adsense.  You have probably noticed various ads in the right hand column of our blog, and in between the daily blog entries.  If you are interested in any of those products and click on any of those ads we do get a few cents for each click.  Secondly, we have an Amazon Affiliate account through Amazon, which means if you click on this link (Amazon Affiliate link) and do your Amazon shopping using that link we will receive a small commission on each completed purchase.  Using this link does not add one penny to your purchase price, nor does it affect your Amazon Prime account status, if you have one.  

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Happy

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6:25 am - Tuesday - 52º F, humidity 69%, wind 3 mph out of the west.....heavy cloud cover with a 50% chance of rain.

Ahhhhhh.....Monday.....our 'Friday'.....how I love thee!  We are about 5.5 weeks into our YNP* stint.....it seems as if we have been here all summer.  The disappointments of April and May are fading into the fuzzy background, and we are happy......in fact, we are happy to be happy!


Whenever we have the 'MID' shift we have to tighten up our morning routine as we have to be out the door and on our way up to Mammoth Hot Springs by 10:30 am, instead of 1 pm.  I was taking a short nap prior to work when I woke up suddenly realizing I had 15 minutes to take a shower, shave, and get dressed for work.  I managed to get all that done and was sitting in the VW about 10:29 am ready to motivate up the hill.

We walked into the General Store to a quiet atmosphere, which is the way we like it.  Kind of nice to ease into the day slowly when you know it will be busy eventually, and busy it did become.  From 12 pm until we went to 'lunch' at 3 pm the queue was never empty.  We had 6 people on duty when the crowds came and with that many people were able to process the customers quickly and efficiently.  I did pull my cash drawer to begin the shift and spent about 2 hours out of my 7.5 hours working the register, but was just as happy to be scooping ice cream and supporting my 'Fountain' team.

One of the good things about working the 'MID' shift is getting off at 7 pm, instead of 9:30....it is still daylight at 7:00 pm and sundown is about 8:58 pm here in Gardiner, so there is still plenty of time to sit outside after work.  We arrived home around 7:30 pm after making a quick stop at the Gardiner Market to pick up a few necessities, changed clothes and were sitting outside enjoying the early evening air, sipping cocktails, and for puffing on a cigar.........

 At the Gardiner Market....."Hey.....you're supposed to look happy Clarke!"

......we know from the 'weather guessers' that we have a high percentage chance of rain Tuesday, and the evidence of that forecast was the cloud cover approaching from the northwest.....

 Here comes the rain!


......enjoying our front yard for a change......and just being happy.....


....well, it's time to get dressed in our hiking gear!  It's Tuesday and time for some more YNP exploration!  Thanks for stopping by!

*YNP = Yellowstone National Park

When you need to buy something from Amazon, think of us.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission.

Monday, July 24, 2017

'In the books.....'

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7:14 am - Monday - 55º F, humidity 56%, wind - 1 mph out of the northeast.....sunny, but the clouds are coming later today as we edge toward rain once again.

As I had hoped, the final round of the British Open 2017 was a 'barn burner'.......Jordan Spieth began the final round at 11 under par, but by the 13 hole had slipped back to 7 under par when he carded his 5th bogey of the day against one birdie.  At that point he was 1 stroke behind the new leader, Matt Kucher.  That he managed to only bogey the 14 hole was a miracle in itself, and maybe portended what was about to happen.  Over the next 5 holes he, Jordan, went 5 under par to win The Open by 3 strokes.......


.......his tee shot on 13 ended up on the opposite side of a high sand dune from the 14th hole.....at least 100 yards off course.  He then had to declare an 'unplayable lie' and move the ball another 75 yards away from the 13th hole to an area where he could drop the ball and still have 'line of sight' to the hole.  His 3 iron shot made it almost all the way to the green coming up about 7 yards short.  He then chipped the ball on to the green within 10 feet of the hole and sank the putt for a bogey.....it could easily have been a triple bogey, or worse.  At any rate, that was the turning point.  His tee shot on the par 3 14th hole was almost a 'hole in one', but he did get the birdie.  The 15th hole, a par 5, he drove in two shots, sinking a 25 foot putt for eagle, and so the story goes.  Jordan has now won his 3rd different 'Major' before the age of 24 (Masters, US Open, and British Open), and now has the chance in two weeks to win the PGA, which would give him a 'Career Grand Slam' before the age of 24.....something even Tiger Woods did not accomplish.  So, the 2017 version of 'The Open' is in the books.

The fourth round ended about 11:30 am....perfect!  Time for a shower, lunch and a nap before work!  We arrived at the employee parking lot at just after 1:15 pm, and were at our stations by 1:30.....I was a cashier this day, and spent about 1/2 my time scooping ice cream, and 1/2 accepting payment for 100's of ice cream cones.  From 1:30 pm until we took our 'lunch' break at 6 pm the crowds hardly dissipated.....it was a fast 4.5 hours!

Around 7 pm I took some trash out to our dumpster to find an elk cow, and her calf walking across the parking lot.....that's the cool thing about Yellowstone.....you never know when, or where you are going to see the local wild life. Some people go out and hike for 21 miles and might see only a bird......hang around the Mammoth Hot Springs General Store and you will probably see elk and antelope, or a bear on a regular basis.



Soon it was approaching 9:30 pm, and the end of our final 'CLOSE' shift this week.....Monday we will have another 'MID' shift getting off at 7 pm......nice to get off early on our 'Friday'.

Thanks for stopping by!

When you need to buy something from Amazon, think of us.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

In the moment......

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7:10 am - Sunday - 45º F, humidity 67%, wind 1 mph out of the southeast......partly cloudy......forecast high for today in Gardiner, MT is 89º F.  Up at Mammoth Hot Springs, however, it will only be 83º F.....that 1,000' difference in elevation makes a big difference!  I'm up early on a Sunday to watch the ENTIRE final round of the British Open.......yay for me!  

As I was waking up this morning I found myself thinking about the future......well, just the immediate future.  In October our youngest son, Tim, will marry Laila and they will begin their married life together.  I was thinking about how we'll need to move our coach up to Livingston a couple of days before we fly south for that wedding, and going over in my mind all the things I would need to do before that happens.  Then I thought, why am I thinking soooo far ahead?  It isn't even August yet, and we've got two more full months here in Yellowstone to experience.  Sometimes I get too far ahead of myself, and it good to  be pulled back to the here and now, and just live in these moments in time......to cherish the feel of the cool zephyrs floating in through the window over my laptop at this very moment.....to smell the smells which are unique to this morning, to watch the sun slowly claw its way over the local hills one more time to cast its warmth and light across the landscape.  Those are the things to be thinking about this Sunday, the 22nd day of July, not what I will be doing in October.....these experiences are fleeting, and all too soon we will be moving once again toward our next adventure.

Saturday was a warm day in Gardiner......must have gotten up to 90º F here, but up in Mammoth Hot Springs it was a pleasant 84º.......maybe a little warmer inside the General Store.  I began my day around 7:30 watching the British Open.  Just as the final grouping of the day, which included Jordan Spieth, was finishing the 18th hole we were finishing getting dressed for work.  Jordan finished at 11 under par.....3 strokes ahead of the closest competitor with one more round of golf to go.

We arrived at the General Store to find things quite busy, and that is the way it remained for our entire 'CLOSE' shift.  The first time I had a chance to look at the General Store clock it read 5 pm......wow, that 3.5 hours went fast!  And that is how our day/night went.....very busy, and very quickly.......


.......soon it was 9:30 pm, and we were ushering the last of our customers out the General Store doors.

So, as of Saturday we have 9 days left in the month of July to spend living in the moment, and that is what I shall endeavor to remind myself to do......thanks for stopping by!

