Madison, Wisconsin Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Okay, before you say, “Boring!” and move on to the next blog, please give me a few more minutes of your reading time.

We discovered this on our way back to the south from our summer job in Yellowstone.  There were several stops we picked in order to see states and museums/gardens/parks we may never have the opportunity to see again.  Life is short, we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, so why not NOW?  I wanted to visit Door County, WI, but it was much too far out of our way.  The stop in Madison turned out to be an absolutely wonderful choice.

This garden is 100+ years old and probably the most beautiful we have visited.  We have visited many botanical gardens including the National Garden in Washington DC and Central Park in NYC and Biltmore in Ashville, NC, just to name a few of the more famous.

We strolled through 16 acres of outdoor gardens featuring stunning landscapes and Midwest-hardy plants. We visited the tropics in the Bolz Conservatory (the featured picture), filled with exotic plants, flowers, orchids, birds, and a waterfall.  The exterior gardens were free, yes FREE. The conservatory was $2.00 per person.  The weather was perfect.  There is no way you could do this in the deep south in August.

PICTURES FROM OUR STOLL

Dragonfly sclupture

Dragonfly sculpture

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Grapes covering a large pergola

Grapes covering a large pergola

Pear tree trained on a fence

Pear tree trained on a fence

Corkscrew Willow

Corkscrew Willow

Lost in the grass

Lost in the grass

Vintage rear view automobile mirrors planted in the grass

Vintage rear view automobile mirrors planted in the grass

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Glass Sculpture

Glass Sculpture

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Mature water gardens

Mature water gardens

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A pavilion, or sala, is a common structure in Thailand generally used as a shelter from rain and heat. Olbrich’s pavilion is more ornate than most roadside salas in Thailand and represents those found at a temple or on a palace grounds. However, Olbrich’s pavilion is not a religious structure.

The pavilion was a gift to the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the Thai Government and the Thai Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. UW-Madison has one of the largest Thai student populations of any U.S. college or university.

The Thai Garden surrounding the Pavilion emulates a lush, tropical garden with Wisconsin-hardy plants. Ornamental grasses, some reaching up to 12 feet tall, and several hardy bamboos are essential in creating a tropical look. Large-leafed shrubs and trees are pruned to give them the look of plants in a typical Thai garden.

Glazed water jars and clipped tree art called mai dat, are both common elements of Thai gardens. Mai dat is a traditional horticulture feature in Thai gardens that has been practiced since the 13th century. Olbrich uses large Chinese junipers for the clipped tree art.

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Pavilion reflected

Pavilion reflected

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Pavilion ceiling, REAL gold leaf.

Pavilion ceiling, REAL gold leaf.

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Pavilion reflected

Pavilion reflected

Real Gold Leaf

Real Gold Leaf

peace pond

peace pond

Rich, colorful tropical garden around the Pavilion (how they protect it in the winter is a mystery).

Rich, colorful tropical garden around the Pavilion (how they protect it in the winter is a mystery).

The Teton Mountains and So Much More

I have hundreds of picture, none of which will do service to the beauty of this part of the great Rocky Mountain Range, snowcapped all year long.   nevertheless, I will post many for your pleasure.

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A river runs through it – The Snake River. Named for the Indian tribe first encountered in this area by the white man. The story goes that when the tribe tried to introduce themselves with sign language. The hand sign appeared to resemble a snake by its movement. They were and are the Shoshone Tribe.

The River is still called The Snake River. We took a float trip lasting about 3 hours through the most beautiful of beautiful areas in this park. Wild, inhabited by eagles, otters, moose, ducks, bear, elk, buffalo and so much more. This narrow, shallow river meanders along the valley beside and just against these magnificent mountains.

Beaver Dam

Beaver Dam

View on the river

View on the river

Our fearless guide

Our fearless guide

Proof we really took the float

Proof we really took the float

Our guide told us the Tetons are only 10,000 years old and still growing due to the constant movement of the earth in the area.

We camped on this river one evening and enjoyed a genuine Cowboy dinner and show nearby at the Bar-J Ranch. This is a must see event.

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The temperatures during the day could reach the 70s to 80s and cool down to the 40s at night; we slept well in our little minivan with the air mattress and good blankets. We only stayed in KOA camp grounds when camping as they seem to be safe, clean and best organized – plus they always had fresh coffee each morning (big smile).

The Teton Park stretches between Yellowstone on the south to Jackson, Wyoming. There is a large winter resort called Jackson Hole for those who love winter activities – of which I am not one. It is, however, beautiful, too.

