Back to work (2 months ago…)

I admire the people that blog consistently.  I am not one of them!  We are back to work for our fourth, and final, summer here at Luton’s Teton Cabins.  I think part of my delay in writing is due to the fact we have been in this area of Wyoming for 5 years now (4 here, and 1 summer in West Yellowstone.)  There are days that I feel I’m in a rut.  As beautiful as this area is, I’m overdue for a change in scenery.

We arrived here on May 4, and took a quick drive through Grand Teton National Park.  Many areas were still covered in snow, and the ice on the lakes was just starting to melt.

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After getting acclimated to the altitude, we started spring cleaning the cabins a few days later.  All nine of us work campers came back this year.  Brad and Joanne are wonderful people to work for.  Spring cleaning consists of a deep clean of each cabin, including wiping down all the woodwork with a damp rag, and then oiling each log with wood oil.  It’s a tedious process, but it keeps the cabins looking “new.”   Many guests are surprised that the cabins are 25 years old.   Dan works on the ceilings, as he’s the tallest!

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The bedroom is ready for the season!

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After working 3 days per week in our winter jobs, it’s back to 5 days a week, and a split shift on my office days.  Karen and I split the office – 3 days office/2 days housekeeping one week, and 4 days office/1 housekeeping day the next week.  Office hours are 8 – 12 pm and 3 – 7 pm.  Between 12 and 3, we are still available to answer phones and help guests with any issues/early check-ins.  Because of the long office schedule, we are paid a daily rate.  Dan refers to me as “the bread winner.”  Housekeeping generally starts at 9 am, and we can be done between noon and 3 pm, depending on how busy the cabins are.  Usually there are 4-5 housekeepers, and we can get through a cabin fairly quickly.  Dan does 4 days of housekeeping, and 1 day in laundry, washing all the linens, towels, rugs and rags.  He enjoys the variety.

As long as office duties are done (checking in guests, answering the phone, cleaning the lodge, watering plants, cleaning grills and helping the housekeepers on busy days) we can sit and read in the office.  I’ve caught up on a lot of magazines that I can get for free through Flipster on my local library’s website.  It’s a great app to use to read magazines offline.  Here’s a screen shot of my “bookshelf” on the Flipster app.

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We took a day trip up to Yellowstone with Karen and Al.  The overlook to the upper and lower falls at Canyon Village are now open.  It’s always pretty to see, especially with snow.  I’d like to visit Yellowstone in the winter someday.

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Upper Falls

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Lower Falls

We also stopped to watch Old Faithful.  I’ve seen it dozens of times, and was a bit amused when this couple in front of me immediately stood up to take selfies!  They spent the entire time taking pictures of themselves, and not even bothering watching the eruption!  P1060272

Dan and Al have had several successful fishing outings.  Soon we will be having an employee fish fry pot luck.

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And speaking of pot lucks, we just had an excellent lobster dinner, courtesy of Brad and Joanne.  They had lobsters, clams and mussels flown in from Maine.  Al did an excellent job cooking everything, and even gave the ‘newbies’ tips on how to crack open and eat lobster.  It was an excellent feast!

And speaking of food, my goal for the summer is to clean out our pantry.  I look like a food hoarder, and I need to work on that!  Since we arrived on May 4, I have not bought anything new for the pantry.  This is what our pantry looks like today  (and this is after 2 months of eating…still a long way to go!)

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Over the winter we accomplished the goal of eating everything in our freezer before buying new food.  So nothing in the freezer is older than 3 months.  We replenished the freezer again when we arrived in Wyoming, and will work on emptying that out again over the summer.  It’s a great way to try out new recipes.  But it’s also made me wonder “what was I thinking in the first place when I bought this?”

We are going to Alaska next summer, and have considered getting a truck camper.  It would be an exciting challenge to downsize even more.  We may even consider selling our beloved 5th wheel.  But we are not coming off the road, just changing things up.  And downsizing more will give us more flexibility.  Variety is the spice of life?  We’ll keep you posted on what we decide.  Just starting to look at what’s available right now.

We had some visitors already (we like visitors!!).  Dean and Jeannie stopped by on their way to Oregon, and we played tour guides for a day.  Our door is always open!

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Jonell, Jeannie and Dean

And we finally saw our first moose of the season (no porcupine yet!)

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Until next time, please stay safe!

Quote for the day:  “You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Roy T Bennett

 

Back at my summer home!

Hello everyone!  It’s your favorite dog blogger, back after a long absence!

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Keeping my peeps informed!

Now that my parents have finished blathering on about all kinds of things that I didn’t get to see in Arizona and Utah, I thought it would be time to catch everyone up with the important stuff….me!  Although I enjoyed my time in warm and sunny Arizona, I’m happy to be back in Wyoming.  They have grass, and lot’s of it.  Arizona has a little too much sand for my liking.  And they have these tiny, nasty little plants with prickers that kept getting stuck in my paws.

We arrived back at Luton’s Teton Cabins in Moran, Wyoming on May 4.  The weather was cold and rainy for most of that month, but has steadily improved.  My parents are here to work, and I’m here to run around, off leash, on 100 acres of grass!  Here I am in action….the cabins that my parents work at are way off in the background (I’m not allowed in them).

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WooHoo!  Back on grass!

And once we round the corner of the property, we get to look at this view every day!

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Wait for me!

Since we didn’t go back to Wisconsin this year, my parents had to find a new doctor for my annual wellness exam.  They found a nice place in Jackson Hole, Spring Creek Animal Hospital.  The doctor was very impressed with my overall health, and said my heart and lungs are very strong!  It’s all that playing and running around that I do.  I haven’t had any problems lately from my back injury.  The doctor wants to have my teeth cleaned, however.  After 12 years, I guess I could use a little cleaning, but my parents are worried about the anesthesia, given my age and petite size.  They haven’t decided what to do.

I did make a new friend here in Wyoming, a tiny bald kitten named Butters.  I’m not sure why he’s bald, and I’m not sure why they call him Butters.  My mom thinks he looks like Yoda from Star Wars.

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Butters

Butters parents (my parents co-workers) were going home for a family event for a few days, so Butters stayed with us for five of the longest days of my life!  When they first brought him over, I was not too happy about sharing my home with him.  Then my mom walked in with his food…yummy!  I tried my best to get at it, but I was shut out.  And, Butters gets canned food twice a day…I only get canned food once a day.  Darn cat.

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yummy cat food!

Apparently Butters was not happy that I was trying to eat his food, as he got revenge on me by sitting in front of my own dog food.

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payback from the cat

No matter what I tried to do over the five days, Butters wanted to join in, whether I liked it or not (mostly not).  If I sat at the door watching outside, Butters joined in.

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I like to relax on my mom’s lap with a blanket in the morning when she is enjoying her coffee.  Yep, Butters joined in.

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I was okay with this at first, but when the bald cat decided he wanted to crawl under the blanket with me, well, you can tell by the look on my face I was not happy!

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Go away Butters!

Even when it was time for my canned food, exactly at 5 pm, Butters wanted to help me out.  I finally had enough of him, and growled, so my parents had to pick him up and keep him away while I was eating.  Nobody messes with my canned food!

When I tried to play with my toys, Butters kept butting in (maybe that’s why he’s called Butters?).  You can tell by the look on my face that I’m not happy.

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don’t mess with my toys!

I don’t understand cats.  What’s wrong with just sitting on the couch to look out the window.  Why do they feel the need to hang on to the window instead?

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And what’s wrong with this picture?  Sheesh!  It’s my house, my bed!

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It was a long five days, but I survived!  Stay tuned, I hope everyone is doing well!

Quote for the Day:  “In ancient times, cats were worshiped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” – Terry Pratchett

 

Trains, Automobiles and Guns

In continuing on with the Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Guns themes (Planes were the last post), we visited Union Station, in downtown Ogden, Utah.  It’s definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.  The station contains four small museums that you can visit, for $7.00 per adult.  The current station was built in 1924, after the previous station burned down.

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The Grand Lobby in Union Station

In Wisconsin, we call this a bubbler.  The rest of the country, for whatever reason, seems to think this is a water fountain.

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At it’s heyday, 120 trains went through Ogden every day.  Union Station is now used to house several small museums, including an outdoor display of diesel and steam engines.

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The Utah Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum has a small space honoring the Utah Cowboy Hall of Fame as well as historic western memorabilia.

The Browning-Kimball Classic Car Museum has about a dozen old cars on display.  What is unique about the cars is they are all driven out of the museum every year during the annual Heritage Festival in Ogden every May.

The blue car on the right is a 1931 Lincoln Model 202A.

P1050978 (2)Below is the 1929 Pierce-Arrow.

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Below, on the far right, a 1929 Durant model 6-60.  The red vehicle is a 1911 Knox Model S Roadster.  The beige vehicle on the far left is a 1930 Cadillac Model 452.

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The Utah State Railroad Museum is now the proud owner of the The Golden Spike safe, which was originally held at Stanford University, and contained the original Golden Spike of 1869, a 17.6 karat gold spike used to connect the final rail of the Transcontinental Railroad, connecting the Union Pacific with the Central Pacific in Promontory Summit, Utah Territory, May 10, 1869.

