Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend, Yellowstone Park: Part Three

So here we are, on the third day of Memorial Day Weekend at Yellowstone Park.  I have to work at 2:30.

What do we see in this picture, class?

Is there rain, sleet or snow?  No!  We have blue sunny Wyoming skies with moderate temperatures.

I'm not going to dwell this. I'm pouting, though, which isn't pretty on a woman my age.

I did go out this morning to try out my new Lands' End walking shoes.  I walked around the Old Faithful geyser basin area for a couple of miles and they passed the test.

I hadn't seen this geyser yet.  It's called the Grotto Geyser and I thought it was quite spectacular.

Another fantastic thing is that the tourists aren't out in the morning.  I walked in relative solitude.

Just me, the birds, the bears hiding in the woods, and the bubbling noises from the pools and geysers.

The Old Faithful Inn was looking quite attractive in the distance.

Breakfast was even good this morning.  You won't hear this from me often about the employee dining room.

They made breakfast sandwiches with croissants, ham, cheese, and real eggs. The yolk was just right and the cheese was melted.  Who stole our cooks and brought in McDonald's employees?  I could get used to this, but I'm not delusional.

Now, for disjointed thoughts in no particular order.

This thought kept me awake the other night.  My dorm room is a lot like being in a nursing home,.  It smells funny, my room mate keeps me awake at night, I have a single bed, there are strange noises in the hall, and the food is marginal.  At least I can still bathe myself.

David at Yellowstone Traders told me that quite a few tourists every season get care flighted out of here with heart attacks.  Listen up.  If you have breathing problems or heart problems, this may not be the place for you.  The elevation gets up to 8,000 feet in Yellowstone Park. Talk to your doctor first.  And don't try to act all macho on the trails.  You can wear the cool hiking clothes and muddy up your one will know the difference.  Also, don't forget your medicine.  Everything is 2 1/2 hours away here.  Really.  No running to Rite Aide or Wal-Mart.

Why is it that the weirdest employees at Old Faithful live in my dorm?  The foreign guy with the finger puppets lives here.  I will get his picture.

Time for me to go, so like the pig said...."That's all folks!"

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend, Yellowstone Park: Part Two

I woke up this morning...eager to have another whole day off in Yellowstone Park.

Wait, wait, open the blinds slowly.

Does the wet cat give you a clue?  Back to rain, sleet and snow.

I lounged with roomy until she got ready for work and decided that I was going somewhere no matter what the weather.

So back to West Yellowstone to visit with David Barnes, the owner of Yellowstone Traders.

He had offered me a job at one time (that was before he got to know me better) and I wanted to see how he was doing.

Did I mention that it was cold and rainy?  Guess I did.

Here's David holding up one of his beautiful buffalo hides.

I hope that's what it is.  It sure looks better in his store than on the buffalo.

I can just picture a roaring fire, a buffalo hide on the floor, useless lap kitty barfing in the middle of it...kitty is ruining the image.

And there are more hides, like cow and alpaca and who knows what else.

Fortunately, David doesn't do this himself.  There are no bloody tracks to the back room.

It's an attractive, clean, blood free store.
He also has fantastic bison leather computer bags and purses.

Hubby will like this because they have compartments for guns.

It is the west...danger lurks around every corner.

For the gentler soul, there are buffalo teddy bears and furry pillows and all kinds of unique items for the West Yellowstone visitor.

O.K., David, that's my advertisement.  I really do like the store and I certainly like the company.  Check out David's website at

Also check out his blog.  You'll get a feel for what it is like to live right outside the gates of Yellowstone Park.

I have to add that David is originally from St. Louis, Missouri.  He had a nice respectable job at Anheuser-Busch in the digital marketing IT department.  He got caught in some huge layoffs and decided to shake his life up.  He found this business for sale on Craig's List.

Mama Barnes was not happy with the move to the middle or the end of nowhere.  I guess the moral is, don't let your son look at Craig's List.

West Yellowstone has a slew or herd or something of bison statues, decorated in a variety of ways.

Of course, I found the one fish and it was too cold and rainy (I have mentioned the weather, right?) to photograph the bison, so you're stuck with a fish.

Back home in Ohio in the town of Beavercreek, they have painted beavers.