Downtown Jackson, near Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

Downtown Jackson, near Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

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Jackson, WY is semi-small, but has great restaurants, many motels, restaurants, a good-size airport and gift shopping. If flying out west to visit these beautiful parks, this would be the place to start.

Between Jackson and Yellowstone there are lodges with accommodations, but they are limited and pricy. However, there is one you must stop in, even if you don’t stay called Jackson Lake Lodge. It is the oldest and has been beautifully restored. The view of the mountains from their second story open gallery is one of the best views, if not the very best view of anything I have ever experienced. This lovely lodge has two very large fire places one each side of the room for your winter enjoyment.

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Jackson Lake Lodge

Jackson Lake Lodge

To the east of the Tetons is a small, quant town called Dubois. The town, the drive between it and the park is absolutely breathtaking. Please don’t miss this side trip.

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Horse drive below Ramshorn Peak, Absaroka Range, near Dubois, Wyoming.

Horse drive below Ramshorn Peak, Absaroka Range, near Dubois, Wyoming.

Dubois town

To the west or called by some the back-side of the Tetons is Idaho. We drove through there to find Masa Falls, magnificent farms and finally to the city of Idaho Falls. The Tetons are still beautiful on the “back side”, but not quite as the front in the actual park.

Grain Field

Grain Field

Idaho Falls

Idaho Falls

Moose by the Snake River

Moose by the Snake River

Me and Tee-Gie by potato bench in Idaho Falls...our trusty minivan behind us

Me and Tee-Gie by potato bench in Idaho Falls…our trusty minivan behind us

Mustard Field

Mustard Field

Flax field

Flax field

Lower Mesa Falls

Lower Mesa Falls

Mesa Falls, Idaho

Mesa Falls, Idaho

One last side trip between Yellowstone and Jackson Hole is an abandoned Mormon town/farm site, still maintained by the Park Service. This site is near the winter Elk and Bison sanctuary. When we visited, all we saw was a large heard of Bison in the distance. This sanctuary is a place they come when the sow gets too deep to eat the grasses in Yellowstone. They are fed by the park through the winter.

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You will notice a haze behind these buildings obscuring the view of the Tetons.  That is the day the smoke from the forest fires in California and Washington started flowing into the Parks.

There are several other falls, hikes, mountain drives we took, but to include them all would take far too long.  I suggest at least a month in this area.  Visit from Idaho, through the Tetons, then Yellowstone and finally Glacier National Park.  Work for one of the Park contractors like we did or bring plenty of money.  It will be worth every cent and every second.

Yellowstone (Part 3) Geysers and the Hydrothermal Systems

The most famous geyser in the park, and perhaps the world, is Old Faithful Geyser, located in Upper Geyser Basin. Castle Geyser, The Grand Geyser, Lion Geyser and Beehive Geyser are in the same basin.  There is a 1.5 mile board walk through this basin.  We were fortunate to have seen three of these erupt in our two visits.

Old Faithful erupting taken by Sweet Husband

Old Faithful erupting taken by Sweet Husband

The Grand Geyser erupting in the distance.  Notice the size of the people next to it.

The Grand Geyser erupting in the distance. Notice the size of the people next to it.

The Grand Geyser erupting in the distance.  Our friend Tee-gie in the foreground.

The Grand Geyser erupting in the distance. Our friend Tee-gie in the foreground.

The Grand

The Grand

During one of our visits to this basin we were walking toward the Castle Geyser just as it began to erupt.  Concurrently one of Yellowstone’s famous storms was moving in at the same time.  When the storm met the eruption it formed a Geyser Spout (pictured below).  We just stood there in awe, snapping pictures as fast as we could without a thought of getting wet or hit by hail, which is common in these passionate, but short storms.

Castle Geyser with geyser spout

Castle Geyser with geyser spout

Castle Geyser with storm approaching

Castle Geyser with storm approaching

Speaking of passionate storms, a co-worker was in Norris Valley when one came rolling in.  There was a large heard of Buffalo, with calves grazing when the hail began to hit them.  They immediately began to stampede into the nearby forest.  What a sight that must have been.

This is also the location of the second oldest Lodge, Old Faithful Lodge.  The Lodge was built as a series of detached buildings through 1923 and was consolidated into one complex by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood in 1926-27.  The Lodge includes a common lobby, dining spaces and a recreation hall, known as Geyser Hall, of log construction in the National Park Service Rustic style. The hall is arranged with a central nave-like structure, with subsidiary side aisles.  This Inn also featured musical entertainment each evening, but we never got to experience that venue as it was a little further drive and much more crowded.

The open nave of the Old Faithful Inn

The open nave of the Old Faithful Inn

The open nave of the Old Faithful Inn.  The central object is a four-sided fireplace with a copper clock.

The open nave of the Old Faithful Inn. The central object is a four-sided fireplace with a copper clock.

Old Faithful Inn

Old Faithful Inn

The park contains the largest active geyser in the world—Steamboat Geyser in the Norris Geyser Basin. It erupts more often than Old Faithful, but doesn’t last as long and does not reach the heights of Old Faithful (pictures below).

Steam Boat Geyser

Steam Boat Geyser

Steam Boat Geyser

Steam Boat Geyser

A study that was completed in 2011 found that at least 1283 geysers have erupted in Yellowstone. Of these, an average of 465 are active in a given year.  Yellowstone contains at least 10,000 geothermal features altogether. Half the geothermal features and two-thirds of the world’s geysers are concentrated in Yellowstone.  Some of these are under Yellowstone Lake, some require quite a hike to see, and naturally we did not see them all.  At 7,000+ feet above sea level, I do not hike well…I did not breathe well for the first 2 weeks.

Yellowstone experiences thousands of small earthquakes every year, virtually all of which are undetectable to people. There have been six earthquakes with at least magnitude 6 or greater in historical times, including a 7.5‑magnitude quake that struck just outside the northwest boundary of the park in 1959. This quake triggered a huge landslide, which caused a partial dam collapse on Hebgen Lake; immediately downstream, the sediment from the landslide dammed the river and created a new lake, known as Earthquake Lake. Twenty-eight people were killed, and property damage was extensive in the immediate region. We had friends (co-workers) in the park who hiked to this Lake. Pictures below are borrowed.

earth quake

I was told in March, 2014 a magnitude 4.8 earthquake struck almost the very middle of Yellowstone near the Norris Basin at about 6.30am; reports indicated no damage. This was the biggest earthquake to hit the park since February 22, 1980.

Norris Basin is where you get to see most of the Bison (American Buffalo).  They are the monarchs of the park.

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The General Store we worked in was built to float with the movement of the earth.  I got used to it, but almost every customer asked if the building was moving. The more people walking around in the store, the more it moved, too.

I finish by letting the beauty in pictures of the mud pots, hot springs, etc. speak for themselves.

Mammoth Hot Springs.  Called for it shear size.  It is constantly flowing and growing with mineral deposits.

Mammoth Hot Springs. Called for it shear size. It is constantly flowing and growing with mineral deposits.

Life around the hot springs

Life around the hot springs

Mud Pot

Mud Pot

Hot Springs

Hot Springs

Fumaroles

Fumaroles

Fumaroles

Fumaroles

Morning Glory Hot Spring

Morning Glory Hot Spring

Yellowstone Lake, River, Canyon and MORE

While in the park this summer, we were located just a mile from the southern portion of The Yellowstone Lake area and The West Thumb branch of the Lake. Geysers, fumaroles, and hot springs are found both alongside and in the lake.

West Thumb’s shoreline has suspiciously crater-like contours. Its underwater profile is dramatically deeper than the rest of Yellowstone Lake. Only a massive explosion could have formed West Thumb.

Thought the blowout occurred 125,000 years ago, West Thumb is still thermally active. Hot springs, mud pots, and geysers stream and percolate along the shore, and temperature gauges record high heat flow in lake bottom sediments.

If the lake were completely emptied of all the water, it would hold more geysers, hot springs thermals and mud pots that the whole rest of the park. Unbelievable, but true.

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, thermal area

Yellowstone Lake is the largest body of water in Yellowstone National Park. The lake is 7,732 feet above sea level and covers 136 square miles with 110 miles of shoreline. While the average depth of the lake is 139 feet, its greatest depth is at least 390 feet. Yellowstone Lake is the largest freshwater lake above 7,000 feet in North America.

We were told in winter, ice nearly 3 feet thick covers much of the lake except where shallow water covers hot springs. A sight to behold, I’m sure, but it won’t happen for me in this life as I hate winter…and they have REAL winter.

