Tag Archives: Osens RV Campground

10/3/2019 Livingston, Gardiner, Mammoth, Old Faithful, Day 23


Osens RV Campground, Livingston Mt

Temp last night was a solid 38 F.  There was little threat of freezing.  Even so, Ellen very surprised said, “There’s no water!”.  “Paul must have disconnected the hose.”  Around 10 PM Paul goes around in a golf cart and does that to prevent frozen lines.  I stowed our hose and filter and switched our pump on. 

Ellen awoke early in the morning , “I think that’s the little dipper.  No it’s the big dipper.  I can see the stars for the first time.  They’re bright.  Oh there’s a satellite.”  Li’l Beast was gently rocking in the wind gusts as some sort of a front worked its way through Livingston.  I went back to sleep easily.

NPR is playing on my phone this morning as Ellen sleeps in.   No need to wake sleepy head.  Our Max/Min weather station shows a min of 37 and a max of 38 overnight.

Impeachment is the news of the day with The Orange One claiming treason, the buffoon.

Happy Birthday

“Happy Birthday” was the first thing Ellen said as I rolled our of bed.  She rolled over and went back to sleep. Today is my 70th birthday.  I’ve never thought much of birthdays.  To me they’re just another day.  Turning 40 or 50 didn’t phase me.  60 was a surprise.  “Don’t trust anyone over 30” or so the mantra went in my 20’s.  But 70? This is serious.  It’s fitting we saw the dinosaur museum yesterday.  I’m becoming one.

Are you going to do something special on your birthday?  How often is that asked?  Today we’ll visit Old Faithful and have lunch in the old lodge there. We’ll find a place to overnight either near Gardiner or at Mammoth.  There’s a campground that looks to be situated in a river valley with a cotton wood grove.  If true, we’ll check that out on the way.  We’ll also visit a photographer’s shop in Gardiner.  Last year we chatted with him for quite some time.  We spoke about wildlife, the park, the cottonwoods along the snake river, living in Gardiner, travel, his photographs, and what it takes to get “just that shot” in the wild.  I look forward to visiting with him.

“Something Special?”, Yellowstone is perhaps the most exotic monument in all of the New World.  It is fascinating.  From the primordial beds of thermophilic bacteria in and around the steaming colorful pools to the herds of buffalo and scattered wolves, it is a marvel and a treat to behold. And that’s not even considering the profound geology of the area.  Yup, Happy Birthday.





It’s nearly impossible to talk of Yellowstone this year without dropping into a conversation about human stupidity.  First up was the drunken fellow bullfighting a buffalo.  Luckily for him, the buffalo was unimpressed with his taunts.  A video of the idiot went viral.  He was located and fined.

There was the case of a German family who rescued a baby buffalo.  The found the animal wandering around, put it in their car, and drove to a ranger station. “Here’s one that got loose.”

The manager at Osens’ was once asked, “When do they let the animals out”.  The woman seriously thought that Yellowstone rounded up their animals and housed them overnight like any good zoo would.

Last week two guys walked off the boardwalk around Old Faithful and went up to the geyser’s spout and looked in.  Photos of them also went viral.  Last I heard they could be fined for damaging the geyser as well for going off the boardwalk.

Just a few days ago, some drunken bozo arrived at a clinic with severe burns over a large portion of his body.  The next morning at Old Faithful,, rangers found a beer can, and evidence of someone falling into a hot pool.  He will also be fined once (if) he recovers.

Then there are the moms and dads who think it’s cute to take a photo of their toddler riding a buffalo.  Right, walk up to a wild animal and put your child atop. Facebook likes outweighs their child’s safety? 

I’ve had the benefit of many years of hiking in wildernesses in the U.S.  “There’s bears in them hills, you got a gun?” “No.”.  I had that chat beside a log cabin in Appalachia with a fellow who’d watch my car.  He was maybe 38 and had few teeth.  I’ve both seen and had close encounters with bear.  They are not to be messed with.  I’ve also walked past a yearling eating grubs from a fallen tree.  I was literally within a foot of him as I passed.  Risky?  You bet. Though the way that bear was focused on eating, I felt safe.  I think most people are out of touch with the violence inherent in the wilderness.  Apex predators are very real and very dangerous.

I have not personally experienced this level of D’oh behavior (walking past a yearling aside).  It’s out there. I hope we see grizzlies and wolves in the park, but at a very safe distance.  “Let’s go feed the bear” may cross my mind, but as a joke.  I would prefer not to become dinner.