I'm not saying anymore about the topic.

Here is the Ho-Hum Motel.  Rumor has it that a lot of the indigent end up there.

There is even a fund to help put them up.

Now I know where all of the Yellowstone employees go when they get fired.

Here I am going through the gate, back to Yellowstone Park.

See the rain?  The cold, cold, rain?

I decided to walk around Old Faithful, just to get a little exercise, and this is what I have to put up with now.

Tourists walking slowly, tourists acting badly,  tourists talking on cell phones, tourists messing with my quiet time.

I thought you needed one more picture of steaming, bubbling things.

I stopped by the Old Faithful Inn to pick up roomy for dinner.

She's the one on the left. 

Have you noticed how dark it is in there?

I'm getting one of those head lamp things that miners wear.  Think it would be against the dress code?

Around 7:00 tonight, the weather cleared up.  The rappers are outside my window playing their favorite tunes.

Did I mention more than once that it rained the two days I was off?  I go to work at 2:30 tomorrow, so technically, I still have some time left.  Stay tuned for Memorial Day Weekend adventures, Part Three.  There may be sun.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend, Yellowstone Park: Part One

And now for the highlights from Judy's day off in Yellowstone Park, Part One:  The Start of Memorial Day Weekend.  Pretty heady stuff, wouldn't you say?

First, the bad news.  It's raining, snowing, sleeting, raining, snowing,'s hard to keep track of the weather here.  If you are cooking out in your shorts, don't even bother to tell me about it.

The good news is that I am not a tourist who has invested a thousand dollars in a trip of a lifetime.  The roads were closed this morning, and the way things are looking, there are going to be some unhappy travelers tonight.

I started out the morning with a nasty gourmet breakfast at the employee dining room (English muffin with peanut butter and some toast.)   It seemed the safest option.

I ran into one of the women who conducts tours of the Old Faithful Inn.  She gives the history of the building several times a day.  She told me about an author, C.J. Box (real name?) who wrote a mystery, called "Free Fire," based in Yellowstone Park.

Kind of looks like a country/western singer, don't you think?

The hat is probably hiding a bald spot.

I bought the book at the gift shop, and will let you know how it goes.

The Yellow Buses are back!  These tour buses were in the Park from the 30's to the 50's.  They were sold when tourists fell in love with their own cars and the demand went down for their services.

In 2007, Yellowstone Park bought them back, refurbished them and they are popular again.  That's why you should have hung onto your poodle skirts and saddle shoes.  Old always becomes new again.

If you want to know more about them, check out this site,

As I was wandering around outside, I ran into a sweet couple in their 70's from Pennsylvania.  Richard and Helen were looking for the web cam so they could wave to the folks back home.  Being the guest services person that I am, pat self on the back, I walked them to Old Faithful and pointed out the cameras perched on a tree.

They insisted that I wave to their family with them.  We went back into the Old Faithful Inn and chatted for a while.  I now know about their cancer surgeries, all of their children and their political orientation.  They wanted me to hike with them, but I had plans to head into West Yellowstone.  It is amazing how you can bond with perfect strangers.

The Governor of Wyoming, Dave Freudenthal, was staying at the Old Faithful Inn.

As I was talking to my sweet friends, he passed through with a film crew.  He was appropriately dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans.

Grizzly son and I decided that this wasn't a big deal as only about a hundred people actually live in Wyoming. 

It would seem that anybody could be governor of Wyoming if they really wanted to.  Maybe the citizens of the state just rotate the job every few weeks or so. 

Grizzly's girlfriend and I took off for West Yellowstone after lunch.

Something new is going on now in the Park.

It is fly fishing season. 

I didn't see any of them actually catch a fish, but they were having a good time in their expensive gear, standing in the middle of a freezing river.

I hope they can move fast in those waders when the bison take their afternoon stroll through the area.

Of course we saw more bison on the way...nothing new or exciting, but the drama is building now that there are thousands of tourists in the Park.

These smarty pants were standing right next to a mother and her calf.  The Park ranger was walking the opposite way from this scene.

He was probably going to his car to call the ambulance ahead of time. 

West Yellowstone was jumping, even in the rain.

