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RV Travel Tales: Yellowstone Lake

We entered Yellowstone National Park at the southern gate on May 25, 2014. Snow banked the roadway in walls half as high as our motorhome. We passed Lake Yellowstone, looking like the ice rink at Rockefeller Center in New York City—in an immense size, of course. In my head, I said: “That will not thaw all summer!” But, by early summer, the cold and deep waters reflected clouds overhead. In Visitor Centers in Yellowstone National Park, we learned facts about the largest lake in the park, indeed: the largest lake in North America at more than 7,000 feet elevation:

       1.      Its vast waters cover approximately 136 square miles.
2.      Yellowstone Lake is roughly 20 miles long and14 miles wide with a shoreline of 141 miles.
3.      The lake’s average depth is approximately 139 feet and its deepest spot is a canyon 390 feet deep. The water stays at an average 41 degrees.

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The Healthy Traveler: You Can Have Your Cheese and Eat It, Too

There’s a lot to be said about cheese.  Do you need to cut it completely out of your diet to lower cholesterol?  Absolutely not!  There is still much to be enjoyed without eliminating it altogether.  

We all know that cheese can be high in saturated and total fat, calories and cholesterol, all of which should be limited for a healthy diet.  That equates to smaller portions and choosing some cheeses over others. 

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The Silver Gypsy:  My Birthday

I was actually born on “turkey day” more years ago than I care to remember - in fact I can’t remember them whether I care to or not!  This is not an especially exciting or even a milestone birthday except that I am still alive and kicking and with my pretty-darn-good-health, that alone is worth celebrating.  I don’t expect anyone, including me, is going to make a big fuss about it.

I’m not sure if I’ve shown you a picture of the cabin where I was born.  I certainly have talked about it a lot.  Although the farm is still in the family, the cabin, playhouse, outhouse, and the barn are no longer there.  Even the bridge over the stream has gone on to a more streamlined, less-satisfying-to-the-eye version.  Some of the trees I used to climb are also missing...but then again, I’m missing a few things, too, height and memory come to mind.

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Adventures in RVing: Natural Bridges Boondocking

In the November 2014 issue of RV Life Magazine there is an article entitled Four Favorite National Monuments which briefly covers Natural Bridges, Craters of The Moon, John Day Fossil Beds and Mount Saint Helens National Monuments.

I have visited all four of these monuments and highly recommend you do as well. However, there is one thing you need to be aware of regarding the campground at Natural Bridges National Monument.

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Great Escapes: “Wall of Bones” at Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument covers over 210,000 acres and straddles two states. If you’re like most visitors, the “wall of bones” will be your main destination, so you’ll want to head to the west side of the monument located in Utah. There are no dinosaur fossils in the Colorado portion of the monument. The Quarry Exhibit Hall houses the wall of bones (also known as the Carnegie Dinosaur Quarry) and reopened in Fall 2011 after an extensive retrofit. The Hall contains thousands of dinosaur fossils— some you can even touch! There is so much good information here that soon you’ll be an expert on the differences between a meat-eating Allosaurus, long-necked Camarasaurus, and an Apatosaurus— the first dinosaur discovered in the quarry!

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The Full-Timing Nomad: Is Free BLM Boondocking a Thing of the Past?

Earlier this summer the RV community started buzzing with chatter about H.R. 5204 Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Modernization Act of 2014, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would impose new visitor and user fees throughout the National Parks System, U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Introduced by U.S. Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT), this bill calls for continuation of current fees at places like campgrounds and national parks, while taking on new ones such as: 

• Parking and entry fees for any public lands that have a public toilet within a half mile.
• Day use fees for recreation in public areas such as waterways, horse and hiking trails on federal lands
• Raising the cost of interagency passes (i.e., The America the Beautiful Pass) with incremental increases every three years.
• Possibly impose fees on park shuttles, interpretive programs and special exhibits
• Require campers to pay fees for boondocking on public lands with no facilities 

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The 19th Hole: Book Review: Two Good Rounds - Titans

Author Elisa Gaudet has just released her latest book “Two Good Rounds  – Titans: Leaders in Industry & Golf.” This is the third book in her Two Good Rounds series. “Two Good Rounds – Titans” explores the connection between golf and business. Thirty three of the top CEO’s in the world share how they got started in their career, greatest achievements, advice, how golf and business are related, as well as golf and life tips they have learned. 

