We have finished our sixth season working at Luton's Teton Cabins. It's been a great run, a job we truly enjoyed, working for some of the nicest folks we've ever had the pleasure of meeting, and living in one of the country's greatest natural playgrounds. Does that sound like it's done? At least for next year, it is. We are taking next summer off, and most of you know that we have plans to travel from mid-May to mid-September, exploring British Columbia, Yukon Territories, Alaska, and Alberta. It's been the top of the bucket list since we went on the road, and time and circumstances conspired to bring it about next year. We are very excited, and it's even better that we'll be traveling with such wonderful friends: Dan and Jonell Anderson, and Richard and Bonnie Waltman. Another couple is joining us that we haven't met yet, but I'm sure it's going to be great! Bonnie and I had been working on the plans and itinerary since last winter, and after consulting with everyone during the summer, we're pretty sure we have a very comprehensive list compiled. I do plan on keeping this blog much better next year during our travels, so long as connectivity isn't too big of an issue. That's Al's project this winter, along with the terribly important plans for all the fishing that will be happening! He's been researching the best ways for us to stay connected to the internet while traveling, not only for research and blogging reasons, but I do plan to continue doing my proofreading as we go along. Tech changes so fast these days, though, so the final iteration of our cell service will be determined early this spring.
So what have we been up to this summer? This summer has seen some pretty radical changes to our RVing family unit. I had already written about the loss of Casey. Our loss doubled on July 1 when we also lost Honey, our Golden Retriever that we had adopted in 2014 when she was 10 years old. We never expected to have her with us for almost 6 more years, but she was a trooper and kept up with the three of us no matter what we did! The veterinarian here feels she had something neurological happen, most likely a stroke. She was such a good girl and always happy. We were very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be her forever family.
So we are now down to just the two of us, Al and I, something that hasn't happened since we've been married. We will adopt another dog at some point, maybe even a cat too, but we've decided that we will wait until we return to Florida next fall.
Such a sweetie!
Another big change for us is that we are not returning to Amazon this fall. The most prominent reason for that is that Al is having heart surgery in Tampa in November. Most of you know that he's been battling atrial fibrillation for over 15 years, and he did have surgery back in 2009. That initial surgery took care of it for 4 years, but then it sporadically would rear its ugly head, usually during the winter when we were in Florida, and it never lasted more than 10 days or so. Well, he flipped into afib while we were on the way west this spring, and he never converted on his own. He ended up in the hospital in Jackson and had what's called a cardioversion to return him to normal sinus rhythm. He's been fine ever since, but the cardiologist both in Jackson and Florida felt it was time to see an electrophysiologist for assessment of another surgery. He flew to Tampa early in September for the appointment and is now scheduled for surgery on Nov. 22. So no Amazon for him this year, which is fine as it's really becoming a giant pain in the neck to deal with. Al is kind of getting tired of dealing with it, and we're thinking it's time to explore other opportunities.
Our last major change is that we no longer have the second car. Our 2007 Trailblazer finally needed so much work to keep her going that I'm not willing to put thousands of dollars into a 13-year-old car. So she went to a company in Wyoming that takes old cars and either fixes them up or scraps them, and I am driving home in the truck with Al. He was going to be lonely without the dogs anyway!
We had quite a busy summer at the cabins. We had all the same people working this year that we had last year, so we settled into a good work rhythm pretty quickly. It's so nice when everyone knows what they're doing and when to do it. On our off days, we did a lot of hiking, revisiting many old favorites and exploring some new ones. We had visits from a few folks this year: Bill and Nancy Mills, that we had met at the 2011 RV-Dreams rally; my sister, Amy, and her husband, Mike; an Amazon friend Tom Ross and his friend; Bar Harbor coworkers Mark and Debi Warner. It's always nice to visit with friends and family.
Upper and Lower Jade Lakes was a new hike for us this year. The color of the water was beautiful when the sun was out, briefly!
After six years, we finally made it up to Mammoth Hot Springs area of Yellowstone. The terraces were very beautiful, and, again, brilliant colors when the sun was out. The elk were hanging out on the village green of the town of Mammoth, and this bull elk was doing a great job of rounding up his harem.
On one hike around Heron Pond this year, we ran into this mama moose and her twins. It was amazing to be so close, but we did have our bear spray handy. Luckily she led them on a wide berth around us!
We are currently heading back east, having left the ranch on October 1. We stopped for two nights in Valentine, Nebraska, to visit the Niobrara National Scenic River and Wildlife Refuge. It's very beautiful and we would love to come back someday and kayak the river.
Berry Falls. There are over 200 waterfalls flowing into the Niobrara River.
Prairie dog town at the Wildlife Refuge
Tomorrow we start heading east again, arriving at Indiana Dunes State Park for a three-night stay. We have plans of visiting the newest national park, Indiana Dunes National Park. After that, we head to Shipshewana, Indiana, for a quick stop to pick up some RV furniture that we had ordered in the spring, and then we head south, with stops planned at Dayton, Ohio, for the Dayton Aviation Heritage Historical Park; Henderson, N.C., at Chimney Rock State Park and visits with our friends, Ken and Jodi Himes and Jim and Judy in Concord; Bluffton, S.C., to visit our cousins, Bill and Denise; and finally, a three-night stay at Disney World for the Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT. Then we'll head to the house and start dealing with medical stuff.
That's what's been happening with us. I'll try to show some pictures of our various stops along the way, and I'll definitely be posting with the positive results of the surgery. Thanks for reading!!