When you need to buy something from Amazon, think of us.......we will appreciate every purchase you make using our Amazon Affiliate link, and  remember, using our link will not add one penny to your purchase, plus we will receive a small commission.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Into the deep end.....

7:58 am - Saturday - 51º F, humidity 57%, wind 2 mph out of the east.....clear blue skies again!

We've gone through about 4 weeks of mid to high 80's weather, but the trend for the next two weeks appears to have 3-4 days in the 70's with most of the remaining days in the mid to low 80's.....could it be that we have passed the zenith of summer temps?  We shall see, what we shall see.

Once again I spent the morning watching the British Open, known world wide as 'The Open'.  It appears Jordan Spieth  is back on track after the first two rounds leading all contenders by two strokes at 6 under par.  As I write (Saturday morning) Brandon Grace just became the first golfer in history to shoot a 62 in a major championship round vaulting him from 4 over part to 4 under par in one round!

When we arrived at the General Store around 1:15 pm to begin our 'CLOSE' shift the queue in front of the 'Fountain' was full, and spilling into the rest of the store......by the time we returned at 1:30 the queue was empty.....whew!  We had three, or four more rushes, but for the most part business was steady, but not overwhelming as it can sometime get.

There's not much else to say about Friday......as we have settled into our routine, the days seem to be flying by at an ever accelerating rate.  We enjoy the team we of which we are a part, and as friendships deepen it is great being able to talk and laugh with people whose company you enjoy, which does tend to make the time pass pleasantly.

As we were getting ready to head home around 9:40 pm our friends Roscoe and Genie asked if we wanted to stop off for a beer at the Rusty Rail, to which we replied in the affirmative.  We were there by 10 pm enjoying some local draft brews, talking and laughing......we ended up being there until almost midnight....a great way to end the day!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Slow movers......

(CLICK ON PICTURES TO ENLARGE)

7:31 am - Friday - 52º F, humidity 67%, wind 2 mph out of the east northeast........clear blue sky (a rarity here in Gardiner, MT)!

So, Thursday was our 'MID' shift day, and is really the beginning of our work week now that we have transitioned to our new schedule. We will have a 'MID' shift on Thursdays and Monday's with three 'CLOSE' shifts sandwiched in between.  We were fine with 5 'CLOSE' shifts in a row, but now that we are on our second go around on our new schedule we kind of like getting off early (7 pm) on our first day back to work each week, and on our 'Friday' (Monday) each week.

I spent time Thursday morning watching both the British Open (golf) and the Tour de France.....Le Tour is winding down now and just has a few stages left.....by this coming Monday the British Open will be finished, and Le Tour will have one more stage, and then it will be back to normal.  I will miss waking up to Le Tour each morning.

We were off to work by 10:30 am, and parking in the employee lot by 10:50 am.....we got behind some 'slow movers', but that is why we leave 30 minutes before work.  Even when it is a slow drive we still have 10 minutes before we punch the clock.

Thursday was another slowish day, for which I am grateful.  We heard that Tuesday and Wednesday were crazy busy......I was sorry for my co-workers, but not sorry we missed all the fun.....:-)

There were a few times Thursday when the 'Fountain' queue was full, but it emptied within a few minutes as we processed the customers and their orders.  I spent most of my 'MID' shift as cashier.  I have to say, now that I've been getting regular exposure to the cash register is it becoming second nature to me.  The first few times I was cashier I was always looking forward to someone else taking over within a few minutes, but now the time goes quickly and I feel quite comfortable the entire time.

It was overcast for most of our shift so the temperatures stayed very comfortable in the 'Fountain' area, however, most customers standing in line for any period of time notice how much warmer it is in our corner of the General Store, so it is not just our collective imagination.

Thursday was also the beginning of the annual four day 'Employee 50% discount', so I purchased the Nikon Aculon A211 binoculars I have been lusting after for the past few weeks.  We have never owned a decent pair of binoculars, so being able to get these beauties at 50% off  is quite a coup!

