Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spearfish Canyon...

The colors are turning, the crowds are gone; my favorite time of the year here...

And little Izzy sitting on the window seat in the HitchHiker...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are you in the adult entertainment business?

Today was a running around kinda day - oil change for Big Red, lunch out, and getting some insurance quotes. Health insurance has gotten outrageous, so we let our agent know we were shopping around. To get his quote, I had to answer some questions... besides the usual medical history stuff, there were questions about drug and alcohol use. And then one I wasn't expecting: "Are you in the adult entertainment business?"

My response: "Exotic dancing or on-screen performing?"

He looked over the top of his glasses as I stood to demonstrate my best bump and grind. It's nice to know that I can still embarrass the Blonde. Apparently, "sense of humor" isn't one of the things they screen for. Then he said, "I've never seen that question before."

"Maybe something in my file caused that to pop up?" Joan slid even lower in her seat. I crack myself up.

"Hey, what's this exclusion? They don't pay for hair replacement treatment? Can that be considered a business expense... you know, for my exotic dancing career?"

I'm guessing that will be the last time I will be allowed to visit the insurance guy. Joan usually takes care of this stuff on her own. Go figure?

Monday, September 27, 2010


“Hey, we’ve been thrown out of nicer places than this!” No, not really, but it’s fun to say that.

After getting all settled in for the week here at Hart Ranch, we heard that they are shutting down the section we are in for the winter. Apparently, the woman at the check-in desk wasn’t aware of this situation. When we went up there to find out, she did know about it... “Oh, I guess I forgot to tell you. I don’t know where my mind is these days.” I have an idea. Her little “oversight” wasted about two hours of our time. It takes just as long to tear down and set up for a two block move as it does for a 200 mile move.

The sites here are all the same in size and general layout, but we really liked where we were... Izzy could go right out the door, turn to the east and have a big ol’ pasture to run around in. Now, there’s a bit more of a walk to get to that area. Not that big of a deal. It just wouldn’t have been necessary for us to waste our time if we had been told of this when we checked in. There are plenty of sites available.

Oh, and this happened in the middle of getting the coach scrubbed. I was up on the roof when our neighbor told me that they would be closing this section. The pine trees in the Tetons left sap and black spots on our roof... I first scrubbed it with dish soap, then went over it again with a special rubber roof cleaner and conditioner. A lot of work!

To add to the fun, the wind was gusting 25 - 30 mph. While it made it more interesting to balance up there, it helped move the water to the back of the coach. Oh, and the directions on the roof cleaner said, “Don’t let this dry on the gelcoat or fiberglass sides of your RV.” Yeah, that meant I had to scrub down the rest of the coach as soon as I finished the roof.

With that job done, I had time to grab a shower before we had to move to a different site. On the bright side, we didn’t have to hook the cargo trailer behind the coach... we made one trip with the truck and cargo trailer - Joan drove that while I brought the bike. We parked them on the site, then went back to unhook the HitchHiker utilities and connect up to Big Red. Two whole blocks. Then set up the 5th wheel and hook up all the utilities again.

We relaxed after with lunch out. Then came back to take Izzy for a walk to introduce her to her new surroundings. She definitely doesn’t like this as well as the previous site... but, she’s adaptable.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

2/2/2... sorta

The 2/2/2 Rule: Don't drive more than 200 miles in a day, get in by 2:00 pm, spend at least two days. We stretched that a bit after leaving the Tetons. It is about 500 miles to get to the Black Hills, so we decided to do about 250 miles each day. We spent the first night in Casper, Wyoming, at the Fort Casper Campground. The gravel lot was a different ambiance compared to our time in Grand Teton National Park...

It was just a parking place for the night, and perfectly adequate. Level. 50 amp power. Cable TV. We didn't even unhook the 5th wheel from the truck.

The next day, we rolled into Hart Ranch in the Black Hills. Much prettier, nicer amenities...

We settled in on a site on the perimeter so Izzy would have lots of walking room. A perfectly beautiful day: sunny and temps in the 70s. Time to kickback.

Sunday morning, I was looking forward to a breakfast sandwich at Hardee's. Interesting how some small things are a treat when you haven't had them for a while. After breakfast, we did some leisurely shopping through Wal-Mart and Sam's. Again, a simple pleasure we haven't had for a couple months... I actually enjoyed the experience.

When we got back to the HitchHiker, I got the bike out of the cargo trailer and we hit the road. As beautiful as it is in the Tetons, the Black Hills is tough to beat for great motorcycle riding. The fall colors are just beginning to turn here, and it was a perfect day for the bike - with the temp around 80º, it was the first time since we left Texas that we didn't need jackets on the bike.

We rode some great back roads, making our way through Keystone and up past Mt. Rushmore. We stopped on the back side to get a profile photo of George...

More great riding, through Hill City, then back to the Ranch. It was Izzy's turn and she wanted some leash time...

One very happy little furry girl...

We sat outside, played some Yahtzee, and just kicked back. Nice having no schedule again. The HitchHiker, truck, and bike all need a good scrubbing... I'll get around to it. ;-)

Friday, September 24, 2010


Departure Day... we pulled the cargo trailer up to the road, brought the truck back to the 5th wheel, hooked up, pulled the 5th wheel up to the trailer, and hooked that up. Whew, that would be a full day right there; but, it's time to roll. We stopped for a photo of the rig before we left the park...

You can see the Tetons behind the truck, and here's the view from the other side...

The truck did a fine job of pulling the HH and cargo trailer up the mountains east of the Tetons. We made it nearly to the pass, when we came across road construction... as in: the road is completely torn up and we're going 4-wheeling! Well, 10-wheeling. It took the better part of an hour to get through the construction... but on the bright side, the slow driving gave us plenty of opportunity to enjoy the beautiful fall colors.

On the other side of the pass, the terrain changed: way fewer trees, more scrub brush; shale and sandstone instead of granite. In a rugged and remote kinda way, it was still pretty.

Little Izzy was a champ. She went right into her carrier this morning, on her own. She didn't make a peep while in the truck and spent most of her time on Joan's lap or sitting beside me...

After 4 months, we weren't sure how she'd behave in the truck - no problem; what a good little traveler! When we stopped, she'd go right back to her carrier.

I thought I might be a bit rusty driving this rig after 4 months, but slid right back into travel mode again. It feels good to be back on the road.

We're down for the night in Casper, heading for Hart Ranch tomorrow.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pulling Up Stakes...

In the midst of getting-ready-for-the-road chores, I was able to get out and get these image of the fall colors..

We made the drive to Jackson Lake Lodge to turn in our uniforms and IDs... it felt a bit like being drummed out of the cavalry. Easy, though. We came back for our last lunch at the EDR (Employee Dining Room)... not gonna miss that, but it has been convenient. Then back to the coach where we really did pull up stakes - the patio mat has been held in place with stakes; it was the last thing on that side of the coach to get put away. If you look close in the photo below, you can see little Izzy watching Joan check tires on the truck...

After I swept all the pine needles and cones off the roof, Joan pulled in the slides... just to make sure they were still functional. Then, she put them back out again for the night.

While the slide was in, I took the opportunity to put away the water and sewer hoses. We pulled the truck up to the 5th wheel pin to plug in the power connection and checked the lights and brakes. Yep, all working. Then pulled the truck forward to the cargo trailer to check lights. OK.

The branches are all trimmed, so we should have a clear shot at the campground road. We'll have the cargo trailer hooked to the truck before we call it a day. In the morning, we'll move the cargo trailer to the main road, then hook up the 5th wheel and pull it around to the cargo trailer; hook it all together and hit the road.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


This felt almost like a regular day off. We lounged in. Joan did some laundry, I did some chores around the RV. One thing that was really different: I went down to the marina to turn in my business band radio and my key. We'll turn in uniforms and IDs tomorrow.

Then, it was off to Jackson for pizza and groceries. Having Jackson close by has made this summer easy as far as entertainment and re-supplying. We were going to go up the tram at Teton Village, but the weather turned gray; we decided to scrap that.

We stopped to take some photos of the fall colors along the way - they have really turned in the past week. It is a treat to see those before we leave.

When we got home, I took Izzy for a walk. While strolling through the forest, we came upon a young mule deer. It was laying down. I didn't see it until we were about 15 feet from it, so I didn't make any sudden moves. Izzy didn't see it until it decided to stand up. I wish I had the camera with me... Izzy's eyes got wide and she let out a low growl. I wasn't sure if she was frightened or was crouching into attack mode. And then something I hadn't seen before: the hair on her back stood up... it looked like she had a mohawk! She was ready to take on this HUGE forest creature! I held her leash tight.

The 3 of us stood and watched each other for quite a while. Then, I slowly backed off... Izzy wasn't quite ready to give up. I had to pick her up. As we walked back to the 5th wheel, she kept looking over her shoulder and crouching. Jungle cat.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Time Off For Good Behavior...

We went to work at 8:00 this morning - you can see all the boats on moorings are gone. The marina is looking pretty empty...

More boat winterizing projects - we went up to where the Rendezvous is parked...

Then went to work. While Captain Ron and Tony pulled off the props, Terry and Pat packed away life jackets, I changed out fuel filters - 6 of them on this boat.

Then, Ron and I ran antifreeze through all the water lines and pulled the batteries. The last project on the engines: pull the fuel injectors so they can be cleaned over the winter.

While we were working on the boat, the dock hands were stacking canoes and pulling and cleaning mooring buoys...

Just two days ago, that porch was filled with passengers waiting to board the cruiseboat. Still no shortage of visitors in the park - the RV park and the cabins at Colter Bay have still been full the past few nights.

After lunch, the service station manager brought out a front end loader to lift the life raft off the boat. Three of us climbed up there to undo the canister. I held my breath as it was lifted off the top of the boat...

With that project done, I checked in with the assistant manager to see what was next on the list. She said, "You have gotten everything done on the cruiseboats; if you want to be done, feel free. The rest of the work is just cleaning and putting stuff away - the dock hands can do that. They want to work for another few days and I know you have stayed beyond the time you planned. I really appreciate all your hard work this whole season."

With that, I shook her hand and said, "Deal! Can I get my exit paperwork?"

She asked, "Two types of paperwork - for those who will be coming back and those who aren't. You are planning on coming back, right?" We talked about it a bit.

This is good timing. Joan finished work today, but has a retail/activities meeting on Thursday. They want her back next year and have asked her to sit in on this managers meeting.

We'll have two days to get ready for travel, then hit the road on Friday!

Monday, September 20, 2010


I had lofty goals set for today: get the cruiseboat pulled out of the water. Get the last boat out on a mooring hauled into a slip. Pull the rest of the rental powerboats (7) out of the water, get the motors off, hauled up to the shop, oil changed, lower unit lube changed, winterized, and hung in the shop. We not only got that done, but in the middle of that, one of the slip renters wanted a captain to pull their big boat onto their trailer. They had a commercial semi and crew to haul the boat and trailer. An interesting change of pace in the middle of a very physical day.

And we got it all done. There were other marina folks pulling canoes, getting life jackets inventoried and packed away... the place was a definite beehive of activity. I got so much done that the assistant manager said I could be done after tomorrow, if I want (change out fuel filters, pull injectors, and winterize the cruiseboat still to be done).

I had two of the younger dockhands working on my projects today... and their butts were dragging at the end of the day. Mine, too, but I didn't let it show until I got home. ;-)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Th-th-that's all, folks!

As of 5:30 today, the marina is officially closed. I spent much of the day moving boats and getting the oil and filters changed on the diesel engines on one of the cruiseboats. Passenger loads were plenty full, no doubt because it was a beautiful day... sunny, some breeze, temps in the mid-70s.

For the next 4 days, we'll be pulling boats, winterizing motors, and getting everything put to bed for the winter season. Plenty to do.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Last Cruise...

I've driven the last two days while the other captain worked on the docks. At the end of the day today, he asked if he could drive tomorrow - my scheduled day to drive and our last day of cruises.

"Absolutely," I said, "I've had more than my share."

So, tonight for the sunset cruise was my last cruise of the season. And not a crazy person all day. ;-)

It has been a good experience... and we are both looking forward to getting back on the road. As we finished the last cruise and shut down the boats tonight, I said to my first mate, "I am going to miss this."

"Me, too," he said and thanked me for a good summer. We have had a good team here.

There's plenty of work to do, yet. I will spend the next few days getting motors winterized and pulling boats off moorings and put into slips. The marina will close for the season at 5:30 tomorrow.

Yep, my "fun summer job."


We had a visit today from our friends Herb and Wilma from Port Isabel. They were on their way south from the Pacific Northwest and decided to stop for a quick visit. Great to see them again! I didn't have a lot of time, but they did get to see and experience the Employee Dining Room... probably not the highlight of their trip, but it gave us a chance to visit while we had lunch.

Friday, September 17, 2010

3 Days...

Three days of cruises left. Today was a driving day for me. When I came in to the marina shop, I found out that one of the other captains had to quit today due to a medical problem. I know he felt bad about not being able to finish the last few days of the season. The 3rd captain and I will pick up where necessary.

Interesting trips all day, nice weather. The passenger numbers are really holding up. It was a very busy day.

I'm not sure if it is the end of the season or if I just won the Crazy Ass Boat Lottery, but I did have one cruise where the folks onboard just didn't seem quite normal. When we finished, the first mate said to me, "Did they back a crazy bus up to the boat? Those people were just plain odd."

Maybe it was the woman who said, "Do you think things would be better here if you stopped the slaughter of innocent animals?"

HUH??? It didn't get any better as that cruise went on.

Oh well, that's one cruise out of the whole season... and one crazy woman out of the that cruise. Not bad, considering. I do try to show all our guests a good time; I did feel bad that she wasn't happy, but I don't think anyone or anything would have pleased her. I feel sorry for people who go through life looking for the worst. I won't let it interfere with trying to show the rest of our guests all the beauty the Tetons have to offer.

The rest of the day was boats full of pleasant people.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Days Off...

Two glorious days off; Mother Nature was most kind - lots of sunshine and nice temps. With 3 days left for marina operations, and one week total, we spent time getting ready to head out. After being here for 4 months, we are quite "settled in." I spent a couple hours today cutting branches so we'll be able to get the 5th wheel out of our site. Flushed tanks and topped off water. Pulled up our solar patio lights. Folded up the bicycles and put them away. Did some arranging in the cargo trailer. Joan did laundry. Oh, and we took Izzy for several walks... she is going to miss those little strolls through the forest.

Izzy did get out without her leash today - she's quick! I walked behind her, telling her "No! Stop!" She would look behind to make sure I was keeping up, then trot off as I got close. Pretty sure she thought this was a fun new game. I wasn't amused.

I had my marina radio on all through the day and could hear the other captain calling in the trips... good passenger loads. Everyone wants to be out enjoying this lovely weather!

Forecast high tomorrow: 76º


My head is in it... (cue the music) On the road again... I just can't wait to get on the road again. Hope Izzy remembers how to ride in the truck.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Izzy update...

Yesterday was a beautiful day... well, on either end of the day, with a couple thunderstorms in the middle. With a cell building to the south, I took one cruise to the north, then west, then south, to avoid the cell. It kept my first mate on his toes, since it wasn't our normal route. Even with the rain, we had good visibility so the guests had great views. By diverting from our usual route, we were out of the rain in about 20 minutes; we saw a bald eagle, fall colors starting in the higher mountain valleys... a great cruise.

It's been a while since I've posted anything with little Izzy. She has had a good season here, too. It was a bit of an adjustment for her to not have us around all day. She now greets us at the door when we come in and is even more lovey. She gets regular walks and really enjoys going through the woods around our site. The squirrels have been busy gathering pine cones, but took enough of a break to toss some pine cones at Izzy when we walked by.

Yesterday morning was a bit brisk, so Joan made little Iz wear her sweater when I took her out for a walk...

It doesn't seem to faze her, although I do look around to make sure no one is watching. I think the built-in fur coat would be enough... but, she is an island cat from the Tropical Tip. I was just fine in shorts and a jacket in the morning chill, thanks for asking.

After work, Joan and I got in a "date night" with a nice meal at the Colter Ranch House Restaurant here in Colter Bay. Before settling in, Izzy got another walk through the woods.

Two days off (but I'm on call), then back to a couple days of cruises and getting the marina shut down for the season.

Little Izzy by the window this morning...

Late this afternoon, on the drive back from Jackson, we took in some of the changing fall colors...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


No, not for a movie. Yesterday was another "blue shirt" day... we pulled another power boat and two canoes. I winterized the motor, tagged it, and put it away. Then walked all the docks to get an "inventory" of open slips. The big project for the day was the start of pulling floats on the mooring field: we replace the mooring floats with hard foam crabpot floats that will better withstand the ice that is coming. It is physical work - you go out with our skiff, lift the mooring float and chain into the boat, disconnect the float, then tie the crabpot float onto the chain before putting it back in the water. Then back to the docks where the big floats are carried up the shop and scrubbed before putting them away. One young dockhand and I made it through about 25% of the mooring field.

I feel it this morning.

There is plenty more of this to come.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

An interesting morning...

We had a boat full of photographers... well, enthusiastic amateurs, not professionals. The marina was fogged in when we were ready to depart (they were late getting there, and we came in early to accommodate them)... and they were disappointed. I assured them the fog would lift as soon as we got out a ways. I finally had to pull out "the photographer card"... I am a Master of Photography, Photographic Craftsman, Certified Professional Photographer, and an Internationally Affiliated Juror with the Professional Photographers of America. That got their attention.

As we came out of Colter Bay, the fog lifted like a veil... their was a gasp from the cabin as the beautiful Tetons came into view. Since this group had scheduled the whole boat, I didn't run the "usual" route... and instead did a lot of 360s and sweeping S-turns to give them all great views of the mountains. I pointed out the beautiful views back to the east with the sun just above the low lying clouds. It was a pretty impressive sight, and having the photographic background, I put the boat in just the right position to give them great angles.

It was one very happy group when I got them back to the dock.

It turned out to be an absolutely spectacular day here in the Tetons. After the fog this morning, it was clear with light and variable wind. Temps in the 70s. It doesn't get much better than this.

One week of marina operations to go, then a few days to close it all down.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A beautiful morning...

A chilly morning, but absolutely beautiful - the snow added to the picturesque mountains...

Hope you aren't tired of seeing these marina images. Each morning I go in, thinking, "It's another pretty day," but when you see these mountains, it's just breath-taking...

Another "blue shirt" day today, with the cruiseboat needing some attention and winterizing to be done on the small outboards as we pull rental boats out. Two parties of lost boaters to find and bring back in. The crowds are holding right in there.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Snow level...

Yes, the "S" word. It was a "bonus" day off for me today, the last I'll likely get before we head out in a couple weeks. It rained here most of the day, with snow at the higher elevations. Most of the day, the mountains were shrouded by clouds...

That's what it looked like when I met Joan for lunch. Kinda hard to do a scenic cruise when you can't see much of the scenery, but there were people who wanted to go out. I got to the marina in time to see Joan receive a Moose Pin for giving good customer service. Here she is at the retail counter...

When I came to pick her up after work, the rain had stopped and the clouds had lifted enough to reveal the snow level - about 8,000 feet...

