Today was a quiet day around Red Rock RV Park, with more and more vacancies, and folks coming and leaving after only a night or two; the wildflowers are disappearing, ground squirrels are beginning to hibernate, and fall is in the air! After some tough wading and fishing the last couple of days, we took the day off and just hung out, using the time to clean both the motor home and the car.
Dusty. Many of the roads here in the west are gravel, one doesn’t really need air conditioning so we use fans in the motor home and the car windows are down when we drive, so dust is everywhere. Thus, we are constantly dusting, vacuuming, and mopping the motor home, and dusting and vacuuming the car and dumping fine gravel off the floor mats—part of the price we pay to spend the summer out here.
Bugs. Can’t remember if we mentioned bugs, but we have sustained mosquitos and flies, seemingly by the thousands. When our new friend and neighbor, Jack, was here, we sat out more, and noticed the bugs more, but they are still here. The Thermocell keeps the mosquitos at bay, but the flies bite and leave a fearsome sore; sometimes biting multiple times and leaving several sores. And when the Thermocell is not around, like when we fished the Gibbon River on Wednesday, mosquitos experienced a huge buffet meal on the tops of my hands; the bites still itch.
Prices. We assume prices are high because this is so close to Yellowstone National Park. Gasoline is outrageous, being 30 to 40 cents higher than in Bozeman or other areas somewhat away from here. We wrote about fixing flats—$35 here in Island Park/Henry’s Lake, only $10 in Bozeman. And groceries are a bit higher too, though not bad. Flies at Craig Matthews’ Blue Ribbon Fly Shop in West Yellowstone were very reasonable at $1.79 each, but the Henry’s Fork Angler prices their flies at $2.59 each. We didn’t check out their fly tying materials, but suspect similar price differences.
Westerners Love Their Outdoor Recreation. It was a bit surprising to find signs in town that caution drivers that snowmobiles are on city streets, and ATVs as well. Many people who stay at Red Rock RV Park bring their ATVs, all sorts and sizes, and explore the many state recreation areas and US Forest Service roads. It’s common to see ATVs traversing streets and roads in most of the towns; ATVing is big here. We understand that in the winter, snowmobiling is huge and the primary means of local transportation. Families tend to clan together as well—perhaps part of their Mormon culture—and we’ll see 3 or 4 RVs come in and occupy a common area, most with ATVs in tow. Boats, inflatable rafts, individual pontoons, and float tubes are at almost every RV parking site. With the abundance of lakes, both manmade and natural, these come in hand for fishing which is huge out here. We thought fly fishing in Arkansas was big, but it does not compare to here, and state and Federal officials place a high value on protecting this resource; if only we had the same degree of state interest in our fly fishing! And lastly, RVing is very popular, or so it seems, as almost none of the RV parks had vacancies until a week or so ago.
Obviously, we really like it here, but wouldn’t want to live here; there are too many other places to see and things to do, like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the Northern California, Oregon, and Washington coast, northern Idaho, the great Southwest, and perhaps even the northeast. And we’ve found that 4 weeks is just about our limit, and we’re ready to move on, and we’ve been away from home 4 weeks today. Don’t be surprised if we come home early!