Wednesday 8 August 2007

Written Wednesday August 1st

So, we're camping.

Here we are in Yellowstone, America's very first national park. So far today, we have seen a bison, an elk, a couple of chipmunks, some unidentified rat-like creatures with very long tails that stick straight up, and, an hour or so ago, wandering directly through our campsite, a deer. Not bad, considering we have only been in national park space for approximately 8 hours.

We drove up through the Tetons national park and stopped so often to take photographs we didn't arrive at our campsite until 5pm - just in time for the first smattering of rain, during which we discovered that our tent had no under-tarp. Shortly after, we discovered that the camping shop was shut. Boo. Luckily we found another one nearby which was still open, and which sold all manner of things, including some very good angus burgers, which we've just flame-grilled over an open fire (take that, Burger King) and even a wide selection of Haagen-Dazs.

This was our first indication that the American approach to camping was not what one might expect. On closer inspection, the toilet block in the centre of our camping loop (loop K at Grant Village) had not only running water and flushing toilets - complete with ample paper and plenty of soap - but also power outlets and payphones. So much for the wilderness. The family opposite us have brought an extra gazebo to cover the picnic bench that accompanies each pitch, as well as a gas barbecue and a salad bar.

We're being very careful to pack everything carefully in the back of the car and in the cooler, for fear of "Waking up covered in bears" as Mr Z put it. I haven't seen Yogi yet, but then, it's early days.

About the only thing this place doesn't have by way of conveniences is wireless internet, so this update, and the rest, will have to wait. At least I don't have to worry about running out of battery power now - there was a man sitting on the loo charging his laptop earlier, according to Mr Z: the cable went all the way over the stall walls. In our ignorance, we forked out $40 for an in-car power point earlier today so that we could charge all our cameras and other paraphernalia.

The $40 seemed like nothing after our first purchase of the day. Whilst on the second leg of our driving yesterday, from Salt Lake City to Jackson, WY, we began to discuss the necessity of an SLR. They seem much cheaper over here in the States, so we decided we'd have a look when we got back to Vegas. But, upon rising this morning, we both seemed to have decided that it would be stupid to take a trip like this and buy the amazing camera AFTER we'd returned. So, we spent the first hour or so of the day driving to all the camera shops in Jackson. We struck lucky on our third try - and so did the sales assistant, who couldn't believe her good fortune when she pulled out what must have been the most expensive model in the shop, and we walked out with it, a couple of SD cards and a camera bag. I bet she took the rest of the day off. Poor Mr Z had to have a bit of a walk to think about it, as it involved breaking the cherry on his Capital One card again and finally using up that 15p credit it's had on it since January. Unfortunately for him, he had me at his elbow, whispering the benefits of the new toy, and truth be told he didn't take a lot of convincing. It is an amazing piece of equipment; I'm a little bit afraid to hold it for fear of breaking it, but Mr Z has already taken some fabulous shots with it.

I took this one, though *grin*