Newsletter Volume 12

           July/Aug 1997

In 1995, Jeff and Cyndie set aside their careers to pursue personal interests: travel, flyfishing and adventure. They lived in a 5th wheel trailer that had been converted into a fishing cabin on wheels. Their Ford F350 pickup and custom designed inflatable boat took them to places where dreams are made. Rowdy, their Golden Retriever, came along for the adventure.

This newsletter was produced 6 times a year to chronicle and share the adventures. It was distributed to family, friends, business associates and folks they met along the way.

Greetings from the Banks of the Yellowstone  As we write this newsletter we are sitting in our lawn chairs just a few yards from the free flowing waters of the Yellowstone River. With the temperature in the 70's and a brisk breeze blowing at our backs, we watch big white clouds drift across the blue background of Big Sky Country. We search our memory banks to recall all of the events since our last newsletter. It's a great place for us to be. But, right now, we're sure looking forward to this visit with you. Wish you were here.

In mid-July we pulled out of our favorite place on earth, Taylor Park, Colorado, and began a trek north and westward to new waters and new adventures. Our first stop on this issue's journey will be a repeat visit to the Green River in the Flaming Gorge Canyon of Utah. Next, we'll take you to Yellowstone National Park on a backpacking adventure. Along the way we'll share with you some more insights and stories of our life of adventure on the road. Best of all, we'll tell you of good times shared with good friends and more memories that will last a lifetime.

Back in the Gorge   There has only been one place that we have visited during our three summers on the road that was warranted a "three-peat". When we pulled our trailer back up to Dutch John, Utah, it was the third time we had chosen to spend a couple of weeks of our life on the Green River in the Flaming Gorge Canyon.

While Taylor Park in Colorado has become our unofficial "home" on the road, the Green has become our favorite place to visit. We like the Green because it offers a great combination of attractions and activities. The fishing on the Green is consistently good, meaning that you can catch a few fish on a bad day and a lot of fish on a good day. And, no matter what's happening with the fishing, the Green River in the Flaming Gorge is one of the most spectacular and fun floats in the Western US. Brilliantly colored canyon walls loom over the cold, crystal clear water that occasionally tumbles over rapids that are exciting and challenging to run in our raft.

We pulled into the Green on the 27th of July and hadn't had enough until 10 days later when we finally moved along. During this time we floated the Green six days. Four of these floats were in the "A" section of the river directly below the dam and near our campsite at Dripping Springs. Two of our floats took us well downstream of the dam into the Browns Park area. This area has a rich history. Many outlaws, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid made Browns Parks one of their favorite hideouts. This mountain valley is well protected by only a few steep canyon entrances that could be guarded easily and lent themselves to ambushing any lawman who tried to enter Browns Park. And, since Browns Park is located right on the Colorado and Utah border, the outlaws could easily move to Utah when the Colorado sheriff came calling, and vise versa.

The Browns Parks floats are perhaps the most memorable. We saw very few oilier people during our days in these sections of the Green, bringing us the solitude we so enjoy from floating big rivers. They also provided us with some of the best fishing of the trip. All the details on the fishing are reported in our Fishing Recap column below.

Our time on the Green this summer has only served to further endear us to this area. In fact, we plan to return to the Green in September to sample it in the Fall for the first time. With Texas Trout Unlimited friends who plan to join us in this experience, it is sure to be another memorable time in the Gorge.

A Walk in the Park  During each of the past three summers that we have been on the road, our good friend Bill Choate has joined us for a week long adventure. Our first summer Bill got on the raft with Jeff and floated the Gunnison River in Colorado just days after the water dropped from flood levels. Last year Bill joined us in Alaska where he got on a bush plane with us, flew into the wilderness and was dumped out with just a raft, some provisions, a topographic map and an agreement that we'd all meet up with this pilot again, 35 miles downstream at some appointed time. After two years adventuring with Bill, we realized he was pretty gullible and would pretty much go along with anything. We found out that he had never even been to Yellowstone National Park. So, to properly culture Bill, we dreamed up a trip to Yellowstone and then convinced him it would be cool to carry backpacks into the backcountry to spend a couple of nights in a tent.

Never mind that Bill didn't own a backpack and had never even carried a pack before. He scampered off to REI at our urging and was soon the proud owner of a state-of-the-art backpack, along with various other camping "accessories". We figured that since Bill was a former Ironman Triathlete and, since we wanted to get ourselves into the Yellowstone backcountry with the least amount of effort, we'd get Bill to come along as our pack mule.

Bill arrived on a weekend and we spent a few days getting him warmed up. A road trip to Dillon, Montana and the Patagonia clothing outlet made sure we were all outfitted in good clothing for the elements. We then spent a couple of leisurely days doing day floats on the Yellowstone River. Finally, we decided to take Bill into "The Park". We spent most of this day driving around seeing the Yellowstone that most tourists see. That would be the narrow strip of land that surrounds the roads and boardwalks that go through the Park and the "road-trained" wildlife that hangs around those areas. During that day we also stopped into the Ranger Station and got ourselves a permit to hike into the Yellowstone backcountry so we could show Bill the "real" Yellowstone. After consulting with the Ranger, we decided that a good trip for us would be a 5 mile hike up to the second meadow on Slough Creek, a tributary of the Lamar River which eventually runs into the Yellowstone.

It took us a day back at our base camp at the trailer to load our packs and rig our trip. By the time we had loaded our packs, thrown out all of the unnecessary stuff, and reloaded our packs, we had worked it down to the 175 pounds of gear it was going to take to build a cushy camp in the woods. The problem was this gear had to be loaded into three packs and carried up a trail 5 miles and 600 vertical feet.

It was early on a Thursday morning when we started our trip. After a 100 mile drive from our base camp to the trailhead at Slough Creek, we helped each other get our packs on and were ready to start our trek. The trail started out like our worst nightmare, straight up. Within 30 minutes we were all hammered to near exhaustion and we only had two more hours to carry these packs. But, we all toughed it out and in just over two hours we found ourselves alone in a lush green meadow along a stream bank that is nestled in the mountains of Yellowstone Park. We dropped our packs and walked around in apparent weightlessness, relieved of our loads.

After setting a dry camp we settled into our mesh cook tent for a cold drink and a little rest. It was as we sat in the tent resting that the wolverine sighting Cyndie chronicles in here Wildlife Sightings column occurred. While we were thrilled by the sighting, it didn't quite excite us to the point that we were recovered from the physical ordeal of carrying the packs. We soon all settled in for a nice afternoon nap. We got up by early evening to finish camp chores. Firewood had to be gathered and stored for the evening fire. Drinking water had to be filtered from the creek. Soon we were boiling water for our favorite dehydrated dinner, Sante Fe Chicken and cheesecake. We're going to have to eat one of these dehydrated meals sometime when we're not camped out just to see if they really are good or if physical exhaustion and the lack of alternatives in the wilderness just makes them seem good.

Friday was our day to enjoy Slough Creek meadow. We got up and made a good campfire breakfast (oatmeal and coffee) and then headed out to hike and fish along the creek. It was an enjoyable morning catching and releasing a few native Yellowstone cutthroat trout and enjoying a pack lunch on a gravel bar along the creek.

By early afternoon the clouds had gathered. Thunder rumbled through the valley and lightning began to light up the sky. We retreated to camp and began to wait out what we hoped would be a passing afternoon storm. Over the next couple of hours the storm moved up the valley and stacked the clouds up against the mountains. For a few minutes the sun came out and it looked like the worst was over. Suddenly, the wind reversed direction and the storm came back out of the mountains and down the valley. It rained hard all night. The wind blew hard against our tents as we conceded the day to the weather and retreated to where we could stay warm and dry.

On Saturday we awoke to a cool, foggy morning. The rain had quit but not before it had added more than a foot to the creek we were camped along. The creek had turned muddy and we didn't have much hope of good fishing. Using some kindling we had stored in the cook tent we got a fire going and cooked up some breakfast. It looked as if it could begin raining again at any time and from time to time it would sprinkle on us. We decided to break camp and load our packs for the dreaded hike out.

Although there was more downhill than uphill on the hike out, somehow it seemed harder. Perhaps it was because we were all still sore from the hike in or perhaps it's just because it's always easier to do the work when you are going in to an adventure, and harder when you’re coming out. By the time we got to the truck, there were only two things we could think about. One was to dump those heavy packs. The other was "Cheeseburger!" We jumped in the truck and hauled it the 30 miles to Mammoth, where we limped from the truck to the grill and devoured fast food burgers and fries.

Our pack trip into Yellowstone was physical challenge for all of us, even the Ironman amongst us. At times during the hike it clearly was not fun and we wondered why the Hell we were even doing it. But now we realize it was an accomplishment and an experience. For our effort and our pain we shared several brief but unique experiences that will live with us through our lives. We wouldn't have missed it for the world. Now, if we can only think of something cool to talk Bill into doing next year. Anybody else game?

Oarswoman  This summer has given us the chance to challenge ourselves in many ways. Cyndie has spent a lot of time working on her boating skills. Our custom cataraft is capable of running big western rivers that often have significant whitewater rapids between us and the fish. While we are far from whitewater thrill seekers who run huge rapids just for the thrill (or terror) we have both done our best to get trained and experienced in handling a raft in heavy water.

Last spring, we both attended 6 days of on river training intended for commercial river guides. Last year, Jeff had the chance to challenge and sharpen his skills in some whitewater sections on the Alaska river sections we floated. This summer, Cyndie set the goal of running some of the bigger rapids on the western rivers we have floated in the past.

After some warm up work on the Gunnison, which was running high and had a few tricky sections, we headed over to (lie Green, which has a bit more challenging water. On our first day out, Cyndie rowed the entire 7 mile "A" section, start to finish, including Mother-in-Law Rapid, just like a commercial fishing guide does. Later in the week Cyndie ran Red Creek Rapid, a long and challenging Class in rapid with several technical boat maneuvers required. With her confidence high and her boat handling skills sharps, she then took Jeff and Bill through the big waves of the Class III rapids in Yankee Jim Canyon on the Yellowstone River.

Jeff is quite happy with Cyndie's new goal, as it means he has spent quite a bit of time at the casting station this summer. One of the best parts of this arrangement is the comments that we hear from the other guys on the river. When they see Jeff fishing and Cyndie rowing they inevitably ask Jeff just how he has managed to work out such a good relationship, as they pay hundreds of dollars a day for a guide to row them down the river and their wives won't even come along.

We've both discovered that there are a lot of things you can learn from running rivers that are good lessons in life. On the river you learn to go with the flow and you don't waste energy trying to row upstream. You can't pick your path until you're close enough to see your way through. Some situations are simple and can be read on the fly and the others are more dangerous and deserve a bit of scouting. Calculated risks can yield great rewards while planning and safety can help avoid disaster.

So those of you who work with Cyndie in the Texas Legislature and are used to this girl in a dark suit with a stack of bill analysis at every meeting, keep in mind that this oarswomen can also find her way through some pretty rough waters in this world. If you ever need somebody to row the boat for you, give her a call.

Roaming the Rockies Souvenir Shirts  The theme for this summer's adventures is "Roaming the Rockies", in celebration of our journey around some of our favorite places in the Rockies. Since the only thing we like better than floating and fishing is floating and fishing with friends and family, we've had some Just Takin' A Break commemorative T shirts made up for the friends and family that visit us this summer.

The T shirts just came in, so some of you who fished with us earlier this summer will get yours in the mail soon. For those of you headed out to fish with us later this summer, don't forget to pick up your commemorative T shirt when you get here. You can request any color and any size you want, but all we have are larges with white lettering on a black shirt.

Dinner in Manhattan  Welcome to our first restaurant review. Just in case you find yourself in Manhattan and need a good place to eat, we thought we'd fill you in with our recommendation. Since you probably figure that taking New York City restaurant recommendations from a couple of backcountry trout bums is about as useful as a pile of elk droppings, we'll let you know right up front that Manhattan is in Montana, not New York.

Two years ago when we fished the Yellowstone with our friend Jim Adams of the Austin Angler, Jim and his wife Mina, took us out to an incredible steak dinner. Since we were loaded into a motorhome and driven down some dark backroads to an indescript restaurant in some little town, we had little recollection of what the name of the place was. However, we did record in our journal that the name of the little town was Manhattan and that we had eaten what was possibly the finest piece of beef we had ever tasted in our lives.

When we got back up into Montana we got out the map and figured out where this Manhattan place was and it turned out to be just over an hours drive from camp. We only had to ask one local if they possibly knew the name of this good steak place in Manhattan when they quickly answered, "You must be talking about Sir Scott's Oasis". 

We told our visiting friend Bill Choate that we were thinking about driving over for dinner at this steak place in Manhattan and he recalled that he had been taken over to this same place several years ago when he was skiing at Big Sky. His recollection was that it was an incredible restaurant, also. We figured that this was too much of a coincidence that we had both been there before and that we were destined to revisit Sir Scotts.

