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April 2009 - USA
1 - 15 April 2009
We enter the USA through Arizona and the desert is blooming!
cruisin' through Arizona and New Mexico to meet old travel friends,
relatives of Claudia and relatives of PJ. In Santa Fe we see lots of
Adobe buildings which are inspired by the clay houses of the Indians.
Painted Desert, Arizona
Santa Fe, New Mexico
With PJ's Dutch uncle and his family we travel south
bound again to visit the white dunes of Whites Sands National Monument.
In the desert of Arizona we boondock for a couple of
days and work on our tan.
Only two days later we are parked at a Laundromat. In the machines our
summer clothes are getting clean, but outside winter has begun again. We
see snow and a hail storm.
April 2009 - Yellowstone,
16 - 30 April
We are ready for it. We have picked up our winter clothes at Claudia's
cousin in Utah, which were stored for the winter in her basement. We
also picked up a thick sleeping bag and have bought a fleece sheet. The
dump tanks are filled with ice melt, to prevent them from freezing. What
the heck are we going to do? We are going to Yellowstone National Park,
which is on 6500 feet and where spring is probably still far away.
The park is indeed covered in a blanket of snow, sometimes 1 feet deep,
on other places 3 feet. But the skies are blue and during the day it
warms up to the low sixties, but during the night it cools down to mid
It is amazing how lucky we are with seeing and shooting wolves, normally
a very illusive animal (for pictures see recent photos).
During a photo shoot it is only 21 Degrees F but guess
what it feels like... PJ, Lyn en Jenny
I am holding my breath.
Four wolves just crossed the road in front of our camper. But instead of
disappearing, they come back and cross the road again at the back of our
camper. They are making a big circle and cross again in front of us. For
the first time we can make close-up pictures of wolves! They circle us
three times. What a strange behavior of these animals. For two and a half
hour we watch them in a snowy landscape and regularly they approach us.
more than an hour we observe and photograph a young grizzly bear
who is digging for voles. We see him disappearing into the
forest for a nap. It is sunny and his nap lasts 5 hours. In the
mean time PJ also takes a nap, while Dave is keeping guard. But
when the bear returns is was worth waiting for: he somersaults
in slow motion from a snowy hill!
minutes the Old Faithful geyser burps steam and a hot fountain out of
with the wolves just does not stop. Right in front of us a bison cow is
grabbed by three wolves. While they are holding on to her sides, all
four of them fall from a steep hill. The bison must be sick, because she
buckles through her knees and let the wolves eat her alive. Normally a
bison fights for her live for about ten hours. Only for an hour
she stares with moist brown eyes at the wolves before she dies.
If you want to see pictures of this, click on the following link:
wolves on carcass
Twice a pack of wolves dig out the den of a coyote couple. The little
coyotes are so brave, and are barking their hearts out. But all in vain,
the new born pups are killed by the wolves.
The snow keeps coming down. This frustrates us,
because we are watching a grizzly on a bison carcass and a grey wolf who
tries to steal a bone, but we cannot make pictures!
grizzly and wolf tracks in the snow
May 2009 - Yellowstone,
May 1st, finally a bigger part of Yellowstone National Park opens. But
there are still heaps of snow everywhere, so we don't see much wildlife
in that part of the park.
But in the next weeks this is going to change. We see
more and more grizzly bears, even good ol' Monkeyface also known as
Circus Bear. He entertains us for six hours, falls asleep next to the
road, takes a bath in the partly frozen Lake Yellowstone and trotters
along our camper through the snow.
Lots of time
we dedicate to a fox den with six pups just outside the park. The vixen
has dropped her babies underneath the hundred year old hunting lodge
of Buffalo Bill!! They are not shy and are probably fed regularly by
tourists. Fortunately the parents also bring real food to the den like
ground squirrels and even rabbits.
June 2009, British Columbia,
Nine years we have been looking for
the rare illusive
Kermode bear, a black bear with a white fur that is unique to
British Columbia, Canada. This Spirit Bear is not an albino bear.
When we receive an e-mail from friend Doug - who lives in that area -
that he has seen a white bear twice, we decide to travel from
Yellowstone 2000 miles northwest to Canada.
After four long days driving, we arrive in the area where the Spirit
Bear sometimes is seen. Already after one and a half day Doug finds us a
small Kermode Bear, just along the highway, in the middle of the day,
while it is 85 degrees Fahrenheit!! She is with a black male bear. After
only a disappointing sixty seconds the bears disappear. We hang out in
the area for three days, hoping to see them again, but in vain.
seen a Kermode twice along a gravel road, 60 miles from here. We are
looking for better pictures, so we will give this road a try. But there
is not much traffic on the gravel road and the black bears are skittish
and bold as soon as they hear us coming. Mostly we are still 150 yards
away from them. This is not going to work, there is no way we can make
pictures when we see a white bear. On a stretch of only 3 miles Doug has
seen a Kermode twice, two wolves, four grizzly bears, a couple of black
bears and two different lynxes! Right in the middle of that area PJ
parks the camper along the road and the waiting game begins. It are
long days when the sun rises at 4.30 a.m. and the twilight starts at
10.30 p.m. The temperature is also not helpful; the day starts at 50F
and rises everyday to 85F. We stay inside all day so we won't scare any
bears. Slowly we are cooked inside the hot camper. We read half a
library and watch DVD's on the laptop.
We see a cow moose with her newborn calf, a young bull moose, a glimpse
a wolf, a couple of black bears and five minutes of a yearling black
wolf. The latter we can shoot through a partly open window while
hundreds of mosquitoes are flying inside.
After three days we give up and drive to Hyder,
Alaska to visit friends, take an Internet shot and look for grizzly
bears. On the Cassiar Highway we are entertained by a bear family. The
big three year old cubs are very playful and curious. One stands up
against the hood of our truck and sucks on the red wooden shoes! The
other one takes a bite out of the rear light of the camper!
Back to the gravel road for another try.
It takes another three long days of waiting before the white bear
appears out of nowhere! We can watch him for twenty minutes though the
camper windows (most of the time he is hiding behind tall grass). He is
immense, white, beautiful, but shy!
We could have booked a C$1000,- per day tour to the Princess Royal - of Gribbell
Island where a bigger population of white bears lives, but that is not
We drove back to Utah to fly back home to the
Netherlands for 3 months.
1 - 15 October,
We have arrived in the USA and will spent some time in Yellowstone
National Park. Because of the cleaning up of the forest fires the south
entrance only opens sporadically. We decided to drive around the park and
enter from the North. That's a long way, but at least we could tax-free
shop in Bozeman first.
The first day in Yellowstone it was freezing cold. The temperature dropped to
8 Fahrenheit! But therefore the scenery was gorgeous with frozen grass
and steaming geysers everywhere. But where was the wildlife?
Jenny arrived, our American friends who where here also in Spring
when we were chasing the wolves. They were no luck charm either. A day
later our 'fossil' friends Bob and SueAnn came along, but still no
When we woke up it was 17F outside, but only 26F inside! That was a bit
too chilly, it takes hours before the ice on the inside of the windows
melted. The next night we left the heater on low.
We kept on
trying it in the park, but we just could not seem to find the wildlife. Let
along seeing bears. We did enjoyed watching a hunting coyote, steaming
bison's, playing river otters, a bugling bull elk, fresh bear tracks in
the snow and Mother Nature at her best.
Grizzly tracks in the snow
steaming herd of bisons
bugling bull elk
playing river otters
coyote still hunting
After only five days we gave up and traveled south bound to warm up at
Claudia's relatives in Utah. We re planning to go to the
It was 1.30 am when the camper started shaking and we heard a big bang.
PJ thought that we were being hit by a truck and shouted: "Heeee!". Next
thing we heard, was a loud knocking on the door. When we saw the bleu
flashing lights we knew we were in trouble.
PJ jumped into his sweat pants and opened the door for the police
We are parked on the parking lot of Staples, where we can always pick-up
wireless Internet. We are here already since noon. The temperature was a
nice 60F but at 10pm it started snowing and it still does.
"Why are you camped here?", the officer asked.
"I thought is was a nice and quiet place", PJ replied.
"I don't want to ruin your night, but you are parked on private property
and you have to move 50 yards to that department store".
PJ thought: "Well, you just ruined my night anyway", and he started the
engine, wiped a heap of snow from the hood, cleaned the windows and
drove 50 yards.
What a joke!
Only when you are born on Halloween, you can get away with a birthday
cake like this. Claudia has celebrated her birthday with long time
friends and some weird creatures that came knocking on the door.
we decided to book a flight to South Africa and rent a camper for a
here to read all about this trip.
December 2009, USA and Mexico
Colorado. On December 4th we arrived after a very long flight from South
Africa at the Denver Airport and were warmly
welcomed by Julia (Jenny's younger sister). That warmth was really
necessary because it was only 3F! Julia and Todd were so nice to let our
camper parked in their barn for a month. The engine did not start, but
we slept warmly inside our camper. After a day on the charger the
batteries were fine again.
for a month parked warm in
charging the dead batteries
it was 'just' a little colder in Longmont
Two days later we drove to Longmont to say hi to our
fossil friends Bob and SueAnn, who are living in a trailer next to the
Baptist Church. There was a snow free parking spot and an electrical
extension cord ready for us: another warm welcome! We plugged into the
church and took a shower in the locker room of the gym.
couple of days we were ready to leave but the engine would not start.
We were not surprised because the temperature had dropped to -20F and an
arctic wind was blowing over the USA. Bob did some counting for us and
we did not like to even think about it because we had gone from + 114F
to -20F. Again, we put the batteries on the charger and on the night
before we left Bob got permission for us to park the camper inside
the school bus garage where it was 60F.
In New Mexico we could not let it
pass to put some new African wildlife stickers on our camper. In
Soccoro the truck got some well deserved maintenance, all the fluids
were replaced, new batteries and the tires were balanced and
rotated. We could not wait to get into Mexico!
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here to read all about winter 2009 - 2010 in Mexico