Friday, July 26, 2013

 Howdy pardners!! 
Last Thursday we finally made it to the Rodeo just down the street from us! Another 'perk' from working at the KOA, we used the seasonal tickets they have circulating amongst the workers and that got us in for free again.
But first we enjoyed Scott's 'almost famous' BBQ ribs at the restaurant. We're slowly making our way through the menu here and these are our favorite so far. Delicious, nicely marinated, 'fall of the bone' ribs, fit for a hardworking Texas (wannabee) 'cowboy'!

Afterwards we drove the 3 minutes to the rodeo grounds.
Wild West Yellowstone Rodeo
Now this a small rodeo, once put on in a small arena in town, the event now takes place at a larger rodeo arena located just four miles west of West Yellowstone just off Highway 20. 
Most riders are local talent so there aren't many and the skill level isn't the highest (but way better than me - so there's that) but still, it's a fun way to spend an evening!
Since it's this small there's not a bad seat in the house. You are up close to the fence for all the action.
From the Grand Entry to the closing event, there was plenty of entertainment as these cowboys and cowgirls tested their skills. 
Rodeo is one of the true meaning remnants of the Old West.
Born in the past to ease the cowboys' boredom, today's rodeos are just pure excitement!

Saddle Bronc Riding, Barrel Racing, Breakaway Roping and a special 'calf scramble' for kids were just some of the scheduled events. 
The highlight of every rodeo is when they bring these guys out!
In the American tradition the rider must stay atop the bucking bull for eight seconds. The rider tightly fastens one hand to the bull with a long braided rope. It is a risky sport and has been called "the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.  
bull riding
bull riding at West Yellowstone
No one made it to 8 seconds this evening but no one (or animal)was hurt.
Waiting their turn for the team roping event

Fun for all ages!

As a negative, instead of the mainstream music being played I would rather have liked to hear some country music and we really could have done without the constant mentioning of the sponsors and advertisers but all in all we had a great evening!

And, it's getting old, but do you notice the perfect weather?
These are James' pride and joy, a pair of (used) cowboy boots he got for $40 at the Diamond P ranch next door.
I googled the brand (Olathe) and it turns out these are not of their 'stock' models but custom made (for someone) about 10 years ago and (than) costing about $500!
Last weekend we went to town to pick up our mail from 'General Delivery' at the Post Office since the KOA doesn't allow us to receive mail there unless it's UPS.  (Too much work they claim)
Usually we take a little stroll through town and have a nice cup of coffee somewhere while we're there.

All through town you come across these colorful buffaloes, painted all colors of the rainbow and depicting scenes from the park, its wildlife, and its history. They were part of the town's "Buffalo Roam" promotion a few years ago that raised money for economic development efforts.
The yellow one at the top left is actually stationed at our KOA.
This time we also visited the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center,
a non-profit wildlife park and educational facility. 
All the animals at this Center are unable to survive in the wild and serve as ambassadors for their species.

The Center is home for 7 wolves that live in two different packs. The wolves were born in captivity and are unable to live in the wild. The facilities where they were born did not have room to keep them and the GWDC was able to provide them a home.
Features such as tall grass, logs, trees and a pond with a waterfall give the wolves a very comfortable and natural home. The keepers provide plenty of stimulation by hiding bones or sprinkling spices and other unusual scents. 
They started one of their 'howling' sessions while we were there. It's funny how that makes the hair in my neck stand up!
While the wolves stay put in their specific areas they rotate the bears through a main open area every 45 minutes, so all get some exercise and interaction on a regular basis.
'Roosevelt' on the left and 'Grant' on the bottom  right
On September 30th, 2011, the Discovery Center received two new bears Grant and Roosevelt. Tragically, their mother was euthanized after Yellowstone Park biologists confirmed that she was connected to two fatalities this summer. Fortunately, they were able to offer a home to the cubs.

Although not ideal all animals appear very well looked after and content, and the center provides a valuable education resource on these beautiful creatures. 
We watched a fascinating movie in the inside theater about the role of the 'big preditors' in nature and their return to several Parks and outside of them, and attended a Bird of Prey lecture with some beautiful 'live' birds present.


