Settled in for summer!

After we left Wisconsin, we stopped in Minnesota for a few days to visit Dan’s brother Gary and his wife Julia.  We originally planned to stay at a local county campground, but it was booked up solid for the weekend.  Julia had met us out at the campground, and Dan rode with her to a private campground a few miles away, to check for availability.  They had not been answering the telephone.  I stayed behind with Makena in the truck/fifth wheel.  They were able to get a spot for us.  Turns out there was a Harley festival going on, so everything was pretty booked up and the gal in the office was too busy to answer the telephone.  I drove the fifth wheel all by myself, to the campground.  I have driven it a few times before, but never by myself.  Now I just need to stop looking in the rear view mirror!  I met up with Dan at the campground, and he had me back into our spot.  Never did that before!  But he provided excellent guidance, and I feel a little more confidant now.

Gary and Julia are now grandparents for the first time!  Their daughter Carmen and husband Luke stopped over with Simon, who is now two months old!  Welcome to the world Simon!

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napping with Uncle Dan

We had a nice time visiting with everyone, and headed towards Custer, SD to visit with friends and former co-workers.  The best part of working for Amazon, is the people we meet.  And we have been able to meet up with fellow Amazon Camperforce everywhere we go.  Although I forgot to bring the camera along for a few meals, we met up with Linda and two of her co-workers in Keystone, where she will be working this summer at a gas station/convenience store.  The next day we met up with Bob for a good meal at the Alpine Inn in Hill City.  We were joined by our friends and former co-workers at Crazy Horse Phil and Rudee, and both Margaret’s that we had worked with.  They have both since retired.  Bob will be working this summer at Crazy Horse and has been very impressed with the fact it is more than just a mountain carving.  You can look back in our blog to the summer of 2014 to read more about our Crazy Horse experience (or type Crazy Horse in the search box on our site).

The next night we managed another get together, and our friends Chery and Dick also joined in.  We were happy that Bob could join us again, as it is always nice to meet fellow work campers.

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Dick, Phil, Jonell, Bob, Rudee and Cheryl

 

We hope they all have a wonderful summer, and will certainly meet up with them again!  Since we had a long drive from Custer to Moran, WY, we left very early and had a pleasant day of driving.  We knew we were getting close to our summer “home”, when snow started appearing out our window!  Yes, 65 degrees, sunny and snow!

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We arrived late afternoon to Luton’s Teton Cabins, and were met with hugs from the owners, Brad and Joanne.  Wonderful people to work for!  Co-workers Karen and Al had arrived a few hours before us, and we met another new co-worker, Melissa.  There will be two additional couples coming this week.  Dan and I start on Monday, May 15th, and we are excited to get back to work again.

Most of the snow at the lower elevations (we are at 6800 feet) has melted, but the Tetons are exceptionally beautiful this time of year.

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We have already seen a moose, fox and Makena has been keeping an eye on a gopher that is just outside of our fifth wheel.  We are looking forward to another great summer!  I will post more on our jobs once we get started for the season.  This is our view for the summer, from the cabins.

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Quote for the Day:  “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neal Donald Walsch

Grizzly, Moose and Eagles…oh my!

Before I broke a bone in my foot, we did manage to get in two small hikes in Grand Teton National Park.  And we were rewarded with plenty of wildlife sightings!  Before we even got into the park, Karen and Al spotted this Osprey in a tree.

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For our first hike, we went to Hermitage Point Trailhead in Coulter Bay, and opted for the short 3.5 mile hike around Heron Pond and Swan Lake.  It was a relatively easy hike, with beautiful views of the Tetons (actually, there is no bad view of the Tetons!).

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We had some nice views of Mt Moran, which contains what is called the “skillet glacier”, but the locals refer to it as Jimmy Hendrix’s guitar glacier, based on the shape.  The more I stared at it, I started to see a profile of a face (might be the high altitude!).

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What do you see?

Karen, Al and Dan quickly spotted a Bald Eagle in a tree, and it must have taken me 5 minutes before I could see it.  Karen was able to get a nice photograph of the Eagle.

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We also saw a few sandhill cranes, ducks and geese on this hike.  Later that night we went on another short trip down by Shwabachers Landing, and found a very active beaver in the water, along with evidence of his recent tree trunk trimming.

DSC_0607 (1)DSC_0644 (1)The next day we went on another hike with our co-worker Jane, and literally ran into a fox crossing our path.  Fortunately, he/she ignored us, but it did startle us.

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We also spotted a coyote off in the distance.

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But the highlight of our day was spotting our first “wild” grizzly bear.  I will pass along a tip for spotting a grizzly….when you see this:

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bear jam!

Make sure you pull over, because something exciting is lurking nearby!

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The park rangers did an excellent job at keeping traffic moving, and keeping the tourists from getting too close.

After I broke my foot, I was relegated to looking for wildlife from the car, and not on a hike.  Fortunately, I was finally able to cross ‘bull moose’ off my bucket list of animals to see in the wild.  This young man’s antlers are just starting to grow, and still have the velvet on them.  Again, Karen had her nice camera with her, and got some excellent photos (Dan’s worried this will cost us money, as I have been looking at new cameras online!).

