Louisville and Yellowstone . . .

First off, some more Comet NEOWISE photos.

The comet over Windsor Castle

Comet NEOWISE over Windsor Castle

The Comet over Wyoming

Comet NEOWISE over Tent

I mentioned the Goya ‘Buycott’ the other day, and here’s the latest information.

Casey Harper set up a GoFundMe account with a goal of $10,000 to be used to buy Goya products to then be donated to food banks and pantries. And as of this evening the fund totals over $321,000.

And to spread the largess around, he’s not only contracting with Goya directly to  purchase product at wholesale prices, but he’s also buying Goya products from small and medium local grocery stores, but not from the the big box stores like WalMart.

 


July 22, 2010

The Rally – Day 1 . . .

First off, some background information. ‘The Rally’ is/was Good Sam’s big yearly rally, this year in Louisville, KY. And by ‘big’, there were almost 3000 RV’s here. And if looked like this.

Louisville 2010 The Rally Aerial

After we got parked here on Tuesday, I was curious how they were supplying us with power. It turns out that rather than powering us directly from the mains, they’re using portable generators set up around the park.

These diesel generators put out 240V at 240 Amps. There’s also another generator behind this one.

Aggreko Generator 1

.
They then split the 2 phases into 2 – 120 V lines at 240 Amps each.

Aggreko Generator 2

This means that each generator can power 16 coaches with 30 amps each.

Aggreko Generator 3

Really neat setup.

About 10 am we headed over to the Expo Hall to start making our way thru the vendor area. They have several hundred vendors here, with a lot that I haven’t seen before at other rallies.

One of the vendors was from the Province of Saskatchewan, and was giving out tourist info on the area. Saskatchewan is one of the provinces we haven’t visited yet, so we picked up some booklets.

Here’s Jan chatting up a handsome Mountie.

Jan & Mountie

About noon we took a break and grabbed a lunch of hot dogs and a pretzel from one of the vendors.

Then at 1 pm Jan attended a seminar on Velcro. I went back to the rig and took a nap. I think I probably had the best time.   Velcro?  Really?

At 3pm I met back up with Jan and we went to Mike and Terri Church’s talk on RVing in Alaska. Ninety minutes later we were homesick for the place and ready to hit the AlCan heading north again. It was nice to see so many of the places we’d been, and to see all the places we’d missed.

Maybe in a couple of years.

At 4:30 pm we drove over to the nearby Cottage Inn, a restaurant that we passed the other night and noticed how busy it was.  It’s a small place, very popular with the locals, and has been owned by the same family since 1929. And the food was excellent!

Home cooking at its best.

We asked if they were going to be at the Elkhart rally, but they said they were going to be taking a TRACKS RV caravan tour of National Parks. Sounds like fun.

Tonight’s entertainment was Bob Newhart, but first we started off with some rousing songs from a local choir, Master’s Men.

Masters Men

And then it was time for Bob. And he was hilarious! He started off telling a story about how in the ‘60’s he decided to take his family along in an RV as he crossed the country to perform a concert. It sounded like a combination of “RV” the movie,and “The Long, Long Trailer” with Lucy and Desi, and ended with him scraping the air conditioner off  the roof as he arrived at the hotel where he was performing.

Bob Newhart 1

Bob Newhart 4

He finished up with one of his famous routines about a driving instructor with a really bad student. He mentioned in the setup that it was a woman driver, and got some boos from women in the audience.

So he said “OK. How about we made it a Chinese driver. Will that make you happy?” So he sat down and started the routine…in Chinese!

After about 30 seconds of incomprehensible dialog, he looked at the audience and said ”OK. We can go on like this for another 8 minutes, or it can be a woman driver. You chose.”

The audience roared. And it was now a woman driver.

Bob Newhart 3

Bob put on a great show. It’s hard to believe he’s almost 81.

Leaving the concert hall, I got this shot of the former Six Flags – Kentucky Kingdom amusement park that is part of the fairgrounds. But it didn’t seem to be open.

A little Googling told me that back in February of this year, Six Flags and the Expo had been negotiating a new lease, and Six Flags had wanted some better terms because with the bad economy they were losing money on the park. Apparently this is the only park where they lease the property and don’t own it outright.

So when the Expo dug in their heels and refused to renegotiate the terms, Six Flags called their bluff and did not open the park this year. They just shut it down and left the Expo holding the bag.

And now the Expo is really hurting, because they not only don’t get the lease money, they also have lost the parking fees which they got.  Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Kentucky Kingdom

Tomorrow it’s more seminars, more vendors, and Tanya Tucker for entertainment. Sounds great!

It’s also supposed to be 98 degrees here tomorrow, so we’ll see how the 30 amps and one A/C works out.


Thought For The Day:

Knowledge is power, if you know it about the right person

 

July 22, 2011

Yellowstone–Bears or Bust . . .

After getting up at 6 am (OMG!) we met Al and Adrienne at their rig at 7, and packing their two dogs into the truck with us, we headed out of town toward Yellowstone.

We planned on making what’s known as the Grand Loop, a 260 mile drive from Cody to the east park entrance, to Old Faithful, on up to Madison Junction, over to Canyon Village, and then back down along the Yellowstone River to the Fishing Bridge where we came in.

We did make a quick stop at Peter’s Coffee for coffee and scones of course. Can’t start the day without coffee.

We brought the dogs, Banjo and Abby, along in case we needed bear bait. I mean we definitely want to see bears, and who knows, we might need bait.

About 15 miles before the entrance to the park, we came across this very unusual house sitting high on a hill overlooking the Wapiti Valley.

