Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wow, What a Week!

So, now I am wearing two hats…GSA Trainer and Campground Manager.  It does get a tad stressful at times.  My front office crew arrived a week ago, and we've been busy training about 8 hours a day.

Our first day of training was Saturday, and wouldn't you know we awakened to about 6 inches of snow and no electricity.  We do have a generator at the campground, where we are training, so we were able to get all of the computer training done, even though we had no heat.  My GSAs are real troopers…we worked hard and got it done without getting too cold.

The power finally came on that night, so on our second day of training we were nice and warm, but the computer system was done.  Ugh!  We did what we could, then I cancelled class around 10:00.  Frustrating doesn't even begin to describe it.  Bill and I took advantage of a free afternoon and drove out to West Yellowstone to buy some groceries.  

Then day 3 rolled around…we had heat AND a computer system.  Life is good!

So, today we are all off, and I am awaiting the arrival of the remainder of my staff…Campground Attendants and Camper Services Attendants.  It will be great to have everyone here together.

Here are a few pictures from our spring snowstorm:

One thing I need to mention…my front office staff is mostly new folks, and it's going be an awesome staff!  Can't wait to meet all of our attendants!

Update:  Just received word one of my Campground Attendant couples will not make it.  They had RV issues on the way out and decided they had to go back home.  So, if anyone would like to spend the summer in Yellowstone, working in Canyon Campground, drop me an email!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Home Sweet Home

Yesterday, Bill and I moved into our seasonal site at Canyon Village Employee Park.  It feels good to be home.  Here we are….

…and here we are exactly one year ago in the same site.

I am still shocked at the lack of snow.  I did a quick drive through Canyon Campground today, and we are in pretty good shape.  A few sites will need some shoveling, but the snow level this year is so much better than what it was last year.  However, I did see a large pile of bear scat….

Tomorrow my staff begin to arrive!  Let the games begin!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Two Down…Two to Go

…Training, that is.   I have trained Madison and Fishing Bridge.  Madison Campground opened last Friday, May 1.  They checked in 125 sites, which is new record for opening day.  We attribute this to the unseasonably warm weather and beautiful blue skies.

Fishing Bridge RV Park opens tomorrow at 8:00 am.  On Saturday, I start training Bridge Bay Campground…and then the following Saturday, I start training MY folks…Canyon Campground.  My front office staff arrives on Thursday, May 14, and I can't wait to meet them!

I finally saw my first bear…a beautiful grizzly, no less.  However, since I was in a company car, I was unable to stop and take pictures, but I had a nice viewing as I drove past very slowly.

Bill and I have been working lots of hours, but we've gotten out and about a little, and here are some random pictures from our excursions.

Yellowstone River - LeHardy Rapids

The Harlequin Ducks are back…it must be spring!

The Upper Falls of the Yellowstone River.

 And, the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Yellowstone Lake

After a few gray days of rain/snow mixture, we are back to beautiful Wyoming-blue skies.  Today I was able to snag a picture of the frozen Yellowstone Lake.

I keep hearing talk of bears in the area…a boar and a sow with two cubs.  I haven't seen them yet, but I'm keeping my camera close by…just in case!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Stop #2

Today Bill and I moved into the interior of Yellowstone.  We spent a couple of weeks in Yellowstone River RV Park in Gardiner, while I trained Madison Campground's Guest Service Agents.  I always refer to Madison as our "guinea pigs."  They are the first campground to open, and it gives me the opportunity to get back into my training mode.  It was a good week of training, and Madison has a good bunch of folks working there this summer.

Bill has been just as busy as I.  He has been all over the park installing computers and pulling cable to get Yellowstone ready to open.  He has been fortunate to see bears, bears with cubs and wolves.  Me?  I've seen lots of bison, elk and deer.  While I am not complaining, I must admit I am a bit jealous.

But today was a special day…we are now IN Yellowstone, behind a locked gate, since this area of the park has not opened to the public yet.  First, we had to stop in Mammoth, where I picked up my company car, and Bill took care of some business in the payroll office.  Here's our rig parked in what was the parade grounds, when the US Army was in charge of Yellowstone.

 After getting my car, I led the way, and Bill followed with the rig. Since we couldn't stop, wouldn't you know we'd see mountain goats, two moose, and about 8 trumpeter swans.  I loved seeing the moose!  And then we had to go through the construction.  It was pretty bad, but Bill took it very slowly, and everything was in its place when we stopped.

The best part of the day was going through the "CLOSED" gate.
 Bill did the honors of opening the gate.  There is a combination pad lock on the gate, and we just happen to know the code.
 And here he is on the other side.  This is one reason we love working pre-season.  It is such a great feeling to be on this side of the locked gate.  However, we can't play or explore.  The National Park Service has gotten really strict, since they don't have the manpower right now to take care of us, if we get into trouble.
 It didn't take us long to get set up in our site…our home for the next three weeks, as I train Fishing Bridge and Bridge Bay.  The lack of snow is unbelievable!  Here we are today…..
…and here we are in 2011 in the same employee RV park.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Bill and I are back in Yellowstone, and yes, it feels like a homecoming.  Our friends, Rich and Ronda, were already in the RV park when we arrived on Sunday.  We hadn't seen each other since last fall, so we had a great time catching up and checking out their three-week-old Itasca motorhome.  They traded in their 15 year old Bounder and have a beautiful new rig.  We are so happy for them.

On Monday the four of us stopped by the Xanterra administrative offices before heading into the park.  We wanted to say hello and let our bosses know we have arrived.  It really was  like a homecoming.  When folks heard our voices, they came out of surrounding offices for a hug and a "welcome back."  It does feel like home.  It's nice when people seem genuinely happy to see us!

Bill and I have been into the park twice since arriving.  (Pre-season we spend a few weeks staying in an RV park in Gardiner, MT, just outside Yellowstone's north entrance.)  Each year I have to take this picture to show we really are early arrivers:

Here are some random shots taken in the park.  The first thing we noticed was the total lack of snow!  Normally, the ground is completely covered in snow, but not this year.

A pair of Sandhill Cranes: 
 A beautiful Pronghorn who posed willingly for this picture:
 Believe it or not, this is Lamar Valley sans snow.

One thing we love about being in the park this time of year…we have it all to ourselves….well, except for the bison.

 Nobody in their right mind would try to enter with this guy on guard.
 And what would a day in Yellowstone be without encountering a bison jam?  Here is our first of many, I'm sure.

Tomorrow morning Bill and I make it official and check in with Human Resources.  We will then go to work…Bill in the Computer Center and me in Campgrounds.  I'll be working to get everything ready to start training our first campground, who checks in on April 17.  And Bill will be installing computers and pulling cable to get Yellowstone up and running for the 2015 season.  It's going to be a blast!

Sunday, April 5, 2015