As of 2004, the ground under the lake has started to rise significantly, indicating increased geological activity, and limited areas of the national park have been closed to the public. As of 2005, no areas are currently off limits aside from those normally allowing limited access such as around the West Thumb Geyser Basin. There is a ‘bulge’ about 2,000 feet long and 100 feet high under a section of Yellowstone Lake, where there are a variety of faults, hot springs and small craters. Seismic imaging has recently shown that sediment layers are tilted, but how old this feature is has not yet been established.

Yellowstone Lake, view from the lodge

Yellowstone Lake, view from the lodge

Yellowstone Lake, view from the lodge - sunset

Yellowstone Lake, view from the lodge – sunset

Yellowstone Lake

Yellowstone Lake

The lake currently drains north from its only outlet, the Yellowstone River, at Fishing Bridge. The elevation of the lake’s north end does not drop substantially until LeHardy Rapids. Therefore, this spot is considered the actual northern boundary of Yellowstone Lake. Within a short distance downstream the Yellowstone River plunges first over the upper and then the lower falls and races north through the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. These two spectacular falls flow through the canyon area where the walls of this canyon are all yellow stone, therefore the park name.

At the head of the YS Falls with 4 of our Grand-wonders:  Teegie's three and our one

At the head of the YS Falls with 4 of our Grand-wonders: Teegie’s three and our one

Osprey nesting above Yellowstone canyon

Osprey nesting above Yellowstone canyon

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone falls, river and canyon

Yellowstone falls, river and canyon

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone Falls

Yellowstone falls, river and canyon

Yellowstone falls, river and canyon

In the 1990s, geological research determined that the two volcanic vents, now known as “resurgent domes”, are rising again. From year to year, they either rise or fall, with an average net uplift of about one inch per year.  Kind of scary…

One of our favorite spots in Yellowstone Lake was the Lake Lodge. It is the oldest lodge in the park (over 100 years old) and has been beautifully renovated. Each evening, in their large open reception area, sporting a spectacular view of the lake via huge glass windows, we were entertained by a sensational string quartet. Before you cry, “boring”, they played a range of music from Hendrix (yes, Jimmy) to Pachelbel to Broadway Pops.

Lake Lodge String Quartet

Lake Lodge String Quartet

Each night at 9:00 p.m., when the lodge lowered the American Flag, just outside the massive windows, they would play our national anthem and all would rise to the occasion…This made my heart smile with pride.

We went every other week as our work schedule allowed; often with our new, precious friends.  We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in this location, with these wonderful new friends.

Mel and Jerry at the Lake Lodge

Mel and Jerry at the Lake Lodge

Teegie and sweet husband at the Lake Lodge

Teegie and sweet husband at the Lake Lodge

Rose and Rob

Rose and Rob

Grace, Rose and Rob at the Lake Lodge

Grace, Rose and Rob at the Lake Lodge

Brandon, Lilly, Teegie and Grace

Brandon, Lilly, Teegie and Grace

Rose, Rob and me

Rose, Rob and me

Teegie, Grace and Mel

Teegie, Grace and Mel

If you want to stay in the lodge, one must reserve months in advance and be prepared to pay from $363.00 to over $600.00 per night, plus tax—these are the 2015 rates.

Our friends Gay Bissell and Fawn Fortman drove ALL THE WAY TO YELLOWSTONE FROM MISSISSIPPI to visit us.  We took them to visit our beautiful falls and had dinner together in the lodge.  Thank you for making that long, long drive.  We love you.

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Yellowstone Lake Lodge

Yellowstone Lake Lodge

A Little Different Today: An Activist

An activist is a person who campaigns for some kind of social change. When you participate in a march protesting the closing of a neighborhood library, you’re an activist. Someone who’s actively involved in a protest or a political or social cause can be called an activist.

activist Jesus

from the blog www.stuckincustoms.com vote

I have been traveling all over the United States over the past 15 plus months.  I have come into contact with many wonderful people.  I love this nation and this world.  I call myself a patriot, and I call myself a coward.  I have worked, voted, paid my bills, raised my children but mostly sat silent, in the middle of the road and kept quiet about my beliefs except in “like minded” groups.  No more.

I HAVE BECOME AN ACTIVIST, I believe I’m in good company and not alone.  However, if I were alone, I would still take a stand, because I must or forever remain a people pleaser and a coward.

I am becoming a activist not because I think I know it all, not because I want attention, but because I love my children and grandchildren and I do not want to leave them in a mess.  They are my motivation, not just because of my love for them, but because they were given to me as my stewardship from God.  Yes, I pray because I have faith that God hears and is moved by the prayers of His children, but faith without words is dead.  Therefore, I must also put actions with my faith.