Just like every other tourist town, you can buy t-shirts, hats, key chains, stuffed bison toys, and over priced jewelry. 

We looked but didn't buy.  Remember, we earn minimum wage.

West Yellowstone even has a summer theater, called the Play Mill.

A windmill in Yellowstone?  Could there have been a more appropriate choice?  How about the Bison Poo Players or Theater in the Poo? 

Couldn't resist a poo reference.

My real mission was to find a room for me and the hubby when he comes to rescue me in June.

The prices are incredibly high for the summer, but I decided on The Hibernation Station.  If I have to pay a mountain of money to sleep in a bed, it had to be here.

That's a statue of elk in the front.

Look at these adorable cabins with tepees on the top.

Who needs the Holiday Inn when you can have some atmosphere?

This is a picture of one of the rooms, taken from their website.

It sure isn't dormitory living. 

I can't wait to live like an adult again.  The earplugs at night are really starting to irritate me.

They are necessary to drown out the roomie's snoring and the drunks outside my window.

Last night, roomie screamed so loud in her sleep, she woke herself up.  She was dreaming that a wolf was ripping the throat out of a dog.  She needs some long counseling sessions.

Tonight may call for a pub visit.  I hear a Moose Drool calling my name.

Stay tuned for Part Two of Memorial Day weekend....same time, same place.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Post Cards From Yellowstone Park

I'm going to whine just a teeny bit about working in Yellowstone Park.  Don't judge me.  Don't turn away.  This is therapeutic for me.

First of all, it is raining, which means by the morning, it will be snow.

I have tomorrow off.

If the roads are passable, a phrase I never expected to say at the end of May, I'm going back to West Yellowstone to poke around.

This is the state of my affairs....a hole in my sock.

Roomie's socks still look pretty good.

Maybe I'll cut holes in them while she sleeps.

I'm feeling spiteful.  The snoring has pushed me to the edge of a dangerous cliff.

Remember my friend, Susan?  The one who said good bye to Yellowstone?

I called her tonight.  She's lounging on the beach in Biloxi.  She's going gambling later.

She thinks I should run away soon before the bears get me or before I go postal on someone.

Sniff, whine.

O.K., thanks for hanging in there.  I'm finished.

Now for some Yellowstone history.  Here are some real post cards from the 1900s.

This prim lady is spending quality time in one of the original rooms at the Old Faithful Inn.

The room still looks like this and I am as serious as a Sunday sermon.

The great great great grandchildren of the mice in this room are still there.  And again, I am serious.

This picture from the late 1800's shows tourists at a bear feed.

I'm wondering how many of them made it back to camp with all of their limbs attached.

There was a geyser water swimming pool around 1914.  Water was pumped in from one of the geysers.

The life guard sat on a 25 foot tower and swung from a rope, Tarzan style, to reach the other end of the pool.

Employee housing was in there also.  I'm sure it was damp, hot and noisy.  Nothing has changed.

Starting in the late 1890's, employees entertained guests at night around the campfire.

Don't even go there....I will draw a line in the sand.

They even made up cute camp songs.  This one was to the tune of O' My Darling Clementine.

There's a camp up in the mountains
With the fir trees all about.
Years ago they named it Faithful,
It's the best without a doubt.
Cheer for Faithful, cheer for Faithful.
She's the finest of them all.
Here we live just like a savage,
From the Spring until the Fall.

At least we're not savages anymore.

Well, it's time for me and my rubber chicken to say good night.

Don't worry, hubby.  I'll try to clean up some before you come to take me away from Yellowstone.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Taking a Break From Yellowstone Park

I don't want to distress my loyal followers, but I just don't have anything tonight.  The creative juices are not flowing.

The roommate is snoring, the drunks are talking trash outside my window, and I have to be at work at 6:15 in the morning. 

I saw more bison today....boring.

I waited on the guests and smiled until my face hurt.

I did go into West Yellowstone and had an actual sit down was heaven.

I plan on reading, popping in my ear plugs and resting my aching legs.

Good night and I promise pictures and adventure tomorrow, if it doesn't rain.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bison in Yellowstone Park

I know that I've shown you lots of bison poo.  I think it's time that we talk about the creature who makes numerous piles around Yellowstone Park.

I was stumbling to work this morning,  not paying too much attention to my surroundings, and wowee, zowees...there they were.

That's the Old Faithful Inn in the background.

I needed to get there by 7 a.m.

That sidewalk is "usually" where I walk.

This isn't the best picture, but my hands were cold, fear was slowing my reflexes and more were headed my way.  I did what I could.

I made as wide a path as I could around them.  I frantically waved at a young man on his cell phone walking down the sidewalk, directly into danger.

I was successful, so don't worry about any bloody pictures.

Later in the day, Grizzly son and I took a drive to find bears or wolves, but all we came up with were more bison.

This herd had lots of calves.

They are also called "red dogs" because of their coloring.

Isn't it amazing how the babies can be so cute and then grow up to bison.  Not cute.  Impressive, though.

There were lots of babies in this herd.

This must be the queen bison mother.

Sweet little babies.

Don't you just want to take them home for the kids to play with?

Got a couple hundred acres of grass for them to munch on?

Now for bison facts.

The bison is the largest land animal in North America.  Even bigger than Oprah off her diet.  Sorry about that.

The male bison stands 6 feet tall from hoof to shoulder and can weigh up to 2,000 pounds.  And you wonder why they give me the creepie crawlies.

The hump on the back of bison is from the movement they make back and forth with their heads to dig through the snow.  These nasty looking creatures eat vegetation and digging through Yellowstone snow builds up some big muscles in their necks and shoulders.

The female has one calf and the gestation period is nine months.  Their health insurance only allows one day in the hospital which leads to some problems, but.....oops, health care is a whole other discussion.

Bison can run up to 30 mph.  I can't.  I am afraid.

Bison behavior is unpredictable.  They can appear lazy and then for no reason, just take off after you, a car, a tour bus, or another bison.  Remember the 30 mph and the 2000 pounds?  This is a bad combination.

I'll leave you with this link from Animal Planet.

I'm not sure how it ends as my video capabilities here in Yellowstone Park are minimal.  I hope there isn't any blood and gore.  Let me know.

For now, I will stay alert.  No stepping in bison poo, and I will be looking behind trees for the moody things.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Working 9 to 5 in Yellowstone Park

No big adventure in Yellowstone Park like I warned you yesterday.  I feel such a responsibility to make every day photo worthy or at least have an element of danger. 

Today could have been boring work day in anywhere U.S.A.  I woke up to this.

It was colder than it has been in a while.  This is my poor, brave red car.

It has been wrecked on a country road during a snowstorm in Ohio.  It spent a month in the hospital, but is as good as new.

It drove through 120 degree temperatures in the sand of southern California. It braved the freeway and the treacherous drive to Yucca Valley without a complaint.  And now I do this to it.  You will go home, little Mitsubishi.  Hang in there.

I tried walking to Old Faithful, but I didn't get far.  I was losing feeling in my extremities.

This will be a quick tour of the sights I see every day.

A swamp between my dorm and the Inn.

The Old Faithful Clinic and the Ranger's Station.

Not a ranger in sight.
The Post Office which is right next to the Ranger's Station.

The mail men are just as grumpy here as they are back home.

This is the Snow Lodge which is another hotel just behind the Old Faithful Inn.

Everyone wants to stay at the Inn, but this is newer and not as, shall we say, run down.

We call the dark, dreary atmosphere at the Inn, "historic."  Uh huh.  Whatever (said in my Valley Girl voice.)

They are building a new visitor's center.

It's almost bigger than the Inn.  The grand opening will be in August.  Alas, I won't be there for the ribbon cutting.

 This is me staring down the road, thinking about hitting the trail.

Not an exciting day, but the best I could do.

Here's what I do at work, just to give you an idea of why I gotta get out of this place.

These are the phrases I repeat eight hours a day, standing behind a counter in a silly uniform with my "Judy Ohio" badge.

"What credit card would you like to use?"
"Would you like to contribute a $1.00 to the Yellowstone Park Foundation?"
"Would you like an open account?"
"The bathroom is just down the hall."
"No, we do not have wi-fi in the Park."  (liar, liar, pants on fire.)
"No, we do not have a work out room."  (walk the trails, idiot.)
"Old Faithful goes off in 90 minutes."

OMG!  I might as well be saying, "Do you want fries with that burger?"

I have become a McDonald's employee and didn't realize it. 

That about sums it up.  Just to liven things up, one of my 20 something bosses comes along and points out a mistake I made.  Please, criticize me some more.  There is a shred of dignity left that needs to be stomped on and ground into the dirt.

By the time I got out of work, the snow was melted and the temperature was mild.  Of course, I was too tired to do anything.

At least I have a great view.

Before I go to sleep early like a first grader, I need your help.  I want to continue my blog when I return home.  Here are my thoughts.  Please give me yours.

1.  I plan on joining some walking clubs.  I can take pictures of my adventures and nature along the way.  The negative is that I may not be able to do it every day.

2.  Not a light topic, but I was thinking of interviewing people in my area who have been affected by the economy.  They all have a story to tell about the jobs they lost and how they survive.  The downside is that it isn't funny and I like funny.

3.  Hubby wants me to do some writing for the local hospice that my friends started.  We were thinking about telling the stories of hospice families.  Of course, they have to agree to this.

4.  Here is a crazy idea that needs a lot of help.  Has anyone written their novel on-line?  I have a great idea for a novel, but lack the drive to get it done.  I really want to do it, but I need immediate gratification.  Could I write a chapter at a time in a blog format?  How could I make money doing this?  Could I let you guys read it for free, but charge other people?  Help me here, my creative friends. 

Leave your comment and if you have been following my blog, please sign up to be a follower.  I have been stuck at the 37 mark for some time.  I know you're out there.  Don't be afraid.  I don't have enough money to show up on everyone's door step.

Oh...I promised hubby to give our business a plug.  If you need medical uniforms, check us out at  You happy now, dear? 

Until tomorrow, Judy in Yellowstone Park is signing off.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Surprise...It Snowed in Yellowstone Park

I'm posting early today because it's back to work at 2:30 and off at 10:45.  This is what I saw when I opened my blinds today.

Yellowstone Park likes to surprise you once in a while. 

Or always.

It is 39 degrees today with more snow and 30 degrees tomorrow with more snow.

More snow....more snow....more snow.  If I say it often enough, I will accept my fate.

I have to admit that it is beautiful.  There is no wind and it feels quite mild.

These two love birds live across the hall from me.

They are walking to work.

They are happy because they have a full bar in their room.  Their door was open yesterday and they were making Long Island Ice tea.  They didn't offer me any.

The down side to the slushy snow is this.

The path to the employee dining room is under construction.

We have to walk through this and up some icy steps to get our gruel. 

For the last two days, the young man dishing out the slop has complained of being sick.  Hopefully, I am immune to all germs after living here for a  month.

I decided to walk around the Old Faithful Geyser basin for some exercise and got to take this great shot of Old Faithful going off.

These are the times I long for the expensive camera, but I'm pretty happy with the results from my simple digital.

I know you've been missing the poo.

Picture title, "Snow on bison poo at Yellowstone Park."

It could win an award.

This sign greeted me at the start of my walk.

How many of you see this when you take a stroll?

And if you did, wouldn't you just run back to your warm bed?

I bravely plodded on down the trail anyway.

There were other people around who looked tastier than me.

There were animal prints on either side of the path, leading into the woods.

I'm pretty sure they were bison tracks, but they were nowhere in sight.


I made it back without seeing one animal.

They were probably sipping hot cocoa somewhere.

These ravens were outside the general store.

You can't tell, but these fellows are the size of a Beagle. 

On the domestic side, I finally washed my sheets.

If you can't tell, they are flannel and have snowmen and Christmas trees on them.  They were on sale.

My room is so cramped that I have to move two end tables just to make my bed.

I'm thinking this sheets will be clean enough until the end of June.

Way too much work to change them.

No adventures tomorrow as I work some weird midday shift from 9 to 6.  I will be asking for your help though.  I have several ideas for a blog when I get home.  Obviously the Yellowstone Dreaming won't work if I'm writing about incontinence.  Don't worry, that's not one of my topics. 

I will be asking for your opinions and suggestions.  Until then, enjoy the warm weather where ever you are.
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