Things are winding down

The leaves are starting to change, the mornings have been a crisp 30 degrees, yes, fall is in the air here in western Wyoming. And our work camping season at Luton’s Teton Cabins is starting to wind down. The cabins officially close on October 10th, and we have guests right up until we close for the season.

Dan’s brother Gary and his wife Julia visited with us for a week. We were able to do a few hikes with them on our off days. Taggart Lake has always been a favorite hike of ours.

Jonell, Dan, Julia and Gary at Taggert Lake

The next day we did a long hike around Jenny Lake, with stops at Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point. This is probably the most popular hike in Grand Teton National Park. To avoid the crowds on the way back down from Inspiration Point, we took the horse trail, and ran into about 6 people on the way down, versus hundreds on the way up on the main trail. The road less traveled always makes for a better experience!

Hidden Falls
Inspiration Point

While the view from Inspiration Point overlooking Jenny Lake is spectacular, so is the view facing the other direction, of the Tetons. This is why the hike is so popular.

The “other” direction

The Jenny Lake trail offers so many nice views.

The wildlife have been pretty active this month, and we did manage to see a good sized grizzly bear at a distance.

Due to the drought affecting the western states, Jackson Lake, which feeds into the Snake River, is being drawn down to provide much needed water for the farmers. This is a view from June of Jackson Lake, followed by a view last week.

June

In the six years that we have been here, we have never seen the water level this low.

September

All the boats in the Coulter Bay marina had to be removed by July 31. It just looks sad.

We are hoping the Tetons and surrounding areas will see record snow falls this winter, so the lake can get back to normal levels next summer.

Quote of the day: “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir

Just chillin

Hello everyone, it’s me, Makena!

Keeping my peeps informed!

My parents have been busy with work, work and more work. They have two more months to go here at Luton’s Teton Cabins. The cabins are still booked solid, into mid-October. They close for the season on October 10th. The weather has been perfect, mid 70’s during the day, and mid 40’s at night, with no humidity.

When we arrived here in Wyoming, I went to see my doctor for my annual visit. My mom mentioned that I have been having incontinence issues. The doctor asked a lot of questions, and put me on a medication, Diethylstilbesterol Compounded. Whew! That’s a long name for a drug. Basically, it’s a synthetic estrogen. For 5 days, I took one pill every day. They are pretty tasty, so my mom didn’t have to wrap them up in cheese. After the first 5 days, I now take one pill, once a week.

During the first week, I woke my mom up (my dad pretended to be asleep!) in the middle of the night several nights in a row to go outside and pee. She didn’t mind though, because it’s easier to take me out at 3 am, then to get up at 5 am and wash pee-soaked sheets every morning.

After the first week, I have been sleeping all night long, without any problems! My parents are calling my medicine the “fountain of youth” pills, because I have a lot more energy, play more, and take longer walks! I feel great! My mom wants to get a prescription for herself, so she can sleep through the night without having to pee. I guess I better count the number of pills left in the bottle, so she doesn’t start taking mine!

I really enjoyed having family visit a few weeks ago, even though there are no photos of me with Uncle Brian, Aunt LuAnn and my cousins. They came over several times to my house to watch the Milwaukee Bucks play during the basketball playoffs. Good thing I’m deaf now, since I didn’t hear their yelling at the television. Congrats to the Bucks for winning the championship!!

One day I noticed that my neighbor, Karen and Al, put up a doggie jail outside their fifth wheel. I was a little confused by this, so I checked it out, and looked around for a dog.

At first I didn’t like the jail, but now I would like my parents to get one of these for me, so I can sit outside all day in the sunshine.

I keep inspecting all the boxes that arrive for my parents, for my own outdoor pad. So far no luck.

nothing for me…

One day, this cute little guy appeared over at Karen and Al’s house. Introducing Cody, a 10 week old Irish Setter.

At first, Cody was my size, and a little shy. So I had some “control” over him, as you can see by my left paw in the picture below. Just keeping him in his place!

But then Karen and Al started feeding Cody Miracle Grow or something, because he just keeps getting bigger and bigger. And he has a lot more confidence and energy. Plus he picked up that pesky habit about wanting to sniff my butt. As you can see, I just have no more control over him! My left paw is no longer effective. Back to social distancing for me!

I can’t wait to get on the road again. My parents are thinking about heading back to Wisconsin when they finish up the season here. And then possibly on to warm and sunny Yuma in December for the winter. Take care everyone! Stay safe!

Meme of the day:

Family Time!

We continue to be super busy at Luton’s Teton Cabins this summer, and have been taking many reservations already for 2022. It is nice that families are able to get out and enjoy our wonderful national parks again. Both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks here in Wyoming have been setting records each month for visitors. This past week my brother Brian, his wife Annette and daughter Breanna, along with my sister LuAnn and her daughter Alicia were able to spend a week in the cabins visiting with us. Annette had to fly home after a few days to go back to work, but she was able to see the “highlights” of the Tetons, and get some hiking in with my sister. They also got to see one of our spectacular sunsets over the Tetons from the front porch of their cabin.

Brian, LuAnn and Annette were able to get a little hiking in while we were working.

My niece Alicia (LuAnn’s daughter) has been enjoying learning photography, and she took the “money shot” below, at Schwabacher Landing in Grand Teton, a very popular spot for photographers. It’s always nice when a moose shows up!

We did several hikes in the Tetons, including our favorite trail, out to Taggert Lake. (Dan had to work, so he missed out on our 9 miles of hiking! And Alicia got bit by the altitude sickness bug and took the day off) We quickly learned not to let my niece Bre (Brian’s daughter) take the lead….I was able to keep up for a while, but my “older” siblings needed to stop and rest!

Everyone seemed to agree that Taggert Lake is a beautiful spot!

Bre, Brian, Jonell and LuAnn

After our first hike of the day, we drove up to the top of Signal Mountain, where a young man was just finishing a marriage proposal – she said yes! It’s a spectacular spot for a proposal.

My brother just retired, and to prove that he is still “young” he decided to stop and do a handstand on our second hike of the day, around the shore of Jackson Lake.

Very impressive Brian

Then next day, when Dan and I were both off. We drove up to Yellowstone with everyone, and did the highlights of the lower loop.

The siblings at the Lower Falls

The upper falls

The park service is testing out these new shuttle busses in Yellowstone, at the Canyon Visitors area. They only work a few hours at a time, and then have to recharge. We did not get to see them in action. The busses are called “TEDDY” for The Electric Driverless Demonstration in Yellowstone.

We did a short hike up to the overview for the Grand Prismatic, one of my favorite spots.

Dan, LuAnn, Jonell, Brian. Alicia and Bre in front

And no visit to Yellowstone would be complete without a stop at Old Faithful, which erupts about 20 times a day.

It was a great week spent with family, and I am happy that two of my siblings were able to make it out here (finally!)

Quote of the day: “To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were, we know each other’s hearts, we share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys.” – Clara Ortega

Airbase Arizona Museum

It’s been well over a year since we were able to set foot in a museum. Oh how we missed them! We spent several hours touring Airbase Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum in Arizona, with friends Dave and Marilyn. Although it was one of the smaller plane museum’s we have visited, it had a number of things we have never seen before.

Below is a replica of a Nieuport 28, built in France, and flown during WWI. It was the first fighter aircraft for the United States.

The plane below is a 7/8 scale flying replica of the Royal Aircraft Factory S.E. 5a, one of the fastest aircraft flown during World War I.

The museum was able to obtain an actual steel artifact from the USS Arizona, which was sunk in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. When the USS Arizona wreckage was declared a national memorial in the 1960’s, a portion of the wreckage was removed so the visitor’s bridge could be installed. The pieces that were removed were stored by the Navy in Pearl Harbor. The Airbase Arizona Museum requested a piece of the wreckage, and the Navy granted their request and they received this piece in 2019.

The North American F-89 Sabre

And the most produced jet fighter type in the world, the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21PF “Fishbed-D.” (in case you are wondering how I remember all of this, I take a picture of the sign, and then the airplane!)

The museum has several helicopters on display. The Bell UH-1B “Huey” Gunship

The very “slim” AH-1F Cobra SN67-15589

And the Sikorsky H-19 Chicasaw, used during the Korean War.

The Douglas A/B-26C “Invader” was used during World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

The North America P-51D Mustang was a single pilot fighter bomber used during WWII and the Korean War.

The “red plane” is a Frankfort Sailplane Company QQ-3, a remote controlled drone used by anti-aircraft artillery for target practice. 9,403 drones were produced, but there are only 6 left in existence. It was painted red for better visibility in the museum.

