On the road again!

Hello everyone, it’s your favorite dog blogger, Makena!

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Keeping my peeps informed!

We are on the road again!!!  While my parents are busy driving from Wyoming to Yuma, Arizona, I’ll get you all caught up.  We have finished up with our fourth and final summer at Luton’s Teton Cabins, just five miles east of Grand Teton National Park.  Once again, we were the last work camper couple to leave.  My dad steam cleans all the carpets, so it takes a while to get thru all 14 cabins and the lodge.  I have enjoyed my time here, because I can run around off-leash on the property.

The one problem, for me, with being the last to leave is the weather.  It always snows before we leave, and it gets cold.  It was 17 degrees when we pulled out this year.  But it sure is pretty!  This was our view from Luton’s on Saturday, October 5, when we left.  It had snowed the day before.

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I think I caught a cold or something, because I’ve gotten sick the last two mornings before we left.  My parents had to wash my favorite blankets two days in a row, and I’ve been sneezing a lot.  But now that we are on the road again, I am doing better.  I spend all day in my crate in the truck, so I have been getting a lot of rest.  It’s my “safe place.”  My parents say I’m an excellent traveler.

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We are going back to Westwind RV and Golf Resort in Yuma, Arizona.  I’m looking forward to the warm weather and sunshine!  My parents told me they will have new jobs this year, and will only be working two days a week.  Yay!  That means more time for me!  They will have an orientation day on October 15th, so I’m sure my mom will get back to blogging and have more information on their new jobs after that time.  And their friends Tom and Ellen will be working at Westwind this year.  They stopped over at our house a month ago, and brought their new puppy, Duffy, with them.  He promptly sniffed my butt and ate all of my food.  I don’t like him….

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Before I go, I’m going to post some more photos of the Tetons that my mom took in May, and September.  The Tetons are a beautiful place, and I hope all of my readers can someday visit the park.  Good-bye Tetons, looking forward to new adventures next summer in Alaska!  Here’s a view from Oxbow Bend at the beginning and end of our season.

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May 2019

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September 2019

 

Jenny Lake is a popular area in the park for hiking.  This is a view from an overlook.  In May, the lake was still frozen.

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May 2019

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September 2019

Quote for the day:  “Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” – Michael Palin

 

Winding down for the season…not yet!

We have started our last month here at Luton’s Teton Cabins, but instead of winding down, we are full speed ahead.  September is the third busiest month in the park, and we are at full occupancy until the third week of September, and then half full for the remainder of the month.  Many of our guests this month are repeat visitors, and it’s always fun catching up with them.  By the middle of the month, Dan will switch over from housekeeping to steam cleaning the carpets in all the cabins and the lodge.  He enjoys the change of pace.  Karen and I continue to be busy in the office, booking many reservations for next year.

I haven’t been faithfully posting this summer, but with this being our fourth year here, I just haven’t been that motivated.  We are very excited about going to Alaska next summer.  Our friends and co-workers Karen and Al  have done a fabulous job planning out an itinerary and looking into fishing and sightseeing opportunities.  We have already made a few campground reservations, but have a loose enough schedule to make changes, if need be.

Dan and Al have have gone fishing multiple times this summer, including one successful outing on Jackson Lake in the park.  I think it’s the “here fishy, fishy” hat that draws them in!

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All those fish led to a wonderful employee pot-luck for everyone.  Dan and Al grilled the fish.

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This has been a good summer for visitors!  A former co-worker of mine, Laura, came out here with her family, and we were able to spend a little bit of time with them!  Makena especially loved meeting her kids, and suckered them into some belly rubs!  Ironically, it was six years to the day that I left work when Laura and her family came to visit.  We had a great time catching up on the past six years, and I’m so happy she stopped by!

Dan’s brother Gary and his wife Julia also came out to the Teton’s.  Julia’s father John was celebrating his 90th birthday, and their entire family flew out to the Teton’s, and took a bus trip for the next week visiting many national parks and historic sites.  They were only here two days in this location, but we enjoyed our brief visit, and took Gary and Julia out for a hike along String Lake, one of our many favorite places here.

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Jean, Julia, birthday boy John and Gary

We met up with friends Jack and Ruth Ann, and Ruth Ann’s sister Jean.  We first met them working at Amazon in 2013.  Jack and Ruth Ann, as well as our friends Tom and Ellen, took us “under their wings” when we first started.  We all ate lunch together at Amazon, and learned so much from them about RV’ing.  Jack and Ruth Ann have been full-time since 2005.  They have volunteered several times at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival, and we talked about doing that in the next year or two with them.

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Jean, Jack, Ruth Ann, Jonell and Dan

And speaking of Tom and Ellen, we did make it up one night to West Yellowstone, Montana, to surprise Tom for his birthday!  We will be seeing them again next week when they stop through for their last visit to the Teton’s.  They will be joining us this winter in Yuma, and next summer they will be working in Skagway, Alaska.

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Happy Birthday Tom!