Well, onto the review. Sir Scotts Oasis is not a fancy restaurant, in fact, you'll hardly notice the place when you drive down the main street of Manhattan and once you're inside it won't look much different that a million other bar/hamburger joints you may have been in before. But, what this place does have is a source of the tastiest beef we have ever eaten which they serve in portions large enough to feed a battalion of hungry soldiers. They serve a variety of other tasty condiments and complimentary items with the meal but you hardly notice because the beef is so incredible (did I mention this before?).

After eating at Sir Scotts, we were so mesmerized by the quality of the beef that we had to go back again. A week later, we made the drive again and treated ourselves to yet another piece of prime beef. If you are anywhere within a days drive of Manhattan, Montana, and you enjoy a good steak or prime rib, don't miss the opportunity to check out Sir Scott's Oasis.

Fishing Recap  Over the past month we've had a fly in the water on a couple of rivers. We've had some days where the catching has been better than others, but the fishing has always been good. The more you do it, the more you realize that there really is no bad day of fishing, although some are more frustrating than others.

We spent 6 days floating and fishing on the Green River in Utah. Four of these days were spent on the first 7 miles of the river below the dam, known as the"A" section, which is fairly heavily fished for an area that is more than 50 miles from any population center. The other two days were spent in the more remote "B" and "C" section. Of these six days, two were slow (4-6 fish per day), two were good (10-15) fish per day) and two were spectacular (20 or more fish a day). Though there is not always a correlation between bad weather and good fishing, it turned out that way on our trip to the Green. One of the really hot days was on the upper "A" section and the other was on the "C" section. We also had a good day on the "B" section. The day we floated the "C" section it rained quite hard and the river was getting muddied up by the water flowing into the Green from Red Creek. It seemed like the muddy water really turned the fish on, because when we were floating in muddy water the fish were all over our streamers, hitting them aggressively as we slammed them against the rocks and brush along the banks. As soon as we hit clear water, the fishing got much slower, although there were still some large, aggressive brown trout willing to chase our flies.

By early August, we were off the Green and headed up to the Yellowstone River, hoping to fish for native cutthroat trout with grasshoppers. It was a high water year for the Yellowstone, due to high snowpack in the mountains that feed it. Just as we arrived, the summer rains hit and made the Yellowstone River high and muddy. We spent a couple of days floating the Yellowstone between the Park and Livingston. We were able to get a few fish to hit some big streamers but me water was simply too muddy for the fish to even see a grasshopper floated along the bank.

We had great hopes for the fishing on Slough Creek on our backpack trip. It turns out that our hopes were well founded, as there was good fishing to be had on Slough Creek. The problem was that during the three days we were up in the Slough Creek meadow, there was only about 4 or 5 hours of fishable water conditions. When we arrived at our campsite the Creek was running muddy, a rarity for this water. By the second morning, the water had cleared and we enjoyed several hours of dry fly fishing. Several very beautiful Yellowstone cutthroat trout were landed and photographed during this morning. But, by early afternoon the rain had set in. The rain didn't let up all night and by the next morning the creek had risen well over a foot and turned the color of chocolate milk. The fishing on Slough Creek was over for the time being but we had tasted its pleasures. We hiked out and bid farewell to Slough Creek. We waited around the Yellowstone area for several days for the rains to stop and the river to clear but it was not to be. Each afternoon brought more thunderstorms and more muddy water into the Yellowstone. Finally, it was time to pack it up and head on to clearer waters.

Next month we'll let you know how we did on the Bighorn River and on our return trip to the Green. There's more fish to be caught this summer, so stay tuned.

Cyndie's Wildlife Sighting Report  Welcome to the highlight of this month's issue. What our adventures this month did not yield in terms of fishing opportunities was more than made up for in wildlife sightings.

I'll start this month’s column with the rarest sighting of our travels to date. While sitting in our mesh cook tent in the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park, we had a wolverine walk right in front of us, only about 25 feet away. We watched the animal for almost a minute before it disappeared into the marshy meadow. When we reported the sighting to the Yellowstone Ranger Station, they were all excited and, in the tradition of a good government employee, had a full page form for us to fill out with all of the details.

Most wildlife books list the sighting of a wolverine as rare. The ranger and several local guides told us in all of their years in the backcountry of Yellowstone none of them had ever seen a wolverine, so we feel quite fortunate. Jeff and I immediately recognized the animal as a wolverine, as we had recently seen a PBS nature special that showed a wolverine holding his own in a fight with a grizzly bear. These animals are known to be one of the meanest varmints in the woods.