Outside the museum, they had a Douglas C-47 “SkyTrain”, used as a cargo troop carrier.

You are able to walk inside this plane. And we quickly realized why they may have it outside, with the windows open. It had a very strong odor of cigarette smoke. According to the plaque (see below), the plane was operated during WWII.

The Boeing B-17G Bomber “Sentimental Journey” was undergoing routine maintenance. You can actually schedule a ride on this plane. It was also one of the few planes that you could walk (or rather “squeeze” through).

This is what I mean by “squeezing” through..

But it does get a bit wider in the back!

The front of the B-17G Bomber from the inside…

And the view of the front from the exterior.

The bay doors below have been signed by many of the brave men that have flown on this World War II Flying Fortress.

They have a display of fighter pilot head gear over the years.

I always enjoy the personalized symbols on the planes

If you are in the Mesa, Arizona area, this is definitely worth a visit. The four of us had a great day reliving history.

Quote for the Day: “If you can walk away from a landing, it’s a good landing. If you use the airplane the next day, it’s an outstanding landing.” – Chuck Yeager

More visitors and moving on

We finally left the 48th state (Arizona) in April and made our way up to Wyoming for the summer to work.  But not before our friends from Yuma, Dave and Marilyn, stopped in for a quick visit.  Thanks to a tip from Jack and Ruth Ann, the four of us took a very scenic, but winding road over to Tortilla Flats, Arizona, population 6!  The town was originally a stage coach stop in 1904.  Now it is a fun little tourist town.  And I do mean little, as this is the entire town:

img_3577

The original school in Tortilla Flats.

We did stop in for a cold beverage and lunch at the saloon, which had saddles as the bar stools.

Cheers from Marilyn!

And I was immediately drawn to (or suckered) into this sign:

The next day the four of us ventured out to Airbase Arizona, Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa, Arizona. I will do a separate blog post on that, as it’s hard to just select a few photos for this post.

After leaving Arizona, we headed back to Transwest Truck Trailer RV in Frederick, Colorado, for some quick service work on our motorhome. The motorized front shade/visor had been giving us problems for the past several months. We have talked with both Newmar and the manufacturer of the shade, AutoMotion, but neither could come up with a solution. Newmar did send us a remote, so we could manually raise and lower the shade. Since it was still under warranty, we wanted this fixed.

I also was doing laundry in our motorhome when I heard water running. It’s never a good thing to hear water running when you are in an RV! The hot water valve going into the washer did not shut off at the end of the cycle, and water was spurting out the back. Fortunately, the washer sits on a pan, which caught the excess water. This could have been a lot worse! We did try to take the washer out to look at the back, but this unit is bolted down so well it wouldn’t budge if an earthquake struck. Dan called Transwest and asked if they would look at it, and since it is a Splendide, they said they could. Apparently they will not service other brands of washers.

Newmar agreed to overnight parts to Transwest since we had made them aware of our issues. The motor on the shade was replaced (and works perfectly now) and the intake valve on the back of the washer was replaced. It took the technician four hours to get the washer out of, and back into the closet. We e-mailed Newmar and suggested they put in an access panel in the closet, so you can reach the back of the washer/dryer. Hopefully we will not have any more issues with that, as the bulk of the repair bill is just getting access to the machine. But everything was covered under warranty, and we were soon on our way to Wyoming.

As we were driving up I-25 into Wyoming, a truck passed us and blew a tire. We knew we couldn’t escape the flying debris, and pulled into the next rest area to check for damage. Oddly, our exhaust pipe was the only thing damaged. We felt we really caught a break.

What you can’t tell from the picture above is how close to the ground the pipe is. We started calling Ford dealers and RV dealers in Wyoming to see if we could get this repaired before the muffler hit the ground or the tire. The Ford dealers said they were too small to fit an RV into their shop, and the RV dealers were unable to get us in. One dealer recommended calling Central Truck and Diesel in Casper. Dan called and explained our situation, and they said to “come on in.” They said they could order a new tip, but it would be several days before the part arrived, or they could just bang it out and reweld it on. We opted for the latter. It took the service technician three hours to repair, and then we were on our way.

We finally made it to Luton’s Teton Cabins at 8 pm, and got up and started work the next day. This is our sixth summer now (and hopefully last, as we really want to go to Alaska!) It’s going to be a super busy summer, as we are booked solid at the cabins.

Quote of the Day: “The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.” – Douglas Adams