Our Nation and our culture is changing and not all the change is good.  Unity is becoming a foreign concept to the people in our nation and in our families.

To stand up and call yourself a conservative Christian is to open yourself to ridicule.

My focus is an attempt to show not only what we are fighting against, but what we are fighting for. So many have only a very hazy idea of the real issues.  So many young families are in survival mode. So many just want us to “go back to the good old days.”

I believe in this current day being “moderate” is a dangerous state. Sitting on the fence, so to speak, may keep one thinking that they are appeasing everyone.  It doesn’t do that at all, it simply says, “I like things the way they are going and don’t want anyone making waves to upset my comfort zone.”  Sadly many fence sitters are afraid of being thought of as “radical” or “fringe elements” or (God forbid) “Right-wing, self-righteous Christians” or “Haters & Raciest” because these are the labels placed on people by the bullies now running our media and our national politics.

People who have the strength of character to stand up and say, “This is wrong, I refuse to go with the current flow any longer and I refuse to stay silent”.  If we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything. We need to realize that we are fighting two wars—the war of arms and the war of ideas.

The silent masses are fed up with being called names, as a result are becoming empowered and are rising up to speak their minds and values, regardless of the political correctness issued by the current power base.

Moderation is a good thing in some situations, but in war it is a sure way to lose.

I am not ashamed to call myself a conservative Christian.  It is not a position of eternal judgement toward my fellow man, as that is not my place, that is God’s alone.  However, I will stand accountable before Him for my stewardship.  I want Him to say, “Good Job!” not “You wouldn’t leave your comfort zone to stand for what is right?”.

Abraham Lincoln

One of the tricks I have learned to make long road trips tolerable are books on tape and/or my trusty MP3 player. My Sweet Husband enjoys music (as do I). Our car came with XM Radio and he has a large collection of CDs, but he changes channels or skips to the next song right when I am getting into it. He often does the same thing with the remote control, which is why we have two TVs (smiley face). “This has nothing to do with Mr. Lincoln”, you say – not so. I have owned my Mother’s copy of Gone with the Wind for over 20 years, but have never read it. I have seen the movie a gazillion times, I can quote the lines. But the book, never read it until this summer via audio book. MAY I DEMAND THAT YOU ALL FOLLOW SUIT.

Margaret Mitchell took great pains in her research of the details of life in the South just before, during and after this great conflict. This is often referred to in the South, in later years, as The Great Unpleasantness. More about that later as her book made me look at Lincoln, the war and the boundless loss to the Southern States because of his untimely death.

I have studied in high school and one class in college (without paying much attention) American History. I knew a little about the Civil War, reconstruction and less about Lincoln. I have visited many memorial sites (like Vicksburg) and one reenactment in Alabama. The Spielberg movie helped, but didn’t fill in the blanks until I experienced Mrs. Mitchell’s account.

I have now seen Mr. Lincoln through the looking glass of Steven Spielberg, Margaret Mitchell, an audio book about George W. Bush (a great admirer of Lincoln), The Monument in DC, Mount Rushmore, and His Library and Museum in Springfield, IL.

I have a new understanding of the passion, issues and culture of the times. Mr. Lincoln was the focus of the hope and the anger of the diverse states of our union. Some wanted war, separation, unity, slavery, no slavery, economic balance and the clear definition of state and federal rights. State identity and loyalty was stronger than the identity of a United States. This war did more to unify us as The United States of America than any other act. As many people hated Lincoln as loved and supported him. It is any wonder he lived through the war; but for the providence of God Almighty.

What was left out of much of our history (post-Civil War) was the fact that as the conqueror, the Union established Marshall Law on the Southern States. Union soldiers set up the civil law and enforced it. They set the property tax base, so the now vanquished southern plantation owners couldn’t pay the taxes and nothing got planted. Land was purchased cheap by people who had obtained (legally or illegally) or saved federal money.

All the white males had to sign an allegiance to the Union for the right to vote. Most would not because of the losses, of life, land, family and property. In order to win this nasty conflict some very cruel and horrible things were done on both sides. Most Southern men didn’t feel any allegiance to the Union.

At the same time all the slaves were freed, but freed to what? They were homeless, hungry, without money, land or jobs. The union soldiers brought their families down as they would be stationed in assigned towns for an undetermined amount of time, but the northern women wouldn’t hire the freed slaves because they didn’t trust them and thought of them as less than human.