However, like many great wildlife sightings, this event occurred unexpectedly and when our camera left our hands for just a few minutes. So, the event went unrecorded on film but will be recorded in the memories of Jeff, Bill and myself for the rest of our lives.

Speaking of varmints, another Yellowstone wildlife event involved some critter that visited us during both nights we spent camping at Slough Creek. It seems that this particular varmint had learned to climb the poles used to hang food and keep it away from bears. It would then crawl down the rope, eat a hole in your backpack (damn!), eat another hole in your food bag (damn again!) and munch out on what was intended to be our dinner. Of course by morning the varmint was gone. Otherwise, it was likely to have become dinner, Jeff was so mad.

Each evening at our Slough Creek campsite, the coyotes, would sing us to sleep.

Just after we entered Yellowstone Park, a group of cars pulled off to the side of the road alerted us to (the Black Bear in the meadow. Unlike the animals we see in the backcountry, this was a "road bear", which was used to throngs of people approaching it for a picture. A "real bear" spooks at the first sight of a human and is out of there. There is a big difference between the wildlife you see along the roads in Yellowstone and that with which you share the wilderness in the backcountry areas of the Park.

We've seen elk several times during our journeys. Perhaps the most magnificent, yet least wild, of these scenes is the herd of elk that come down into the meadow at Mammoth in Yellowstone Park. These animals lie in the grass and let people walk along the sidewalks admiring them. Most of the herd are females and their young. But, a couple of huge males with full racks of horns tend this herd by sitting in a meadow in the distance.

Antelope are also a fairly common site for us in the fields of the western US. Our best sighting this summer was along a road near the Green River in Utah. We spotted a lone antelope fairly near the road and Jeff decided to get out and get a picture. As Jeff walked towards the animal with the camera it just froze in its position, perhaps thinking he didn't see it. Jeff was within a few yards of the antelope getting some great photographs before another vehicle came down the road and spooked it. This photo will be in our fall slide show for sure.

A Golden Eagle soared over the meadow in Slough Creek, just before we started our hike out. Perhaps it was bidding us good bye and good luck.

Sand Hill Cranes frequented the same meadow on Slough Creek. Several pairs of these large birds frequented the meadow and provided the background sounds during our days at camp. Their mating calls could be heard throughout the valley.

Near the north entrance to Yellowstone we saw a number of Bighorn Sheep. Some we saw so close we have some great full-frame photos for our wildlife collection. Others amazed us with their ability to bound across sheer cliff walls with incredible speed and agility.

Not a "sighting" but rather a sign of its presence, there is this skunk that walks by our camp on the Yellowstone every night. You can only imagine how we sense its presence.

Just now, as I sit here and write this column, a beautiful Yellow Warbler, is flitting around in the willows along the banks of the Yellowstone River. He's eating the insects that are hatching on the water and then showing himself off on a willow branch. It reminds me of the bluebirds that filled the trees around our campsite on Slough Creek just before we hiked out.

The wildlife sightings seem to never end. It's amazing how many there are when I write them all down for you.

It's a Dog's Life.  Most of our newsletter stories tell you about the experiences we have while we're on the road. This adventure is being shared by our 3 year old Golden Retriever, Rowdy, who has become quite a good traveling and fishing dog. So, for the dogs (and dog people) who get this newsletter, we thought we'd share a few of the adventures of Rowdy.

Rowdy has a pretty cushy life on the road. The entire back seat of our crew cab pickup has been converted into Rowdy's personal dog den. He travels in comfort on his jumbo dog rug, sleeping most of the time while we cruise and getting up to check out where we are when we slow down near our destination.

When in the trailer, Rowdy is master of his domain. He quickly staked out the couch as his personal bed and we quickly conceded this territory since we couldn't stay up all night to guard it anyway. Rowdy sleeps through most any storm or even a coyote yelping around camp at night. But let another dog get within a 100 yards of the trailer at 2:00 AM and Rowdy is on the ball, passing on that information to us. "Shut up Rowdy and go back to bed".

When we designed the boat we use to float the big western rivers, we had to make sure there was a place for Rowdy. The boat is plenty big for two people and a big dog. Many of our adventures take us into big rapids in cold water. We wouldn't think of going out into this kind of water without having a life jacket on at all times and we want Rowdy to be just as safe was we try to be. So Rowdy has his own red doggy life vest. As it turns out, this almost always makes Rowdy a popular attraction on the river. You would not believe how many people comment on our fishing' dog with the life jacket on. By the end of a day on the river, most everybody knows Rowdy by name, though few know ours.