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Hello Mr. Moose!

But the photo I was most surprised with (and one I took!) was of the bee that popped into the picture I was taking of a flower.  I really didn’t notice the bee until I was looking at my photos later on.

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We hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Quote for the Day:  “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”  – Anatole France

We have arrived at our destination…

…for the summer in the Grand Tetons.  After several months of relaxing, it is time to get back to work!  We are both ready to go for the summer.  Before I get into our summer jobs, I will do a little catching up, since it has been 2 months since I last posted.  Now that we are back to work, I promise to update the blog more.

We left Florida at the end of March, when it had started to get hot and humid, and made a bee-line to Elkhart, Indiana to have some routine maintenance work done on the fifth wheel.  Tiara RV was able to squeeze us in, and we would recommend them for service on fifth wheels and travel trailers if you are ever in the area.

Our next stop was “Camp Meyer” (Dan’s sister and brother-in-laws house).  It’s Makena’s favorite “campground” and once again she was very excited when we let her out of the truck.   We parked there for about 5 weeks, while visiting friends/family and taking care of routine medical/dental visits and truck maintenance.  As usual, there is never enough time to visit with everyone, and we hope to see those we missed this fall.

Several trips were made to Oconto Falls, to visit Dan’s parents.  His dad has made remarkable progress in his recovery from guillain-barré syndrome.  Dan was able to take him out golfing, and Makena convinced the ‘grandparents’ that she needed to walk and play multiple times every day.  Grandparents are such easy targets!  We also played many games of ‘hand and foot’, and provided some iPad ‘tech support’.

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Dan’s parents

We had a few nice visits down in the Milwaukee area with friends and family, in between our appointments.  Our good friends Dave and Angie had us over for an excellent BBQ, and Mike and Karlyn took us out for a fun night on the town. We also had a delicious Cinco de Mayo dinner with college friends Robin and Mary  (forgot to bring the camera).

My brother Brian, and sister-in-law Annette had us over for a visit, and we were able to take advantage of some nice weather to get in a short hike in the Kettle Moraine Forest, along with a climb to the top of the fire tower.

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Brian, Dan and Annette

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We stayed at my sister Margie and brother-in-law Greg’s house for a few days, and had a nice time catching up with them, as they are temporary ’empty nesters’ with my nieces both away at college.  Dan and Greg snuck out for a local beer tasting, and seemed to have a good time!

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Cheers from Greg!

I was also able to get together for my annual “patio beer” with a former co-worker, Amy.

Patio Beers!It’s always nice to catch up with family and friends, but we had only a limited amount of time, before beginning our journey west.  First stop: Des Moines, Iowa.  We were able to attend the Drake University College of Pharmacy Hooding Ceremony.  After 6 years, Jasmine received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, along with about 105 other students in the program.  During the ceremony, her father Gary (Dan’s brother) leaned over towards me and said “We now have a Dr. J in the family!”  I think he’s been waiting 6 years to say that!!  I’m not sure what he was happier about:  the fact Jasmine is now a doctor, or the fact that he no longer has anymore college tuition to pay for, as all three daughters are finished with school!

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Congrats Dr. J

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No More Tuition!

While we were in Des Moines, we were able to meet up with fellow RV’er Linda Clayton for dinner.  She will be workcamping for the summer at a campground in northern Wisconsin.  It was nice to catch up with a fellow Amazonian!  I don’t take selfies, so the picture is not very good!  When Linda and I were both Picking together at Amazon, people insisted we were sisters.imageWe left Iowa and continued West through Nebraska and up into Wyoming towards Grand Teton National Park. We will be spending the summer at Luton’s Teton Cabins in Moran, WY.  I will do a separate post in a week or two on our specific jobs and perks. If you want to see what the cabins look like, or follow along on a live web cam of the Grand Tetons, you can click on the link above.

We found this job courtesy of our friends Karen and Al, whom we will be working with this summer.  We have not been doing too much exploring yet, as I have been battling a bad cold, and the weather has been a bit chilly (27 degrees this morning!).  Today it alternated between sunshine and snow flurries which is typical Spring weather for Wyoming!

Our drive into the Tetons was interesting.  Nothing like a snowstorm in late May!

I did manage to plant some basil, cilantro and a container tomato plant.  They were outside for 2 days, and have been sitting inside the RV the past couple of days.  It should warm up next week, so hopefully they will start perking up a bit with some sunshine.

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My summer garden

The big pot was a gift from our former neighbors, The Kierzek’s.  They have four wonderful kids, and they used their thumb and finger prints to create designs on the pot.  Thanks again Adam, Faith, Josh and Ben!!  (and Kyle and Jolie too!)  Hopefully with all the love that went into the pot, it will help produce some good tomatoes this summer!

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Stay tuned, more frequent blog posts to follow!  And as always, thank you for following along on our adventures!

Quote for the Day:  “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis