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1997 Travel Log #4 - July 20 to August 10


Sunday July 20

I repacked my computer, etc. in the original boxes for traveling by 10:27 AM. Just enough time to shower and checkout. Before leaving Bangor, I decided to do some shopping since it was a "big" American city. As usual, my luck was again with me. I found the Kryon book for the massage lady in Nova Scotia (and a complete 2nd set as a backup to my original set, just in case.) At K-Mart I found spare wiper blades for my S-10 (They are the narrow non-standard kind. Hard to find.) I got black ink for my Canon printer. Each color is sold separately so when one color runs out, I put my spare in and look for a replacement. That way I never get stuck in a motel room late at night half way into 6 hours of printing and no ink. Staples carries these cartridge at a good price. I also got some Swedish fish at the mall. Gooey, chewy, sweet things. Great for when your just riding around with nothing to do.

New Hampshire

Well, decision time. Do I head into French Quebec or drive across the top of New Hampshire and Vermont? English, that's what I speak. New Hampshire, Hmmmm. Mt. Washington, the Flume, the `Old Man in The Mountain'. I remember seeing these when my second wife and I were dating and the states in New England are small [your telling me, I'm out west now and everything is far apart]. Decision made - Franconia Notch State Park in New Hampshire.

When I got there it was around 5 PM. Should I take the last cog train up the mountain or wait until morning? Should I camp or stay in a Motel? Decisions, decisions, decisions, and no meetings to go to for answers. OK, OK, I'll stop rubbing it in. I stayed in a Motel and took the first train in the morning.

Monday July 21

Did I tell you that I have to write the day of the week in my notes every day? Well, one Sunday I went into the Post Office and was puzzled why they were closed. I wasn't too early. Hmmm. With no job to go to I don't always know the day of the week. Enough. As of last night I've driven 8,300+ miles. I've been on 4 ferries and now I'm about to take a train ride.

If it matters, I left Palm Harbor, FL on June 7 with 54,204.4 miles on the odometer. This morning the odometer reads 62,557.0 so the actual miles driven is 8,352.6 but rather than get picky I say "8300+" miles. I still have the original tires on my pickup truck. When Wal-Mart did the oil change and lube they also checked the tread wear and said the tires still have good miles left on them. That's good because I still have a long way to go, as you shall see.

The top of Mt. Washington claims to have the world's worst weather. 1) The world record 231 MPH wind was recorded here. 2) It's July 21 and the temperature is 38 degrees, 3) the wind was 40 MPH, and 4) that makes a wind-chill of 9 degrees. Yesterdays high was 33 degrees. It's 6,288 feet at the summit; not real high like the Rockies. Both they say 3 different air systems across the US and Canada converge here. The also say there may be worst weather in the Himalayas or other high mountains but nobody has equipment or people there regularly to prove it. So the claim stands. Yeah, I second it, too. Brrrrr. Not Florida weather at all.

I took the cog train. It's historical (Hysterical?). For 127 years these little coal burning steam engines push 1 passenger car up the mountain. Then the passenger car pushes the engine down again. I haven't scanned the pictures yet but I got one somewhere. Last time it took 6 hours just scan the photos. I've been typing since early this morning on trip log #3. It's now 4:30 PM. Where Am I? Keep reading.

After the cog train ride, I did the museum at the bottom then headed for `The Flume'. A lot of water running through a narrow rock sided canyon. Narrow walls of the flume.. I went twice. I don't like to lug cameras but I want pictures. The walk is about 2 miles. So, my first pass is without any equipment. Then I loaded up my 35mm camera, lenses, Sony HandiCam, film, etc. and walked it again. This also has the advantage of letting me compare photo opportunities at various places along the trail before taking too many pictures at one spot only to find a better spot elsewhere. There are 2 covered bridges along the path. One for cars (and buses) and one for people.

I took a picture of me by a boulder and of an old coach inside the visitor center.

Last touristy thing is "The Old Man in The Mountains". Actually, it's natural rock that makes an interesting profile high above the valley floor. My 400mm lens couldn't quite do the job but my Sony with it's digitally enhanced 30x zoom (and a tripod) did wonders. (See photos in link above.) My little job has an LCD screen that pop's out of the left side. So, show off that I am, I let everyone look at the close up. Several at a time just stood behind me and look over my shoulder at the screen rather than the eye-piece.

A short hop to Vermont and I stayed with relatives. The grandparents of 2 of my kids. They winter in Delray Beach and summer near Newport, VT.

New England web page

Tuesday July 22

Hudson Bay... Ontario has a flight up to Polar Bear Provincial Park but leaves you 40 km from the waters edge. If I did that, could I really say I've been the Hudson Bay? Who would know? Why was I going? Quebec has road that leads to James Bay (more French). The rel's I stayed with speak French so they didn't quite see the issue. But, they also use the Rand-McNally book of maps; the big book. I have the little book. As I showed them my travels, I noticed that Manitoba also touches Hudson Bay. I must investigate. Churchill is a town right on the Bay. My maps of Canada cut off each Province below the Northern most roads so I hadn't a clue about Manitoba.

Ottawa, Ontario

I crossed into Canada for the 4th time, quickly got through the French part, and did some hard driving to get as far North into Ontario as possible. At Cochrane, Ontario there is a train to James Bay. I'll do that in case it's as close as I can get to Hudson Bay. Well, on the way I wanted to checkout Ottawa.

Now that I can ice skate without falling down (much) I want to skate during Winterlude. The big ice festival in the canal running through the heart of Canada's capitol. Rideau Canal in Winter. Well, I brought my ice skates with but my luck finally ran out. The ice had already melted. They said I was about 5 months too late but I could take a sightseeing boat cruise if I'd like. Rideau Canal in Summer.

When I got there traffic was horrendous. Why? Tuesday is a week day (work day) and it was around 1 PM (lunch hour - sorta) and Ottawa has 300,000+ people. I got lost and ended up on the parkway that runs along the canal. I saw the sightseeing boat as I went by. Wow, what luck. I still want to go back in the winter time. I also got some more pictures developed. This time at a grocery chain called Loblaws. Again, much cheaper than in the States. You understand why 1-hour photo for me. Otherwise I would have to wait several days in the same place. Review this log, where have I stayed in one place that long?

Back on the road. I made it North of North Bay, Ontario by night fall. I stayed at a Provincial Park campground. In all, I drove 506 miles, probably my furthest day driving.

James Bay

Wednesday July 23

Wow! 9,000+ miles. I slept really good last night (from my notes). I did a money thing again. 48 1/2 days left (cash and traveler's checks). Let's see, that will last until September 6. So it's fluctuating a little but no big surprises. Cochrane was about another two hundred miles North so I easily reached it and made reservations for "The Polar Bear Express". Then I did my laundry, met others going on the train tomorrow at the Laundromat, and mailed the Kryon book to the woman in Nova Scotia. I didn't mail it from the US because of excessive postage and customs.

At the Provincial Information booth in Cochrane, I found out I could get to Hudson Bay through Manitoba. There is a train to Churchill. The road goes 2/3 of the way. Hmmm. 1,600 km from Winnipeg to Churchill. Hmmm 1,600 km = 1,000 miles. Roads not great. 2 days up and 2 days back. Hmmm. Wanna be in Wyoming by August 1. Nine days from now and tomorrow I'm going to Moosonee and back by train. Then the long drive across far Northern Ontario. And, copper country in Michigan's upper peninsula. What about the Gold mine in Lead, South Dakota that you missed last time? Hmmm.

I called Canadian Airlines. It's a 2 1/2 hour flight from Winnipeg to Churchill for a fortune in airfare. Problem solved. Details to follow. Plus, Manitoba is one of the few Canadian Provinces I haven't been to so I can add it (and Saskatchewan, too) to my list.

Thursday July 24

All aboard! Well, later. I was up at 5:58 AM EDT and the train doesn't leave until 8:30 AM. I showered last night so I can't kill time that way. I called Canadian Air for details. Reviewed the list of places to see. With hard driving (625 miles per day) I can still be in Wyoming by August 1. If I drive less, I'll still be there by August 3.

My mail is on it's way to Houghton, Michigan so I must get to the Post Office before it closes around noon on Saturday or I'll lose 2 days waiting 'til Monday. If you look on a map that shows both the US and Canada, were talking big distances here. Not like Tampa to St. Pete or Chicago from Detroit. I've got to cover 900 miles on Friday and part of Saturday ('til the Post Office closes). Either way, I can set up my PC on Sunday for E-mail. [Not to happen, as you know].

I then started computing miles, MPG, etc. from my truck log book to kill time. It's now 7 AM.

The train ride was something else. It seems tundra and frost and flat railroad track are mutually exclusive. The distance was about 185 miles. Our speed varied from 10 MPH to about 60 or 70. Kinda nothing country. No mountains, valleys, or other great scenery. A few rivers and streams. Well, my goal was James Bay. Actually, looking back, the swaying and rocking of the cars was really fun when you tried to go up front or back to the dining or snack car. Diesel engine from the train window, the Abitibi River, the Moose River, a tent along the river, and a blowup of tent to demonstrate scanner software capabilities. These were all taken from a moving train.

In Moosonee I took a water taxi to Moose Factory. For $10 I got and enlightening tour which lasted 2 1/2 hours. It was run by the CCO: Cree (Cree Indian) Cultural Organization. There was historical as well as current social issues presented that most of us don't realize because nobody took our land, told us we couldn't speak our native language, and that our customs must conform to something very foreign. I see much good from these difficult times for both the white and Indian peoples. The Cree now have a chance to 1) reactivate ancient cultures, and 2) share the white man's dream. The white people have a chance to 1) learn vastly better family values then our present society, and 2) learn from past mistakes in integrating cultures.

I took a water ferry back from Moose Factory to Moosonee, took a few pictures, and got on the train. Moose River. This area was discovered by Henry Hudson. Text of the Sign [in case you can't read it from the picture] By nightfall, I was back in my tent, ready for the long drive tomorrow.

James Bay web page

Friday July 25

Far Northern Ontario roads, specifically, TCH Hwy 11 is almost an ideal road for me to drive on. (TCH = Trans Canada Highway - In St. John's, Nfld. I was at the Eastern terminus of the TCH - km marker 0) Very little traffic, enough hills, turns, etc. to be fun, isolated (100 miles between gas stations) and high speed limits with no law enforcement (that bothered me). Funny thing is that I didn't get carried away with high speeds. Typically 62 to 70 MPH. Of course, the speed limit is in kilometers per hour - 110 km/h, which is close to 70 MPH.

The Keweenaw Peninsula

I made it to the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario on Lake Superior OK. It was raining but I took a few pictures anyway. A funky bridge and a lake freighter. On to Minnesota, across the very top of Wisconsin and I crossed into Michigan's Upper Peninsula at Ironwood. Minnesota was a pain in the neck. Bad roads and tons of weekend travelers coming up from the south to `scenic Lake Superior'. High prices, traffic, yuch! But it wasn't far to cross Minnesota. Wisconsin shook me. In as many miles, I saw 3 cops with 3 cars pulled over. Up 'til now, I never worried about getting stopped. I was extra careful while in Wisconsin.

Friday's travel tally: I covered 815.5 mils in one day. Nearly the whole 900 I needed. I passed the 10,000 trip mile mark and other than some foggy/rainy weather, all was well.

I stayed in a Motel near Bruce Crossing, Michigan. I'm sure you've all heard of the place. No, Hmmm. But the price was right and my unit was nice.

I reviewed my options - Winnipeg to Churchill (and back) to Saskatchewan to South Dakota (via North Dakota) to the Gold mines to Jackson Hole, Wyoming is the plan. I can do E-mail this weekend and still be in Wyoming by August 3. [E-mail not to happen, as you know.]

Saturday July 26

I got to the Post Office too early and had time to kill. The Post Office hours are 10 AM to 3 PM on Saturday so I had 3 extra hour but didn't need them. Now I have more time to see the Keweenaw Peninsula, Copper Harbor, and the copper mining that went on there.

I visited a copper mining museum, then did the Calumet and Heckla (C&H) mine tour. They take you underground to the first level. Next I drove up to Copper Harbor. Copper mining has long since been discontinued in this area so Copper Harbor, on the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, is a tourist town now.

The Keweenaw Peninsula has recorded the highest snowfall of any area East of the Rockies. They get Lake (Superior) derived snow. A new record of over 300 inches was set a few years back. A typical winter month sees 45" to 60" of new snow. They cater to snowmobiles with over 5,000 miles of trails (there claim, not mine). I photographed the 300+" high sign.

As the day moved on, I took the Quinsy Mine tour too. It is basically run by mining students from Michigan Tech. Our tour guide is a fourth generation miner. His education is not for drilling rock, but he says they learn to do it as part of the engineering program. The Quinsy mine has at least 92 levels. At 100' per level, that's 9200 feet below the surface. The world's largest steam hoist was built around 1920 to lift men, ore, and equipment up and down the sloping shafts of the Quinsy mine. Today, the mine is flooded up to 50 or 60 levels. The tour starts with a cog train ride to a side entrance of the mine at the top level. This cog train is the first, newest and only cog train in Michigan, 1 year old. In New Hampshire, the cog train was 127 years old, the 2nd oldest in the world. Both were very noisy.

That was my 3rd train ride on this trip, and if you don't count water taxis, I've been on four ferries: The one across Georgian Bay, 2 to and from Newfoundland, and the ferry from Digby, NS to St. John, NB.

I think the giant steam hoist at the Quinsy mine was my most interesting sight in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It made the strange journey somehow worthwhile. Strange because I crossed Michigan's Upper Peninsula during the first leg of my trip when I went to the Soo Locks less that 200 miles from the Keweenaw Peninsula and headed far East. But I planned the trip this way to see things I hadn't seen before, like Lake Superior from the Ontario side. It all worked out and now I can finally head West!

Keweenaw Peninsula web page

Hudson Bay

Sunday July 27

Hudson Bay is in. Definite decision. On to Winnipeg. Out of Michigan the way I came, across Wisconsin, the way I came (except I stopped to wash the truck really thoroughly), and into Minnesota a new way toward Western Ontario. I crossed into Canada at International Falls for the 5th time and my trucked got searched, then I was free to proceed. I made Winnipeg before night fall and put up my tent. Boy, that saves me a ton of money plus only having to pay for one person at each meal. When I crossed into Manitoba, I stopped at the Provincial Information building and made firm reservations to fly to Churchill. The first flight of the morning was booked but the afternoon flight had seats available. There was also an evening flight.

I couldn't figure out how a town of 1,100 people, 1,000 miles from anywhere would have 2 or 3 flights a day. I'll tell you later. I decided to stay at the Polar Bear Inn for 2 nights thereby giving me ample time to do what ever tourists do in Churchill in the Summer. Not cheap but I wasn't going to bring my camping gear on the plane. It seemed cheap compared to the airfare. So, I'd fly up on Monday in the afternoon and return on Wednesday in the afternoon. I was going to get to Hudson Bay after all.

Monday July 28

Since I had time to kill before the flight, I did another money review but this time I had financial statements as part of the mail I got in Michigan. So I did my net worth. No, it's not great. Less than many people have as equity in there home but I was pleasantly surprise how much I had. It's all quite liquid except for penalties for early withdrawal in the retirement portion, but still liquid nonetheless.

My thoughts are like thus - 1) I have my travel money (cash and traveler's checks), 2) I have the balance of my travel money in the bank, and 3) I have my retirement or new career funding money. Now, I'm free to juggle this anyway I want because of choices I'm free to make. I expect to find something new to do for my new career sometime in 1998. My vacation money could last until early 1999 if I'm careful. Once I find the "new me" I'll just re-think the whole thing again. So, everything is under control.

