I returned to Yellowstone with a sense of returning home. Like my seasons at Bodie, coming back meant old friends to greet me, the promise of new friendships, and visits by friends from the world outside Yellowstone.
I had to put up with the usual comments about women drivers from fellow driver Ted, who is older than dirt. Also some comments about the odor of camel dung. Its all in fun, as is refering to him as a door stop. Fellow photo guide, Doug, spent a lot of time with me, getting me up to speed. I didn't get to know Lisa, the Old Faithful photo guide, last year, but she did the same for me on the west side of the park.
Last year I played Scrabble a couple times in the late season with a group. This year I started off the season, enjoying the comraderie, a good deal of wine, and the game one evening a week.
It was fun to rejoin the transportation crew, seeing people I trained with as well as some who have been here awhile and helped all us "newbies" last year.
I reconnected with the campground folks, many people from last year as well as new ones. Bethanie had saved me the site I wanted and gave me a warm welcome.
I met a great group of young women from Mongolia. Early in the season I went into a dorm at Old Faithful area to try to get an internet signal. Several girls came in, talking and laughing. I wasn't positive, but the language sounded a bit familiar. So I asked. Yes, they were from Mongolia and were delighted to learn I had visited their country and their city of Ulan Bataar. We became friends.
Here are Tuul, Toomey and Muugi.
Several times we used my car to visit other places in the park. One of my "beefs" with Xanterra, my employer, is the limited opportunity for international students, who make up a large portion of the work force, to get around. There is no public transportation except for the tour buses. They may ride those on a space available basis, but those don't take them to neighboring towns to shop or look around, there isn't always room, and it doesn't allow visiting from one site to another. The recreation department sponsors some trips and those are great, but they are limited in number and have to be fitted into work schedules.
I regularly gave rides to employees. Often they hitchike in groups, holding up a sign with destination and indication they are employees. Always a fun experience for me to learn about where they are from, what they are studying, and their experiences in the US.
Enough on the soap box. I just wish there were more opportunities for these young people to see more during their work summer.
One of the young women, Tuul, spent a weekend with me. She stayed one night in my motorhome and we did some touring aroung the Lake area. The next day we headed to Cody. Included in our visit was a night at the rodeo, bbq dinner, trip to see wild horses out on a BLM area, and some shopping. Had a great time.
Tuul and Muugi made me a Mongolian dinner. All the girls got glowing reports from their supervisors. And they all got promotions during the summer. Tuul and Muugi worked in the guest cafeteria and their boss gave them permission to fix food, after hours, in the kitchen, not a privilege normally granted. They made a meat soup and dumplings for me and brought them to my cabin.
I had a lot of visitors this summer. Two of them were friends from elementary school. Gayle, who now lives in England, started kindergarden with me. Bonnie Jo joined us in 4th grade and now lives in Idaho. We had a good mini-reunion accompanied by Gayle's cousin from Saskatchewan.
My second cousins came for "Cousins' Camp." The idea originated when Sharon bravely took a half dozen grandkids to Disneyland one year. Well, it was time for an adult version. Last year Bonnie and Glende visited and I welcomed them with a major June snowstorm and the cancellation of the Hstoric Yellow Bus tour to the Beartooth Pass. This year Sharon joined them and the weather was beautiful.
They all went on one of my photo tours at Old Faithful. After Old Faithful, they spent a couple nights at Lake and we did an all day excursion to the Beartooths which I was unable to show them the previous year. It is a spectacular place and we saw more wildlife that day than I usually see in a week or two. Besides a number of grizzlies and black bears, we saw a wolf, coyotes, bison, pronghorn, marmots, mountain goats, big horn sheep, a moose (always a treat and not seen often), osprey, eagles, white pelicans and more.
Joan and Doug Young, members of the Diable Valley Camera Club, of which we were members for many years came for a day. We managed to crowd a lot in during that short time.
Tom Casey was a "jammer" driver at Glacier the year I worked there. He came through for a visit and would like to get on in Yellowstone.
And of course, RV friends came. These are part of my extended family so it was good to welcome Chuck Wright, Nan Aman, Nancy and Tom Doyle, Ronnie and Rob Silver. Merrymans were going to come, but were blocked by the late season fire. But I got to see them in the Tetons along with Jan and Tim Johnsons. Hadn't see Diane and Dave West for years but met them and Doyles and others for a bbq in West Yellowstone and some sightseeing around Old Faithful and a short ride in my Yellow bus. The Meads came and we celebrated Ron's birthday in the Old Faithful dining room. Gail Annis, another RVer is an employee of the Yellowstone Association, provided a place for Sharon and Ron's bus conversion.
Hope I haven't forgotten anyone...it was a busy summer. I didn't include photos of everyone. Some are buried in my files, yet to be fully organized.
Ronnie and I spent an early morning out photographing. Had a great time. Grasses and flowers were frosted.