It's supposed to get down in the 20s tonight. I already unhooked the hose and topped off the fresh water tank in anticipation. The next week or so is supposed to be nicer, though. Less than 2 weeks to go.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Going to Jackson...

The town of Jackson is about 45 minutes south of us... assuming there are no bear, moose, or bison jams along the way. Traffic was light when we left the Colter Bay area. Even though we've made this drive every week, the view still takes my breath away.

The clouds added to the dramatic look of the mountains, and the colors have started their seasonal change. Some of the low brush has turned brown, there is just the start of yellow in the aspen trees.

Traffic was very light in Jackson, the first that we've seen it that way this season. We found a parking spot along the square and walked around; first to the bank, then past shops and galleries, making our way to the Cadillac Grill. Lunch was a big ol' Billy Burger for me and an elk meatloaf sandwich for Joan... both very tasty.

The photo above shows just one block along the square, with the Snow King ski area in the background. We walked around town a bit more before making our weekly trek to Smith's for groceries and supplies.

Jackson has made our stay here easy: good places to eat, two big grocery stores, a couple hardware stores, K-Mart. In years past, we have taken in all the t-shirt shops, art galleries, trinket shops, and white water raft ride guides. This year, it has been more as a re-supply stop and a weekly get away. It is most definitely a tourist destination, but it has been our nearest town this summer.

When we first came here in the 70s, Jackson was much smaller... a few little tourist shops around the square, one photo/art gallery, and my favorite: a guy who made hand routered signs. Since that time, Jackson has been "discovered"... the wealthy have second homes here, property prices have skyrocketed, there are many art galleries and upscale boutiques. It still gravitates towards the name Jackson Hole (actually the name of the entire valley)... it sounds more old West romantic, I guess.

Besides being a big summer destination (and the gateway to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone), Jackson is a major winter destination, with 3 ski areas nearby: Snow King (as pictured above) right in town, Jackson Hole Ski Area (at nearby Teton Village), and Grand Targee (on the other side of the Tetons).

For us, the Tetons have been the real draw here, but Jackson is our nearest town... and has helped to make our seasonal stay here much more "civilized."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

GPS on a lake?

Yesterday, on the sunset cruise, I heard a guest say to his wife, "Look, he has a GPS. Who needs GPS on a lake? You can't get lost."

I chuckled to myself. The GPS is my little Nuvi, out of our truck. My portable marine chartplotter gave up the ghost a couple months ago. With no other speed readout on the boat, the GPS gives me that information, so I can stay on schedule. I also have a track laid out, keeping me out of shoal areas and giving me position when the visibility goes down.

While on the way back, I mentioned the comment to the guy. I said, "Take a look around us. We have the Gros Ventre Mountains to the right, the Absarokas to the left, and those beautiful Tetons behind us. It is gorgeous every direction you look. Anyone know the way back to the marina?"

You can't see the lake from the marina bay. You also can't see the marina from the lake. The marina is a great "hidey hole"... wonderful protection. But, we frequently have to do rescues for people who rent our powerboats. Not because they have swamped the boat, but because they can't find the way back to the marina.

Not a single person on the boat could point out the way back to the marina. That's usually the case. Back at the dock, I always step out back to thank the guests for riding with us. I can tell by the smiles that they've enjoyed the trip. The guy who made the GPS comment said, "I drive a bus. I have the GPS on all the time, even on routes I drive regularly. I can sure see why you have that on here. Thanks for a great trip!"

I like to have fun with the guests; it's in my nature. And sometimes we all learn something in the process. I also have a great deal of respect for driving on this lake. The mountains are big enough to create their own weather patterns. The waves can kick up in short order when the wind howls through the mountain canyons. Visibility can change quickly.

Yep, GPS on a lake. Even using established landmarks, information is a good thing.


Monday, September 6, 2010


While working on one of the diesel engines today, I managed to stab myself in the pinky finger with a screwdriver. No big deal. I went into the shop to clean it and put a band-aid on. Joan saw me washing it out and said, "You need a tetanus shot."

The assistant-manager got in on that discussion and agreed. So, off to Human Resources to fill out paperwork on my "on the job accident"... it's a stupid little scratch on my pinky for goodness sake! I've done worse here and have the scars on my hands to prove it. HR sent me to the clinic for a tetanus shot.

The doctor asked who dressed my wound... "I did. It's a little gouge - I cleaned it up and put a band-aid on it."

"Good job," he said.

"It's a band-aid on a scratch."

"You can't be too careful with a puncture wound," he said.

"It's a scratch," I replied.

Then I had to pee in a cup - standard operating procedure, after an on-the-job "accident."


After a day of working on boats, I drove the cruiseboat for my last dinner cruise this season. No one even noticed my little band-aid.


Where did that come from?

Tropical Storm Hermine... it's out in the Gulf and every computer model is showing it making landfall over Port Isabel. Right now, it's blowing about 50 mph and expected to be 55-60 mph when it makes landfall. There is a Tropical Storm Warning for the south Texas coast, with landfall expected Tuesday AM. We'll be working, so won't be able to watch this unfold.

It's been busy over the holiday weekend. I drove my last breakfast cruise for the season on Sunday. The last dinner cruise for the season will be on Wednesday night. Then, just scenic cruises until September 19th. While I truly enjoy the early mornings in the marina (the light is gorgeous), this will be the end of my 13 hour days... should be down to 8 to 9 hour days as we get the marina put to bed for the winter.

The wind blew like stink yesterday. The wind indicator at the marina pegs out at 25 knots, and it was pegged out most of the day! I drove cruises all day, and the guests all seemed fine with the rocky-rolly conditions. Docking was interesting with the wind blowing everything from south to west to north during the day/evening. I was a tired boy at the end of the day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tick, tick, tick...

Three weeks to go. We had a couple nice days off... well, the weather wasn't particularly nice on Wednesday, but the time off was. It barely made it into the 50s on Wednesday, with snow at the higher elevations (above 9,000'). We had a nice lunch out in Jackson and got our running around done. It was sunny, but cold on Thursday. We had one last pizza lunch at Leek's, then I got a motorcycle ride it; it may be the last of that, too.

We're expecting a busy holiday weekend. Occupancy at the lodges and cabins is supposed to be high. Three more island breakfasts and three more dinners over the next 5 days, then we are done with meal cruises. After that, it will be scenic cruises while we start to close down the marina, pulling a couple rental boats each day.

The time is going fast.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Around the campfire...

Yesterday started out wet and cold. If you could have seen through the low cloud layer, there was a dusting of new snow on the mountains. With only 11 guests for the breakfast cruise, the manager asked if I was going to cancel the trip.

"The cook and wrangler are already out on the island. All the guests are here. I'm going to say we'll head out in the boat and see if conditions improve. If not, we'll go for a boat ride and bring them back for refunds and breakfast at the Ranch House Restaurant."

I had to use the windshield wipers all the way to the island - not a good sign. When we pulled up to the dock on the island, I gave the guests a couple options: let's head onto the island and have breakfast; if it's raining too much, we'll come back to the boat. Or: I'll back the boat off the island, we'll take the long way home, and you get refunds. The general consensus was to give the island and breakfast a try. As it turned out, the rain let up and then stopped, the food was good, instead of eating at the picnic tables, we all sat around the campfire to eat. The guests were all pleased with the decision and thanked me for suggesting we give it a try. It was a different, but special island breakfast.

On the way back to the marina, I contacted the marina manager with an unusual radio call. "Sir, the guests want to give you a message..." I held the radio towards the passengers and they all let out a big cheer.

"Message received. Thank you, Captain Jim. Glad everyone had a good time."

The rest of the day remained cold, but the cloud layers eventually lifted (by afternoon) to allow a view of the mountains. We went out on each cruise, but the crowds were not large. Still, it was another unique perspective Mother Nature provided of this beautiful area.