Tuesday, May 30, 2017

It's wonderful!!! - Living in Yellowstone Update #1

We haven't even been in Yellowstone a week yet and already this is my favorite summer ever.  I'm so glad that my husband and I could figure out a way to go on vacation all summer.

Yellowstone was the first place I wanted to write about when I started this blog.  The National Park had been the setting for the road trip that my husband and I went on for our first anniversary back in 2008, and so it seemed fitting that it should be the subject of my first post on my travel blog.

However, I quickly realized that Yellowstone is a BIG topic.  Even though I'd been to the park three times (and later one more time) I felt completely unqualified to write about the park. There was just so much to see and do in the park. How could I even begin to offer advise about how to have a great visit?

One of the many reasons I wanted to work/live in Yellowstone this summer is so I could learn more about this amazing place.  Maybe, just maybe, by the end of the summer I'll feel more qualified to write about the park.

Until then I plan to just do little updates on how the summer is going.  Six people living in a 25 foot RV is an interesting story in itself.  Add in the fact that we are in Yellowstone makes this summer pretty unforgettable.  So watch for updates throughout the summer.  I don't have access to reliable Wi-Fi so I can't promise any consistency in the frequency of my posts, but I do promise to update as often as I can.

So how are we doing?  Well I can honestly say that we are doing great. Everything has been just about perfect.  So far this has been my best visit to Yellowstone ever.  Since we'll be here for over 60 days we can really take our time and explore the park.  Instead of rushing around the park trying to see as many things as possible in 48 hours we just take our time.  We've also discovered that the park is amazing after about 6:00 pm.  The crowds disappear and we have the place to ourselves.

As far as living in an RV goes, it's been pretty great too.  Obviously it's been crampt, but that hasn't been that much of a problem yet.  I'm actually surprised at how normal it feels. Both my husband and I had only ever camped in tents before buying the RV.  So the fact that we have a working fridge, oven microwave, toilet, and electric lights feels palatial. Heck, just having cupboards is amazing.  The small space has been good for our family in some ways.  For example, We only brought a few dishes so we've become really good at washing, drying, and putting away dishes after every meal.  I even made a little chart so we can keep track of which kid is responsible for clearing the table, washing, rinsing, or drying.

I'm happy to say that my job is really great.  I'm still in a training phase, but everything is very similar to a position I had over the winter so I don't anticipate too many problems.  Quite frankly, this is pretty much my dream job.

So what have we seen in the park so far?  If I had the time I would load this post up with a hundred pictures.  But we don't have that kind of time or bandwidth.  So here are 8 highlights in no particular order.

We've been to the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River twice since we got here.  My son loves this waterfall and has been carrying a picture of it around for several days.  This view from Artist Point matched the picture on his brochure.  He was so excited to see it in person.

Right when we drove into the park we drove past about 3 buffalo.  My oldest daughter loves buffalo (for some unexplained reason) so she was very happy.  I like to think of them as the welcoming committee.

Here is our home for the next few months. We have water, sewer, and electric hookups so we are pretty set there.  Our stove and our heater run off propane. When we arrived our fire pit was still covered in snow.  The snow has been melting for the past few days and so hopefully we'll have a dry campsite soon. Most of our neighbors are retired and so far I think we have the only kids in the place.  If my kids play their cards right they might end up with 50 or so surrogate grandparents.
Our church has services at Old Faithful Lodge every Sunday at 7:00 pm so we went there for church and then walked around the geyser basin.  A quick rain storm had cleared out most of the tourists so we basically had the place to ourselves.  We did see Old Faithful erupt.  But the star of the evening was Castle Geyser which erupted for 20 minutes.  We watched it as we walked around the boardwalk and looked at other geysers.
We've done a pretty good job of weening the kids off their technology dependence.  But we still enjoy watching a movie on DVD every now and then.  We continued our movie night tradition on Friday night.  We watched Pacific Rim and the kids LOVED it.
We went to Norris Geyser Basin on Saturday when I was done with training for the day.  Norris is an interesting place, but it's also less hospitable than the area around Old Faithful.  We all liked it at first, but by the time we were done exploring we just wanted to get back in the car.
When we visited Artist Point we found a trail that led off to Point Sublime.  The trail had some scary parts and is not for the faint of heart, but we were rewarded with amazing views.   Side note: My son is the best hiking partner.  He is excited about everything and always wants to "keep going this way."

On my first day of work I had to check in at Gardener, Montana which is just north of the Mammoth Hot Springs area.  When I was done with check in we stopped off at Mammoth and explored the area a little bit.  This was the best visit I've ever had at Mammoth.  The weather has been a little chilly which is perfect for viewing hotsprings.  Everything was steamy and amazing looking.

Well that's all for now.  Basically we are happy, healthy, and having the best summer of our lives.  I'm so glad that my husband and I decided to take this risk.  It's already paying off immensely.

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I would love to hear what you think. Did I get it right, or was I dead wrong? What was your experience like?


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