Almost everyone was hungry, homeless and hopeless except the Union forces. Naturally much stealing of food and other necessities were part of the daily activity of survival. The union forces were the defenders of the freed slaves, as the white southerners were still considered enemies. In truth they were.

This is where vigilante protectors came into being: The KKK. It did not start out as any more than protectors of the little the whites had, but evolved into vengeful, power-hungry men of the basest kind.

The death of Lincoln set the fate of the newly freed slaves. Eventually many moved out west to claim land grants and had to fight the American Indians to live, or they had to move to the north and live in the worst of slums taking the least of the available jobs, or they become share-croppers for the people who eventually owned the agricultural land (slaves again).

I believe had Lincoln lived, Marshall Law would have evolved into something much more productive and in many cases much more fair for all. He was a man who knew loss and had wisdom and understanding, a heart of compassion for ALL the people and a cabinet of competent people who held sacred the true Union of these United States.  Alas, we will never know.  What is, is.

Below (L to R) is the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, a replica of the casket in state, The family as they looked when they moved into the White House, His cabinet room, The night in the Theatre and not pictured, but in the museum was the bed he actually died in.  Lastly, Lincoln at Rushmore.  I have met him in many settings in the last few months.  I feel I know him now.  God Bless The United States of America.  Let us not allow any current or future administration or enemy separate us.

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Mount Rushmore

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK – Part one of ?

Here is how it works.  There are big corporations who bid on concession contracts with the National Park Service to run the retail, lodging, restaurants and entertainment in the National Parks.  We found this out by visiting several national and state parks last year while we were “Living In Our Minivan”.  Once this information was obtained, we discussed it, picked a park, applied, were hired and we reported for work on June 8, 2015.  To protect the innocent the company name will remain anonymous.  We were really lucky, as the other company in the park was huge, impersonal and had very low dress standards (just an observation).

We agreed on jobs, were assigned a nice dorm room, were given our uniform t-shirts and directed to the EDR (employee dining room).  The EDR fed us very well.  A portion of our salary was deducted for room and board.  Our room was like a Days Inn room:  Sink, closet, private bath and good-size bedroom.  We also had a (free) laundry room on the basement floor where the only TV lived.  We had no Wi-Fi and very poor to no cell coverage.  The public areas of the dorm were kept OCD clean.  We were responsible for our space (not OCD).

NOW FOR THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WONDERFUL:

GOOD:  There were three age groups (1) college age (2) retired and (3) middle-aged teachers off for the summer.  Most of the college age are from foreign countries (?), this company seems to have a hard time getting American students who want to work for them in the summer.  The retired (us and a few others) are here because we cannot sit on the couch any longer and because they, like us, want to see these parks.  These are all really wonderful people to work with, we all became friends and formed a tight team.  We spent time out in the park together or visiting in our rooms, playing cards or pool in the TV room.

Brandon, Robert and Rose

Brandon, Robert and Rose

Brandon, Lily, Teegie and Grace

Brandon, Lily, Teegie and Grace

Rose, Robert and me

Rose, Robert and me

Teegie, Grace and Mel

Teegie, Grace and Mel

BAD:  We worked for a very large, privately owned corporation with juvenile rules that had to be upheld by our manager, who obviously didn’t always agree with them, because she was normal and human.  We had to “clock-in” and couldn’t do it two minutes early, even if we were just standing there.  The General Store was open 14 hours per day, seven days a week.  We alternated shifts each week, (hard to get used to).  We stayed short staffed all summer and HR either would not or could not get us the proper help.  My assumption, from years of working is, the smaller the payroll, the larger the profit.  This MAY be the reason American college students won’t come to work for them – their reputation proceeds them.  This was real work, standing/walking 7+ hours per day.  The poor customers had to pay the high price by waiting in long lines.  This was especially hard on them because Yellowstone is huge and moving from one area of the park to another takes a very long time.  They were tired, but they didn’t take it out on us (much).  I don’t have a picture of the dorm, but I do have a couple critters who came to visit us at our dorm.  Sweet husband purchased bear spray after one of these visits.

Black Bear next to our dorm

Black Bear next to our dorm

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WONDERFUL:  Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding areas.  Teton National Park, Cody, WY, The Bear Tooth Highway, Mesa Falls in Idaho, The local live theater in West Yellowstone and so much more.  I will have details in the following posts.

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More later…