After the 1989 earthquake in California, the museum displaying the safe and spike was damaged, and a new museum was built, with a new display case for the spike.  The safe was then donated to this museum in 2010.  The “golden spike” on display in the safe is the Utah Centennial Golden Spike.

Before trains, people were not really aware of “time.”  There was morning, afternoon, evening and night.  People used sundials to keep track of time.  After trains, “time” became important, and people soon realized that the time in Chicago was not the same as the time in Ogden.  In 1884, the National Railway Time Convention proposed standard time zones, and in 1918 Congress finally passed the Standard Time Act, making the time zones official.

The John M. Browning Firearms Museum  has a large display of firearms.  The museum started with the history of the Browning family, talking about John M Browning’s father, Jonathan.  The family history was a bit confusing, because Jonathan was a polygamist with several wives and lots of children.  (too many branches in the family tree!).  Jonathan was a gunsmith in Ogden, and John followed in his footsteps, working in his shop at young age.  He is considered to be one of the most successful gun designers in history, with many of his 128 patented designs still in use today.   He sold many of his designs to Winchester, Colt, Remington and Fabrique National de Herstel (FN) of Belgium.  Original models of his guns are on display.  They provide an excellent history on the development of rifles, shot guns and automatic weapons.

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His very first invention, in 1878, was the single shot rifle (top rifle in the photo below).  In 1883, he sold the patent to Winchester, and in 1885, they started selling Model 1885 in 33 calibers (bottom rifle).

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John M Browning also developed a 9mm pistol.  The top pistol was his first prototype, and the other three were patents he sold to Fabrique National (FN).

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He developed a number of weapons for the military.

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Including this automatic rifle, which was first used near the end of WWI, and continued to be used through the Vietnam War.  It can fire 500 rounds per minute.

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In 1911, Browning designed the M1911, semi-automatic weapon used by the military as their standard sidearm.  It was manufactured by Colt, and used until 1986. Below are several variations of the model.

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If you are a gun owner, John M Browning probably had something to do with the design and development of the guns that you own.  We enjoyed our visit to Union Station, and highly recommend a visit if you are in Ogden, Utah.

Now it’s back to work…

Quote of the Day:  “Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul.” – Jamie Lyn Beatty

 

 

 

 

Hill Aerospace Museum

After leaving Bryce Canyon National Park, we headed up to Ogden, Utah with our friends Tom and Ellen.  They just stayed one night, and headed up to their summer work camping job in West Yellowstone, MT.  After looking at the weather in Grand Teton National Park, we opted to spend two nights in Ogden.

We enjoy going to museums, and Ogden has several interesting museums available.  It’s a planes, trains, cars, cowboys and guns paradise!  I though about doing one blog to cover all the museums, but I know people like to look at photos, so I will break this up into two posts, and just cover the planes today.  You can always double-click on the photos to enlarge them.

Hill Aerospace Museum, located on Hill Air Force Base (Utah’s largest employer) just south of Ogden, is an excellent place to spend a few hours looking at over 100 planes and exhibits from the Wright Brothers, World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam and current day battles.  They also have a STEM Education program, and the several dozen school children that we saw running around, seemed very excited to learn about aviation history.  The large planes are outdoors.

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Hill Aerospace Museum

Hill Air Force Base is tasked with maintenance and repair of planes.  In the exhibit on the Wright Brothers, they focus on the man tasked with helping the brothers maintain the plane.  Charles Edward Taylor is considered to be the world’s first aviation mechanic.  He built the first successful engine for the Wright Brothers, and taught them how to build engines.  He was the lead mechanic on the first transcontinental flight in 1911.  Below is a replica of the 1911 Burgess-Wright Model F Flyer.

In World War I, this Curtis JN-4D “Jenny” was used by the Signal Corp for training.

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The plane below, a North American B-25J “Mitchell” was used to attack Japan after the Pearl Harbor attack.  Although the planes inflicted minimal damage, troop moral increased, and Japan had to bring their fleet back home to protect their country from direct attack.

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The museum is packed full of planes.  In the first main building, they do not have an area where you can look down on the planes.

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The Boeing B-17G “Flying Fortress” were used in WWII for their strategic bombing of targets in Germany.  This plane is painted in the colors of the 493rd bomb group.

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The museum has a display on the role women played during WWII.  The number of women employed during WWII increased by 57%, and many women were employed in areas traditionally employed by men.

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With their red and white shark paint scheme, these Curtis P-40N planes went into combat against Japan.

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Curtis P-40N “Warhawk”

On the way to the second indoor building, we noticed this plane outside in the courtyard, the Lockheed (V) C-140B “Jetstar.” It was used by President Lyndon Johnson.  We were unaware the Presidents had smaller jets at their disposal.  There was no access to view this plane up close.

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The second building had some stairs where you could look over the planes from a higher vantage point.

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The F-16 “Fighting Falcon” has been the backbone of the Air Force since the mid 1970’s.  At speeds over Mach 2, (about 1400 mph), they are quite impressive! The museum has several on display, and this plane is from the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing assigned to Hill Air Force Base.

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The newest addition to the museum, is the F-16A Thunderbird, received in 2017.

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The outdoor display is just as impressive as the two indoor buildings.

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The B-1B Lancer, put in service in 1986, can carry the largest payload of guided and unguided weapons.

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Boeing B-1B Lancer

The C-130 Hercules, not as “svelte” as the B-1B, has been in use since 1956 as a cargo plane for troops and supplies.

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They had the back landing door open, to view the interior of the C-130.

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B-47 Stratojet

These photos are just a fraction of the planes on display at the museum.  If you are in the Ogden, Utah area, we would highly recommend a visit to this museum (free, donations accepted).   Thank you to all the men and women that have served our country, and keep us safe.

 

Quote for the Day:  “Hitler built a fortress around Europe, but he forgot to put a roof on it.” – President Franklin Roosevelt

Bryce Canyon National Park

After our short trip to Page with Tom and Ellen, we headed up into Utah, to re-visit one of our favorite National Parks, Bryce Canyon.  The park contains the largest concentration of hoodoos, which are irregular columns of rock.  The hoodoos are formed through erosion of the cliffs from the wind, rain and snow.   As some of the rock formations erode away, new ones are created.  The park is always changing.  As we arrived in the park on May 1, just in time for what seems to be our annual May snowfall!

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Left Yuma too soon??

Given the snow, and our limited time in the park (2 days), we were not able to do any hiking in the park.  We stayed at Ruby’s Inn campground, in their brand new pull-thru section.  It’s pricey, but very nice.  The family that owns Ruby’s Campground, owns the majority of the businesses in the area.  And they hire a lot of work campers for the season.

 

We were able to meet up with our friend Bob, that we worked with at Amazon a few years ago.  Bob decided to get his commercial drivers license, with a passenger endorsement.  This has opened up a lot of high-paying work camping opportunities for him.  In order to ease up on overcrowding, and the pollution that goes along with it, the National Park service is using shuttle buses in many of the parks.  Bryce Canyon has a free shuttle service taking visitors to most of the viewpoints in the park.  Bob was able to get a job as a shuttle bus driver.  For those interested, it pays $24/hour, with a discounted RV site.

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Bob, Dan, Ellen, Tom and Jonell

When we told Bob that we were coming, he booked us on a free shuttle tour of the park, as he wanted to check out the tour as well.  If you plan on visiting Bryce, I would highly recommend the free tour.  This is separate from the regular shuttle that just takes you to the overlooks. It is called the Rainbow Point tour, and lasts three hours.

This is the view from Rainbow Point, elevation 9115 feet.  The park borders Dixie National Forest, and off into the distance is Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument.

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This is the view at Agua Canyon, elevation 8800 feet.  Can you see the “face” in the rock formation on the left?

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The Natural Bridge is at elevation 8627 feet.

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The view at Bryce Point, elevation 8296 feet, is one of the prettiest in the park, containing many hoodoos.  You can hike down into the canyon to get a better view of the rock formations.

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More views at Bryce Point…

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There are over 60 miles of hiking trails in the park, and someday we will return to hike down into the canyon for a closer look at these amazing hoodoo formations.

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One thing I want to point out for anyone traveling to Bryce Canyon in an RV, they have two arches that you have to drive through to get to the park.  For whatever reason, they have signs stating 13 feet, 6 inches.  This would give pause to anyone driving an RV, particularly a fifth wheel.  The height of our 5th wheel is 13-3.  I’m not sure who did the measuring, but as you can see from Tom and Ellen’s fifth wheel going through the arch, there is plenty of room.

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If you are interested in Astronomy, they have special programs at the park in June; and in July, they have programs for those interested in Geology.  We plan on coming back to the park someday to hike down into the canyon.

Quote for the Day:  “Stepping out onto any lookout, you are invited to connect with an amazing example of some of the most unusual terrain on this planet, making you feel as though you are stepping foot on the edge of another world.” – Stefanie Payne