For example, Paul Fireman, founder of Reebok and owner of Liberty National Golf course, offers this advice to readers in Titans: "When you go on a golf course with a person for four hours, you build a relationship in four hours that could otherwise take you 40 years to get. You have an understanding of the person. Golf teaches you a great deal: Integrity, patience, perseverance." 

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RV Travel Tales: Visiting Norris Basin in Yellowstone

Norris is one of Yellowstone’s most popular geyser basins—so much so that parking spaces are often filled, especially in June, July, and August, the months of highest visitation to the national park. Named after an early Park Superintendent, Norris may be the hottest geyser basin in Yellowstone. A history of Norris Geyser Basin notes: The Carnegie Institute of Washington, D.C. made test wells in 1929 to determine subsurface temperatures. One test hole was abandoned at 265 feet when the temperature reached 401°F and the steam pressure threatened to destroy the drilling rig. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_ARLINE-Emerald-Spring-Back-Basin.jpgFollowing the trail from the parking lot to the basin, we first encountered Norris Museum, a log building, its architecture described as “National Park Service Rustic.” Built in1929 and 1930, the Norris Museum perches on a hill between the Porcelain Basin and the Back Basin, the two areas that comprise Norris. The trailside museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is actually two rectangular sections separated by a breezeway that frames a view of Porcelain Basin—a perfect introduction for visitors arriving to Norris. Porcelain Basis is stark and barren, yet striking in beauty with pastel shades of blue, pink, red, yellow, and orange in the features. Porcelain aptly describes the landscape. Fine china comes to mind, especially when viewed from the terrace of Norris Museum. While overlooking Porcelain Basin, few likely think…acidic environment. Yet that is what stymies the growth of plants or vegetation, even algae and bacteria. Instead, information explains that the soft colors come from mineral oxides. 

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The Healthy Traveler: Take in the Local Sights as You Travel

Make your next trip safer and more enjoyable by slowing down the pace a little. It’s not a race to see how fast you get there, and half the fun of traveling in an RV is stopping to enjoy the sights. Whether you are traveling in a motorhome or towing a trailer behind you, take the time to stop for the night and enjoy the journey. Use these tips to make it easier to stop and faster to pack up again.

Move the Bikes Out

If you’re traveling with kids, then you may have bikes attached to your RV. Now is the time to get them out of the RV and store them outside. If you have a motorhome, invest in a bike rack that will go into your RV’s tow hitch. If you are towing, then get a double-hitch that accommodate both your trailer and your hitch-mounted bike rack. That way, you don’t have to move the bikes at all if you are just stopping somewhere for the night.

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The Silver Gypsy: Recycling

Do you recycle?  I know it is more difficult when you are on the road full time because not every campground has recycling and sometimes bins for this can be pretty obscure.  We have recycling here at North Ranch for magazines and pop cans but I take mine directly to the dump.  I have to take my trash anyway.  It is amazing to me how much cardboard and how many tin cans I can gather in roughly three weeks.  The trash container is never full unless I have yard stuff to put in it but the recycle container is full in short order.  I also try to make it as compact as I can.

Some companies, like Kimberly-Clark are “going green.” The makers of Scott Tissue have come up with an innovative way to save on trash.  They are making their biggest change in a hundred years by going tubeless with their toilet paper, and a future consideration may be adapting that to paper towels as well.  The less-than-perfectly round rolls still fit over TP spindles and they are good to the last

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