The reason for 2 or 3 flights a day is that the plane, a prop-jet, only carries 36 passengers. It makes make stops all over Northern Canada. Churchill is one of the Southern most stops (except Winnipeg, of course). They have no competition except the railroad which takes 32 hours and costs only slightly less than the discount airfare. I paid full fare. I didn't need advanced reservations and I was free to changes my flights without penalty, a "y" fare.

I checked in at the Bear Country Inn in Churchill, Manitoba. It was much nicer than I expected considering I picked the cheapest hotel in town. $58 a night, Canadian, minus $10 with coupon per stay. I'm mean I'm up at the 53rd parallel in no man's land and it only cost a little more than parking in downtown Manhattan after you do the exchange rate - $39.25 US

I ate dinner at the Northern Nights Restaurant. Very good. In Canada, probably due to tight economic considerations, they always give you lots of potatoes. It fills you up and they're cheaper than meat. Well, I don't think I ever finished a meal because of getting so many potatoes. Not just here but Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, etc. Why did I say this at this point in the travel log? I had a veggie stir fry that night. Almost couldn't finish it either. Good eating.

Tuesday July 29

[Wow, I'm not even into August yet and I've been typing all day. It's 6:43 PM MDT.]

No mileage to record. My pickup is in Winnipeg and I'm in Churchill. Up about 8:30 AM CDT. I had toast in the Inn visiting area and checked on tours. The "Tundra Buggy" tour only goes on train days - that's today. The boat tour goes every day but must wait for the tide, which gets later by 55 minutes each day. If I Tundra today and boat tomorrow it will be close to catch my plane. If I do it the other way around, I can't do the Tundra tour. I guess that settles it. The risk is just another night here.

With that resolved, I took a walk around the Churchill River and the Ocean port. Railroad cars loaded with grain from all over Canada had been hauled up here and a foreign ship had just come in at 4 AM to receive it. This is new for present day Churchill and everybody in town is optimistic that a new revenue base will be added. Did I mention that Churchill in the fall is the Polar Bear Capitol of the World! That's right, ever since National Geographic did a series on the Polar Bear filmed here, tourists and sportsmen crowd this place starting in September. The Bear Country Inn I was staying at was book solid from mid-September through October at higher rates, of course.

As I walked around, I came across some channel markers resting on the grass like giant tops.

I'm curious about technical things and I wanted to see the grain cars dumping there load and how the grain elevators moved the stuff into the hold of the ship be I also honor "no trespassing" signs (mostly). My luck was with me again. A worker invited me in and explained things and answered questions.

From the docks, I walked to Cape Merry and saw plenty of Buluga Whales. Cape Merry is a Provincial Park right on the tip of the Churchill River and Hudson Bay. (I got to see Hudson Bay and get my hands wet in it - not like the Ontario Park 40 km inland!) Buluga Whales are dolphin sized - 14' and around 1000 pounds. The flies are almost that big. Just kidding but - some places there called house flies, and in other places they are larger and called horse flies. Here the call 'em BULL FLIES.

It's well known that the further north and the more isolated you go the more nuisance from flies and mosquito's. Churchill is above the 59th parallel. For reference, just as I left Vermont going North, there was a sign at the 45th parallel - half way between the North Pole and the Equator. Also, the border between Wyoming and Montana is on the 45th parallel. So I was a bit further North. Actually, I've been above the Arctic Circle which is just above the 63 parallel. I went to the Arctic Ocean in Barrow, Alaska in 1981, less than 1100 miles from the North Pole.

Who says I wander. At 1 PM I showed up for the Tundra Buggy tour. A bus takes you out of town to the "launch point". The trip was about 4 hours and somewhat uneventful. No Polar Bear were sighted but there were plenty of birds: 4 swans and ptarmigan [note the camouflage in the picture on the right]. It's a rough ride. The Tundra Buggy's are built especially for this.