We generally try to take Rowdy along on most of our adventures. He has spent the night in the tent with us on several occasions and is now so comfortable on the raft mat he often sleeps through the rapids. However, there are often times when we just can't take Rowdy along. Such was the case when we backpacked into Yellowstone National Park, where pets are prohibited in the backcountry. In these cases, we have to find a "home on the road" for Rowdy.

Finding a place away from home where we feel comfortable leaving a member of our family generally requires a little homework and scouting. When we were in Yellowstone we found the Querencia Kennels located just up the road from camp. Before we headed out on our trip we went over and met Joe Skaggs, who runs the kennel and trains field dogs. Joe took an immediate liking to Rowdy and we could see that Rowdy was going to love going to "dog camp" at Joes. Rowdy spent three days with Joe and the dogs he trains at Querencia. Rowdy got to take daily walks with the other dogs along the Yellowstone River and got thirty minutes of private training with Joe each day. By the time we picked Rowdy up, Joe had Rowdy quite a bit smarter.

The one disadvantage of having Rowdy on the road with us is that he now has to be leashed most all of the time. When we are at home in Austin, Rowdy has a one-acre fenced lot which he patrols and controls. But, on the road in public campgrounds and in the backcountry with wild animals, being tethered is a fact of life. In order to give the pup a bit of freedom, we have a 60 foot trolley we can rig up between trees in a campground. This gives Rowdy enough room to work up a good head of steam chasing the local squirrels before he is bungied to a halt at the end of the cable.

And then there is the issue of cleaning up after Rowdy while camped at public campgrounds. The reality of this situation is best illustrated by a story we heard once. It seems that a group of aliens flew their spaceship over earth and observed the behavior of a dog owner in a campground. Upon reporting back to their commander they stated that the earth is inhabited by 4 legged creatures that are in charge. They lead around some two legged creatures by a rope and have them collect their droppings. Life on the road is much more fun with Rowdy along and we think he kind of likes it, too.

Campground Recap  Our last newsletter left us in Lakeview Campground, overlooking Taylor Reservoir just north of Gunnison, Colorado. Since then we've moved northward and westward. Here's the trail we took :

Gunnison KOA, Gunnison, Colorado We pulled out of Taylor Park and down into the town of Gunnison because we wanted to attend the local Trout Unlimited Chapters annual fundraising banquet on our last night in the area. The banquet gave us the opportunity to make a contribution to the people who work so hard to protect and restore the trout fisheries that we have come to love in this area and also gave us a chance to meet the people who put in the hard work. We enjoyed a great meal with some good company. 0h yeah, the campground. Well, we've been here before and wrote about it in past newsletters. We're sure you'll remember all of the details.

Clifton KOA, just outside of Grand Junction, Colorado. We stayed in this park two years ago in August and left it with fond memories of a nice, well- maintained campground with lots of amenities. Obviously, our memories had blocked with respect to the weather in Grand Junction at this time of the year. After 5 weeks of freezing temperatures each morning, highs in the 100's in Grand Junction proved to be a bit overwhelming. But, we needed to get the truck serviced and to produce the last newsletter you received, so we spent 3 nights in Grand Junction. Still a very nice park. We recommend it in non-summer weather.

Vernal KOA, Vernal, Utah. Whenever we go to the Green River we always stop in Vernal for the night. This allows us to drive the last 50 miles to the river while we're fresh the next day. Over the past couple of years we've learned that you don't attempt to pull a 20,000 pound RV rig up the 10 grades between Vernal and Dutch John when your tired from the drive into Vernal. We're tried several campgrounds in Vernal and this one is about the same as the others we've visited. Dripping Springs Campground, Group Site #1, near Dutch John, Utah We got to the Green River a couple of days before our campground reservations started. The campground host let us pull into this very large group site until our site was ready. We spent a couple of nights in this area all by ourselves, as there were no groups camping in the area while we were there. It was so quiet at night that almost any noise at night was startling.

Dripping Springs Campground, Site #16, near Dutch John, Utah. This is our third visit to the Green and we've kind of got a "home site" while we're there. Our big rig fits nicely into this site, which offers us good privacy and all the room we need for our boat and our gear. We try to reserve this site any time we're headed for the Green.

