Not The End of the World

Friday, September 18

It’s been a wet few days. The rain starts before sunrise on Tuesday and we have a good day at the store, everyone is hanging out indoors shopping instead of walking the basin. Not the best sight-seeing weather, but at least this will help the fires.

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Snow creeping down the mountains

When I wake up for work on Wednesday it’s still raining. On my way back from West Yellowstone for groceries in the afternoon I can see snow accumulating in the mountains, but it’s a balmy 34 degrees on the valley floor keeping the road clear. The sudden change in temperature has the Gibbon river steaming. Hope it waits to start snowing at lower elevations until I get home.

Thursday is a mix of wet snow, rain, and we even get a thunderstorm with hail in the afternoon. I hunker down in the Casita with my little electric heater going and divide my day between writing and reading.

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Today I finally make the trip down to Jackson WY, happy to get out of the park and do something.

Craig Pass has a dusting of snow which decorates the branches of the spruce and fir trees. It’s beautiful and I snap several pictures while driving, knowing it’ll all be melted by the time I drive back through the pass later. This is the way I like snow, when it’s a novelty and not an all-winter-long ordeal. Of course in Yellowstone it will be an all-winter-long ordeal, but I won’t be here to deal with it!

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In one way I picked a great day to drive through Grand Teton National Park. The aspen are near peak color and their cheerful yellow and orange make an already pretty drive quite extraordinary.

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In another way I picked a poor day to drive through the Tetons. Low clouds obscure the tops of the mountains, brief glimpses of snow-capped peaks taunt me the whole way to Jackson.

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I’m really not a city girl and to be honest I can take or leave most towns. I probably wouldn’t have made it down to Jackson at all if I hadn’t needed to find a UPS store. You see, last month I ordered some stuff from Amazon and they sent me my order… and someone else’s order too. It was a little like Christmas, what could be inside the mystery package?

Disposable coffee cups and roll on deodorant in bulk. There was never any question of me returning the goods I hadn’t paid for, but if it had been, say, a laptop, outdoor patio mat, hiking gear, or LED RV lights I might have had a harder time being good…

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Downtown Jackson

After getting the mailing done I make a phone call to the Animal Adoption Center, a non-profit rescue located in town. I learned about them from a pamphlet I picked up in Moose my first time visiting the Tetons months ago. No, I’m not looking to adopt yet, but like many rescues they have an extensive volunteer system in place, and one thing people can volunteer to do is walk dogs. I figured that would be an interesting way to explore downtown Jackson, but as it turns out they’re rather light on dogs right now and don’t need walkers today. Oh well.

Not far from the UPS store is a thrift store, the first one I’ve seen in months. Its magnetic pull draws me in like a moth to a flame. I don’t buy anything, but it’s always fun to look around.

Never needs a walk

Never needs a walk

Downtown Jackson is a pretty neat place. It’s very much a tourist town with all that entails, but the smells coming from the restaurants are inviting and the crowds aren’t so bad now that we’re past Labor Day.

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I do love the town square. It’s a well manicured little park with good shade trees and elk antler arches at every corner. In the early days of the town, it was much more open and cows and elk often grazed in it, pretty cool!

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When I notice a Wells Fargo right by the town square, I walk over to use the ATM to withdraw $20 so I’ll have cash to buy pizza at the employee pub this week. Normally I wouldn’t mention something this mundane on the blog, but this becomes important later.

Satisfied with my downtown walk, I mosey on back to the truck. Between spending more time in Jackson and spending more time gazing at the Tetons, I vote for the later. Just north of Jackson is the Elk Refuge. I don’t see any elk, but I do spy a lot of ducks.

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Those dots in the water

I’m glad I decided to spend more time in the park. The clouds are breaking up, and the Tetons come out of hiding. Yesterday might not have been a very pleasant day, but without that precipitation I wouldn’t be getting this lovely view of frosted peaks now. If you like mountain views, you’ll definitely want to visit here someday. The lack of foothills makes the mountains stand taller in a photograph, it’s a one of a kind place.

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And right about here is where I actually look at the receipt from the ATM and notice that my account balance is off. My Verizon signal inside the park isn’t great so I can’t get on my phone to investigate further.

I have a couple options, my first urge (and probably the normal reaction) is to drive back to Yellowstone as fast as possible to get on my computer and start making phone calls. But darnit, I probably won’t get to visit the Tetons again before I leave, and whatever happened has already happened. My rational mind says an extra half-hour to stop at a couple more pullovers and take pictures is unlikely to make a difference. I’m over an hour away from home anyway.

