One of my favorite hobbies is reviving old computers and electronic devices. Most of them have been built to last a long time, but technology passes them by long before they wear out. A good example is my old Motorola Droid, the original Android device. Our Verizon contract ran out, and both of our Droids have been replaced by an HTC Incredible (Android) for me and an iPhone 4S (Georgia). Faster, prettier, snazzier. Continue reading “Reviving Droid”
Park service gift stores no longer stock film and flashbulbs or prephotographed slides or View Master reels of scenic wonders, and their postcard collection is hidden in a corner. How long has it been since you have sent or received one? I think I still have a lot of 20 cent postcard stamps somewhere (it now costs 32 cents to mail one, which is just about what they cost to buy). So in lieu of postcards, here are some pictures we took a couple of days ago at Yellowstone National Park. You have seen thousands of photos like these before, and so have we; we’ve even seen some of this in an Imax theater; but it doesn’t compare to the real thing.
The park suffered from a devastating fire in 1988 which burned a good portion of the pine trees. In keeping with their spirit, the Park Service pretty much let it burn, and has taken no steps to alter the course of nature; and nature has responded with a good growth of new forest where the old trees were. Sometimes the trees are the same species, sometimes they’re different. Towering over the new forest are occasional reminders of what was there 24 years ago; in some cases, there are tiny spots of green growth high up an otherwise dead tree. It’s weird.
The viewing gallery around the Old Faithful geyser can probably hold over a thousand ogling visitors; the next eruption was scheduled for 3:59 p.m. The crowd assembled, and when nothing had happened by 3:05, several people started grumbling and looking at their watches. “Hey, you’re on vacation,” I wanted to say. After a couple of false starts, the geyser geysed, but because of the wind blowing the water and steam away from us it wasn’t quite as awesome as some of the ViewMaster reels I remember. We followed in the middle of post-eruption bumper to bumper traffic all the way back to Jackson.
A dangreous forest fire near Jackson has brought lots of firefighters to the area, and depending on the prevailing winds, your view of the Grand Tetons can be obscured by smoke.
We drove from our condo in Wilson (west of Jackson and on the way to the Jackson Hole ski area) on the back road to Jackson Lake Lodge. Along the way, we were stopped: gridlock on the dirt road. It seems that several people were ignoring the copious Park Service warnings about wild animals, and were chasing a good sized bear with their digital cameras and zoom lenses ready. I wouldn’t have blamed the bear if he’d turned around and attacked them!
Jenny Lake is spectacular and the aspen trees are at the height of their color. It’s been as dry here as in Colorado.
Halfway up the narrow road to Signal Mountain, we were stopped by a young bird – it looked like a falcon – in the middle of the road. I stopped. He didn’t go away; instead, he jumped on the car and glared at us. When I started to drive, the bird hung on and rode with us around a hairpin turn to a scenic turnout where several other tourists saw our stowaway and started snapping pictures. Perhaps they found the falcon perched on a green Honda CRV with LT WORF license plates a little unusual. I cracked the window a bit and handed my camera to one of the bemused tourists (afraid that if I opened it any more the damned bird would jump inside) who took our picture.
The falcon then glared at Georgia, pooped on the hood, and jumped off, to the amusement of everyone.
Ken Burns was right. The national parks are one of America’s best ideas. And their $10 lifetime senior pass is the deal of the century.