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 little more than we would most likely take on again. Working five days per week, left just two days per week to explore what is a HUGE place. And the five days feel pretty much like twelve hour days. We worked what was called a split shift, working three or four hours in the morning, then a three hour “lunch” break and back for three or four more hours in the afternoon.
Plus, we switch from day shift to night shift every other week. At first we thought this schedule would be ideal, having the longer break to take out the dog and perhaps grab a hike or something. But, with the traffic and size of the park, it really just turned into hanging out and waiting to go back to work. If it were perhaps a four day work week, that extra day off in a row may make it more enjoyable. Although, the bottom line with this particular job, the internet was a huge issue. I really enjoy having my online mobile job and the flexibility it gives us in traveling. The extremely limited connectivity in Yellowstone pretty much means it would be out of the question to do it again. We have no regrets in working this summer, only wish we could have made it the entire time.
Sadly, we did not make the 100 mile hiking challenge. We made it about 3/4 of the way, so we are still happy with all the hiking we did. It took us to remote and truly stunning areas of the park we would have never seen otherwise. Our real issue was all the driving it took to hike in the different areas of the park. One area we really enjoyed hiking was the Tower/Roosevelt area. If we left our camp at 5:30-6:00am we could drive up there in about ninety minutes. After hiking and trying to get back mid-day, it was easily over two hours. With just two days off, spending three hours a days driving got old pretty quickly. So we leave satisfied with our hiking totals.
The animal watching was equally impressive. I believe the only two animals that eluded us during our stay was a moose and a beaver. Moose we have seen before, but a beaver was high on Toni’s list. Despite some early morning hikes and drives to areas where a spotting was likely, the little dam builders were nowhere to be seen. As sad as that is, the long list of other animal encounters is pretty sweet. It was also interesting to watch some of the more, shall we say “dedicated” (I would just go
with calling them crazies myself, sorry Toni) animal watchers. I think the “wolfies” are the funniest. They set out in the darkness of early morning and set up their huge scopes on tripods, get out their chairs and brew some coffee. Then they sit there, many all day, and just watch the wolves across the valley living life. If this was going on in a city, these people would be arrested as peeping toms, but here it seems perfectly fine. “Look a wolf just walked over by that tree, must have gone to the bathroom”, “Look a wolf just walked over to another wolf” and so on and so forth the wolfies go on. I can only imagine the wolves over there looking at the people saying “Shit, all those people are still over there staring at us. Won’t they ever go away? Watch this, I’ll was over here and take a piss and they will all just up our of their chairs and check out there scopes!”. Oh well, I guess we all need a hobby right?
After some great evenings out with new friends hanging at the Lake Hotel and the employee pub, our last day finally came. It was strange working that last shift on Sunday night knowing it will be the last time at the Fishing Bridge General Store for who knows how long. So after having spent our last days off washing and waxing the Seneca and making it shine like a diamond, we headed south out of Yellowstone in search of strong internet service outside of Grand Teton National Park. And where did we take our perfectly shined Seneca, several miles down a dusty dirt road in the Bridger/Teton National Forest to a boon docking spot! So our home was clean for about forty eight hours, now it is covered in a thick layer of dust again, just how we like it! Our spot has a great view of the Teton mountains and best of all, three bars of Verizon LTE internet service! Our first evening in camp I am able to accomplish more work in a few hours than I could in a week back in Yellowstone.
So we intend to spend a couple weeks exploring the area around Grand Teton as well as Sun Valley Idaho. First things first, we hit up a proper brewery in Jackson! It has been a long time since I have been able to sip some fresh brewed beer. Melvin Brewing had some amazing beers and made for a perfect way to get back to beer travel.
Also, it did not take long for us to get right back into some adventure. Leaving our camp early Tuesday morning for a hike in the Grand Teton, we rounded the corner of our forest road to find a vehicle flipped on it’s side. Turned out to be a couple young guys that work at Jackson Lake Lodge for the summer and came out to the forest to have a little fun on their days off. He was playing around in his Isuzu Rodeo doing a little drifting on the dirt road that got out of control. It had only happened about ten minutes before we got there. I offered up our services and proceeded to use our Jeep and strap to pull the vehicle back over on it’s wheels. Our hi-lift jack helped to change out a tire that had been torn off the bead. Unfortunately, the Isuzu would not start back up, seemed like the starter was maybe jammed with the flywheel. Even an attempt at a rolling dump the catch start would not free it up. So they rolled it on down the hill and we said our goodbyes and headed off for our hike.
On the return from our hike and lunch we noticed the Rodeo was still at the end of the road. On the way back to camp we meet up with the Forest Ranger that was writing up a report. Toni offered up our story and allowed the officer to take photos
of our photos from our camera with her smart phone. She was trying to figure out what the heck had happened and we were able to fill in most of the story. Pretty exciting way to get back on the road. Next few days we will move on towards Victor and Sun Valley Idaho, in search of hiking, biking and some excellent breweries that happen to be along the way. It is very exciting to be back on the move and we are looking forward to visiting with family and good friends in the weeks to come!!This entry was posted in Blog and tagged bear, Bison, fulltime, gorving, kuhl, kuhlodyssey, livingthedream, nomadlife, rolled over, rv, seneca, Teton, upside down, Wolf, Yellowstone by Kurt Kuhl and comments are open.