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
So Toni reminded me that it has been a while since we have posted an update. It is pretty hard to believe, but we have been in Yellowstone National Park for close to a month already. This is our first time workcamping since we hit the road back in September of 2014. Our commitment with the Yellowstone General Store has us each working forty hours per week quite the change from what we have become used to. Our work days are actually pretty long,
as they have us on what they call split shifts. This means we work half or daily shift, then have a two and a half hour “lunch” break, before heading back to work the second half of our shift. We also opted to use the employee meal plan (no cooking for Toni for three months!!) which provides us three meals a day, even sack lunches for our days off as we explore the park. Our meals are also at the general store as well. So basically, on work days we are committed for close to twelve hours of the day. As an added bonus, we switch shifts each week between morning and evening. Morning weeks we arrive at the store at 6:45am for breakfast and then our first shift. After the lunch (more…)by Kurt Kuhl
It has been quite a crazy couple of weeks since I last reported. CeCe and I enjoyed a great week at the Washoe Lake State Park in Nevada while Toni was off in Washington DC for Police Week. While I did not get the kayak out on the lake, we did explore several of the trails around the park. The week started out quiet, just a couple other rvs around the park. Then the weekend came and it totally filled up, complete with a Cub Scout Pack. Then after the weekend it was back to quiet and
peaceful, pretty much how it works with state parks as we approach the summer time. I managed to get a few project done around the RV, including a new speedy fresh water input for adding water from containers when we want to top off while boondocking. Our Seneca does not have a gravity water inlet, so in order to add water I have to pull it through the entire filter system with the pump. This is painfully slow, taking nearly fifteen minutes to pull in just five gallons, not to mention it is really hard on the water pump. I installed a second water pump that feeds directly into the water tank. I am now able to pull in seven gallons in less than three minutes….a great improvement. Yes I know, it does not get filtered, be we only do this every once and a while and I do not have a fear of potable water as is anyway. Another project was installing a regulator
valve and air chuck and getting it tied into the air system on the Seneca. Now we are able to air up both the Jeep and rv tires using the onboard engine driven compressor on the rv. Also I can now use air tools. Finally I attached a larger piece of metal to our roof for the magnetic antennae for the Wilson Cell Phone Booster. They need a good ground plane and all I had (more…)by Kurt Kuhl