Where are we?
Spring 2007

Subj:     185. Where are we?
Date:     Saturday, April 7, 2007   

Well, we left Yuma on April 1 and drove about 340 miles to our current location. We've been here so many times it's difficult to come up with a new description. We'll just leave it at that.

Our stay in Yuma was very interesting. Yuma during the winter, especially in February, is a haven for snow birds. In our last "Where are we?" we mentioned that we were keeping track of the various states represented in Yuma by their license plates. The result is that we saw license plates that represented all but five of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The five we didn't see were: Delaware, New Jersey, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Considering the fact that we didn't go around and specifically look for license plates, we just noted the ones we saw as we drove to work, the grocery store, and where ever else we had to drive.

The job was lots of work but it was also fun. It seems like we quickly got the reputation of having some of the best food at the Market Place. We never pre-wrapped hot dogs and what we sold was hot if it was supposed to be hot (no cold sauerkraut). Just to give you an idea of how busy we were, it's a lot of work to sell $1,500 worth of hot dogs and ice cream in about 4 hours. We also had a great boss, he always supported us and took everything in stride. Will we do it again next winter? Maybe, we'll just wait to see what happens.

Of course we did a lot more than just work. The Market Place was open only on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So we always had three days off every week. We were able to meet up with some of our friends who we've met workamping in other places. A couple of times we played golf with Walt and June, a couple we met when we worked in El Centro several years ago. We also met up with Jack and Loretta, a couple we met at Crater Lake. Finally, we had dinner with Dennis and Rita, a couple we met at the Manchester Beach KOA.

While we were in Yuma, we also did some geocaching. Some of the geocaches were very interesting, like the Ocean to Ocean Bridge, the Center of the World, and some that were literally out in the fields. It was certainly fun.

So, where are we now? We're in Ridgecrest California where we started full timing almost six years ago. We've got several doctor's appointments. We'll be in Southern California for about three weeks visiting some kids and grand kids. Then we start heading north to Oregon where we will see two more grand kids before heading to West Yellowstone for the summer.

The Brauers
Havin' fun
As always


May 12, 2005
186. Where are we?

We are now in "Big Sky Country" one of the nicknames for this state. It's also known as the "Treasure State" because of the wealth of gold and silver in its rugged mountains. More prevalent than people, grizzly bears,thousands of migrating elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, moose, buffalo and bald eagles call this state home. The town we're in (or actually near) has tourism as its major industry. The town's name comes from it's strategic location, at an entrance to the nation's first National Park and the oldest National Park in the World.

In the last month we have visited Los Angeles twice, San Diego once, and Ridgecrest several times, all to see our kids and grandkids. On April 22 we left Southern California and headed north. Our first major stop was at a place where we spent almost 2 1/2 years. Yes, we spent two nights at the Manchester Beach KOA. Yolanda, the manager, asked us to come to attend their Workamper welcome meeting. We decided to do it, so once again we drove the treacherous roads from Ukiah to Manchester. It was great seeing Yolanda and her family and Felipe and his family.

After Manchester we headed north again, this time it was up US 101 into Oregon and finally into Eugene for a visit with two more grandchildren, and to get some work done on our Motorhome. We were able to spend some quality time with our two youngest grandchildren.

Monday (May 7) we left Eugene and headed to our current location. Getting here required driving along parts of the Oregon Trail, including the beautiful Columbia River Gorge and through the high country of Oregon. Then we followed much of the Snake River as it serpentined its way through the "Gem State." Finally we entered the state where we are now located and plan to spend the summer workamping.

Yes, we are in Montana about 5 miles west of West Yellowstone Montana and about six miles from the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Yes, part of Yellowstone National park is actually in Montana and part is in Idaho, but most of it is in Wyoming.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun
Looking forward to the summer at the Yellowstone KOA.

Date: Wed, 23 May 2007
Subject: 187. Where are we?

Here we are on May 22 in the Rocky Mountains at an altitude of 6600 feet
watching the snow fall. Yes, it's actually snowing. Since we've been
here it has been cold (below freezing), hot (above 80 degrees), windy,
and snowy. I guess it's true in this part of the country, as Mark Twain
said, "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes." I think he was
actually talking about Oklahoma but it sure is true here in the
Southwestern corner of Montana.

So far we've had four days off and have spent three of those days
sightseeing in Yellowstone National Park. It's really a fantastic place
to visit. First, there is the scenery, beautiful meadows with streams
winding through them, waterfalls, rocky cliffs, wild rivers, gentle
rivers, the largest mountain lake in the country, as well as the
geysers, fumaroles, hot springs, and mud pots. Some of the more
interesting views are some of the beautiful green meadows with barren
areas with steam coming out of the ground. There are also hills with
evergreen trees and you will see steam coming from between the trees. Of
course Yellowstone National Park is located on a volcano. The volcano is
not dormant, which is why you see all the thermal areas. Much of the
park is actually in a caldera, the crater left from a volcanic
eruptions. The Yellowstone Caldera is a huge crater about 47 miles long
and 28 miles wide.

We have seen a bald eagle with it's nest and two babies. We have seen
more elk and bison than we can count, we've also seen a grizzly bear
feasting on an elk (at a long distance) however, our camera captured
this event. Yes, Yellowstone has traffic jams. Right now the traffic
jams are usually caused by either the bison or the elk. Sometimes these
animals want to cross the road and they have the right-of-way.
Sometimes, the bison decide to use a road bridge to cross a creek or
river, so they slowly walk down the middle of the road. The key to
driving in Yellowstone is to take it easy, don't be in a hurry, and
enjoy both the scenery and the animals.

Yellowstone National Park's main road is like a figure eight. There are
two loops, the upper loop and the lower loop. There are five entrances
to the park and they all lead to the loops. Although the vast majority
of Yellowstone National park is in Wyoming (with small parts in Montana
and Idaho), only two of the entrances are in Wyoming, the rest are in
Montana.

Our first day into the park we drove to Old Faithful Geyser (on the
lower loop) and continued around all of the lower loop back to where we
started. The highlights of this drive from the town of West Yellowstone
were in entry road (a beautiful drive along the Madison River), lots of
thermal areas with Old Faithful being the highlight, Yellowstone Lake,
the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, waterfalls, and, of course, lots of
animals.

The second day we drove part of the upper loop to Mammoth Hot Springs.
Although there are several thermal areas on this drive including the
Norris Geyser Basin, and the amazing Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces, a
series of travertine terraces made from the water from the hot springs
depositing calcium carbonate to form a spectacular terraces that may
grow up to three feet a year!

Another day we went back to Old Faithful with the intent of taking
several small side trips along the way. We were only able to take two of
the side trips because the others had not opened yet. We did stop by Old
Faithful where it started snowing! When we saw the snow, we decided we
better head back to the town of West Yellowstone.

You can visit most of the thermal areas on foot. Because of the hot
water, the steam, and a fragile crust on the ground you have to stay on
either a path, a paved walkway, or a boardwalk. We still want to take
walks on some of the thermal areas including the Old Faithful area. What
is really considerate is the boardwalks are wheel chair accessible.

We've also driven a loop through the area where a 7.5 earthquake was
centered in 1959. Although this loop was not in the Park, it was a very
pretty drive. The area is called Earthquake Lake which is a lake that
was created by the earthquake. We saw pronghorn which look like
antelope. We'll have to take it again when the information center is open.

So far the best thing about working at the West Yellowstone KOA is our
days off when we explore the area.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun
in the Montana snow

Date: June 16, 2007
Subject: 187. Where are we?

We've moved since our last Where are We? But we'll explain that. Right
now we are in an area that is known for a Battle between several
Indian Tribes and the US Calvary. This was a battle where the Indians
won the battle but lost the war. The best known Indian leaders were
Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. The leader of the US Calvary was none
other than Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, commander of the 7th
Cavalry, who, along with most of his troops, did not survive the battle.

As a further hint, why do you think we are about 300 miles from West
Yellowstone? Well, on Wednesday, June 13 we resigned from the West
Yellowstone KOA. We won't elaborate on why except to say we believe it
was a good move on our part. On Thursday, we made several phone calls
and had two job offers within a few hours. On Friday morning, we had a
third offer. We decided to be camp hosts at a National Forest Service
campground (actually two of them) in Colorado. The primary campground
called Denver Creek and it's near the Rocky Mountain National Park.
The closest town is Granby, about 14 miles away. This should be a real
adventure. We will have water and sewer hookups but no electricity.

We certainly had a lot of fun on our days off at the West Yellowstone
KOA. We have driven all but two of the major roads in Yellowstone
National Park (the East Entrance Road and the Northeast Entrance
Road). We also took a wonderful trip through Grand Teton National Park
to Jackson, Wyoming. We've seen both black bears and brown bears
(Grizzlies), lots of bison, lots of elk, coyotes, deer, and lots of
fantastic scenery. We've seen geysers, mud pots, hot springs,
wonderful lakes, beautiful rivers, and many other great sights
including the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Although our experience at
the West Yellowstone KOA was not the greatest, we're glad we had the
opportunity to explore the area and meet new friends.

The West Yellowstone Montana area is interesting. The KOA was 6 miles
west of the town of West Yellowstone. Using the KOA as a reference
point, Wyoming is about 8 miles east, Idaho is about 3 miles west. You
can be in three states by driving about 11 miles. Yes, we do know of
one place where you can stand in four states at the same time, but
that's another trip. We did spend some time exploring eastern Idaho
and wow, was that pretty, especially Henry's Fork of the Snake river.

Now, Where are we? We are in Hardin Montana about 15 miles from the
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. We visited the
Battlefield today and it was interesting. First, it's a beautiful
area, second we learned a lot about General Custer, some good and some
not so good. It's really interesting how archeologists are able to
explore, dig, catalogue, analyze, and develop rationale explanations,
even though their explanations may conflict with accepted
explanations. It's really the scientific method changing history by
exposing the truth behind historical fable.

The Brauers
Havin' fun
Looking forward to new adventures in Colorado