Talking about animals, here's the reason Sadie loves it here so much:

That's Scott, the short-order cook who's in charge of the breakfasts and BBQ dinners at the park.
He saves the bacon and sausage that fall on the floor during the hectic morning rush and feeds them to her when we come by on our morning walks.
Sadie is completely focused on getting there as soon as I open the door of the RV. She has problems walking these days but she still almost runs down the hill, stumbling and falling, to get her treats!

Her failing hips (arthritis) cause her to drag her back feet which scrapes the skin off the tops until they bleed.
So I made her some booties.

They work!

James is still working on the bathrooms. Out with the old sinks and in with the new!
Because it's high season right now they have to work fast so the bathrooms are only 'out' for a day which means he works some long days every now and than.
I did some more baking. Double fudge brownies with chunks of chocolate and walnuts. I looooove brownies! 

Have you noticed there's always already one missing while still cooling?

James makes quite a fast fire these days. Here he's giving away he has a Boy-Scout's past by starting the fire with a 'fortress'?!

Playing dominoes on our little side table requires different skills as in creating tightly laid out 'trains'.

Another beautiful sunset. The colors seem more intense


Friday, July 19, 2013

No, we didn't go 'green', 'back to nature' or sold the RV, I just thought I show you a little bit of a different kind of camping you can do at our neighbours who run the 'Bar N Ranch' next door.
It's called 'Glamping', shorthand for glamorous camping; a sort of luxurious camping on a grand scale. A mix of the great outdoors with hotel- style creature comforts in tents and tepees.
 It's a beautiful area
All the comforts of home!
And that for 'only' $100 a night for the tepees, $200 for the tents and $400 for the deluxe-suites!
Holy smokes, that's a lot of money, but they're booked solid!
Talking about neighbours, we have the Deep Well Ranch on the other side. They're the owners of 'our' cows in 'our' pasture.

They move them around on a regular base, under (literary) loud protest, from one pasture to another. On horseback! So cool!

Last weekend we went for a stroll through west Yellowstone and spent some time in one of the numerous fly-shops.
They were tying flies in the front of the shop which definitely is an art. I could watch it forever, it's mesmerizing!

They're not so much meant to look like a fly, I learned, but more like a bug. Every area has it's own bugs, different ones at different times of the year, and they try to copy them as closely as they can.


They're all made by hand and they use feathers, fur and all kinds of yarn and silks, tinsels and hooks.

Some assortment!

Hmmm, I have to look into this. Could this be a 'work from home' opportunity? You don't need much space or materials and they're easy to ship.

Anywho, thus motivated we took a fly-fishing lesson!
Jacklin's Fly Shop gives free lessons on Sunday night at a shallow pond behind the police station.

And we were not the only ones! After learning how to assemble the rod and reel and tie a fly (no hook) to the line and a little talk about the grip, we were taught some different ways to cast. The forward and the roll cast and the curving or false cast  to 'dry' a wet fly, to be precise.


It actually was a lot easier than I thought it would be and we got the hang of it pretty fast!
Not that we're anywhere near to being experts right now but we'll be OK for some basic fishing. I think.
One of these days we'll be heading out for one of the many lakes or streams around here to try our luck!

Our KOA organized a chili cookout lunch for employees. Being 'related' I could come too! Yumm!

On another evening there were free 'smores. They had pink and blue marshmallow stars!

We spent many an evening trying to beat each other throwing horseshoes. Although this picture looks promising (that's my 'ringer'), I seldom win :(

Such style! Such grace!
I've done some experimenting baking bread again, this one looks OK but it didn't rise very well (probably the altitude). The chocolate dipped shortbread cookies would have been better with real butter but the apple muffins with cranberry filling (!) were rather good.
Oh well, you win some, you loose some. James will eat everything anyways!

And here's an update on the Barn Swallows. They hatched 4 (I presume all) of the eggs and are crazily busy now!

I guess you can say they're 'in over their heads' feeding!  :)

A little blurry, but you can see all 4 of the little screamers here!