 Nikon Aculon A211 binoculars!

We were off work and stepping into the Beetle by 7 pm, and home by 7:20.....again we got behind a few 'slow movers'.  The speed limit in the Gardiner River Gorge is 35 mph.  Most drivers do drive at least 35-40 mph, but periodically we get behind guys going 20-25 for the entire 5 miles to Mammoth Hot Springs.  There are zero passing opportunities on this section of US-89 so one has to just suck it up,I guess, and enjoy the drive......I wish I could......:-)

Thanks for stopping by!

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nomadic friends.....

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6:49 am - Thursday - 48º F, humidity 50%, wind 4 mph out of the east.....partly cloudy with a forecast high of 86º F.

Wednesday we had vague plans to get out early and do some more hiking, but then we found out that our good Newell friends, Richard and Rhonda (currently on a 6 month summer/fall trip in their Newell), were over in West Yellowstone for one more day.  We made an on the spot the decision to drive over to visit with them for the afternoon.

We were in the car by 10 am.....early for us.....driving south on US-89 through Mammoth Hot Springs, and over to the KOA just a few miles west of West Yellowstone on US-20.  We made a couple of stops along the way see, first, the National Park Ranger Museum located in the Norris Campground.....



......the National Park Service was established in 1916 and took over management of Yellowstone National Park from the Army.  It is a small museum with a lot of information, plus a little movie theater where you can view multiple videos about the National Park Service, as well as the Norris Ranger Station, where the museum is housed.

Our second stop was along the Madison River which parallels US-191.  We last drove US-191 back on June 15th on our way north to Gardiner, MT following our orientation in West Yellowstone.  We didn't have time that day to stop and enjoy the beauty of the river and the valley it flows through.......


 Looking west

 Looking east


....there were a couple of 'fly fishermen' where we stopped for about 10 minutes to capture a few pictures.

We had planned to arrive at the KOA where Richard and Rhonda were staying around 1 pm, but traffic was better than expected and we arrived around 12:30 pm.  The friendships we have formed as a result of owning our 1982 Newell were the unexpected blessing of our purchase.  Whenever we get near any of our Newell family we make an effort to connect with them.  We spent a lovely afternoon talking about family, friends, our love of the nomadic life and marveling at how we can be apart for two years, and pick up as if no time at all had transpired.....

 Sitting in Richard and Rhonda's 1999 2 slide Newell


.....Richard made beef tacos for lunch which we consumed as our never ending conversation took its normal twists and turns.  All too soon it was 4 pm, and we knew we were in for a long drive home through the afternoon YNP crowds so we said our 'until next times' to Richard and Rhonda to begin our 60 mile drive back to Gardiner.  

The return drive actually went quite quickly until we hit the 5 mile construction zone on US-89 about 26 miles south of Gardiner.....at this point we had covered about 35 of the 60 miles home in about an hour.  Usually there is about a 10 minute wait in a traffic line while opposing traffic makes its way through the construction zone, and then another 15 minutes to traverse the 5 miles of mostly packed dirt roadway, but this day it took almost an hour to get through the construction zone as we were only moving at about 5 mph for most of the distance.  Then we arrived in Mammoth Hot Springs where there was an immense traffic stoppage due to an 'Elk sighting'......I have written about this phenomenon where one vehicle will just stop in the middle of the road so the occupants can take dozens of pictures of an elk, antelope, buffalo, etc. stopping traffic for up to 10 minutes sometimes....



.......by the time we finally got through the Mammoth traffic jam and down the hill to YRVP it was after 6:30 pm......2.5 hours to drive a shade over 60 miles.....oy vey!  Nonetheless, we would not trade our few hours with Richard and Rhonda for anything.

Managed to capture this small sunset image for your viewing pleasure......


Well, it's back to work in a few hours (Thursday) for us......thanks for stopping by!

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