And so I refuse to let fear guide my decisions, and make a couple more stops for pictures on the way home despite my nervousness.

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* * *

And then once I got back to Yellowstone, I went online and started making phone calls. As predicted my extra half-hour of delay didn’t make any difference. It wasn’t that someone got my card number, someone walked into a Wells Fargo branch and withdrew cash from my checking account directly. How they managed this is beyond me, they didn’t even sign using my name and the account is only in my name.

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It’s going to take up to ten business days for my claim of fraudulent activity to be processed, but until then I should be getting a “credit” to my account for the amount taken today (Monday) or tomorrow, and assuming the claim goes in my favor (if it doesn’t, there’s going to be an angry phone call) I’ll get to keep that money, no harm done.

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Well, there was some harm done, but in the end it’s going to amount to inconvenience more than anything. The process of opening a new account and transferring all of my automatic bill payments and deposits into that new account is taking up time, which is why this post didn’t go up on Friday as originally planned. I won’t have my new checks in time for the drive down to Texas at the beginning of next month, which could make paying for some campgrounds a hassle.

The guy in the top left panel was at a pullout painting the mountains

The guy in the top left panel was at a pullout painting the mountains

But all in all, this “disaster” isn’t as bad as it could have been. There’s a saying that goes “life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it”, and I’m glad I chose to react like the world wasn’t ending and took the time to enjoy the Tetons a little more.

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* * *

Thank you for doing your usual Amazon shopping using my affiliate link.

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Becky

At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

40 Comments

  1. Sherry in MT on September 24, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    It truly is 90% and so glad you took your time in the Tetons….you got GREAT shots and picked a lovely time to be there!
    Sherry in MT recently posted..We Are Back!My Profile



    • Becky on September 24, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      I’m thinking fall is an ideal time to see mountains yeah, glad you enjoyed them Sherry. 🙂



  2. Tina on September 22, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Hey Becky,

    Really sorry to hear that happened to you, but you did have a good attitude and was able to enjoy the wonderful place you were at.

    I’ve had strange things happen with my credit card before. I have the MINT app and many times have seen fraudulent charges before the credit card company has notified me.

    Curious how that all happened and someone was able to get your cash. I don’t use an ATM card hardly ever and just put everything on credit cards and pay off monthly. I don’t want anyone having access to my cash.

    Good luck, hope this is worked out quickly for your upcoming travel.

    Tina



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks Tina, I am happy to say that my cards have never been compromised, I think that would be even more of a challenge in some ways. Glad your situation worked out in the end.



  3. Jim@HiTek on September 22, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Such beautiful pictures. I wish more of mine turned out as good as yours.

    Your money troubles…I get a lot of enjoyment out of your posts and I wouldn’t mind contributing to a GoFundMe if you need money to continue on your journey.

    I hope that Wells Fargo’s utter incompetence is the tipping point and you leave them for a trustworthy credit union. They are a well known criminal organization I’m afraid.

    “It wasn’t that someone got my card number, someone walked into a Wells Fargo branch and withdrew cash from my checking account directly”. This can only happen if they know your account number OR have a similar account number. In either case, it’s WF’s staff that’s at fault for not getting or checking for proper ID or signature. But WF is widely known for not taking responsibility for anything. And stonewalling people they owe money to. Hope they don’t do that to you!

    Good Luck!



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      I’ve got a credit to my account for the amount missing Jim so I’m fine, but thanks for the offer. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

      I’ve belonged to credit unions in the past and yes they have better service, but it just wasn’t practical to stay with one of them while traveling and that still holds true today. If it wasn’t Wells Fargo it’d be one of the other big banks that is found nation wide and they’re all about the same when it comes down to it.



  4. Jim Schmechel on September 22, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I’m happy you chose the reaction you did, because we were treated to more lovely photos of the Tetons! 🙂

    I also really like the Autumn color photos. I believe we share the same view of snow. I’m even happy to look at photos of snow, instead of witnessing it in person….. 🙂

    Hopefully the financial mishap will be over shortly. Thank you for sharing all the nice photos with us!



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      You’re welcome Jim glad you enjoyed the photos.



  5. Amber on September 22, 2015 at 11:01 am

    What a bummer! Glad you didn’t let it totally ruin the day. I’ve had someone get hold of my information in the past and buy $500 worth of pizza in Taipei and stereo equipment in Hong Kong. Thankfully the bank replaced all of the funds to my account within two business days. It was certainly a headache to deal with though. I hope yours is all refunded quickly!
    Amber recently posted..Art Space in a TinCan (or other Tiny Home)My Profile



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:30 pm

      $500 worth of pizza? Why would someone need that much pizza? Glad it turned out well in the end Amber.