LP Consumption

Gauging LP use is tricky.  When filled the tank will never go full.  We could have a fill then then next morning it will read 2/3.  OF course the tank will read 2/3 when the gauge just drops below Full.  It’ll read 1/2 when just below 2/3.

We filled our tank when we left Coeur D’Alene on 9/30.  Today our tank reads 1/4, though yesterday it read 1/4 as well.  We will fill today and divide the gallon fill by three to figure daily usage in cold weather.

Our LP tank is full.  It took 5 gal. which seemed strange.  At Blackwell we had a 7 gal fill. Still that’s about 1.66 gal LP consumed per cold day. Our tank holds 13 gal.  Perhaps our gauge reads 1/4 once the tank drops below 1/2.  Half of 13 is 6.5.  Unless the gauge is inaccurate (possible) or there is a built in “reserve” (likely), there is no way our gauge should read 1/4 and only take 5 gal.   Working backwards, if the tank were just below 1/2 full and took 5 gal it “should” read empty at 10 gal. That would leave a 3 gal reserve.  Also possible the gauge is not linear.  For most car fuel gauges, the gauge changes slowly from full and more quickly past 3/4. This would be the opposite of what I’m seeing.  Oh Well.

Not a Cloud in the SKY


Yellowstone River West of Gardiner

Yellowstone RV Park, Mammoth Campground

Today started cool with strong winds in Livingston.  The sky was clear for the first time since our bike ride in Coeur D’Alene.  As the day developed, temperature soared reaching 77 F in the valleys.  Snowy peaks sheltered from the sun probably stayed cold.  Ellen wished me a wonderful sunrise and sunny warm day for my birthday.  She must have an “in” with the gods of the weather.  What a remarkable day today has been.

The drive from Livingston to Gardiner is along the Yellowstone River with some dramatic views over the river, across golden fields, to snow capped mountains.   There are numerous fishing holes and outfitters on the river.  Fishermen were everywhere.  We stopped at Yellowstone RV Park just outside Gardiner.  A dirt road drops down into a narrow canyon overlooking the Yellowstone river.  With no expansive views, it’s an “ok” campground.

The office sits atop the road.  It was closed.  The manager’s 5th wheel was close by.  I walked over, “Hello, anybody home?”  with no answer I walked back to the office.  There I found a note saying, “out to lunch be back soon”.  I turned back and saw Ellen talking with the manager.  Ellen had knocked.   Site 7 was open.  Ok we’ll look at it.  We walked down the road and Tammy went back to her lunch.  We decided #7 was ok, but couldn’t roust Tammy.  Ok, we’ll check out another site and call her back to make the reservation. Off we went.

Rocky Mountain RV Park & Cabins sits on a ridge above Gardiner.  It could have expansive views, but we would not know.  A sign announced FULL.   We called Tammy and left a message that we’d take site 7, please call us back.

With two other vehicles entering the park, we had no wait getting in.  With our Senior Pass, we paid nothing to enter.  We stopped at Madison Campground, again there was no line.  We chatted with Rickie about the park, weather, and campground.  At 12:15 they had lots of open sites, though the ones high up were all taken.  Only $14.46 a night for a site with no water, electricity, no sewer.  In fact the only place in the park to dump waste was Madison and they closed it down last week.  Temps dropped too low.  Increasingly we thought to stay outside the park for a few days, particularly if rain and snow is due tomorrow.  We drove the campground eying those sites that appealed to us for future use.



Yellowstone National Park

I drove on to Old Faithful to get a renewed feel for the park.  We saw deer, elk, bison, and hare along the way.  We never stopped to scan the tree line for wolves or bear.  We recognized a few favorite places from last year’s trip.  “We’ll be back.”

I wanted to visit Old Faithful for lunch on my birthday.  Old Faithful is roughly 50 miles from Gardiner: No Problem.  The drive took about two hours, with some delay for road work.  My memory of the park was spot on in places and remarkably vapid in others.  Mammoth was as I remembered.  The drive from Mammoth to Gibbon Falls took far longer than I remembered.  Gibbon Falls is much closer to Madison than I remembered, probably because we drove it behind a herd of buffalo at 5 mph.  Past Madison 89 rises past to Firehole canyon. I remember walking this area looking for wolves last year.  I love, love, love the golden fields past Firehole Canyon on either side of Firehole River.  We saw several buffalo herds and elk harems in this area.  Old Faithful is not much farther.