Yellowstone’s Edge RV Park, between Livingston, Montana and the north gate of Yellowstone National Park The site from which this newsletter was produced and in which our adventures with Bill Choate in the Yellowstone area were based. We first visited this campground two years ago. Our site backs right up to the Yellowstone River. Not only is this a very well maintained campground, it is owned and operated by two of the nicest people we have met during our travels. Chan and Pam Libby treat us like we are there only guest and the most important thing in their day is to see that we have what we need to have a good time. Their lifestyle of building and running an RV park inspires us. But, then we watch how much they have to work and decide that we'd really rather go fishing. If you've got an RV and are heading to Yellowstone, you should really check out this campground (406-333-4036).

Stumbling Our Way thru Cyberspace In our last issue we told you of this years technological breakthrough that was allowing us to get our E-Mail while we are on the road. Well, the system still works, kind of. But, not without its difficulties.

Our Konnex Koupler now allows us to connect to our E-Mail service over a pay phone. The Koupler actually works pretty good and makes a reliable connection most every time. However, technology does not come to the wilderness without its frustrations. As it turns out most pay phones have old technology carbon granular microphones that just can't deal with data transmission speeds that exceed 2,400 baud. While 2,400 baud has turned out to be acceptable for uploading and downloading E-Mail, it brings along with it some other difficulties. My E-Mail provider (Prodigy Internet) no longer "officially" supports 2,400 baud communications, figuring we've all run out and bought a high speed modem by now. Consequently, some parts of Prodigy Internet software "time out" on long messages that are downloaded at such a slow speed.

What this means to you and us is that sometimes, even though we can connect to our online service, we still can't get all of our E-Mail downloaded. When a big message gets into our mailbox, it crashes our download and keeps us from getting to all of the messages that are behind it. As a result, we still don't always get E-Mail on a timely basis. However, we do still manage to find a phone every couple of weeks that allows us to get our messages. We love to hear from friends and family online, on our voice mail or via a letter. After our last issue, several of our readers got in touch with us and it was so exciting to hear from all of them. So please, give us a call, drop us a line, or try to find us in Cyberspace. We've shared a part of our life with you and we’re looking forward to hearing what's going on in your life.

After all of This, What Could Possibly Be Next?  Our plans for the rest of the summer and the fall are now shaping up. After we leave the Yellowstone we're headed to eastern Montana where we'll spend the last couple of weeks of August on the Bighorn River, floating and fishing this trophy trout fishery. After the Bighorn, we've decided not to head any farther north, though we were tempted to spend the fall in Alberta and British Columbia. But, our practical side, along with the opportunity to spend some time with friends, has prevailed.

We'll leave the Bighorn in early September and return to the Green River, where Alan Bray will be leading his annual group fishing trip. We've got a big group campsite reserved for what is expected to be 10 or 12 people we know from our Trout Unlimited activities. We're looking forward to some group float trips and some evenings around the fire ring.

After the Green, we're going back to Taylor Park. Although we love every place we've visited this summer, we often wonder why we even left Taylor Park just over a month ago. Everything we are looking for in life can be found in and around Taylor Park during the summer. We've never seen Taylor Park in the fall and we're looking forward to seeing the color come to the trees and the snow return to the mountains

At the end of September we plan to head to Albuquerque where we'll visit all of our brothers. We can't wait to share some of the slides of the Shelton family reunion in Taylor Park with Cyndie's brothers Ron and Rick Shelton. We didn't get to see Cyndie's other brother Barry Shelton or Jeff’s brother Dan Schmitt (not to forget nieces Sarah and Kristen) this summer and we'll be anxious to share some time with them.

We'll make our return to Austin early in October, where we'll be looking for some challenging (and financially rewarding) opportunities for the winter. We'll need all the help we can get from our professional contacts who get this newsletter, so be thinking about us.

In November, we'll do a business and pleasure trip to Florida, where Jeff plans to attend an acoustics seminar while Cyndie entertains Mickey and his buddies over at the Disney Parks. Then, we'll get back in Austin by Thanksgiving and will spend the rest of the winter working on some projects in Austin. But, don't fret, going back to work won't be a permanent state, at least quite yet. We're planning a return visit to Alaska next summer.

The adventure never ends. Look forward to our next issue or hop on a plane to come visit.


A Walk in the Park


Dinner in Manhattan

Fishing Recap

Wildlife Sightings

It's a Dog's Life

Campground Recap


















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