Friends Dan and Nancy from Wisconsin also stopped in for a visit.  Dan just retired from teaching in June, and they were visiting their son in Idaho, and stopped on the way back.  We had a long discussion on full-time RV’ing, and on their way back home, they stopped in South Dakota and changed their residency.  They will be working on transitioning to this wonderful lifestyle!  We wish them all the best!

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Dan, Nancy, Jonell and Dan

We always enjoy playing ‘tour guide’ and giving out suggestions to our guests on things to see and do in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.  We have enjoyed our four summers in this area, but we are also ready to move on to new adventures!

Quote for the day:  “Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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

 

Wildflowers, wildlife and wild scenery

Busy, busy, busy is how the last few weeks have been at Luton’s Teton Cabins. The cabins have been at full occupancy through the 4th of July. We have a day or two reprieve until they fill back up again. The families have now taken over the cabins, with a few couples in the smaller cabins.  Some cabins look like a tornado has gone through, with stuff everywhere!  We have to be careful where we step when making the beds.  We have met some wonderful guests from around the country, and a few international tourists as well. Our group of 9 work campers has been doing a great job, and our guests have left many wonderful reviews.

We did receive one puzzling note from a guest that checked out this week. They stated the cabin was great, but were disappointed by the mosquitoes. They felt for the amount of money that they paid to rent the cabin, we should have done something about them (the owners did spray their fields, but the cabins sit on 100 aces). The more I thought about this guests note, the more amused I became. I didn’t realize that mosquitoes should only bite people who stay in budget motels! Mosquitoes don’t discriminate. They go after everyone!

The Tetons received over 600 inches of snow this winter (normal snowfall is 400 inches). Between the snow melt and the spring rains, it has created a bumper crop of mosquitoes this year. But it has also rejuvenated the wildflowers. We have gone on several hikes so far, and I always take time to stop and photograph the flowers. I’m not really sure what they are, and just refer to them as yellow, purple, and blue flowers!


We have seen plenty of elk, buffalo and moose. I am still in search of the elusive porcupine. I was talking with one park ranger, and she gave me some areas to try, after 6 pm. Once the mosquitoes settle down in a few weeks, I plan on heading out on some trails in the evening to look for a porcupine.

On one of our hikes, we did see a bear, but it quickly ran off when it spotted us.  The only other animals that we found were long deceased.  It’s the circle of life…

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someone’s dinner

Even though it’s July, there is still plenty of snow on the mountains this year. It just makes for a peaceful setting.
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Always nice to watch the sunset from the cabins.

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Quote for the day: “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” – Victor Kiam

Meanwhile, back at the cabins

It’s hard to believe that we have been here two months.  Time has really flown by!  Being in such a peaceful setting, with very pleasant weather, is good for the soul.  Since school has let out, the 14 cabins have been at 100% occupancy almost every night.  Work has been very busy, but we have managed to get out and do some fun activities.

My particular job duties have changed slightly, as I am now in the office 3 days a week, and 2 days in housekeeping.  These new duties started before I broke a bone in my foot, not as a result of the injury.  The office work is a split shift, from 8am – 12pm, and then back again from 3pm – 7pm.  However, from 12 – 3pm, I still am responsible for answering the telephone,  assisting guests that have locked themselves out of their cabin (seems to happen at least once a week), or guests arriving before the 3pm check-in time.  When the owners, Brad and Joanne, put in the 5 RV sites behind the cabins for the work campers, they also put in telephone lines.  So I have a regular land line telephone  in the RV to answer calls from 12 – 3pm.  Because of the unusual hours, I now get a flat daily rate of pay, instead of an hourly rate.

The office person is also responsible for cleaning the main lodge, daily cleaning of the BBQ grills, assisting housekeeping on busy days, watering flowers, and emptying the quarters from the coin-operated washer and dryers.  The job keeps me busy, and I really enjoy interacting with the guests when they check in, and helping them plan their trips to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

To give an overview about what this work camping job entails, I will refer you to a post that Karen wrote in June of 2014, her first summer here at Luton’s Teton Cabins, in which she went into great detail on the job duties.  click here to read the post.  Needless to say, the cabins are immaculate!  I have cleaned more ovens this summer, than I have in my entire life!

Chuckwagon Dinner

We have a good crew of work campers, and the nine of us all went to the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner and show one night.  Brad and Joanne, upon hearing that we were all going out together, surprised us by paying for everyone’s tickets.  We all had a great time at the Chuckwagon show.  We had been to two chuckwagon’s in the Black Hills of South Dakota, but this one was far and away the best one we have been to. The show and the food were awesome!

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our work camping crew

On the way down to Jackson, we were amused to spot this sign by the road…!

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too late!

Those of you that have been following the blog for a while know that we like to visit craft breweries (always good to support the local businesses!), so we made a trip down to the Snake River Brewery in Jackson on our day off.  It is  Wyoming’s oldest brewery (started in 1994), and they have a not very catchy slogan “our river runs through your liver”.

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cheers!

We did the sampler tasting of their beers, and deemed them to be “okay”.    On the way back “home”, we stopped by Mormon Row in the park to view the structures that still remain from the early settlers to this area.  Location, location, location!

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Quote for the day:  “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius