"There is nothing so American as our national parks. The scenery and wildlife are native. The fundamental idea behind the parks is native. It is, in brief, that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us. The parks stand as the outward symbol of this great human principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Yellowstone Time

I am currently sitting in my apartment in Mammoth contemplating my next posting all the while considering how cruel the world is with my eating 1/4 lb. of lasagna and gaining 3 lbs. of body weight.  But this was 'Minnesota Lasagna'.  Patrick likes to differentiate the difference between my lasagna and his real-deal Italian Lasagna.  I would like to think that the Scandinavian/Minnesotan delicacy Lutefisk is the secret ingredient that makes mine so darn tasty but that would be an outright lie.........it's the lefse.  My Minnesotaness has been somewhat of a topic lately in the store.  I apparently say "Oh, yaaaaa" on a regular basis which causes the workers in the fountain to "Oh, yaaaa!" me right back.  Uff dah, what's a gal to do?  

On Wednesday night Patrick invited a few of his workers over for dinner.  I considered my driving time from Mammoth to Lake in 'Yellowstone Time'.  Yellowstone Time is a complicated mathematical equation that uses the figures from what driving time should be going 45 mph (and lower in appropriately marked places) and adding on 10 hours because of bison/bear jams.  I left Mammoth in what would normally be a good time with consideration to the for mentioned.  All was well until I got to almost Hayden Valley.  A very, very long line of cars.  Inch by inch we moved.  Cars came from the other direction sporadically which told me that there must be a bison in our lane heading in the same direction as us.  And no phone service to call and let anyone know that I was possibly going to be late.  The bison finally moved off the road and up Mary Mountain Trail.  

The next place to tackle was Grizzly Overlook.  Every evening there is a huge line of vehicles moving by, pulling into parking spaces, pulling out of spaces, people running across the road, car doors being flung open, etc.  It is a very busy area and not one where eyes should be taken off what is happening in front of your vehicle.  I made it through.

Then came the Mud Volcano Area.  Another huge line of vehicles.  And this time I could see ahead of me that people had exited their cars and were all over the road.  This is a sign that you may be sitting there a very long time.  I started fidgeting and repeatedly looking at my clock.  If I was there long enough the guests could show up and find no food (that delicious Minnesota Lasagna), no beverages and no Robyn.  And since I had sorted through my CD collection on a previous jam I had nothing to do but sit there and tap my fingers on my steering wheel.    Tick tock, tick tock.
I finally made it to Lake with just enough time to spare to prepare the lasagna (the sauce was made the previous evening), make a salad and some garlic bread.  And that is how a dinner gathering in Yellowstone goes.  It's one of the only places that the hostess may have the excuse that they were late because of bison blocking traffic.

My morning drives still are one of the best parts of my day.  Though Hayden Valley is extremely foggy in the morning I am able to peek out at the landscape when I come by Grizzly Overlook and I am over the fog bank.  I can look down and see the fog rise up over Alum Creek and blanket over parts of the valley.  There is still a patchwork of snow to the west of the valley but that is melting quickly.

This morning I needed to be in West Yellowstone for ServeSafe certification training.  Andrea had also signed up for the training so I picked her up in Canyon along the way.  I miss seeing her on a regular basis so our morning drive to West (locals shorten West Yellowstone to West) was filled with our old familiar laughter.  The ServeSafe training took all day and it ended with our testing.  We will receive our results in abut ten days.  No worries, though.  All employees are required to take a shortened version of ServeSafe as part of their new employee training but we decided to further our training and be certified.  Learning more or something new is something I have always valued.  We ended our day with a grilled cheese sandwich at the Canyon General Store fountain........and more laughter.  We have also decided that we would go to the pig races near Red Lodge together.  

And a special message to my dear friend Judy:  We still are the 3 Amigos!  You are always in our hearts!