  6. val on September 22, 2015 at 10:49 am

    looking forward to seeing your post about my state, Texas. thank you for your blog!



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      You’re welcome Val, thank you for reading.



  7. Jodee Gravel on September 22, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Jackson is such a pretty town, albeit very touristy. Looks like they’re still adding to the arches or at least keeping them in good repair 🙂 Beautiful pics of the Tetons, they always look spectacular with a dusting of snow.

    Glad you chose to not let the account issue ruin your trip, that is the real damage those people do and it’s best not to give that to them too. You clearly said no one walked in to a bank and withdrew funds, so most likely it was an ATM card number breech. Always a hassle to make all the account changes, but a blessing the banks credit the money back while investigating.
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..Geology-Nut HeavenMy Profile



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      Yes Jodee that one arch was being entirely rebuilt looks like, all the antlers were newer looking. I suppose after a while they get so bleached they start to lose structural integrity.

      And yes, this is a really good time to visit the Tetons with the new snow and the fall colors.



  8. J. Dawg on September 22, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Nice pictures. I like the clouds over the mountains. And the colors on the aspens.



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Thanks J. Dawg, glad you like them. 🙂



  9. Shelly in Durham NC on September 22, 2015 at 8:11 am

    How in the world does someone go into a bank and just withdraw money from someone else’s account? Banks should be a safe place but it seems they have some serious flaws in security. I’m glad you found the error so quickly.

    Woohoo just purchase the new Kindle HD 10.1 on your affiliate link. One time when I received something in my Amazon box that I didn’t order they said to just keep it…more money to return ship then it was worth. I donated the item to salvation army.

    I spent one whole summer living in Jackson in 1972 working at the A&W as a soda jerk. My niece was born, raised there and still lives in Jackson. A very fun town.



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      I haven’t the foggiest Shelly, it’s possible as mentioned in a previous comment that it was an accident and someone meant to take the money from their own account and either they or the teller messed up when inputting the account number.

      Thank you for using my affiliate link! I hope you enjoy your new Kindle, mine is an old one but I still get so much use out of it.

      Jackson would be a neat place to work for a summer, closer to modern conveniences than most of Yellowstone but still not far from the Tetons and pretty back country.



  10. Dawn from Camano Island on September 22, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Becky, sorry this happened–glad it wasn’t more. I simply don’t understand how people do this–and how banks give people $$ without any ID! Sometimes, it’s a crazy world!

    Your photos are gorgeous as always. The Tetons are breathtaking! You had me thinking you might be in the furry friend adoption stage…

    Love to see people painting plain air. My Mum did that for years when she & Dad were snowbirds. Now she paints out in the garage because she has outgrown the small bedroom that was her studio. I aspire to be as interested in life as she when I’m 86!

    Take good care–enjoy this lovely change of season.



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      Thanks Dawn and I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.

      I wish I could have leaned over that fellow’s shoulder and seen what the painting looked like, sure was a good spot for it.

      You take care as well!



  11. EmilyO on September 22, 2015 at 8:07 am

    The Tetons are beautiful through your eyes and photos. They are so much more dramatic looking when there is some snow on them. I like your 10% – 90% comment and had not heard it before but it is so true. It truly must be getting cold in the northern hinderlands as there are quite a few of the little migratory birds heading thru on their way into Mexico. Take care and stay on the warm side.



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      Thanks Emily, it was a really good day for seeing the Tetons once the clouds lifted.



  12. Beverly on September 22, 2015 at 1:37 am

    Hi Becky… Not sure if Wells Fargo offers this or not, I know Chase Bank does since I bank with them and I’m guessing Wells Fargo would have the same service. If you physically go into a branch and ask them to print you some checks they should be able to do it while you wait. Chase prints me up five at a time and charges me a total of one dollar for all five checks. Since I use checks so in frequently, I never actually order a box anymore. This might hold you over until you can get a box ordered.



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Not a bad idea Beverly, I got the box of checks for free as soon as I reported the problem, the thing is the checks were sent to my mail forwarding and I’m worried if I have them sent to Yellowstone now they’ll arrive too late and I’ll miss them. If it turns out I need one or two while traveling maybe I’ll stop by a Wells Fargo and try your tactic.



  13. Carla on September 21, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    A similar thing happened to my mother’s checking account about a year ago. A man had come in and walked out with a few hundred dollars from her account. Thankfully the small town bank could read the signature. Turns out it was an elderly man who had an account there and had used a counter check to get some cash. Either he wrote out his account number incorrectly or the teller keyed it in wrong… the one wrong digit took the money from my mother’s account instead of his.

