Monday, July 13: Flood!

Living on top of a super volcano 4 months of the year, particularly in Yellowstone, you tacitly forgo certain norms in your life. The Internet and road conditions will be abysmal, mail service runs at the speed of Internet, on sunny days wind will pick up every afternoon to 15 miles an hour, bison will stand on the road (or near it) and bring traffic to a halt, and our beautiful giant lake will make its own weather producing pea-size hail a few times a week and rendering forecasts nearly useless. But two events this week stand out as being particularly beyond the norm.

The humidity here runs in the 20s. When we first arrive every year we use gallons of hand lotion in order that we not turn into prunes. The plywood floor in the trailer dries up and shrinks, producing creeks and pops by the end of summer that disappear when we get back to humid Florida. Every morning the temperature in our trailer is about 52 degrees so we run the furnace and space heaters for about an hour. By afternoon the outside temperature rises into the 70s and the high altitude sun hits the trailer broadside bringing the inside temps close to 80. So we typically open the windows and roof vents and run the “max air fans”, effectively cooling us down to a comfortable temperature.

Tuesday shortly after midnight the skies opened up with thunder and a deluge that would have made Noah swoon. Rain struck the trailer with the ferocity of a fire hose, waking us both. Mary Ann went back to sleep but my brain was in hyperdrive, worrying about the trailer’s ability to withstand the tempest without leaking. Around one o’clock the rain finally let up and, to allay my concerns, I got up to do a walk through. Our kitchen floor could have floated Burt’s rubber duckie and a quick sweep with the beam of my flashlight over the kitchen ceiling revealed the source: we had forgotten to close the vent!

I spent half an hour with 2 big bath towels mopping up water and drying off surfaces I hadn’t known existed. Good thing we had planned to get up early the next morning so Mary Ann could take advantage of Internet speeds well in excess of walking there or I might easily have gotten enough sleep.

Renting outboards and rowboats is a task we perform routinely and repeatedly throughout the day at the marina. Some of our international visitors are surprised to learn they don’t need a special license or even demonstrated skills to rent from us. Sometimes linguistic barriers interfere with effective delivery of our mandatory safety instructions (provided twice to each renter: once while signing the rental agreement and again while being provided with life jackets) and operating instructions for the boat (provided while the renter is sitting behind the wheel in the rental boat). Often enthusiastic head nodding is the only response from the renter.

The frenetic activity on the dock yesterday was interrupted briefly when one such guest confused direction of travel With something only he understood. Consider that when driving a car we push FORWARD on the gas pedal to accelerate and pilots push FORWARD on the engine controls to accelerate, making it perfectly natural to assume it is necessary to push FORWARD on the boat throttle to go BACKWARDS regardless of what the dock hand just explained. The boat landed squarely on top of the dock causing dock hands to scramble and onlookers to take copious photos.

See? Wonderland.

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