We saw steaming ponds and fumaroles, remembering those we visited last year.  Often we were unsure that we had stopped.   There is so much to explore in the park.  We stopped for buffalo and elk a few times.




The Largest Log Hotel in the World

Old Faithful Inn

The town of Old Faithful has two inns.  The modern snow lodge and the Old Faithful Inn.  The snow lodge is modern, has wifi, and lacks the charm of the Old Faithful Inn (in my opinion).  The Old Faithful Inn may be the largest log building in the world.  It opened in the spring of 1904.

I had wanted to have late lunch in the Inn’s dining room.  The dining room opens at 5PM.  We could have waited, but wanted to get back “home” before sunset.  That left us the Inn’s restaurant, with a choice of bison burger, chicken sandwich, hummus, or a salad.






Happy Birthday



10/2/2019 Bozeman, Museum of the Rockies, Jams, Day 22


Home Again


Empty in the Morning

Osens RV Campground

Whacky Weather.  It’s been unusually cold in Idaho and Montana due to a deep dip in the jet stream.  It dropped down to Arizona.  Meanwhile temperatures in the east have soared.  This morning NPR reported that Washington DC was 100F.  Yes, O Orange One, there is no climate change.

At 8:15 the outside temp here is 33F.  Last night’s minimum temp 33!  The weather is improving slowly.  Our heater has brought inside temp from 45 to 65 quickly.  That rattling fan noise came back yesterday for a few minutes and again today for a few minutes.  Ii haven’t swapped out the thermistor yet..  The fan noise is insignificant for now.

Today’s news is consumed by Congress’ impeachment inquiry into The Orange One and government stonewalling.  Rachael Maddow’s book Blowout about the oil and gas companies is out.  She’s on the Today Show talking about corruption, Elizabeth Warren’s main campaign theme.

Ellen had her cappuccino in bed. She’s listening to NPR and perusing her smart phone.  We have good WiFi here.  The Osens manager once worked for NorTel.  When asked, I told her my email address that includes @pacbell.  “Oh DILBERT!” she said.  I looked befuddled. “You know Dilbert, right?”  “Of course, the cartoon character.”   “Well Dilbert’s creator (I forgot his name) worked at PacBell.  His comic strip is about people who worked there.”  I had a good laugh and another piece of trivia to file away in my mental sieve.   I’d expect good wifi from a communications person of any stripe.

Ellen just said, “It’s snowing!”  There are large snowflakes falling from the sky.  Not enough to be troublesome; not yet at least.  And here I’m planning to take a shower in a few minutes.

We have great local station reception.  Hillary is on The View at the moment.

Yellowstone NP

I called Yellowstone central reservation selected RV reservations and was transferred to Scott.  “There is only one campground open now.”  “Madison?”  “Yes, how large is your camper?”  There was one site open for a 24’ motorhome.  Getting  more information from Scott was difficult, “Can you put me in touch with the campground?”  Moments later Jackie at Madison Campground answered.  “No, we do not hold sites open for walk ins. If you make a reservation and don’t show we charge you for the first night and free up the reservation.” “If I call ahead could I cancel the first night and keep the 2nd and 3rd?”  “Yes, but you would still be charged for the first night and you have to call.”  With a senior pass camping in Yellowstone is all of $14.46.  I have no idea how 0.46 figures in.  Jackie was very helpful.  I would have made a reservation for 10/6, 7, and 8, but Ellen was desperately making “NO” hand signals.  There’s a website that details how many sites are taken at a campground.  Assuming it is accurate, we’d know if/when to make reservations.  We can “play it by ear” as to where to stay: Mammoth, Gardiner, West Yellowstone, Madison, or points south.  Madison Campground will be open through October 19th.

I absolutely love the freedom of retirement.  We can stay as long as we want wherever we want.  We have no need to be home at any time.  By keeping our plans loose without reservations ahead of time, we are not obliged to be anywhere at a specific time. That’s stress free freedom.