Wednsday July 30

I went back to Cape Merry in the Morning with my cameras and tripod. Around 3:30 PM I showed up for the boat tour. It's 2 1/2 hours long and my flight leaves at 6:35 PM. It's a small airport so I knew I could arrive minutes before flight time and still make it. The first half of the tour is across the river to an old fort build when the Hudson Bay Company was trying to fend off the French in the early 1700's. It was narrated by a Park Ranger while another Ranger kept watch, with a shot gun out and ready, for Polar Bears. Then we went up the Churchill River to watch the Whales. Eventhough there were many many whales, they only surface a little to breath then dive. No flukes come out of the water. I haven't developed the pictures yet but I'll bet they're disappointing.

I made my flight. Everyone at the boat tour company was very cooperative. I was back at the Winnipeg Airport parking lot and ready to go by 10:05 PM. I headed west out of Winnipeg and stopped at the first campground I found. From my notes, I was just under 11,000 trip-miles at the airport.

Hudson Bay web page

Saskatchewan

Thursday July 31

I preceded West on Canada's TCH Hwy 1 to Saskatchewan where I dropped South on back roads until I intercepted US Hwy 85 in North Dakota. There isn't much civilization in Northern United States where as Canada has most of it's civilization on the South end of the country. Each time I enter the US from Canada (this was my 5th time), I leave population to find isolation. That means no fast food places to get something to eat, very few gas stations (with high prices), and great driving because there is no traffic. I don't usually need to get gas every day because I can go far on a tank so that sparse gas stations are no problem. At 30+MPG the cost of gas is really psychological - It really is cheap to drive compared to food and lodging. So the tough part is eating. I don't bring much, if any, food with me. Water, stale pretzels, a little fruit which sometimes spoils before I get to it.

Well the North West corner of North Dakota is sparse. Just farm land and no farm houses. No towns, nothing. However, the Grasslands National Park was Gorgeous. The first real town, coming from the North down, was Belle Fourche, South Dakota. That's where I camped for the night after driving 750 miles.

Lead, SD - Gold Mines

Friday August 1

Will I make Wyoming by August 1 as hoped? Probably, the Western border of South Dakota is Wyoming's Eastern border. All I have to do today is tour the Gold Mine(s) in Lead, South Dakota and go West a few miles. Home Stake Mine  Wharf Mine

Money analysis: 36 days of money left: ~Sept 8. No notes in my log book about the mine tour but from memory - First I did the museum and simulated mine tour for the HomeStake Mine. The largest Gold Mine in North America. Over 32 million ounces have been mines since the 1870's when Gold was discovered in South Dakota. The tour showed technical progress of equipment from the manual drilling, to the 2-man drill, the 3-man drill, and finally diesel and pneumatic powered machines used today.

Gold is a little sparse in the vein: It takes 7 tons of rock to produce 1 ounce of Gold. The spot price (cash price) for Gold that day was $325. It costs $340 per ounce the mine it. Operations are slowing down with layoffs from previous years. Now 900 people are working where once there were 2700. I got out my commodity charts to check the futures prices. Yep, Gold is down. I lost money earlier this year by being `long' on gold when the prices fell. And now they are down even more. [I have no open positions in commodities at this time.]

The Wharf Mine is an open pit mine that uses a heap-leach process to extract gold.

I skipped Mt. Rushmore a few miles South. I've been there more than once before. I continued South on US 85 which veers West into Wyoming just below Lead, SD. The I took Wyoming Hwy 585 North to I90. Somewhere in there I took a scenic bypass. Hwy US 14a or something, in South Dakota. Really nice. I followed I90 to Buffalo, Wyoming where I got on Hwy US16 through the Bighorn National Forest and mountain.

It was in the Bighorn that I got the solid feeling - yes, I will be living out west near mountains. I had the same solid feeling about coming back to Florida when I was living in New Jersey. I made it to Cody, Wyoming and stayed in a Motel. William F. Cody is "Buffalo Bill" and the town has a museum (Skipped it) and rodeo's, and other festivities (all of which I skipped).

Grand Teton National Park

Saturday August 2

Checking my mileage, I covered 1178 miles in 2 days. My mail was sent to Jackson, WY. Cody is just East of Yellowstone National Park, and Jackson is just South of the Grand Teton National Park which is just South of Yellowstone. That's supposed to mean I can easily get to the Post Office before it closes (it's Saturday). Wrong! Major tourist attraction - Yellowstone, 2-lane roads, campers, RV's, mega-buses, and road repairs. I journeyed through Yellowstone, through the Tetons, and into Jackson at 3 PM. I drove less than 220 miles from morning to 3 PM.

As usual for this time of year all lodging is filled by mid-day and motel prices. Wow, the famous Motel 6 is up to $51.95 single per night. I've been here in Jackson Hole many times before, so I usually camp at Gros Ventre Campground. What, now it's $12 per night instead of $8. OK, that's better than $52. Hmmm. I was here in '93 four years ago. $8 -> $12 = 50% increase. The Motel 6 was $38 -> $52 = 37% increase. Have your wages gone up that much in the last 4 years?

Sunday August 3

I took an 8 hour day-hike today up the front of the Grand Teton to Surprise Lake and Amphitheater Lake. 10 miles round trip. I saw snow, a mule deer, and a black bear. I took pictures and filmed a rescue.

Some unprepared hiker went where you need mountain climbing gear - she had now. When she started sliding down a steep snow bank, she slid off the snow between the rock and snow in a crevasse. A chopper unloaded a rescue team a mile or two away, then it left and came back with a gurney. A flare from the crevasse signaled where to lower it. 30x closeup Then the chopper left again. Sometime later, by then I had started back down, I saw the gurney hanging several hundred feet below the chopper and several thousand feet above the valley heading for the hospital. That would scare me more than the slide and fall, I think.

Note: With the redoing of the images in the spring of 2009, they are all separate now but larger, the rescue is best viewed on the Grand Teton web page, link below.

The 2 lakes I hiked to were at 9,580 feet. Not bad for an old man. Nonsense, there were many on the trail old and swifter than I but if I don't tell you that you might be impressed. Hmmm. Maybe that fact that I've been on vacation for nearly 60 days and no end in sight might be more impressive. Anyway, I was very sore from the hike. I brought 2 liters of water, 2 cameras, 4 lenses, a flash, film, batteries, etc. and my tripod. Quite heavy indeed. I think that's what slowed me down and made me stiff and sore. I did get more enlightenment. My notes list 4 specific things I learned or observed that day about me and life. After all, this vacation is also supposed to be a spiritual journey - and it is.

On the way down, I setup the tripod on the trail and took a 4-shot panorama of Jackson Hole.

I only drove 40 miles today. To the trail head and back to the campground.

Monday August 4

Got my mail, some checks, wow! Refunds from the phone company. 2 responses from the 57 newsletters I mailed in June. Nothing else in my notes for today. I stayed at the Motel 6 in town. With my AARP discount, it was $46/night single. I add single because it's kind of a bait and switch. Very few people travel alone. So they put "$xx/night single" on the sign. When a couple shows up at the office, the price is about $10 higher. Some Motels try to tell me there single rooms are all filled. I walk out. That's why I always bring a tent. Backup against sellouts and/or high prices. Most places are good about it, especially Motel 6.

Grand Teton NP web page

Yellowstone National Park

Tuesday August 5

After checking out, I headed back North to Yellowstone. It was cloudy so I took a shot of the Tetons in the clouds. I bought an annual pass so I can come and go in our National Parks as often as I like. My luck held one more time, I got the last campsite in all of the `reservation' campgrounds. I took it for 3 days. Some of Yellowstone's accommodations are by reservation only and some are strictly first-come-first-served. (Gros Ventre Campground is first-come-first-served). I made camp and drove around to see what there is to see. If you've ever been to Yellowstone you know what a large park it is. It's bigger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined. The volume of tourists is now up to 3 million per year. The attractions are rare in the world. (not quit unique but...) So I saw what I could in one day and went back to my tent for the night.