    The better news on her mishap is that all was restored that same day, the bank taking the responsiblity. And, since they knew HOW it happened and was not a case of intentional fraud, she was not required to change her account. That IS a big hassle you are having to deal with — don’t forget to change the account info on any bills you pay online, etc.



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      Considering the person didn’t sign my name I wonder if this could be the same kind of thing, I don’t know if Wells Fargo will admit it though if it turns out their teller just put someone else’s account in wrong.

      Glad your mother got her money back so easily.



  14. Ron on September 21, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    Sorry to hear of your account problems, You had me worried it was something even worse. If your have good health all the rest is minor. It happened several times with our credit cards. We never lost a dime but it is a hassel to change all the automatic payments. Due to the anti fraud efforts and 1% cash back on every purchase and payment we use our Chase credit card for almost everything but we do run into quite a few campgrounds that do not take credit cards. Be sure to let us know how this all works out for you. The beauty of the Tetons is amazing, one of our favorite places. We too are headed for Texas in a few weeks, Just got back from a month in Canada that’s why I hadn’t commented on your posts for a while.



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      Hope you had a good time in Canada Ron.

      I’ve never had an issue with my card so far, knock on wood. I’ll keep you all up to date on how it turns out, as I said it could be a while.



  15. Gina on September 21, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Becky,
    We were at Yellowstone until Wednesday and left a day early because of the rain. Glad we didn’t see the snow but also glad that you enjoyed it. We did try to seek you out at the bookstore on Monday but you must have been out. I wanted to let you know how much we enjoy your column and how much we looked forward to seeing Yellowstone after following your blog. Did you have the opportunity to visit the American Museum of Wildlife on your trip to Jackson? It was a bit pricy but the art was wonderful. Keep up the great work and look forward to all you posts.
    Gina



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Glad you had a good time in Yellowstone Gina and sorry we missed each other.

      I saw that museum but I didn’t stop in, it looked expensive from the outside and I need to be careful with my spending. I did enjoy the art that was outside and it’s good to know it’s nice on the inside too. Maybe some day!



  16. Carly and Moth on September 21, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    That’s something I didn’t consider: dealing with bank account issues while full-time RVing and camping in the middle of nowhere where it’s tough to find service to call important people! I’m glad you were able to get it sorted out pretty easily and let the mountains whisk you away from the stress. 🙂
    Carly and Moth recently posted..Wings Will Wear and TearMy Profile



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      It does add an extra layer of difficulty to just about anything that requires contacting someone, but is worth it in the end. 🙂



  17. Todd on September 21, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Jackson is my favorite place so far. Can’t wait to see the area once again.
    Safe travels,
    Todd



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      Hopefully you’ll get to make it back soon Todd, thanks.



  18. Old Fat Man on September 21, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I definitely enjoyed my lunch in Jackson several years ago. It was a fun tourist town if a person will just relax and enjoy what it is.
    I will be rolling back toward Texas on Oct. 6. Inspections on vehicles are needed. Then on into New Mexico. Have fun in Texas.



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      Thanks! Hope you inspection goes well.



  19. Kim on September 21, 2015 at 10:57 am

    Bummer, Becky.
    Kim recently posted..Black Canyon of the Gunnison National ParkMy Profile



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      Yeah, I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end.



  20. Cletus on September 21, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Sorry to hear of your troubles, have had a few incidents like that with credit cards, never a checking account (sound of me knocking on wood). Hard to know how stuff like that happens even when one takes precautions.

    I recently opted into a promotion on Amazon for a credit card that gave me $50 if I charged more than $50 and paid for the charges within 3 months. The card was compromised with charges in Mexico within a week or two after receiving it. I only used the card once on Amazon.

    I did get my $50 credit and bought a nice stainless steel folding grill (used your affiliate link for both purchases and no, don’t think that was the reason for the compromise as I’ve used your link quite often using other cards).

    Agree with your comment that snow should be a novelty. In my younger days I did a lot of winter camping, skiing in on the North Country trail in Wisconsin. There are adirondack shelters for overnighting. Not so anymore, now my winter camping takes place in Texas.

    Hope your problem is resolved quickly.



    • Becky on September 23, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      Thanks Cletus. This is the first time I’ve ever had an issue with fraud/identity theft and hopefully it’ll be the last.

      Thank you for using my affiliate link to make your Amazon purchases, sorry to hear about your card but glad it turned out okay.



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