At the office I arranged to stay another day.  I mentioned we’ll be staying at Madison in the park and that there are quite a few campsites still open.  Mindy checked her notes and said, Madison is the only campsite with flush toilets and showers.  They also allow generators during the day.  The other campgrounds are dry camping only.  Then she looked at road closures in the park.  The road from the north entrance to Old Faithful is open. The road from Madison east to Canyon is temporarily closed. The road from Roosevelt Tower to West Thumb is closed as is the road south of Old Faithful into Grand Teton.  “They must have had snow last night.  Here the temp should be in the 50’s today and 60’s tomorrow. “We’ll be back to autumn weather in a few days.”  She gave me a good map of Yellowstone and the URL for park road conditions.  That will be useful in the days to come.

The sun is shining here with clouds over the ridges.  I know the pass to Bozeman will be open.  How much snow fell there last night?


“should we stay here another night?”  “I suppose so. It’s closer to Gardiner and the park.  We can buzz over to Bozeman for the day knowing we have a place tonight.” I said.  I’ll make the reservation shortly.  Today’s shower was fine.  With plenty of hot water the small room warmed pretty well.  We’ll be off to The Museum of the Rockies, lunch at Jams Restaurant on Main Street, then back “home”.  On to Gardiner we go tomorrow.  We could stay outside Gardiner or pop into Yellowstone and stay at Mammoth Campground.



Wide Open Road and Blue Skies


A Replica of National T-Rex in Washington

Museum of the Rockies

Entry the 2nd day is free.  Check when/if you go as that policy could change.  Maury Irvine is the fellow who guided us yesterday.  He is among the top eight volunteers to the museum by hours spent with between 5,000 and 9,999 hours. If you have a chance for a guided tour, do it.  You will hear anecdotes and photographs few others have seen.


Honored Volunteers, 4th name Maury Irvine

There is a benefit to doing your own thing in a museum.  Today we wandered at will spending as much time with each fossil, cast, or replica as we wanted.  Photography takes time and is not appropriate for a group tour. I had fun with a camera today.

I’ll post photos of the museum’s displays in a separate post. 




Really? The Beatles?  This Week?

Jams, Downtown Bozeman

Parking a motorhome on downtown Bozeman’s side streets is no problem at all. At least that’s true off-season. We had a three block walk to Jams.

We found Jams last year.  We asked local shopkeepers where to eat. Jams was most often mentioned.  We had breakfast last year.  I remember getting the Huevos Rancheros and Ellen had the corned beef hash.  We sat beside a political consultant who was helping Greg Gianforte prepare for a debate.  Greg’s the guy who assaulted a reporter in 2017.  That was last year. 

Outside the restaurant stood this sign.  I enjoy the unusual, the funny, the creative in our travels. 




Jams, Empty Half an Hour before Closing


Jams Mural, More Music, Less Jelly!

We sat at a window.  Jams was near closing and practically empty.  I ordered their Counter Assault: “House-shaved ribeye, pepper jack cheese, onions, grilled fresh jalapeños, and mango habanero sauce on French bread. Heat level made to order.”  I asked for hot.  Ellen had their beet salad: “Roasted red and golden beets, sliced slab bacon, chèvre, heirloom grape tomatoes, micro greens, pea tendrils, balsamic reduction, and crispy shallots.”  Both were excellent.  The Counter Assault is a variant of a pepper steak with Jalapeno instead of green pepper.  The mango offsets the hot (somewhat).  Hot was hot, not so hot that I developed hiccups or had my forehead break out in beads of sweat., but almost.  It was very good and right on the edge.




Counter Assault Sandwich


Beet Salad

REI Again

The light weight down jacket I bought yesterday is very warm; great as a layer under a wind breaker.  Ellen does not have anything that’s down.  I suggested we go back to REI while we’re in Bozeman.  We might find something she likes.  We did and she did.  She avoided a $300 Patagonia jacket settling for a modest REI down jacket in eggplant.

Returning to Osens RV Campground, we stopped for an LP fill but they were closed.  We’re down to 1/4, which should be plenty for tonight and perhaps a few more.  I fill often to be sure we have heat and refrigeration when dry camping.  We may be doing some in Yellowstone.

Ellen plans to cook chili in her new pot.  She’s browning the meat.   I’m running a test cycle on the pressure cooker.  This pressure cooker is just right.


Done in Fifteen Minutes in the Pot


With Cheese, Cilantro, Sour Cream, Avocado, Yum

Max temp today was 57.  Tomorrow should run into the 60’s.  We had snow this morning, clouds late morning, and partial sunshine through to sunset.  The weather is clearing.