In fine Kuhl Odyssey style, we packed the first few weeks of our third nomadic year with some great fun! Our summer job in Yellowstone kept us from our original plan for the summer of heading up the coast in the Pacific Northwest. But we finally made it and moved our way into Oregon. I had been anticipating getting to Bend for quite some time, there is just so many great things
there. The beer scene is pretty happening and there is mountain biking galore. Better still, there is abundant national forest boondocking right on the edge of town. The best part though…we got to reconnect with rving friends we have not seen in a long time. Our friends Shannon and Dave of 2WanderAway have been in Bend most of the summer and played host to various nomads. We are sort of the tail end, but they still managed to suffer thru some brewery visits and evening chats….oh the
suffering. Our friends, Hans and Lisa of Metemorphasis Road also are spending several weeks and Bend and we managed a few meetups including a great concert at McMenamins Brewery one evening. Our boondocking spot felt really nice and secluded, yet (more…)by Kurt Kuhl
It has been a while since an blog entry, we have been in hanging out in a favorite spot, Salmon Idaho. Toni’s sister Linda and her husband Bob were gracious enough to allow us to moochdock at their place for nearly three weeks. Every since our first visit
when they first moved to Idaho a few years ago we have loved their little town. Certainly a big part of it is hanging with family, but it is just a great place to spend time. While we had the opportunity to be plugged in during our visit, we chose not to tap into power and make use of the solar system. Once again we overjoyed with the performance of our system. Check out the video if you are interested in hearing about our solar system.
During the stay we often left the inverter on 24 hours a day and watched MANY hours of the Olympics at night. I think at one point after a couple cloudy days in a row we dipped down to about 78% charge. Beyond that we were mostly fully charged before noon. There were a few days when the temps crept up into the low 90s and we decided to give our generator some exercise and run the AC. Over the three weeks we ran the generator a total of about 16 hours to run air conditioning. It really is a good thing run it under a load at least once a month, but we are terrible about remembering to do that. I even went ahead and did our annual oil, oil filter and fuel filter service on the generator while we were there.
We managed a few road trips during our stay to check out some cool locations. We visited the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge, an amazing piece of mining history preserved and open to the public. Check out this video for some details about the dredge.
The ghost town of Bannock Montana was also a great visit. It is actually a Montana State Park and has 60 plus buildings that are preserved on site. What is really cool is that most of the building are open and you are allowed to walk thru and check them out. (more…)
After departing from the Grand Tetons our mission was to spend some time exploring Idaho. As per usual, we do not make detailed plans (at least I don’t) and just formulate a general plan as to where to hit up next. Toni scoped out some potential
boondocking around the Victor area. Unfortunately, this time it just did not work out well. There were several forest roads that we thought would have possibilities, but even with extensive poking around in the Jeep no good sites were found. Not only that the crazy mountain terrain in the area had me more than a little concerned about my planned MTB rides. Looking at one trail from the trailhead it was obviously far above my pay grade! I mean the grade was incredible, basically straight up from what I could see. Hum, may not break the bike out here after all. Feeling a little disappointed in not finding a suitable camping location and lack of biking within my ability, we headed back into Victor to a small private RV park we had passed on the way thru. Oh joy, tight side by side parking in a totally full park. Well, it was all we could have dreamed of. Got the (more…)by Kurt Kuhl
It is with mixed emotions that we have moved on from Yellowstone National Park. Our original plan was to work until September 4th, but circumstances warranted a change of plans. During our two months I have continued with my online
work in addition to our work at the Fishing Bridge General Store. The fact our area of the park only has one Verizon tower (the only carrier with a tower in our area of the park at all) proved to be more of an issue that I had originally anticipated. A couple of years ago this probably would not have been a problem, but today, with every person over the age of two months holding a smart phone in their hand and streaming videos and music all day, the one tower cannot handle the load. In order to get work done online, I needed to be working between 1:00am and 5:30am. This is the only time I was able to get a connection that allowed me to work. No so much fun mixing in the weird early morning hours with our normal forty hours each week at the store.
With the opportunity to increase my online work, we made the decision that we would cut our time short in Yellowstone and head out on August 1st. We both feel bad about leaving our new friends, the store short staffed, as well as missing out on our bonus for staying the entire time, but it was the decision we had to make.
So you may be asking what we thought about the position and if we will be back next year. There was plenty to like about our work at Yellowstone, awesome co-workers, interesting customers and a great
campsite. Not to mention actually LIVING in Yellowstone National Park. Toni and I certainly have a tremendous appreciation for what Yellowstone really is. Our previous visits it just did not sink in, but it is a truly amazing place. It was awesome to have so much time to explore and really take in the magnitude of it all. But, the work commitment required is a (more…)by Kurt Kuhl
So this will be our second update from Yellowstone National Park this summer. At this point we are now at the half way point of the three months that we signed up for our summer job. I think it is pretty fare to say that I underestimated just how
working forty hours per week again would wear us out. While the work is definitely not difficult, it is the first time I have personally worked a job where I just simply do the same thing each day, over and over and over. Coming from a background of either owning or working in a family business my entire life, I have a totally new perspective for what I suppose would be called the 9-5 life. Operating a business, everyday was a new and interesting challenge to be tackled. While I did have some things that were obviously needing to be done all the time, each day always brought something new. On top of that, our business was electrical contracting in which we were a part of the ground up construction of schools and all types of
commercial buildings. There was definitely a huge sense of satisfaction in having a project go from a empty dirt lot to a fully functional high school. There was a new obstacle to deal with nearly each day that involved working with other trades and coming up with solutions. Then is would all start over with a whole new project again and again. In my current position at Fishing Bridge General Store I am part of the grocery department. My task is either to run a register, which is what I find the most fun as I get to talk to and meet so many interesting people from all over the world, or restocking shelves.
Restocking shelves is where the frustration comes in for me. As Toni will attest, I have a bit of a case of OCD. I pick a section of the store, create my lists and head to the stockroom to grab all that I need to perfect the shelves. I diligently refill and organize the shelves making everything look just right and stand back and admire my work. Well guess what, these people come along and buy things, or worse yet just look at things and crudely put them back on the shelves! All my hard work looks like a disaster with a half an hour. It drives me nuts….therefore I prefer to just run a cash register and talk to the guests! Toni finds this all very amusing. On the bright side at least I am keeping her entertained this summer.
Aside from work as have continued to explore and hike all around the park. Progress is being made on our goal of hiking 100 miles over the summer. I told Toni we do not need to stress about it, if we make it we make it. The thing is, working five days a week and then just having two days to hike and explore is pretty tiring. If you are not aware, Yellowstone is a HUGE park. It is not uncommon for us to have to drive one and a half hours to get to a hike! And that is if we do not run into any “bison jams”, which we usually do. So on a common day off we end up driving for three plus hours and hiking for three or so hours.
Makes for a long day for CeCe back at the RV as well with us gone so long (dogs are not allowed on the trails in National Parks). To help, we are trying to do one long day of hiking and then sticking closer to the Fishing Bridge area the second day off. This position would be infinitely better if we worked just four days per week, even it they were longer days, to give us a couple days to explore and then a day to just rest. We do still have the normal tasks like laundry, or rental properties and my other hired computer work to get done as well. Another side note, we dropped the employee dining plan this week as well. It really was just like having cafeteria food everyday and neither one of us were really enjoying the meals or feeling like we were in a school cafeteria. Being that the closest town, Cody Wyoming, is a four hour round trip, we have attempted to stock up on about forty five days of food. Time will tell how it works out. All in all, the fact remains that being able to spend the summer in Yellowstone is a pretty amazing experience. It is an amazing place to call home for a while.
There has been one very sad bit of news this summer. One of my uncles was diagnosed with terminal inoperable cancer of several types last winter before we left Arizona. The outlook was not good and it looked like he would only have a year or two to live. Well, things took a turn for the worse a couple weeks ago. My dad called to inform me that he chose to discontinue his chemo treatments as they were not helping and were making him miserable. Within a week, his condition became worse and
he was placed in Hospice care. Toni and I made quick arrangements and I drove to Idaho Falls about four hours away to catch a plane to Phoenix to visit with him. I am so glad I had to opportunity to spend several days with family and friends in support of my uncle. While several days hanging out at a Hospice facility are far from pleasant, being able to speak to my uncle several times and be there for him and my aunt was amazing. Unfortunately, I had to return to work after a few days
and was not able to be there the day he passed, which was two days after I left. I grow up with and worked along side my Uncle Bob in our family electrical business for most of my life. I have so many great memories not only of working with Bob, but riding side by sides, Geocaching and spending afternoons at the family hangout of his brother Rodney’s garage enjoying cold beer and telling stories. Bob was an amazing person, and he will be missed by so many people everyday. He was far to young for this to happen, and it reminded Toni and I just why we chose to drastically change our lifestyle. Life is so unpredictable and it is so important to live your dreams and take advantage of each and every day.by Kurt Kuhl