A work day

Drove the work car today. The low tire pressure indicator came on. I did a visual check of the tires and all seemed well. Went on to work. Checked about self serve for air and was told it was at the transportation department in Gardiner (reminder my office is in Mammonth Springs).  I am having a run of luck with cars in Montana. I needed to get a gas card as well so made plans to go to the transportation office in the afternoon. Received my gas card and schooled on how to use it. They also had me bring the car into the shop. One of the mechanics checked the tires and gave them some additional air. I felt ridiculous. I asked them about how I could do it myself going forward. If I can’t check the air and add when needed in Montana I think they will take my “man card” away.

Work was a work day. Emails, meetings, phone calls were all to be done. I worked late and had dinner in the employee cafeteria so I could attend the cougar discussion. Well it turns out that the cougar expert was a government employee so the talk was canceled. What is the world coming too…..

On the drive home the tires were good. I did see a coyote and a huge fox on the drive home so that was a win. When I got close to home it started snowing hard. Will have to check the weather in the AM to see which car to drive tomorrow.

The Door Strikes Back

The elk said hi at my bedroom window this Sunday morning.

Going out for church this morning it was cold and my driver door would not open. I crawled over from the passenger side. I am sure my neighbors think I am crazy.

This was the view at the end of my road about to turn on the road to town.

The door opened from the inside fine. Bible study and church was good. These are the views coming out of church.

Back at home I can open the car door fine from inside, but no go from outside. If the weather stays sunny I will take the work car on Monday. That door is killing me.

Broomball

Well I am settling into my Saturday waffle route. They were good. Spent some time sorting out what to wear and what to take for my first ever broomball game.  It is basically hockey on snow with brooms and a small soccer ball. That’s me in the back wearing the awesome brown Duluth jacket that Katie and David gave me for Christmas.

Here is a small clip of the game.

I wish I had three items on video, but unfortunately I don’t.  First I assisted on scoring a goal. Super excited about getting a goal in my first game. My team did go on to lose that game. Secondly was the cartoon perfect ice slip I made. Running I hit a patch of ice. Both feet went straight out in front of me and I was parallel with the ground for a moment. Then I crashed to earth. Luckily I didn’t hit my head, but my tush really felt it. Good thing I got Advil during the stock up with Janet. During the second game I got a goal from the other side of the “field”. I hit a power shot in while most were waiting for me to miss it the first time. It went by everyone and into the goal. This gave me a chance to share a southern saying, “even a blind hog will root up an acorn every now and then”.  We played for three hours. I am going to be sore.

After the game I used my employee discount to buy a pair of YakTracx to help with not slipping on ice.

Wish I was going home to see Janet and tell her all about my day. I had a lot of fun and was happy. Now I am sad on the drive home. Actually did a video call with Janet. It was so great to see her. I don’t think I can put the emotions into words that I felt seeing her. I know we have been talking and texting daily, but seeing her lovely face made me tear up. I even got to see some of the cats.

Government Shutdown

While I will keep working since I am with a private company. The company I am with made some agreements with the National Park Service to keep the park open during the shutdown. I do really see first hand how people and the community are impacted from a government shutdown. Before I saw it as an inconvenience. It is way more real to me now. Snow coaches will have to carry garage bags and toilet paper because the public restrooms will not be serviced. Roads that are not deemed as critical will not be plowed by the government. At my office 911 will work, but someone will only come out if it is truly a life and death matter. People don’t know if they will be paid for the days the government is shutdown, which can have a big impact in such a small community of only about 900 people. If they do get paid, it could be months from now. With this exposure a government shutdown went from something that didn’t really matter to me to something I feel a lot of passion about.

Government DO YOUR JOB and get a budget!

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Through the snow-oh-oh-oh-oh

Well today I got to see more of the weather everyone has been talking about. You know it is bad when roads start closing in Wyoming, but it is lovely. 

View outside my office window.

Received my company car. I think it was a bad idea to drive it today, but it was just a little rain when I left the house. I stopped off at a men’s prayer breakfast. The food was good and had a good discussion about loyalty and what it means to be loyal to Christ.

Had a nice dinner with some people from work at a new restaurant. They were working the kinks out for how they handled the survive.  The food was good and dinner helped to break up the white knuckle drive home. After dinner I stopped at the post office to check my box for the first time. I put one foot out of the car and started to go out with the other when the first foot went in the air. I plopped back in my car seat. The parking lot was nothing but ice. Back on the road and getting close to the turn for my road. I slowed down and started applying the break for what I thought would have been enough distance.  I was wrong. I slid by the road and past the mailbox after the road. Luckily no one was on the road so I put it in reverse and backed up to my turn. Now for the hill that goes to the sky. I started and made it about 2/3 up and the car stopped. I backed up and tried again multiple times. No go. I ended up backing the car all the way back down the hill. Did I mention it was dark and one side has a sheer drop? Made it back to the bottom. I literally put my foot on the gas all the way to the floor. I am weaving and bumping up the hill at 25 miles an hour. sliding around all the way (sheer drop reminder). As I top the hill to have a level drive with my foot all the way to the floor I am doing a massive 6-8 miles an hour. I make it to my house thanking God I am still alive. Saying it will get down to 19 tonight and 7 tomorrow night.  Think I will be driving the SUV the rest of the weekend.

Missing Buffalo

Yellowstone Investigates Illegal Release of 52 Park Bison From Quarantine. I saw these and was thinking could it be?

Sure enough, later that day I received a memo that some of the missing buffalo had been found in our area.

That night I went to “Bears in Winter” class. Learned that the park area has  about 700 grizzly bears and 500 black bears. Some interesting things I found out were that bears hibernate due to food shortage not due to winter. Polar bears for example hibernate in summer because food is better in the winter. A bear can sleep for 7 months straight without ever waking up, but can also come out of hibernation within a couple of minutes if it hears you from the den. Old lazy male grizzlies can hibernate with one side against a curve of a mountain and the other side of his body covered in snow. It was very informative.

A little bit of winter.

Today the Montana winter showed up a little. It was 7 at the house and 1 at work.

Met some of the National Park Ranger IT team. Nice guys. They covered the freedom of information act usage by environmentalist that are working to limit technology in national parks. They covered regulations in regards to technology with historical sites. I learned about the technology committee for Yellowstone. I have some documents that I need to read that cover specifically the use of WI-FI in national parks and historical sites.

Had lunch with some guys from engineering. I learned a lot about elk hunting, which I thought would be very easy with them being everywhere. I was informed that the elk know when the hunting season is and you can’t find a single one during that time.

In the office people are starting to discuss a broom-ball tournament. I “think” it involves brooms, a small ball and a hockey net. Not sure, but I am being told I will be on a team soon…..

Lastly I have a shout out for the nice Fed-Ex person. I received a letter today. First off they actually came to my porch, but more importantly they found a good size rock and placed the package between the wall on the porch and the rock. No throw the envelope and run for this driver.  Top notch customer service.

Learning to Track?

After work I went to a class on winter tracking. The instructor was a forensic tracker. I think this was poetic just for all the people who have been in a Unix class that I gave. A lot of information coming at you fast. One amazing data point was that an adult male wolf can cover up to 26 feet feet in the air when they are at full speed. 

I learned that the picture of prints that I took from my lost hike on Saturday was most likely an otter.

Last but not lest, after the class I received my can of bear off. I also learned that you want to wait until the grizzly is charging you and about 30 feet from you. Again I want to remind you that you are standing still and waiting for the 900 pound grizzly running at you to get just about 30 feet away. At which time you are spray for 1 full second. I learned that you just want spray a little that first time because if it doesn’t phase him and assuming you haven’t sprayed yourself, oh and by the way you haven’t passed out. If he is still coming you should unload the can directly into his face and then run. If he turned back on the first spray then you are ready to spray again when he decides to charge again. A data point for reference, if you are hiking in the winter one can “should” be enough. During the spring and summer you should have two cans. Last point of instruction is to have the spray very handy. Being in your backpack will not give you enough time if Mr. Grizzly is charging.  “Bear in Mind”.

First run (full on sloth) – ‘merica the beautiful

Went for my first run. The altitude is killing me. Went into full on sloth. As I was switching between running and walking as the songs changed I started approaching some elk. They were on both side of the road. A was in my sloth run as I was getting closer. A few got up and crossed the road. It looked like I could easily go between the two groups. Just then I was in my on episode of the Weather Channel “Would you survive?” A buck came running down into the middle of the road standing as tall as he could and eyeballing me. He clearly didn’t like me running up on his woman, so I decided to give him that side of town and go back the other way.

After a mile or so the other way I came up on a pull off for viewing. I noticed something in the middle of the river on a rock. Some other people were watching it as well. It thought it might have been an otter. As I got closer I saw it was a bald eagle. I couldn’t believe it. I asked the other people and they confirmed that it really was a bald eagle.  America the beautiful.