Sharing the Adventure

Purple Mountains Majesty

We  returned from our 16-day cross-country drive to Montana and Wyoming a couple of weeks ago.  Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton National Park were so awesome that if I had the talent, I’d write my own song about these national treasures. What is really striking about all three of these national parks is the contrast when driving there.  Sagebrush and what appears to be worthless scrub land suddenly turns into majestic mountains, not unlike a jack-in-the-box popping up.

This was our first vacation in years that I didn’t have a laptop along.  Our laptop can’t handle all the graphics of the modern internet and thus gets hot trying to load it all and shuts down.  We didn’t want to put the money out for a new laptop and wondered with the data plan I have on my phone if it was even necessary.  I pretty much used the laptop in the past to transfer my photos off my cameras but the laptop can’t handle all the HD video I take so it was left home. I bought an extra 16G memory card for the camcorder and extra batteries so I wouldn’t have to worry about transferring the photos off until we got home.  Besides, after reading all the literature, there was no internet (so I couldn’t use the laptop for that,) cell phone service or TV where we were going. What if someone needed to get a hold of us because of an emergency?  The lodging in the national parks we stayed at didn’t give telephone numbers for the actual hotels online, just reservation telephone numbers.  I guess they didn’t want to be bothered.  I left a day to day itinerary with family members to know exactly where we would be on any given day, just in case.  I warned them that they wouldn’t being hearing from us for days at a time  because of the lack of cell phone service and internet.

It turns out the information was partially wrong.  There was no TV or WiFi or ethernet internet but there were many places that we did get cell phone service which meant I did have internet through the cell phone.  In Glacier we had great signals at most of the ranger welcome centers we went to.  I took advantage and uploaded photos to Facebook and sent emails, checked the news and weather, called my sons, and felt connected.  In Yellowstone, Mammoth Hotel had cell-phone service as did Old Faithful Inn area.  I started to get service around the Thumb area in Yellowstone.  There was no service at the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, though, nor the Canyon Lodge area.  We heard a guy complaining to the Canyon area ranger that there was no cell phone service and he read that they were suppose to have service in the area within 2 years (which was up.)  I guess something went wrong.  I didn’t think we would get ANY service while we were there so I was happy being able to drive a few miles and get cell service when we wanted to.

I did find out that there is some use for transferring your photos to a laptop while on vacation.  Even though I had plenty of memory left on my memory cards when we got home, I transferred them to the computer and realized that a whole lot of the snapshots taken with the camcorder didn’t turn out very well.  I had it set on a scene setting that whited out a lot of the background.  Had I transferred the photos day to day while on vacation, I would have known to change the setting back to automatic.  The thumbnail view you see on the camcorder makes everything look pretty good when it is that small.

I’ll be posting photos and videos in the coming weeks.

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