I didn't take any pictures while in Yellowstone. I bought 2 videos and 3 postcards: North entrance gate to Yellowstone National Park and at Mammoth Hot Springs, Minerva Terrace.

Yellowstone NP web page

Wednesday August 6

Mileage check - 12,600+ miles at 7:17 AM. My notes were personal about new age growth and learning. I also talked to my daughter, Sherri, in Seattle. She said my son, Scott, in Tempe got a big promotion at Motorola. I called and he's on a fast track and in the right spot at the right time. At 31, he's now a 2nd line manager in Marketing for the RF devices division. Hell, I'm 53 and I've never been manager. Up 'til now, I always wanted to done the work. Kinda like driving. Do I like to drive? 12,600+ miles. I love it. So for me I chose contracting to get management-level pay while I design, program, test, etc. My future will be quite different.

If fact, something happened to me at breakfast that you may here more about as my plan unfolds. It started with a prayer (or co-creation in `New Age/New Energy' terms) the night before in my tent for direction for my future. Then I made a commitment to myself. I've only told 3 people so far. I'm scared to death, but I'm gonna pursue it. More later. I will say it has to do with changing America's priorities slightly for defense funding versus the poor shape our National Parks are it. With the breakup of Russia, the tumbling of the Berlin Wall, China in an economic growth battle (not an aggressive acquisition mode), and other major powers more stable than ever, maybe America's priorities can be shifted slightly to take care of home, too.

Thursday August 7

I decided to return to Jackson today instead of spending the 3rd night in Yellowstone. The campground office was good about it. I asked for my refund at 1:30 PM and checkup is by 10 AM but I got my $14.50 and headed for Jackson. My mail was again forwarded to the Jackson Post Office. It was to be mailed on Tuesday, so Thursday was a little optimistic for it to arrive and be there waiting for me. It wasn't. I called Deirdre. With the UPS strike, it didn't go out until today. OK, that means I'll have to wait until until Monday. I also checked for my pictures at K-Mart. Nope, not back yet. There are no accidents. What's happening?

Gros Ventre Campground, my old standby. By the way, it's pronounced "Grow-Vont" by locals here. I need an oil change and lube. It's too costly in touristy Jackson. Idaho is nearby and Idaho Falls is a big town. I relaxed, read, etc.

Idaho Falls, ID - My winter home

Friday August 8

I'm a smidgen under 13,000 miles. I headed for the Idaho side of the Tetons. There is a ski resort in the Targhee National Forest. Also, a trail head to the trails up the back side (west side) of the Teton Mountains. These are in Wyoming but can only be gotten to via Idaho. At the Targhee Resort they were having a `Blue Grass' festival for the weekend. I avoid crowds whenever possible.

After checking these out, I headed West to Idaho Falls, about 70 miles. At the Chamber of Commerce Information building, I found out that, yes, Idaho Falls is big enough for a Wal-Mart. No, that don't do oil changes there. Neither does the K-Mart in town. So, a direct question. Where do you get your oil changed? Q-Lube, says she. With her directions, off I go. Next where to stay and set up my PC to get and send E-mail? After some price checking, too high, of course, one of the inn clerks directs me to the Motel 6. Walla, there big sign says - $36.95 single. With my AARP discount it's $33.29 plus tax.

Saturday August 9

13,138 miles. I didn't drive today. I walked to a restaurant for breakfast and I walked to Burger King for Dinner.

I stayed in the room and typed all day. 14 pages. Remember the last update? Well, I was in Bangor, Maine and I uploaded pictures that I had scanned in but I didn't take the time to do Travel Log #3. So I did it today. From June 30 to July 20. Then I started on this travel log, #4. I logged onto AOL and got my E-mail. I played computer games and went to bed.

Sunday August 10

Same mileage. No driving today either. I finished this travel log.

TO BE CONTINUED...