Nicknamed the Pagoda House, it is actually known as the Smith Mansion. The designer / builder was Francis Lee Smith, who started construction in 1973. An architect/engineer, Smith, using mostly hand tools and homemade pulley systems, worked on the house for almost 3 decades before dying in 1992. Still unfinished, it stands over 75 feet high and is made from timbers cut on nearby Rattlesnake Mountain. Smith’s daughter is presently heading a project to restore and preserve the mansion.

Pagoda House

Leaving the Wapiti Valley, we were already encountering great scenery, and we were still several miles from the park. Sure bodes well for the rest of the trip.

YNP 1

A few minutes later we entered Yellowstone National Park, and I was once again glad we had the National Park Senior Pass that lets us into all National Parks for free. Costing only a one-time $10 fee, it has saved us a lot of money over the last few years, including the $25 it would have cost us to get into Yellowstone.

Yellowstone National Park

We very quickly started seeing even more impressive vistas, including snow-capped mountains,

YNP 2

and beautiful Yellowstone Lake.

YNP 3

YNP 5

And all along the roadway, you find steam and sulfur vents jetting up, reminding you that you’re traveling over an underground caldron of molten lava, just waiting to escape. Oh Boy!

YNP 4

A few minutes later we saw our first wildlife, this bison sunning himself out in a meadow.

Wonder if he knew I was going to have bison chili for lunch?

Bison 3

A few minutes later we saw a big gray wolf go running across the highway about 100 yards ahead. He was chasing something that we could see zipping though the trees, but we couldn’t tell what it was. Another check on our wildlife scorecard.

After a 115 mile trip we pulled in to Old Faithful Village. It sure had changed since I was here as a kid in 1964, a lot more buildings and a lot less trees.

Old Faithful Inn 2

After parking, and getting our National Park Passports stamped at the Visitors Center we headed out to Old Faithful. A sign said the next eruption would be in about 20 minutes, plus or minus 10 minutes. When we got out to the geyser, we found it doing its usual pre-eruption smoking and spitting.

Old Faithful 1

And a lot of people were already there ahead of us. But luckily we were able to find a seat.

Old Faithful 1 Crowd

Old Faithful wasn’t quite as prompt as he should have been. About 5 minutes late, off he went.

OF

It’s a really impressive sight, going on for over 2 minutes, before settling down to its normal steamy spitting and spurting.

As soon as Old Faithful had settled back down, we walked over to the Old Faithful Inn to have lunch in the dining room. The buffet looked really good with pan-seared trout, BBQ chicken, and of course, bison chili, among other items.

And it was really good.

Old Faithful Inn

After lunch in the beautiful dining room we went back to the car, and while Al and Adrienne walked Abby and Banjo, I tried to figure out where we stayed 47 years ago. (And before anyone says anything, the high temp in Yellowstone today was 66 and partly cloudy. The dogs were just fine in the truck with the windows cracked, and pretty much slept the whole time. I mean, why would we want to damage our potential bear bait.)

Anyway, I remembered where our cabin was in relation to Old Faithful, right across the way from it, and by looking a park map I figured it out.

What was then the main lodge has been replaced by a new one, and the old one is a cafeteria and storage warehouse.

YNP Old Lodge

And right next door were the old cabins we had stayed in, still in use and rented out today. I’m not sure exactly which one it was, but almost certainly one of the first two.

And I think they were already old when we stayed in them.

Old Faithful Cabins

A little while after leaving Old Faithful, we saw our first elk, or at least the bottom half of an elk. He was so busy eating, he never put his head up.

Elk Part 1

Next we came across several more bison.

Bison 4

Bison 5

Then we saw this male elk sound asleep in the middle of a grassy meadow. I’ll leave it to the reader to put the two parts together in their mind.

Elk Part 2

Our next stop was what is known as the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Lower Falls

The falls in the photo are known as the Lower Falls, and at 308 feet are the highest falls in the park. If you look carefully in the photo below you can see people on the viewing area just to the right of the top of the falls. This is called the Brink.Yellowstone Lower Falls 2

A lot of really colorful rock formations in this area.

Yellowstone Lower Falls 3

Yellowstone Lower Falls 4

Finally we reached the Fishing Bridge and started retracing our route back to Cody, once again traveling along Yellowstone Lake.

Yellowstone Lake

YNP 7

And finally, the Holy Grail of Yellowstone wildlife, a big grizzly. He was ambling along the shoreline, seemingly just taking in the sights.

Yellowstone Bear 1

Yellowstone Bear 2

This is what’s known as a ‘Bear Jam’, when all the cars come to a screeching halt to get a picture of the bear.

Yellowstone Bear Jam

Still ignoring all the gawkers, the bear crossed the highway and scampered up the hill and into the trees.

Yellowstone Bear 3

So we got to see a bear and didn’t even need our ‘bear bait’. I’m sure Abby and Banjo were relieved.

We got back to Cody about 5:45, and after stopping off at our respective rigs, we met back at Sunset House, a local restaurant, for dinner.

Today was a very long, but VERY fun day . . . and tomorrow –

Dinosaurs!


Thought for the Day:

“You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don’t ever count on having both at once. ” –Robert A. Heinlein

 

One Response to Louisville and Yellowstone . . .

  1. Jim Hamm says:

    Greg, your reminisces and pictures of travels from yesteryear brought back good memories for the wife and I.  We also attended several Good Sam Rallies when we had a motorhome, and thoroughly enjoyed them. We also visited Yellowstone and stayed in the Lodge, too. Very nice. When we had dinner at the Lodge the lady that was our waitress was a friend that I had graduated from high school with. Talk about a small world. And Newhart is the same age then as I am now, but I don’t think I look as old as he did… 🙂 …

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